by Stephen Barnwell
This isn’t your ordinary fantasy novel, but an illustrated field guide to strange beasts and curious creatures. As a lover of all things fantasy, I was immediately hooked on the idea and I was thrilled when I received the book in the mail. It’s an unusual yet very interesting and fun read suitable for all ages, and every page is filled with amazing art and fun details and information.
The book lists creatures like fairies, trolls, wyrefolk to dragons, it’s all in there with fun information on sizes, habitats and history. All with illustrations and beautiful framing. It was a super fun book to read and it’s one that I’ll definitely keep nearby and look at every now and then just. My favorite parts were about the Fay World, mostly because that part reminded me of old folk tales from my hometown.
And let’s not forget about the Index at the end which lists all creatures featured in the book in alphabetic order with the page number net to it. I love all these little details that makes this feel like an actual field guide, as if I can pack my bag with the items suggested in the book and go out into the woods and find these creatures by myself. And the adverts that are included. So much fun.
There isn’t much to be said that isn’t good when it comes to this book, but one thing that I noticed and didn’t like was how every page was laid out the exact same way, even if the page was simply more details about the creature on the page before it. I love that every creature and beast has a page with the same layout (a beautiful frame and an illustration and the information on size and habitat and a description), but in some cases the creature that was introduced has more description that what could fit into that original space. In these cases, the layout was repeated and the size and the habitat etc. was also repeated and the description changed. This layout made it feel like every new page was a new creature when in fact it wasn’t. I would have liked to have had a clearer distinction between a creature with more information and new creatures. This would have broken up the repetitive layout a little too. As an example we have the Giant, who gets a page of information, but then there’s also a page called Giant Childbirth, which really isn’t a new creature, so why the need to include size and habitat? Or Trolls and Trolls & Wine. But I suppose this is a minor detail anyway and probably a matter of personal taste.
Also, I wasn’t really a fan of the green color of the cover, I think it didn’t fully match the feel of the inside of the book. Maybe a more muted color would have been better, or even better a worn leathery look to it.
This was a very fun book and I can’t recommend it enough. Grab a copy and go looking for some of these wonderous creatures yourself, you won’t regret it.