Monster Book of Monsters (30628) Review

The Monster Book of Monsters (30628) may be one of the longest running gift-with-purchase promotions at the LEGO® Store ever. It started January 1, 2021 and only ended recently. I am writing this in mid-March 2021. The LEGO® Store kept extending the offer. Why? One can only speculate. Perhaps they thought it would be more popular than it was. Perhaps consumers are not feeling the Harry Potter franchise. I know many of you have written to me about disillusionment with the Wizarding World over the last few months. In any case, I recently acquired a Monster Book of Monsters. Since I am reviewing my way through Harry Potter sets this week, I figured why not throw it in?

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Monster Book of Monsters (30628) front box art.

MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS SUMMARY

  • NAME: Monster Book of Monsters
  • SET #: 30628
  • THEME: Harry Potter
  • COST: Gift-with-purchases over $75 ($26.99 CAD value)
  • BRICK COUNT: 320
  • MINIFIGURES: 1
  • RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2021
Monster Book of Monsters (30628) rear box art.

MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS QUICK REVIEW

  • VALUE: 100% (Free, need I say more?)
  • BUILD: 90% (Great brick-built details, but interior is not playable.)
  • MINIFIGURES: 87% (Character feels out of place in set he cannot interact with much.)
  • ENTERTAINMENT: 80% (Very much a niche interest set, but fun for those into Harry Potter.)
  • OVERALL SCORE: 89%
Monster Book of Monsters (30628) kit contents.

MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS (30628) REVIEW

VALUE: 100%

The Monster Book of Monsters set came for free with Harry Potter purchases over $75. However, it has a retail value of $26.99 CAD. Therefore, at full price, the cost-per-brick is $0.084. Comparatively, my average cost-per-brick across all LEGO® sets I have collected is $0.139. For the Harry Potter theme alone, it is $0.138. Therefore, by either comparison, this set is a great value. As a purchase, it earns 99%. However, it was a freebie, so I rate it at 100%. Since it came with a purchase I was making anyway, it amounts to free bricks.

Overhead view of the Monster Book of Monsters (30628).

Again, since it was free, I will award a build time value score of 100% as well. However, for those interested, the Monster Book of Monsters took me 47 minutes to assemble. Consequently, at full price, the cost-per-minute of build time amounts to $0.57. By comparison, my average across all themes $0.83/minute. Meanwhile, for the Harry Potter theme alone, it is $0.85. Had I bought this set, I would rate the build-time value at 95%.

BUILD: 90%

I enjoyed this build. Truthfully, I liked it more than the Hogwarts Moments sets that came out at the same time. Those sets also feature books. However, in the case of Hogwarts Moments, each book opens to reveal a different classroom. In reviewing them, I lamented that the books were not book-ish enough. The “pages” did not look like pages. Not so with the Monster Book of Monsters. Additionally, Hogwarts Moments rely heavily on stickers for details. With the Book of Monsters, you build most of the details as it should be. You build the book exterior entirely from bricks, not two large plates. This is how I wish the Hogwarts Moments sets looked from the outside.

The downside to the Monster Book of Monsters design is that the book does not open fully. The set has a play feature though. Rolling it across a hard surface causes the front cover of the book to open and close like a chomping monster. It works using a cam attached to a wheel and axle. The feature works well. However, I do not have much use for a set like this. I wish I could have the exterior of this set with an interior like the Hogwarts Moments books. I rate the build at 90%.

MINIFIGURES:

The Monster Book of Monsters comes with one character, Draco Malfoy. He is a child figurine, but he comes with the moveable short legs. Additionally, Draco has a double-sided face as well as front and back torso printing. The only accessories included are the standard two wands. I am always happy to get a Minifigure. However, since the book does not open and is far too large for Minifigures, Draco feels a little out of place in this set. All the same, I rate his design at 87%.

With only one minifig and 320 pieces, the brick-to-fig ratio is easy to calculate. However, it is also not good. Comparatively, my average ratio is 142:1 across all themes, and 145:1 for Harry Potter. Again, this is not a Minifigure centric set. However, if you are going to include one, you might as well include two to make the ratio a little better. I rate the ratio score at 44% in this case. However, since the Minifigure is not the focus of this set, I will forgo counting the score.

ENTERTAINMENT: 80%

I see AFOL fans of Harry Potter enjoying this set. Especially if you have the Hogwarts Moments sets to display with it. They form a nice collection of brick-books. Additionally, the build experience is fun. However, the set does not hold long-term display potential or interest for those outside the Harry Potter niche. The textured bricks used to get the paged look are good to have. Otherwise, I do not find the brick selection all that appealing. Free bricks are free bricks though. I rate the entertainment factor at 80%.

Monster Book of Monsters (30628) with Hogwarts Moment sets.

OVERALL SCORE: 89%

As far as gifts-with-purchase go, I have seen worse. The design of the Monster Book of Monsters (30628) is fun. In fact, I wish the LEGO® Group used the brick-built concept more in the Hogwarts Moments series that came out in January. However, once built the Book of Monsters offers little in terms of play and display potential for those outside the niche of Harry Potter fandom. I would never say no to free LEGO® bricks though. You can always repurpose parts in MOC projects. What are your thoughts on the Monster Book of Monsters? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.

Until next time,

-Tom

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