Thursday, October 29

Review BWB Hostess: Vampires and Werewolves by Joules Taylor

Title: Vampires /Werewolves
By: Joules Taylor and Jon Izzard
Type: Non-Fiction Books
Bookwhisperer Rating:

Book Descriptions:
First published as a companion volume to Werewolves, this book provides an accessible overview of the vampire in history, myth, and popular culture.

Vampires have existed in almost every nation and at almost every period of history. Blood has had a magical power, a mystical aura that transcends cultures and the passage of aeons: it represents life. Drinking it has been likened to drinking life itself, and drinking another person's life is said to give the vampire a connection to its victim — and power over them.

The appeal of the vampire is hard to define because it works on so many different levels. First there was the gruesome, shiver-inducing prickling up the spine – we all love a good horror story. Then there was the lure of a seductive, forbidden attraction. And now the vampire is often viewed as a tragic figure – lonely and alone, doomed never to walk in the sunshine.

Many people who feel alienated in an increasingly complicated world see the vampire as a fellow sufferer, a kindred soul isolated from humanity. And, of course, the vampire is a powerful role model for anyone looking to rebel against convention. As well as being sexy and stylish, the vampire represents freedom from rules. He isn't bound by normal conventions.

An extensive review of classic movies and literature is complemented by an exploration of the science behind the modern understanding of vampirism – ranging from psychology to the physiology of medical conditions whose symptoms could be mistaken for traits of the traditional vampire.

Strictly-speaking, a vampire is just a reanimated dead human who drinks the blood of others to keep 'living'. Yet they are endlessly fascinating: their immense charm, strength, immortality, supernatural abilities and skill in enthralling and fascinating their prey, are all aspects that make them so darkly, deliciously sexy...

First published as a companion volume to Vampires, this book provides an accessible overview of the werewolf in history, myth, and popular culture.

Its contents embrace the twin aspects of the werewolf — human and animal — which mirror an inner tension present in everybody. It is this intimately personal struggle we all face as we confront the beast within, that makes the myth of the werewolf a 'true' myth. It is as powerful and relevant to us today as ever.

In most stories the combination of wolf and man is physical, involving a dramatic and painful metamorphosis of the body from one form to the other. It is easy to see how this transformation could be a metaphor, a description of how anger can erupt and take over our behaviour. But some people regard the werewolf as a spirit composed of pure energy that can be projected from our minds to visit those we hate — or love.

Fiction writers usually portray werewolves engaged in a fight for survival, a struggle that amplifies their innate savagery. But recent stories not only make full use of this scope for bloodshed, but also find ample opportunity for love interest. Themes such as redemption and self-sacrifice are boldly explored as the werewolf attempts to master his affliction.

While most traditional werewolves are masculine, reflecting the raw aggression and physical power of the alpha male, there is a growing trend to explore the life of the female werewolf. Many of these stories are particularly aimed at and enjoyed by teenagers facing eruptive hormonal issues and associated conflict with authority figures.

But is it possible that werewolves are actually a rare species? Cryptozoology, the scientific quest for discovering secretive animals, is on the trail of the wolfman. Other purely factual topics included are Werewolf Syndrome (hypertrichosis) and Lycanthropic Disorder, and the many children apparently raised by wolves.

Shapeshifters such as Skinwalkers are discussed along with Shamanic regard for the wolf as a totem animal. In Native American tradition for example, the totem wolf is frequently a teacher, embodying qualities and strengths such as loyalty and perseverance, and is invoked to assure success.

Perhaps the most positive value of having the werewolf as a totem is that despite its destructive image, it can actually help us learn to integrate our primitive, animal instincts within an evolving, healthy personality.

My Review: This was my first attempt a non-fiction, and while I do not feel that I did not completely failed about capturing the essence of such a book ultimately I was not impressed. Vampires and Werewolves were full of interesting information that I may not have already known, but I do not feel that I like all of my supernatural and paranormal books because of all the details. I LIKE THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT. Day after day we live lives that naturally don't have much spunk, but our reading does. We use books for an escape from the normal life business, and we find peace in reading our books that are about deliciously sexy vampires and protective erotic werewolves. That does not mean that we look at them as real people and believe that tomorrow we might meet a vampire or werewolf. My passion is reading I read about almost everything and love every minute of it, but it is fiction. So, I just was not totally impressed with the non fiction descriptive books of Vampires and Werewolves. Footnote: there was some interesting information in the end of Vampires that lists all the vampire movies. This I found useful, and I look forward to watching them all again. Lastly, I would like to addd I gave these books a three because even though they were not my types of books. The author effectively created what she set out to, and it was entertaining if you are into that. I did not think they are terrible books, I just simply don't like them; maybe next time.


Anonymous said...

These books sound really cool. I'm gonna add them to my list. :)

Joules *Dances with Haddock* Taylor said...

Please note: Werewolves was written by Jon Izzard, NOT Joules Taylor. Please would you correct your details.