Book Review: A Wizard’s Bestiary, A Menagerie of Myth – Author Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

A WIZARD’S BESTIARY: A MENAGERIE OF MYTH, MAGIC, AND MYSTERY (PAPERBACK)
by Oberon Zell-Ravenheart
Published by New Page Books
Publication Date: 2007
Format: Black /White – 357 pages
Price: $19.99

“A Wizards Bestiary” is hands down one of the more fascinating collections on the market. The author Oberon Zell-Ravenheart reveals that he has spent almost 30 years collecting and updating the information contained within. The information is quite an endeavor indeed. For those who haven’t come across these books, it simply collects, illustrates and describes the world over authority on mythical beast, creatures and those of legend. I first came across this kind of material in the Dungeons and Dragons sector, but as many of you know most of those characters are make believe.

The difference here is that these creatures while many have never been proven…. originated out of the tales and myths of legends, hearsay and cultural origins. Some are actual real life beasts, others are hybrids such as the Chimera. Some are things that have came out of sightings and urban legends such as the Chupacabra, Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster and the Wendigo. Others stem from more mythical legends as seen in the film “Clash of the Titans”. Medusa, harpies, minotaurs, Cerebus, mermaids and unicorns.

Well you might be surprised that the author made a few of his own discoveries along the 3ay, not to mention that the idea of scientists experimenting with cross breeding is not unheard of especially today.

As a book, this volumes is immense but better served as a reference volume. Reading front to back might be abandoned more for locating things and subjects of interest…..or more particularly beasts of interest. It’s no surprise that some of these inhabitants could fill a volume on there own background, though the purpose of this book is more to categorized and define each of these beasts.

While reading, I was often reminded of living animals that some references might have been mistaken for in older times. Fear and curiosity was often exaggerated at times to serve a moral purpose which may have given birth to the descriptions of these things as we know today. Another purpose that occurred to me which I would use myself, would be…. this book as a guide or idea book for filmmaking. Public fascination with monsters and dark peculiarities is ever so active these days that one could reference this book to create a film based idea from.

Some of the creatures are as common as Dr. Seuss to readers but the unique factor lies in the beasts that most of us might “not” be familiar with. 30 years of collecting has a way of really finding the variety of monsters that exist through out time. Though one questions that I’m sure will come to mind is…what if? What if legends were right? what is dragons “were” real?, What if the protectors of gods and demons existed at one time or for that matter still exist?

The book although cant fit images of everything mentioned does manage to include quite a bit. The renderings are top notch and a great visual bonus.

As you make your way past the general listings, it gets more specific into the historical backgrounds of a choice few…….. Mermaids, Kraken, Sea Serpents, unicorns and even dinosaurs with maybe more information than you ever wanted to know about these creatures or just what the wizard ordered!

Highly enjoyable and full of rich content and illustrations!

Check out other books by the author as well at: New Page Books

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