Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Myth & Monsters


And so it goes... by Mateo Dineen

Like most Fantasy writers, I have a long-held fascination with monsters. Ghosts, demons, vampires or zombies, anything that makes the heart beat faster captures my eye and may eventually wind up in my books. I mean, among other things, monsters create the perfect context to explore human emotions.  

This has always been so!

Evil Minotaur by Li Wenda

Monsters have been around for as long as civilization, weaving their way into our stories with terrifying, and exciting results. Think of ancient Minoan's Minotaur, the Greek Scylla, the Norse Kracken... 

Monsters then appear in the earliest novels with Horace Walpole's  The Castle of Otranto (1764) and on to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, first published in 1818. 

Still going strong in our contemporary reads, monsters are taking on a new appearance. No longer just a force of nature that must be slain, monsters are becoming helpful, sensitive, compassionate. We are beginning to form relationships with them. Think Twilight, I Zombie, Warm Bodies, Vampire Diaries, The Hulk...

I've talked about this inner growth in Vampire Evolution, but today I thought it would be fun to look at what's up and coming in YA monster fiction. Let's look at a few on my TBR List for 2022.

Only a Monster by Vanessa Len

From Goodreads:

Joan Chang-Hunt has no idea she's part monster until she's thrust into a battle between the boy she has a crush on and one of the most ruthless monster families of London. 

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

A brilliantly compelling YA fantasy from a dazzling new Australian talent. Don't forget the rule. No one can know what you are. What we are. ...


Pet by Awkaeke Emezi

From Goodreads

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told.

Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices a young person can make when the adults around them are in denial.


The Valkyrie's Daughter by Tiana Warner

Pre-order on Amazon for May 3rd release!

For as long as Sigrid could remember, she’s wanted to become a mighty, fearless valkyrie. But without a winged mare, she’s a mere stable hand, left wondering who her parents were and why she’s so different. So when the Eye shows her a vision where she's leading a valkyrie charge on the legendary eight-legged horse Sleipnir, she grabs the possibility of this greater destiny with both hands, refusing to let go.

Too bad that the only one who can help her get there is Mariam, an enemy valkyrie who begrudgingly agrees to lead her to Helheim but who certainly can’t be trusted―even if she does make Sigrid more than a little flustered. As they cross the nine worlds, battling night elves, riding sea serpents, and hurtling into fire to learn the truth about Sigrid’s birthright, an unexpected but powerful bond forms.

As her feelings for Mariam deepen into something fiery and undeniable, Fate has other plans for Sigrid. What happens when the one thing you think you were meant to do might end the nine worlds?


What about you? Read any good monsters lately? Let me know in the comments and I'll feature it in the next post - Myth & Monsters Part 2.


Kim Falconer, currently writing as A K Wilder, has just released Crown of Bones, a YA Epic Fantasy with Curse of Shadows coming out in 2022.

Kim can be found on  AKWilder TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Throw the bones, read your horoscopes or Raise Your Phantom on the AKWilder.com site or have a listen to the audio version on the right.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Coming To You From Inside "Middle Earth"

Wow, what a month it's been, with a whole heap happening here, especially for January!

So much so that I am going to have to defer the "Heroes in Fantasy" goodness and instead share a gorgeous pic "from inside Middle Earth" -- NZ having become "Middle Earth" for The Lord of the Rings films (as I'm sure you all know!)

This photo is from the Ida Valley in Central Otago, not far from the location which became the Westfold of Rohan in The Two Towers

Don't you love those sunset colors? And the sense of distance along the country road? I sure do!

I shall get onto those heroes and post heroically, once I come up for air. Meanwhile, enjoy the "from inside Middle Earth" goodness -- and many thanks to Jenny, the photographer, for letting me share the photo with you.

Ida Valley, NZ: Photo credit,  J Grimmett