Unlike most who read this, I went in completely blind. I never listened to the podcasts before reading this book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect other than the subject material. I saw previews for the Amazon Prime series and decided to buy the book on a whim when I saw it in the bookstore.
This subject matter is something that has always fascinated me, especially once I had experiences of my own with the unknown. I chew up material like this constantly, in the form of TV shows like A Haunting. Therefore, many of the stories within the book were familiar to me. The tale of Robert the Doll is one example of the stories found within its pages. Lore tends to capitalize on paranormal stories that have been told from dozens of other sources before. Even those who don’t read or watch paranormal documentaries have probably heard at least half of the accounts. While the material is still interesting, the lack of personal stories that were uncommon was a bit of a disappointment to me. However, that wasn’t something completely unexpected, nor did it spoil the read for me.
Since the paranormal and supernatural are sensitive topics that some people not only disagree with, it angers them, I appreciate it when the channel in which the tales are told remain neutral and allow the audience to form their own opinions. I don’t like it when the author or narrator gives their opinion or tries to explain the event. I’m more than capable of doing that myself. This was something Aaron Mahnke did throughout the book which drove me nuts. Look, I know that not everyone who claims to have a paranormal experience, actually experienced what they believed took place. I’m more than capable of looking into things myself and seeing possibilities the claims might be debunked. Mahnke’s explanations and attempts at debunking some of the claims were distracting and annoying.
Overall I found the book interesting and entertaining. Despite the lack of new content, there were a handful of fresh tales that I hadn’t known about before. If you like reading about true stories of the paranormal I would recommend this book, despite its flaws. Overall, I give it a 3.5/5.
I have written about avoiding clichés, and even pointing out clichés that aren’t discussed often. Something else came to my attention recently. Most stories have clichés, in fact I cannot think of a single book, movie, or TV show that completely avoids clichés. Perhaps there is something out there that doesn’t utilize an overused trope in its story, but I do not believe I encountered one.
The issue is how often do clichés appear and how they are utilized. There are common threads that bind genres together, obviously, that is what makes them genres. Yet, when something like a magical weapon that must be found, or destroyed in order to destroy the big bad is used, we automatically think of Tolkien. In fact, that cliché is so overused in the fantasy genre that a story guilty of using this type of plot will be accused of being a Lord of the Rings rip-off. However, lesser-used clichés, like a character finding what he needs in the middle of the book will be less obnoxious and more forgivable.
Stories that have noticeably less clichés and strive to be their own tale, instead of a repackage of their inspiration are what authors strive for. In the search for originality, it is easy to loop back around into the territory of cliché once again. Us writers should always intend to avoid things that are over used, but sometimes it is inevitable. Just like in the real world, things repeat. It is simply important to know when and where to use them and to be careful.
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I have said before that I am working on a new comedy, but I haven’t said much about what it is. Here’s a little taste:
“This has been a long time coming, but I have decided to at last record my life and experiences in this journal. I have wanted to do this for quite some time in hopes that someday others may understand and know what has transpired in my not-so-normal life. On the outside, it looks like I have a normal life. I work in an office and have a nice home and a brand new pick-up. My neighbors often see me working outside on projects, or mowing the lawn, but they have no idea what is really going on. I have to pretend there is no problem, I go to work and try to act normal, and even my wife doesn’t know what fear I face every day. Yes, I live in constant fear – fear of my wife. This is the first time I will have said or wrote anything about this, but I have reason to believe my wife is an evil witch.”
Lately I have been toying with the idea of writing a fantasy mystery set in Goandria. It definitely would not be my next book, but maybe sometime down the line I will write it. Would a mystery set in a fantasy world interest any of you? What sort of elements would you like to be included? Would you read a Goandria mystery? Let me know your thoughts!