01/08/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Titan Books. 219 page illustrated small softcover. Price: GBP 9.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-279-0.
check out website: www.titanbooks.com
You would think this book, ‘The Supernatural Book Of Monsters, Spirits, Demons And Ghouls’ by Alex Irvine, giving access to the Winchester boys’ notebook about the various creatures they’ve met in the past five years would be done more in their style. Indeed, I thought it should as in many respects, this could be treated as a form of diary, which I did and assumed that it was probably Dean Winchester narrating until page 69 and the assumption then had to be made that it was perhaps Sam Winchester until page 165 when it’s supposed to Dean. I should point out that there is no difference in style to say which is which. The vocal inflection or however you might want to describe it has to be assumed somewhere in between the two rather than one or the other. It’s a shame really because Titan’s own ‘Supernatural’ magazine shows it can be done well in their penultimate back page. Considering also that the Winchesters are hunters, you would also have thought it would have made sense for them to go into detail on how to stop the various menaces but this isn’t really done until we get towards the end of the book and zombies.
On the plus side, there are sixteen pages of colour photos with a greater emphasis on the creatures than the Winchesters but there are a couple of the brothers for those who need them. When it comes to vampires, Irvine avoids going down the trap of focusing on Dracula, dismissing much of it was Stoker’s invention and accenting more on real life cases. There’s also a cross-reference to UFOs as not something that exists in their reality which, if you think about it, would really confuse matters if they did and anything attributed to them, like cows drained of blood, is given the supernatural slant. I was surprised the angels themselves weren’t covered, especially as some of them weren’t exactly good.
There is a comprehensive appendix covering various plants and how they were or are used in witchcraft and pointing out which ones are toxic but I would be a little concerned if younger readers tried out of them out, though. I was curious about the creatures listed in the second appendix, especially as they were classed as European and sample cross-checked on the Net just in case they had visited across the pond but it seems more padding than necessary.
I have been critical on the points above but I’m sure the more informed ‘Supernatural’ fans would be as well. You will always want more and I’m sure a decent photobook would sell as well, simply because there aren’t enough ‘Supernatural’ books out there. Saying that, there is still a lot of useful information about the series’ creatures and I’m sure that it is likely to have at least another revised edition at a later point when the series has a couple more seasons under its belt. Be careful of any yellow-eyed demons.
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