Both avid divers, my boy friend and I wanted a book to help us identify all the different animals we see when we dive. There was only so much of: "blue fish with white and black stripes and yellow tipped pectoral fins" on Google that we could take. We live in the Philippines and, it being the "center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity", the amount of fish seen per dive is amazing though impossible to identify. So we wanted something that would give us the name of the animal, so that we could read more on them on our own. The most important criteria was that they were photographs and NOT illustrations. After reading the reviews on those available out there I decided on Reef Creatures and Reef Fish because it fit all our requirements.
These books are the quickest way to identify the fish and critters in the Tropical Pacific. The photos are great, it makes identification easier. True, the amount of photographs can be "overwhelming"... especially if you are just browsing the book and not searching through it for something in particular. I do not fault the authors, the abundance and diversity of fish and creatures in this region IS overwhelming. But if you saw it and just need to put a name with the image in your head..this book will help you do that in a very organised way! Putting these books together must not have been easy but I am glad they did because it is very useful. In the two hours we spent browsing through the book, there were many "That's what it's called!" moments.
The books are heavy. Not the most travel-friendly, especially now that there are weight restrictions on flights. If and when they are digitized and sold for the Kindle or iPad, I will definitely buy them again. But they are compact enough and complete enough to be the only ones you'll need to take with you on trips. Aside from the basic information, there is nothing too specific about the fish. Basically just the scientific name, size average, 2-3 sentences about their appearance and places to find them in. However, I expected this after reading the reviews and am still pleased because as soon as I identify the animal, I can research more on it myself. If you can purchase these book on the Internet, you can research the specifics on it too.
OVER ALL: I would recommend these books to people who want to easily and quickly identify a fish or creature that they saw. If you want a book that is more in-depth, this is not the book for you.
I give the two books 5-stars because they are exactly what I expected them to be and serve their purpose beautifully. Money well-spent.