Book Review: Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale

Disclaimer: I have not read fantasy since I was a kid, and then it was The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, that sort of thing. As a young adult, I read The Mists of Avalon , but I don’t know if that qualifies as fantasy. My point is I know little about the genre, so I can’t tell you if Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale, a slim ebook (44 pages) by Charles E Yallowitz qualifies as fantasy. What I can tell you is that I love this book.

Like I know good art when I see it or good wine when I taste it, I know a good book when I read it. Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale is a delightfully creepy compendium of strange creatures. The premise of the book is that it is a “battered field notebook” from an expedition to Blatherhorn Vale. The book reads like an epic poem with a firm beginning (“Blatherhorn Vale lies in wait”) to a neat ending (“Leaving Blatherhorn Vale to rise again”), and in-between a curious cabinet of relics.

Mr. Yallowitz’s imagination knows no bounds. Every creature is meticulously and poetically described. He brings them to life to the extent that the reader may choose to ignore the caution that “Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.”

Here’s a taste for you: My two most favorite beasts are the Yethys and the Glintra. The Yethys have “scales of gold,” “eyes of crimson,” no mouth, and “[Risk] all To gain some precious warmth.”

The Glintra are delicate, deadly creatures whose:
“Feeble tendrils
Of finest crystal
Drag along the ground
Burning
Those they touch”

Good wine and good art, indeed. Try the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale for yourself. It’s only one-third the cost of a tall latte and much more satisfying. Perhaps if the Bestiary becomes popular enough, Mr. Yallowitz could be persuaded to issue a printed version for distribution. This is the kind of book I would want on my shelf.

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