Tough Traveling: Monsters


Every Thursday, the Fantasy Review Barn is taking us on a journey through Fantasyland with their Tough Travel Guide. Today’s topic is Monsters.

MONSTERS are likely to lie in waste areas, caves, and old ruined cities. You can usually detect their presence by smell.

There’s the definition, now let’s completely ignore it!

Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)The Reaper and The Wild Dreamer- The Dreamblood Duology by N.K. Jemisin

I think I might like Jemisin’s Dreamblood books better than the Inheritance Trilogy. Actually, scratch that, I’m sure I do. The culture is based on Ancient Egypt and Nubia. Gatherers are the most powerful magicians of Gujareeh–they kill people, and gather an element known as dreamblood to keep the rest of the society in order. The Reaper is what happens when a Gatherer completely loses control and turns into an amoral, all-consuming monster. In the second book, the Wild Dreamer is something that I won’t spoil, but it kills people through a contagious nightmare. Very original, and scary.

TillyTilly- The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

8 year old Jessamy has trouble socializing. When she visits Nigeria with her family, she makes her first ever friend, TillyTilly, a girl who is definitely not what she seems. Is TillyTilly a mere figment of Jessy’s imagination, or is she something more dangerous? One thing’s for sure, she’s definitely a monster.

Dyrmagnos- The Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling

A dyrmagnos is an undead, basically un-killable, necromancer. To be defeated, they have to be cut into teeny tiny pieces, have those locked in boxes, and then dispersed around the world.

The Creature- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

As you may have guessed from this list, my favorite type of monsters are those who were once human and then, for one reason or another, changed. The Creature is one who wants nothing more thank to be human, but society rejects him and so he rejects it right back.

Area X- The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer

The Southern Reach Trilogy (of which I’ve only read two so far), is more horror-scifi than proper fantasy, but I had to include the weird, wild, ecological disaster-area/creeping horror that is Area X. There are lots of little monsters, and I have this feeling they’re all part of one big monster. The thing in the tower, the director, the terrior. Basically:




So that’s all I’ve got this week. I have a feeling I’m missing a ton. What are your monsters of choice?



Filed under Book Talk

10 responses to “Tough Traveling: Monsters

  1. The Dreamblood Duology by N.K. Jemisin sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • hlmorris85

      It’s definitely one of my favorite fantasy series of the past few years. And a good break from pseudo-medieval Europe.

  2. Nice picks! I also put Annihilation down – thinking of the creepy monster in the Tower! Glad to see Frankenstein got on another list too. I love the classics.
    Lynn 😀

    • hlmorris85

      Yeah I was glad to see the Southern Reach a few times. When I heard the word monster the very first thing I thought of was the Crawler thing.

  3. Tammy

    I’m getting ready to start the Southern Reach trilogy, and I’m so excited to hear there are monsters in them. Great list!

  4. Working my way through Southern Reach right now. Get cool.

    And btw, ignoring the definition is a long standing tradition of Tough Travels, makes things better!

    • hlmorris85

      Every list would be the same if we all stuck to the rules. This feature has made me realize how much fantasy I actually have not read, I seem to have unknowingly stuck to the same few authors/subgenres, so I like to play with the definitions a bit to see if I can come up with more interesting lists 🙂

  5. Helen Oyeymi seems like the kind of author who could write an excellent monster – I read Boy, Snow, Bird earlier this year and it was beautifully written. Also, Frankenstein twins!! 🙂 Gotta include Dr. F’s monster on any sort of list like this!

    • hlmorris85

      Yeah I wish I could remember what it was actually based on…I *think* it was a Yoruba legend, but I’m not exactly up on my African myths and legends and monsters. But kids are creepy enough and then making them actual monsters fits quite well 🙂 Loved Boy, Snow, Bird, I’m trying to track down the rest of her books.

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