Book Review: Fantasy Encyclopedia by Judy Allen

Title: Fantasy Encyclopedia

Author: Judy Allen

Format: Hardcover edition, Kingfisher Publications

Published: 2005


Being a writer, I end up with books for reference and research.  Actually, it has little to do with me being a writer.  I actually am just obsessed with research and reference, so I end up with those sorts of books anyway.  And, to be honest, I have benefitted greatly from the trend that started in the late 90s and continues to this day of publishing houses producing ‘coffee table’ style books that focus on a myriad of topics to be sold in the brick and mortar bookstores, at least initially.  As the electronic market increased, though, these oversized specialty books ended up not staying on the regular shelves as long and ended up, thankfully, in bargain bins.  This is one of the reasons I’m a fan of the ebook, because it makes it possible for me to take some of these great titles home in print.  And Judy Allen’s Fantasy Encyclopedia definitely qualifies as one of the best.

Divided into nine chapters, Fantasy Encyclopedia is more a shotgun approach reference type book than an actual comprehensive tone.  Having said that, it is absolutely awesome as that type of book, focusing on everything from witches to ghosts to vampires to little known beasties.  Each chapter is broken into two page sections that provide readers with insight into various creatures. Really, it’s a collection of snippets interspersed between fantastic art and photos when appropriate.  And, again, let me stress, as that sort of work, this book is a knockout.  It is ripe with tidbits for a writer and approaches each creature as if it is rich in lore, even though this book itself is only offering you a taste.  The structure of the book is conducive to not only quick, but also addictive reading.  It’s one of those you won’t just flip open on the coffee table. You’ll sit back with it in your lap and finish it in one sitting.

Fantasy Encyclopedia definitely rates five out of five pages.  It is fun and actually, because of the speed at which one can get through it, is an exciting read, keeping the reader moving forward, wanting more.

This one also rates a full gun from me, six out of six bullets.  The art and package is engaging and not only supports, but makes the information the book provides even that more interesting.


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