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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J. K. Rowling

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RATING: 5/5

BLURB: “Explorer and magizoologist Newt Scamander has just completed a round-the-globe trip in search of the most rare and unusual magical creatures. Arriving in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when Newt’s case is misplaced and some of his fantastic beasts escape into the city, it spells trouble for everyone…”

REVIEW: Before the ‘Fantastic Beasts…’ film came out in cinemas last November, I admit I felt a little bit of a trepadation at the thought of a whole new Harry Potter-linked franchise. After I had been to see the film, however, I became completely obsessed; as an animal-lover I adored all of the magical creatures Rowling introduced to us, many of whom we had heard mentioned in the original Potter series but never fully seen. I also loved how Newt’s story links to the Harry Potter books, such as the link with Grindelwald and the mention of Dumbledore. After I went on for weeks about how much I loved the film, my Mum bought me the screenplay for Christmas. Sometimes I find reading scripts to be a little more challenging; to me, they often feel clunky and the stage directions can easily feel like interruptions. However, the screenplay of ‘Fantastic Beasts…’ was a joy to read and flowed just as the words and actions flowed on screen. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I am very much looking forward to watching the film again when the DVD comes out next month.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

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RATING: 5/5

BLURB: “It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places”

REVIEW: This book is a tough one to review, and not purely because it is a printed version of the recently released play ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’, set nineteen years on from Deathly Hallows, at the exact point where the epilogue left off – a play which, despite being in two different online queues for six hours each, I’m now not going to get to see until 2018 at the earliest, and that’s if I’m lucky. But enough about that; back to the book. It is also hard to review because I really, truly, do not want to spoil it for anyone. I was fortunate enough not to have any aspect of the plotline ruined for me and I think because of that I enjoyed reading this even more. Being given a new part to the Harry Potter story was truly like a gift in my eyes, and no matter how uncertain I initially was this book had me hooked. I read it in a matter of hours. It captured the true essence of Harry Potter in its purest form and sobbed more times than I can count – and not because the play is sad. I sobbed because we got more from characters we know and love, because so many aspects of the story were exactly what the fans have always imagined, because the twist was fantastic, because there were some wise words from my favourite Dumbledore, and because this book made me feel every emotion I ever felt whilst reading the original series all over again. I can only imagine that watching the play itself must be even more of an intense, amazing experience. I cannot describe to you how much I loved reading this script or, indeed, how much I love Harry Potter. It turns out J.K Rowling was right with her words at the premiere for the final Harry Potter movie – Hogwarts is always there to welcome us home. And believe me, it’s better than ever.