4* Review: The “Supernatural” Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls by Alex Irvine #SPNFamily

4* Review: The “Supernatural” Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons, and Ghouls by Alex Irvine  #SPNFamily

I know all my UK followers and “SPN Family” will be excited to see the return of Supernatural to our screens. It’s been a long wait – so long in fact, that I had to buy the season 9 import from the US. I’m not going to give away any spoilers butI think that it was one of the best seasons for a while and in many ways felt like a return to the earlier ones.

This review is for a book that came out in 2007 and is really a companion piece to the couple of series.

The book is split into chapters focussing on a particular type of supernatural bad guy. Overall, the content is pretty interesting although there was a bit of repetition here and there. Personally, I felt the appendices were the highlight, with a great run down of herbs, oils and other magical components. I even got some inspiration from here for my latest work in progress. It’s very brief but is certainly interesting.

For the seasons SPN fan, you’ll enjoy the references to characters and demons that pop up in the show, although these are outweighed by information on demons, spirits and ghouls more broadly. For those who are only just getting into the series, it’s not a bad background and would help you get up to speed quite quickly on how the brothers came to be hunters, as well as building some context around the monsters.

The book does look good. I have the paperback and this mean that I got the full flavour of its “look”. Basically, it looks like a journal, with notes stuck on etc. My only issue was that some of the text was quite difficult to read as it was very fine and relatively faint. This is a personal thing I know. Others may not struggle. An ebook version would have been a different kettle of fish entirely.

The book is drafted in a mix of first person narrative and extracts from John Winchester’s diaries, plus references to historical texts. I’m happy with that and the change of tone added an interesting texture. There are also some stills from the show included.

What did jar occasionally was the use of first person POV. Throughout these sections, it refers to “Dad”, yet in some it also refers to both Sam and Dean in the third person. Who then is the narrator/writer then? This only happened a couple of times, but as I say, it niggled me.

I appreciate that as an avid fan, picking up something from the earlier days of the show may have coloured my perception. The characters have come a long way since those early series and I suspect that a companion book now would be more rounded, darker and more mature in style and content. If anyone can recommend any more recent books, please let me know!

On balance, it’s an okay read, although I’ve read better more comprehensive companion books (The Watcher’s Guides that accompany Buffy the Vampire Series are superior). I will probably pick it up and read again as a reference book for my own supernatural writing.

Helen Treharne

I’m Helen Treharne, fiction author an creator of The Sophie Morgan Vampire Series. I live in South Wales with my husband, young son and rescue cat.
My books are available at all major digital retailers with soft back copies also available from Amazon, Createspace and other stores.
When I’m not writing fiction, I blog at www.WelshMumWriting.com, sharing my experiences of being a busy parent jugging working, writing, and more. Follow me there for my personal insights.

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