Top critical review
Could use some editing
on 24 January 2011
I genuinely enjoyed this book, and spent a week regailing my friends with the snippets of anthropological detail taken from its entries (for example, the ancient Chinese used to place jade cicadas in the mouths of the dead). There are plenty of them, and for anyone with an anthropological interest they are wonderful tidbits to have, as are the essays in the front of the book. Similarly there are dozens of creatures I've never heard before (and I've been heavily into mythology since I was six).
But there are lots of creatures which aren't included and really should be - for example, though there's a (woefully incomplete) entry for the Fomorri of Celtic mythology, there is no mention of the Tuatha de Danaan who succeeded them. Too many entries are comprised only of stories about a paticular creature and give you no information at all, and for some reason the authors have chosen to include various gods from Hindu, Greek and Egyptian mythology (while often getting attributes, names, or genders wrong). While this might be okay if they included *all* the gods from those pantheons, they don't. Similarly mentions are made of vampires, roane, and a handful of other creatures but they don't get their own entries, and some, like the Japanese kitsune, are excluded completely.
The anthopological details and the essays are worth reading, but I would reccomend borrowing this book if you can find it rather than spending money on reading it.