A couple of months ago, I started listening to an excellent podcast called Lore, in which Aaron Mahnke tells spooky stories from folklore around the world. Now Mahnke is coming out with an affiliated book called The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures, which hits stores tomorrow, October 10. This beautifully illustrated book collects a variety of folklore stories with a focus on particular types of monstrous creatures. It’s the first in a World of Lore series, and Mahnke plans to follow it up with two more books on Wicked Mortals and Dreadful Places within the next year.
Monstrous Creatures takes many of the stories that Mahnke has already explored in his podcast and arranges them into sections based on different types of supernatural beings. The first section, “The Dead Returned,” contains five stories about the dead coming back to life in the form of either vampires or zombies. The next section, “A Little Problem,” brings together tales of different trickster creatures, from the hidden elves of Iceland to the gremlins spotted by airplane pilots throughout America and Europe. “Back to Nature” covers all sorts of flesh-eating beasts, from werewolves, to wendigos, sea monsters, and giant birds. “Our Other Halves” touches on thing that are not quite human, like creepy dolls, devils, and man-bird hybrids. And finally, “Beyond the Veil” is the longest section of all with over a dozen tales of ghosts and hauntings.
The book is a bit redundant if you’ve listened to most episodes of the podcast, as many of the stories are ones that he’s already done an episode on. However, seeing all these stories laid out side by side and organized into themed sections does bring a bit of a new perspective. Mahnke writes in much the same manner that he speaks in the Lore podcast. Of course, some of the melodrama that comes off as cool and spooky in Mahnke’s spooky campfire voice, falls a little flat on paper. But I found that reading these stories instead of listening to them helped me to pick up on more details and get more out of them. If you’re interested in even more details about each story, Mahnke includes a bibliography at the back of the book with all the source material for each section. Ultimately, I would recommend Monstrous Creatures either to people who haven’t listened to the podcast or who are interested in the common thread of folklore.
Find Monstrous Creatures in stores tomorrow, or click the affiliate link below to buy a copy online from an independent bookstore and support The Gothic Library in the process: