This book is brilliant with detailed and well laid out information about over sixty creatures from various cultures around the world. From giant ants to the Yeti everything here from the most famous monsters of urban legend to obscure creatures I had never heard of before. Although some of the entries are somewhat thin on the ground when it comes to information there is always at least a page with the predicted lifespan, geographical location and Latin name for each creature. As well as the creature information in this book, there are also a few sections about people such as Hercules and Sinbad the Sailor who encountered many fabulous beasts during their various careers. This book is a must for anyone interested in cryptozoology.
One thinks this is going to be a book discussing these mythological creatures accurately, instead one gets a book based on a fictional organisation whose fictional exploits are recounted. If you want something to please a child obsessed with fantasy, this is a great book, for any other purposes it is inapposite.
This book is a great resource for fantasy writers like me, and probably for fantasy artists as well. It's highly informative, and treats fantasy creatures as if they really existed, with their habitat, lifespan, size, geographical distribution, taxonomy etc. Entries are grouped into 'Insects, Molluscs & Amphibians', 'Reptiles' 'Birds', 'Mammals' 'Manimals' etc. It includes mythological animals from different cultures, though the focus is on European (e.g. ancient Greek) mythologies. Each entry spans at least one page, often several, and is lavishly illustrated.
The approach is tongue-in-cheek, parodying zoological books. It is presented as if written and published of the (non-existent) Cryptozoological Society of London.allegedly 'the world's leading resource for research into strange animals, legendary creatures and all unusual natural phenomena'. . Fact blends with fiction, genuine eye-witness reports stand side-by-side with invented ones, genuine newspaper articles are supplemented by fictional field notes, ancient works of art are treated as evidence of the creatures existence.
Treating those animals as if they really existed is a great approach, because that's how we (the fantasy writers and artists who use the book) will be treating them as well. We want our readers to suspend their disbelief, so while we write, we need to suspend our own.
However, this approach should have been made clear. Not everyone has a sense of humour, and not everyone immediately sees the book for what it is. I confess it took me a while to grasp that that much of it is deliberate parody. Judging by other reviews of this book on Amazon and elsewhere, other readers were confused too and some felt mislead.
A subtitle - such as "A Tongue-In-Cheek Exploration of Cryptozoology" would have clarified the book's content.
The book is large, informative, entertaining, and illustrated in colour throughout. It has an index and a glossary. There is also a table of contents, but that is difficult to find because it is squeezed onto half a page under a letter titled 'Presidential file summary'. and it offers good value for money. Just make sure that this is really the kind of book you want.
The largest problem with this book is the pretence for its creation- there is no Cryptozoological Society of London, and the book does pretend to be factual. That as may be, it is brilliant for anyone interested in MYTHOLOGY who is willing to read discerningly- however it does not do enough to separate fact from fiction, or to come to conclusions based on the evidence. 3 stars for entertainment value, but if I was a Cryptozoologist I would be very annoyed at the existence of a book which funds sceptisism towards the science and at points actively aims to deceive.
This book is in my opinion the best on cryptozoology you can find. Its layout is perfect it divides the creatures into there types and then tells you were theyre found and how long they live plus 1 or 2 pages on the creature itself. I recomend this book to anyone who is looking into the science of cryptozoology or the magick.