The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures (Book Review) 2018

“We wear our own pair of colored lenses, and they tint the world we see. Sometimes that causes us to dismiss things we should give more attention to.”

Author: Aaron Mahnke Genre: Nonfiction Length: 283 pages


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, passed down through generations. Yet no matter how wary and jaded we have become, as individuals or as a society, a part of us remains vulnerable to them: werewolves and wendigos, poltergeists and vampires, angry elves and vengeful spirits. 

Source: The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures (hardcover)


The author only uses personal narratives as a way of illustrating a point or subject of the chapter, not deviating from the purpose in the least. No rambling or awkwardness and each chapter follows a smooth transition to the next.

No fluff or filler found within its pages. No untranslated bits to sound fancy while filling out blank spaces.

There’s a section that briefly goes over curses and while not in-depth, the examples given are concise, drilling the point straight home.

“The Irish speak of curses as if they were birds. Once a curse is spoken aloud, they say, it can float around a place until it finds its target.” — Off the Path

Unboxed tells the chilling tale of Robert and Gene. While I was somewhat familiar with the story, I admit it was a pleasure to see it included. Monsters, we often find, are not just werewolves, elves, etc. but they come in many shapes and forms and toys, particularly dolls, are often overlooked in this category. From that point forth, the bizarre events regarding creepy dolls continues with ‘ Do Not Open ‘which narrates the story of Raggedy Ann doll, also known as Anabelle.

If you’ve seen any of the movies, you might be disappointed or relieved to find that the dolls were not as creepy as in the film. Not even close. From the photographs I saw, they appeared to look as nothing more than regular, sweet-looking toys. They certainly didn’t inspire fear right away.

There’s a note in which the author says “Let’s be clear: this is the point where I would have purchased a bottle of lighter fluid...” and I couldn’t help but wholeheartedly agree. The victims portrayed in the story were certainly far more brave and tenacious.

I’m biased when it comes to lore about vampires and werewolves and I’ve got only the media to thank for that. However, the information contained in The World of Lore was bearable, interesting and not at all full of the usual cliches.

The book tries to cover as much territory as possible but of course with the insane amount of Lore found on monsters, this becomes a near impossible task. Still, there was variety and something fresh to look forward in each chapter.

Not a short book by any means, which is the type I prefer when it is well-written. Concise and descriptive writing but none of that fancy lingo that requires a dictionary to decipher.

As opposed to using photography, the author employs the use of illustrations. While these illustrations hold their pinch of dark and gloomy, it is often times more of a comic release from the built up tension. Personally, I enjoyed the quirky art and illustrated bits in favor of realistic pictures.

On Christmas of 2018, The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke officially joined the shelf of my approved nonfiction books.

Who would be most suitable for this book?

An open-minded individual looking for a dash of the supernatural. A good-humored skeptic seeking amusement. Those that are interested in the subject, find it amusing in theory but do not passionately believe or pursue the topic.