Tag Archives: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling (3/5)

7 Jul

I went into this with mixed feelings. I saw the movie on opening night because I was so excited for a new Wizarding World story. I left highly disappointed. I got the screenplay thinking that maybe reading it would help me understand it better. I’m not sure it did. I don’t have plans to see the third movie at this time and I’m thinking I’ll wait until I can stream it.

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Cover image via Amazon

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Fantastic Beasts #2) by J.K. Rowling

Other books by Rowling reviewed on this blog:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y las reliquias de muerte by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Summary from Amazon:

At the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings. In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world. This second original screenplay from J.K. Rowling, illustrated with stunning line art from MinaLima, expands on earlier events that helped shape the wizarding world, with some surprising nods to the Harry Potter stories that will delight fans of both the books and films.

It’s been a few years since I saw this movie but I don’t think I’d forgotten much. This story feel very flat for me. There was almost no character development and what we do get seems a bit too far from what we learned in the first film. Queenie’s logic makes almost no sense, Newt and Tina’s relationship doesn’t develop at all, and Jacob adds no humor to the story. Maybe it’s Middle Book Syndrome. Or maybe the writing just wasn’t that great this time around.

Queenie sticks out in this book for seeming inconsistent with her previous self. Jacob has somehow overcome a spell that was not reversible in the original series and now Queenie is willing to do morally questionable things to marry Jacob. Where did this person come from? Her decision at the end is even more illogical as she thinks Grindelwald will somehow make it so she and Jacob can be together after he explicitly calls Muggles ‘other’ from Wizards. How she sees this playing out, I can’t understand.

Honestly, Grindelwald was my favorite character in this book. He was the only one who got some real character development. While he’s a total jerk and a big ol’ baddie, we’re introduced to him and what he wants and how he plans to get it. Maybe I’ll see the next movie when it goes to streaming just to see what happens to him.

None of the characters were very relatable. Credence might be to some, but I didn’t relate to him much. Newt’s odd crush on his brother’s fiancée was a bit odd and gave some relatable feelings of pining after someone you can’t have, but the relationship between he and Leta was very poorly defined and it wasn’t clear if there had ever been anything between them and how she came to be engaged to Theseus.

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J.K. Rowling Image via Biography

There wasn’t a part of this story that stuck out to me and that I enjoyed. In the movie, the circus was fun visually, but that fell flat in the screen play. I also got frustrated at Nagini’s character so that wasn’t helping anything. Again, might be Middle Book Syndrome, but I was a bit bored.

The ending of this one frustrated me for two reasons. One was Queenie deciding to join Grindelwald. The logic the story used to make this seem plausible was paper thin to me. After knowing Queenie from the first book, it was very out of character. It might have worked if it was earlier in our acquaintance with her, but at this point it took me out of the story. The second was revealing that Credence is a Dumbledore. I’m not sure what to think of this at all. Part of me wonders if it’s true and part of me thinks it’s one of Grindelwald’s lies. Either way, it upset a lot of fans of the original series who are already upset about the original timeline being ignored completely. I’ll have to see how it plays out in the next books, but I don’t know if this will ever be recoverable to me.

Credence wants to know who he is and wants to feel important. It’s similar to Harry at the beginning of the first book. There’s something about him that makes him believe he doesn’t fit in and wants to know what it is. As Harry learns about his wizarding family, Credence similarly looks for answers. Whereas the original series shows us how Harry can fight against Voldemort for what is right, this series shows us a contrast where Credence is taken under the wing of someone who wants to use him to fight. Harry and Credence are easily foils of each other.

Writer’s Takeaway: In an effort to bring in elements of the original series that readers enjoyed, this story suffers from having too much surface level elements that don’t get to the heart of the story. It’s fun to see Flamel as a character, but it would have been better to learn the backstory of Newt and Leta. Seeing Nagini as a woman is cool, but having an accurate timeline of when McGonagall was teaching would be better. This tries too hard to appease fans without trying to win new ones.

An overall disappointment but possibly setting up a great ending? Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay | Stephen Writes
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald | The Original Screenplay | Fantastic Beasts #2 | Lost in Fiction
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald | The Humpo Show