Note to Rite Publishing: The cover has Steven's name misspelled on the cover.
One of my favorite 3.5 products is Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary. The templates there have been instrumental in creating memorable monsters for my Wounded Earth campaign. Being able to breathe new life into old monsters, turning them into something different, is a great tool for GMs.
That said, I'm embarrassed to say that this book went under the radar for me until recently. I'm glad it was pointed out to me, because it will take its place as an invaluable tool at my gaming table.
There are 32 templates presented in this book, each with one or more sample creatures created with it. Even better, there is plenty of flavor provided to make each creature its own unique being, not just a monster with mechanical adjustments. Each also comes with ideas on how to insert such a creature into an ongoing campaign. There are also new feats, both monstrous and general, presented with the entries here.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
Aware arcana: constructs created by spellcasters that are essentially living spells used as guardians. Living spells were some of my favorite creatures from the latter days of 3.5. Turning them into purposely made constructs rather than accidentally created oozes is genius.
Body Jumper: A creature that has transcended the flesh, and become a possessing spirit. The sample creature here (a dragon) is beyond creepy. Can't wait to use him.
Hatemonger: A template caused by a parasitic infection that makes the host creature succumb easily to darker emotions. This thing isn't just a template, it's the seed for an entire adventure.
Phalanx Creatures: Ever wanted to create twins with that special soul-bond? How about the ultimate army that fight as if they were simply parts of a greater whole? This template will do that for you.
While there are templates in here that didn't thrill me as much as others, nothing seems out of place or sub-par in comparison to the rest of the material. Formatting and layout are good. The artwork ranged from okay to outstanding.
The negatives here are few and outweighed by the overall goodness of the book. I noticed some minor proofing errors here and there. The creature stat block for the distorting creature template does not mention that the base creature is a krenshar; I had to figure that out from the illustration and the monster's abilities. The worst offender was the sample creature for the Betrayer template, which is alternately called "Iudas," "Iodus," and "Iuduas" within its stat block and description.
The Book of Templates uses some base creatures that may not be readily recognizable to some Pathfinder players, as they are from 3.5 books from Mongoose Publishing and Necromancer Games. I'm always pleased to have new (well, new to me anyway) monsters available, but I would have appreciated a notation in the stat block of what book they were originally in.
All told, this book is a great find and I highly recommend it. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for this format.
[5 of 5 Stars!]