Book Review: Harry Potter: The Creature Vault

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As a Harry Potter fan, I have quite a few companion books. The largest in my collection is Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey. Right after I bought Page to Screen, I discovered there was a collector's edition that included several other books. I did not get the collector's edition since I already have the main book, but I've always longed to see those additional books.

Harry Potter: The Creature Vault is actually the expanded version of the The Creature Shop Compendium book that is part of Harry Potter Page to Screen Collector's Edition.

This new edition has a makeover and now sports a purple coloured embossed cover. The page count has increased to 208. It's a beautiful looking compendium.

This book looks at all the creatures and magical plants that have appeared in the movie series. It's packed with creature designs, concept art, film stills and photos from behind the scenes which shows how the crew build the animatronics, maquettes, sculptures and life-size models such as the Basilisk or the dragons.

Concept art for the creatures comes in the form of sketches, watercolours and digital paintings. Bulk of the book consists the artworks with accompanying text. A few pictures were reused from Page to Screen but not a big issue.

Below's the list of chapters that group the creatures according to their type:

  1. Forest Dwellers - Centaur, Unicorn, Acromantula, Hippogriff, Thestral
  2. Lake Dwellers - Merperson, Grindylow
  3. Sky Dwellers - Dragon, Cornish Pixie
  4. Trespassers - Troll, Giant, Gnome
  5. Shape-Shifters - Animagus, Boggart, Werewolf
  6. The Working World - Post Owl, House-Elf, Goblin, Fluffy
  7. Dark Forces - Basilisk, Dementor, Inferius
  8. Companions - Hedwig, Errol, Pigwidgeon, Scabbers, Crookshanks, Mrs. Norris, Fang, Trevor, Arnold, Fawkes, Nagini
  9. The Greenhouse - Devil's Snare, Mandrake, Whomping Willow, Mimbulus Mimbletonia, Venomous Tentacula, Dirigible Plum

There's a huge bunch of creatures and plants featured. All are given ample coverage in terms of art and text. Author Jody Revenson has provided an insightful writeup that talks about their designs for the movies, the story component and interesting details such as the technical parts on how the creatures were created, be it in computer or real life. I believe it will be a satisfying read for any Harry Potter fan, especially those who craves for details.

The book description mentioned there's an Eeylops Owl Emporium. That's actually a small 8-page booklet sticked to the main pages showing photos of several owls. The other extra goodie is an A3 size one page bestiary poster with 16 selected creatures.

One last thing to note is there are two publishers for this book. It seems that publisher Harper Design is distributing for USA and Canada, and Titan Books are distributing for UK, Europe and other regions. So depending on where you are and from which publisher you buy from, the book's price might vary slightly. I find that Titan Books sell it cheaper, and for overseas buyers, it's more worth it to get the book from Book Depository.

I really enjoyed going through all the information and looking at the beautiful concept art. This is yet another excellent companion to the movies.

Highly recommended to all Harry Potter fans.

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From publisher Harper Design (US & Canada):
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

From publisher Titan Books (UK, Europe and other places):
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp | Amazon.cn | Bookdepository.com

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