I picked this one up the same time I picked up the Monstrous Creatures edition. I was so enthralled by that one that I decided to read this one right away instead of taking a break for more story-esque books. I thought this one was going to dive into the minds of infamous criminals and serial killers.
I love books that go into the way people’s minds work. I am fascinated by how people think, why they make the decisions that they make, and why they do what they do. I think reading about that is always interesting and that is what I thought this book was going to be about. I thought it was going to give the backstory and the history of these people. I thought there would be commentary on their choices and why they may have done what they did.
While it started out that way diving into H.H. Holmes and others that was only a small part of the book. The first half, if that was about certain people and who they were and where they came from; but then I felt like he ran out of people or sources and fell into just randomly telling stories.
At times the stories felt random barely a page and many times they were about frauds or people fooling other people. There was a whole section on the witch trials again which got boring to me. While it was talked about why people accused people of witch craft and of being sorcerers it didn’t really stay with the theme of wicked mortals. At least not how it was blurbed and how I understood it.
I read the last half quickly, just trying to get through it because it wasn’t holding my attention anymore. I felt like we stopped talking about people making bad choices and just talked about why people were superstitious and fearful of everything. It just didn’t fit with the theme of the rest of the book I thought.
I end up giving the book 3 stars mostly because of the first half. That half I found fascinating , the last half I just had to get through.
I am going to do just a mini-review for this book since it isn’t a fiction book and thus doesn’t have as much to analyze with plot, setting or characters.
If you have read a number of my other reviews and posts you will know that I love myths and legends. I also love the supernatural (even if it freaks me out a little bit at times). I love the idea of there being creatures things we can’t explain in the world around us.
This book is based off of (or more like a transcript) of the podcast by the same name. Now I have never listened to the podcast, mostly because I tend to get bored and distracted when listening to books or podcasts. Some of the reviews I saw were a bit critical because they said it was what was already in the podcast and nothing added.
I can’t speak to that part but I can speak to the fact that this book did a fantastic job of giving history and stories about some major things in our culture. It delves into vampires, werewolves, zombies, legends and ghosts. I know quite a bit about some legends but this book actually talked about things I didn’t know.
I think my favorite part of this book were all the stories that were told throughout the book. It went into great detail about some of the stories that started a lot of these legends. It went into depth about them, and you got to see how these ideas grew out of these tales.
I loved that it was tied to history. We forget many times that in the past they didn’t have the advantage of the knowledge we have. They didn’t have the ability to explain away things like we did. We see that they strived to get explanations and did it the only way they knew how with the only knowledge they had.
I thought it did a great job at talking about these ideas while also delving into what causes people to think this way. We see that as humans we will go to great lengths to explain difficult things away. I loved the context this provided.
I walked away from this book with a deeper appreciation and much more knowledge about these topics than I had before. I didn’t feel like I was rehashing things I already knew. Too many times these books feel repetitive to me and this one didn’t.
If you enjoy tales of the unknown and supernatural and want to learn more this a great read and I am sure a great podcast.