Book Title:
The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures
Book Author:
Aaron Mahnke
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
October 10th, 2017
Del Rey
Date Read:
November 27th, 2017


A fascinating, beautifully illustrated guide to the monsters that are part of our collective psyche, from the host of the hit podcast Lore, soon to be an online streaming series.

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.

In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. Aaron Mahnke invites us to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. He delves into harrowing accounts of cannibalism--some officially documented, others the stuff of speculation . . . perhaps. He visits the dimly lit rooms where seances take place, the European villages where gremlins make mischief, even Key West, Florida, home of a haunted doll named Robert.

In a world of "emotional vampires" and "zombie malls," the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls. As Aaron Mahnke reminds us, sometimes the truth is even scarier than the lore.

My Review

It seems as though podcasts are popping up all over as of late – and since I haven’t typically been one to jump on the podcast bandwagon, it’s nice to see that many of the creators of those podcasts are bringing their work to life in book form, too.  This is the case for The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures.  This book, which is based on the popular podcast Lore, offers stories that have been covered on the podcast, only in a book format for those who enjoy reading, or may not have even heard about the podcast.  The stories found in this book are a great companion to those who also enjoy the podcast, and  might like to pick up where they left off by reading the book if they don’t have the ability to listen.  Either way, this fantastic book is full of horror, history, and plenty of promise to make you want to keep the lights on when you go to bed.

As one of those people who haven’t really gotten into podcasts, I was pretty excited to see this book on shelves.  Although I hadn’t heard of Lore before seeing the advertisement for the Amazon Prime streaming special, when I did, I looked up information about it, and didn’t hesitate to pick up a copy of this book.  Not only is the book full of information that any horror fan will swoon over, but the cover is a beautiful deep red, with a gorgeous interior, with several illustrations on the inside of the book that add just that extra amount of creepiness to the book.

Growing up, I have always been fascinated with all things even remotely creepy.  I mean, I loved horror movies and grew up watching as many as I could, reading horror novels and just plain being interested in everything that dealt with monsters: vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts – anything paranormal was something I knew I would love.  Hence, this book?  Probably one of the best that I have read on the topic of paranormal creatures.

Aaron Mahnke has created a work that touches on quite a few of history’s most beloved and popular monsters.  In The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures, he breaks the books up into several sections, each with a few chapters, that introduce us to said creatures, including the folklore behind them, where they originated, and several stories that are well researched and full of valuable information that any paranormal lover will devour happily.

“When the unexplainable becomes the believable, that’s when things become truly horrifying.”

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures is broken up into five different sections, as I stated above.  These sections are the following: The Dead Returned, A Little Problem, Back to Nature, Our Other Halves, and Beyond the Veil.  Each of these sections has several stories, with the last, Beyond the Veil, having the most.  Each section deals with a different type of “monster.”  For example, the section titled The Dead Returned talks about vampires and zombies, and gives us some insight into where the legend of vampires originated from, how they shaped history, and also gives us a few different true stories about where they have popped up throughout the years.

The second section, A Little Problem, discusses human like creatures that have popped up throughout time as menacing beings.  While there are many names that these creatures go by, and their origins are widely spread around the world, the most common name these creatures are known as?  Elves.  In this section we learn a little bit about where they come from, stories about people who claim to have seen these creatures and have had interactions with them, and of course, a highly detailed discussion about their roots, various names they have come to see within different cultures, and the types of things that they are known for.

The section titled Back to Nature was probably one of my favorites in the book, as it dealt with famous creatures such as, you guessed it – werewolves.  As well as werewolves, the book also touches on other creatures that fit in the nature theme, as well as cannibalism (as I stated previously, this book isn’t exactly for the faint of heart!).  While I can’t say I’ve ever known much about werewolves beyond how Hollywood has painted these creatures to seem, it was incredibly interesting to learn about the true history of them, as well as read about some true encounters with the creatures that have been recorded throughout history.

Our Other Halves is a section that touches on legends such as The Jersey Devil and Spring-Heeled Jack.  Possessed dolls are also an interesting touch here, and some of these stories are truly bone chilling, all the while being incredibly interesting.  I haven’t heard of a lot of these legends, but some of them, such as the tale of the rag doll Annabelle.

Finally, Beyond the Veil deals with possessions, ghost stories, and tales of those seeking vengeance from beyond the grave.  Each of the stories in this section deals with ghosts and the effect that they have had on people throughout the ages.  I found this section to be another one of the most interesting in the book, as I have always loved a simply frightening ghost story.  If that’s your thing, you’ll find plenty in this section.

“We see what we want to, whether we’re a skeptic or a believer.  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.  Other times it convinces us that the unexplainable is undeniable.”

It is obvious to the reader that the author worked very hard to put this material together, as it is well researched (with a lengthy bibliography in the back of the book, which is put together for each and every story, and is a fantastic addition for those who wish to further their study on some of the topics and cases presented within the book) and the author also has plenty of personal experience with some of the places noted.  In several spots, the author mentions that he has visited some of the areas being discussed, and he talks about what he saw while there.  This is a nice touch, and it really brings the book to life.

I thought that there was plenty of information included for each of the stories within the book, including dates, names, and interesting facts that I didn’t know.  Most of the stories are roughly ten or so pages long, although some of them are quite short at only three or four.  Some of them, particularly those toward the end of the book, are quite shorter.  Some of these I felt could have been discussed a little more at length, but they were still interesting and I was completely drawn in nonetheless.

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures was one of those books that I couldn’t stop reading.  I started it late one night and finished it early the next morning, constantly turning pages and loving each and every part of this book.  There is so much information in there, and some of it I had never even heard of.  If you like a good thrill or would like to take a walk on the paranormal side of things, this book is definitely not to be missed.

4.5 stars
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6 Responses to The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

  1. L says:

    I can listen to audiobooks all day, but seem to have trouble with podcasts. My husband can listen to podcasts, but has trouble with audiobooks, lol.

    I think it’s interesting that people are turning their podcasts into books! The cover is a little creepy…
    L recently posted…Lick (Stage Dive, #1) by Kylie ScottMy Profile

  2. Brittany says:

    I am a huge scaredy cat but I’m so glad you enjoyed this book. It does sound really interesting!

    Thanks for sharing,
    ~Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

    • Kelly says:

      I hear you! I’m a big scaredy cat too but I love horror so I guess I kind of just like traumatizing myself with it, haha. This was a great one, though, with a lot of added creepiness because none of it was made up!

  3. Great review! It sounds so interesting!

  4. Jill the OWL says:

    I love the Lore podcast, so I’m super interested in this book! I didn’t realize it was illustrated! I really need to look into it now.

    • Kelly says:

      I haven’t listened to the podcast yet but I’m really wanting to check it out! I wasn’t sure if any other bloggers listened to it much, but it seems to be a lot more popular than I thought! There aren’t a ton of illustrations in here, just a few, but they add a lot of creepy to the book.

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