Do you have a favorite mythical creature? Today, J&K talk about the enduring fascination with mythical creatures and some of our favorites. From myths passed down orally, to stories written down as a blending of myth and facts like Homer’s Odyssey (hello Cyclops and sirens), to the purely fantastical books created by fantasy authors, magical creatures have fascinated humans from the dawn of time (probably).

Why do we love dragons? Is it that they represent the struggle with chaos? Religions and cultures across our world are sprinkled with dragon lore. Jonathan shares his thoughts about why he loves dragons in our first section. Do we love unicorns because they represent imagination? They certainly were popular in Europe on family crests, likely due to their fabled healing properties and maybe their majestic nature. Kristina shares why her first thought when it comes to a mythical creature is the unicorn. Stay to the end where we talk books!

Fire and Ice

Image of a mottled brown and green dragon plush toy with iridescent wings
Scorch

Jonathan: It all started with a Beanie Baby named “Scorch”. Released in 1998 and retired a year later, Scorch began my fascination with dragons. I don’t recall how Scorch came into my possession, but he was the most prized of my toys. There are rare versions of him that retail for staggering sums. Mine is not one of them, but he still resides in storage in case I ever want to relive my childhood. Scorch sparked some independent research into the topic of dragons that led me to books about them. Traditional fire-breathing dragons are featured prominently in The Hobbit (Smaug) and The Silmarillion (read about the siege of Nargothrond), but it was a less conventional dragon that next captured my attention.

The Legend of Drizzt book series by R. A. Salvatore remains one of my all-time favorite fantasy series, and one installment introduced the white dragon known as Icingdeath. This dragon’s freezing breath inspired one of my tattoos and made me rethink what makes a dragon a dragon. To this day, they remain my favorite mythological creatures.

The Unicorn Was Fighting for the Crown

Kristina: My fascination with unicorns is likely traced to literature. Specifically, Alice and Through the Looking Glass. Now as an adult, I really like that Lewis Caroll has the unicorn see Alice as a “fabulous monster”, but that he will believe in her if she believes in him. It’s such a great flipping of concepts, through the mirror as it were. I also watched a 1985 TV musical version of Alice in Wonderland where the lion and the unicorn are literally throwing punches and John Stamos sings “The Lion and the Unicorn” with Alice and the White King (you really need to go watch this). I don’t know if it’s because the movie is really creepy if you’re under the age of 16 and the image was burned into my brain, but that scene really stayed with me.

I’m always looking for interesting versions of unicorns. And I found one in the Acorna series. A unicorn girl. In space! I only made it through the first three books before getting distracted by life, but I mean to go back and finish.

She was just a little girl, with a tiny horn in the center of her forehead, funny-looking feet, beautiful silver hair, and several curious powers: the ability to purify air and water, make plants grow, and heal scars and broken bones. A trio of grizzled prospectors found her drifting in an escape pod amid the asteroids, adopted her, and took her to the bandit planet Kezdet, a place where no questions are asked and the girl might grow up free.

My youngest baby’s favorite book is Twinkle Twinkle Unicorn which you can sing to the classic Twinkle Twinkle. I also recommend Not Quite Narwhal, for kids which has its own TV show! Is Kelp a land narwhal or a sea unicorn? Perhaps, if Kelp is clever, he may find a way to have the best of both worlds. Excuse me, I need a tissue.

Mythical Creatures in Books

Windigo Nights

Check out this soon-to-be-released book that also features a mythological creature – a windigo! Get it March 26th!

A late night call from her mentor sends Selina Moonstone on a mission to Canada, determined to track down a Wendigo and exterminate it.


Accustomed to facing off with the all too real creatures of Native American lore, Selina discovers the Wendigo is someone close to her, forcing her to change gears from destruction to frantic search for a cure. There’s no known way to rid a person of the Wendigo spirit once it has begun the consumption of the victim’s soul, a lesson she learned the hard way in her youth.

With her loved one’s transition to Wendigo imminent, Selina must fight her own lifelong training as a Myth Stalker and find another way. She gathers a mismatched group of allies, including a charming Sin Eater and a conceited mercenary Cryptid hunter from her past, and embarks on a mission to find a solution before it’s too late.

Myth Stalker: Wendigo Nights, by Shannon Lawrence from Warrior Muse Press

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over fifty anthologies and magazines in addition to her collections. Her nonfiction title, The Business of Short Stories, is available now and her debut urban fantasy novel is releasing March 2024. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at www.thewarriormuse.com.

Other Creatures in Books

Speaking of mythical creatures in books, you may already know that our Trials of the Innermost has multiple created creatures inspired by real and mythical beasts. There are flightless dragons (wyrms), ankylosaurus-like desert mounts (solendrakes), poison-tailed flying hummingbirds (pectully), and our cozy winter short story has a deer with tree branch antlers (crownbearer).

Recently, dragon rider books have become popular reads (again), and we aren’t mad about it. The newer Fourth Wing, a resurgence for the mother of all dragons the Dragon Riders of Pern, and a return to books like Game of Thrones and Eragon.

Unicorns, well, maybe their time to be widely popular in new viral books is just around the corner. What are some of your favorite books with mythical or fantastical creatures?

Author Highlight - AJ Super

1 Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your favorite mythical creatures and news about my book! I had no idea McCaffrey had written outside the Pern books. And speaking of dragons, have you watched the new movie “Damsel” on Netflix yet? Quite a cool dragon, and the actress doing the voice is perfection.

    (This is Shannon, by the way. My only WordPress account is for my podcast, and it hasn’t been letting me sign in any other way lately.)

    http://www.thewarriormuse.com

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