The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures

A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore, soon to be an online streaming series.They live in shadows--deep in the forest, late in the night, in the dark recesses of our minds. They're spoken of in stories and superstitions, relics of an unenlightened age, old wives' tales, pas...

Title:The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
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The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures Reviews

  • Mike

    First

    now this one, truly the Podcasting gods have smiled upon us. If you are unaware

    , in addition to being a writer, also has a fantastic podcast called

    . Every episode explains some neat little corner of folklore and gives it a historical context for the beliefs. It provides some really fascinating looks at human history and culture. Anyway, I am really psyched about this book, if it is only half as goo

    First

    now this one, truly the Podcasting gods have smiled upon us. If you are unaware

    , in addition to being a writer, also has a fantastic podcast called

    . Every episode explains some neat little corner of folklore and gives it a historical context for the beliefs. It provides some really fascinating looks at human history and culture. Anyway, I am really psyched about this book, if it is only half as good as the podcast it is more than worth the sticker price.

  • Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    A perfect book for Halloween.

    The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures is a guide to the weird and wonderful bits of folklore and legend that roam our earth surrounding mysterious creatures. Each chapter presents a specific type of 'creature' for examination, before providing a number of local legends that relate to that creature with beautifully illustrated prints throughout.

    The author does a good job at 'setting the scene' with these

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    A perfect book for Halloween.

    The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures is a guide to the weird and wonderful bits of folklore and legend that roam our earth surrounding mysterious creatures. Each chapter presents a specific type of 'creature' for examination, before providing a number of local legends that relate to that creature with beautifully illustrated prints throughout.

    The author does a good job at 'setting the scene' with these creatures. Each chapter is well defined, and categorised well, which makes the writing easy to follow and very engaging. This is certainly one of those books you can pick up and put down with ease, and the author also does a really good job at creating a decent atmosphere. Reading this late at night, I was certainly creeped out by certain chapters (the dolls and ghost in particular).

    As with most books of this nature, I found some chapters more interesting than others. I was less interested in the 'flying animal' stories than I was with the dolls, ghosts and vampires. I also would have at least liked a mention of Whitby when discussing Dracula and Bram Stoker. I felt at times the writing was definitely geared more towards an American audience in this sense.

    That said, I thought this was a very thorough introduction into the world of folklore, and it's certainly piqued an interest in this area for future reading material at this time of year.

  • Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 3.5 stars.

    This non-fiction divulges the hidden secrets from the supernatural underbelly of our world. Testimonies from both ancient and modern-day, real-world sightings are used as a basis to explore each of the creatures featured in this anthology. The likelihood of their existence is then probed at, using links from literature, science, and religious and spiritual beliefs to prove or disprove the claims. The author provides no definite answer but rather suggests reasons for and a

    Actual rating 3.5 stars.

    This non-fiction divulges the hidden secrets from the supernatural underbelly of our world. Testimonies from both ancient and modern-day, real-world sightings are used as a basis to explore each of the creatures featured in this anthology. The likelihood of their existence is then probed at, using links from literature, science, and religious and spiritual beliefs to prove or disprove the claims. The author provides no definite answer but rather suggests reasons for and against the existence of such creatures. He also does not makes his personal beliefs on the discoveries explicitly known. Whilst this didn't hamper my enjoyment I would have appreciated a more personal anecdote to end each of the sections.

    The writing style, however, was something that could definitely be categorised as personal. The author, Aaron Mahnke, is the host of a hit podcast show that formed the basis of this anthology. I can see how the interior of this book would lend itself well to this spoken format, as much of the writing was of a fantastical and atmospheric vibe and conversational in tone.

    Whilst this all combined to make this an entertaining read I found I could remember little of what was detailed, once I had completed my reading of it. It was a fun and, on times, creepy read but one that, for some reason, did not allow me to retain any of the factual information. I can remember my enjoyment of the book, however, if not explicit details of the interior.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Aaron Mahnke, and the publisher, Del Ray for this opportunity.

  • Logan

    As a long time fan of the Lore podcast, this book was a huge let down. It houses maybe 10 illustrations and almost every story in it is a direct transcript of a podcast episode.

    If someone hasn’t listened to the Lore podcasts, then maybe this could be a great gift. Aside from that, $20 to read something you can listen to for free? No thanks.

  • [Name Redacted]

    Yes, it is pretty much just transcriptions of the podcast, now arranged topically.

    Yes, it does include beautiful illustrations.

    Yes, it is worth buying, but mainly if it's been a while since you listened to an episode of the podcast the transcription of which is featured herein.

  • Lucy Banks

    Firstly, I should state that I'm a massive fan of Lore podcast, and as such, was familiar with nearly all the tales set out in this book. Prospective buyers should be aware that the stories within the book are taken, pretty much word for word, from the podcast.

    However, I think it's far fairer to judge the book on the presumption that readers wil

    Firstly, I should state that I'm a massive fan of Lore podcast, and as such, was familiar with nearly all the tales set out in this book. Prospective buyers should be aware that the stories within the book are taken, pretty much word for word, from the podcast.

    However, I think it's far fairer to judge the book on the presumption that readers will not be familiar with the podcast, and that thus, the material will all be fresh! On that note, let's continue...

    The book covers all manner of strange and monstrous creatures; with fascinating 'real life' stories of supernatural events. It's all accessible, written in the same chatty, down-to-earth tone as the podcast itself; though considerably less frightening (mainly because the music on the podcast is so freaking eerie!).

    A great book for those who like to read spooky, 'real life' tales, but who don't want to be too badly frightened late at night. However, if you've listened to the podcast, this might not be the book for you, unless you listened to it all ages ago, and want to remind yourself of how good it is!

  • Amelia's Fantastical Bookends

    I love and have always loved folklore. I especially love folklore when it's told this type of manner: the folk story, the history behind the lore, the science behind why human nature makes us believe certain lore, and again more of the legends themselves.

    The only issue I had with this book was the way it was written, because it's very obvious that the language in here was originally used for the podcast itself, and a lot of the time what sounds good when we listen to a story vs when we read a st

    I love and have always loved folklore. I especially love folklore when it's told this type of manner: the folk story, the history behind the lore, the science behind why human nature makes us believe certain lore, and again more of the legends themselves.

    The only issue I had with this book was the way it was written, because it's very obvious that the language in here was originally used for the podcast itself, and a lot of the time what sounds good when we listen to a story vs when we read a story aren't the same thing. I've never listened to the podcast either, but many of the sentences were just overall kind of cheesy & sounded really weird when reading it. I bet if I listened to the tales, though, it would have sounded much better.

    But anyways, what a fantastic book full of mystery and intruige and what goes on behind the veil. There were different chapters based on different types of folktales, such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, curses, haunted houses, haunted shipwrecks, haunted dolls, zombies, The Jersey Devil, goblins, elves.... really, any kind of folk story with a monster/creature that you can imagine, this book has them all.

    I would sit for hours reading each individual tale, entranced by the mystery of it all. I love how there's stories where you can tell that the cause of the folktale is simply humans not understanding their world, (i.e., vampires,) but there are others that make you question whether or not our world really has more to offer than what meets the eye, (i.e., many of the haunted house tales and woodland monsters.)

    I'm a firm believer in the supernatural anyways, and I think that there is more going on in this planet than what we can explain away with science. Who am I to say that spirits don't exist? Especially in circumstances that ended in tragedy, where a spirit might be restless if their life ended horribly. This book has numerous tales of such happenings, and each one was entrancing in its own unique way.

    I've always loved stories of urban legends and folk stories, and this book has re-captured my love for those things once again. The artwork in this book is also to DIE for (hahaha, puns,) each one invoking a spooky atmosphere.

    I also feel like I learned a lot from this book, and the folk tales span all over the world with different eras of time and cultures. It would go from the ancient Egyptians to the Middle East in the B.C. period to medieval Ireland to present day America. I love being able to see & feel & learn about the legends of so many different peoples.

    This book was scary & enthralling in all the right ways, and I hope that Aaron Mahnke continues to write more books of folklore because he certainly knows how to craft a wonderful tale.

  • Arnis
  • TheYALibrarian

    I personally have been a lover of all things supernatural for as long as I can remember. While other kids made pictures and cute stories about unicorns and rainbows, I made stories on ghosts and vampires. My parents were horrified but eh they got over it, especially once they realized that love would never go away and as an adult it still has not.

    But I digress, a lot of my rating has to do with my own personal taste. When I pick up a book on all things creepy I want it to not be

    I personally have been a lover of all things supernatural for as long as I can remember. While other kids made pictures and cute stories about unicorns and rainbows, I made stories on ghosts and vampires. My parents were horrified but eh they got over it, especially once they realized that love would never go away and as an adult it still has not.

    But I digress, a lot of my rating has to do with my own personal taste. When I pick up a book on all things creepy I want it to not be just full of stories of Bigfoot, Moth Man, Jersey Devil, etc. I'm more interested in the things you can't see, which is what people call ghosts but I like the word spirits it sounds less cliche. Why? Well I have had many terrifying paranormal experiences that has made me have no doubt whatsoever of the possibility of us wandering the earth after death. So, this book was a let down since there was only bits here and there that related to poltergeists, spirits, demonic presence, etc. Most of them I had already heard of as well so it made for another let down but I tried not to get too critical on that part since I have watched every TV show that has to do with the paranormal. I'm bound to know all the well known stories like Robert the Doll. I also watched the first season of Lore as well and those short episodes were also included in this book. I haven't listened to any of the podcasts of Lore but I'm glad I didn't or I probably would have just dropped this audio and moved onto something else since it seems like this book is just a repeat of the podcast episodes.

    What also knocked off stars was Aaron Mahnke's narration. I like when narrators of audio express emotions and inflect their voices. But Mahnke's just stayed monotone and flat. I don't know if his voice is like that in his podcasts but it really turned me off and had me zoning out several times.

    But, I still had to give some stars since Mahnke obviously has done a lot of research on the supernatural. He added more details to stories and accounts that I had heard of before but did not know much detail about it. So it added some times of enjoyable listening as my fascination with everything spirit and monster came out to play.

    I would only recommend this book to reader's who have not listened to his podcasts. I would also recommend reading it in book form since it apparently has illustrations and I think that adds a interesting element and made me regret listening to it on audio. It also probably made it more organized when you can see the breaks in chapters and so on so it doesn't sounds like Mahnke is bouncing all over the place from topic to topic. There is also the fact of terrible narration that I already mentioned so it really is up to the reader. I will pick up the sequel that will be on serial killers and all freaky stuff like that but I will keep in mind to read it in book form next time.

  • Amalia Gavea

    Starting this book, I had the belief that nothing new was in store for me. That it would possibly prove to be a satisfying read on the Paranormal field but with little new to offer. Well, I was wrong. It was very well-written with some exciting changes from the norms that made it all the more interesting.

    The title ‘’Monstrous Creatures’’ is a bit misleading.

    Starting this book, I had the belief that nothing new was in store for me. That it would possibly prove to be a satisfying read on the Paranormal field but with little new to offer. Well, I was wrong. It was very well-written with some exciting changes from the norms that made it all the more interesting.

    The title ‘’Monstrous Creatures’’ is a bit misleading. I suppose the word ‘’monstrous’’ is loosely used to signify something unnatural, threatening and evil. Something that we cannot understand, something that repels us. In this volume, we find a well-balanced array of traditions from all over the world, folklore from the five continents, although the emphasis is on the Anglo-Saxon world since the written testimonies are heavily broader and properly documented. Vampires, werewolves, the living dead, mysterious creatures of the sea, anthropomorphic being lurking in dark woods, dark entities responsible for dark deeds. There are spirits, superstitions and beliefs that go back ages and ages ago and yet, they are very much alive in our time.

    There are two things that I found refreshing and worthy of praise, in my opinion. For starters, the narration is very vivid, very interesting, thoughtful and sincere. The writer comes across as a level-headed person, witty and respectful of the subject. He doesn’t downgrade it, he doesn’t turn it into a smartarse satire. He walks the thin line between the believer and the sceptic comfortably and I found myself in absolute agreement with his views. What makes this book special, in my opinion, is the fact that it links beliefs and traditions of the past with extremely recent unexplained occurrences. We’re talking about phenomena that were reported in the 60s, the 70s, all the way to our decade. The fact that stories whose roots can be found in the past still seem to concern us certainly gives food for thought. I admit that many of the stories- and quite a few were unknown to me- were eerie and chilling. The experience was enhanced by the simple yet effective black-and-white illustrations and I cannot help but give extra points to Aaron Mahnke for the Hannibal (TV series) reference. Nothing beats Mads and his culinary skills. Or any other of his skills and yes, this was totally inappropriate…

    So, it takes a lot to impress a reader who has read extensively on the Paranormal subject, but this book managed to do it. I consider myself leaning more towards the believer’s side with a significant dose of doubt (because who knows for sure, right….?) and many of the questions Mahnke poses had me thinking. This is a book that sceptics and believers will enjoy since the writer doesn’t provide answers. He simply states the facts. Speaking for myself, I was a bit influenced and each night I read it (because I obviously such things in the late hours...), I double-checked to make sure the cross I keep on my bedside table was there. It doesn’t hurt to be cautious….

    My reviews can also be found on

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