Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Mysterious Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Oliver Le Carrer brings us a fascinating history and armchair journey to the world's most dangerous and frightful places, complete with vintage maps and period illustrations in a handsome volume. This alluring read includes 40 locations that are rife with disaster, chaos, paranormal activity, and death. The locations gathered here include the dangerous Strait of Messina, home of the mythical sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis; the coal town of Jharia, where the ground burns constantly with fire; Kasanka National Park in Zambia, where 8 million migrating bats darken the skies; the Nevada Triangle in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where hundreds of aircraft have disappeared; and Aokigahara Forest near Mount Fuji in Japan, the world's second most popular suicide location following the Golden Gate Bridge.
MY TAKE:
I love learning about new and spooky places so this book got my attention right away.

In Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Mysterious Destinations, readers learn about interesting but dangerous and/or eerie places around the world.

The places are grouped according to location, and at the beginning of each location you are provided with coordinates and a sort of guide bar at the top which helps you get a better sense of where they are in relation to the other places. I thought this was a great idea that even those who aren't particularly interested in maps would still appreciate.

The maps included in the book are gorgeous. Combined with the other design elements, it really gives the book a classic, vintage feel. I just wished that, in addition to the maps, there were actual pictures of each place, instead of the occasional diagram or illustration.

The title and the book summary gave me the impression that a good number of the places included here would be creepy. By that, I mean with actual scary paranormal-type occurrences rather than something that can be explained easily enough by science. While it does list such places (Adams, Tenessee; Amityville), there aren't a lot and most of them are found near the end of the book.

I don't know if the reason I wasn't spooked was because, aside from the occasional sarcastic remark, the entries were straightforward and focused almost solely on the facts. They weren't dry by any means, but they did have a serious feel and for a couple or so of the places, while their more mysterious stories were mentioned, they weren't given a lot of attention. As such, I didn't really feel as creeped out as I thought I would be. Some of these places were eerie, though.

A couple of the places did make an impression on me, however. I had no idea that the trash situation in Maldives has gotten serious. It has me quite worried. Jharia was memorable for me as well, because I really felt for the locals there who know that eventually they will have to leave.

Thanks to NetGalley and Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You'll learn a lot about new places.
  2. It's an aesthetically-pleasing book.
  3. The book isn't boring.

THE BAD:

  1. I would have loved to see actual pictures of the places instead of just the maps or diagrams.

READ IT IF:

  1. You love exploring new places.
  2. You're an armchair traveler.
  3. You love maps, especially vintage ones.

RATING:
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