From Tolkien’s elves to Pullman’s daemons, mythical creatures are often the backbone of fantasy. I’ve talked quite a bit about how they can pull me into a story, but I’ve never said which are my *absolute faves*- though never fear, that day is here!
Dragons– let’s just get the obvious one out of the way, shall we? 😉 These fire-breathing, war machines are easily my favourites. I will admit that when it comes to dragons, I am biased- for me, the perfect dragon is very Smaug-like. Clever, greedy, possibly evil… but completely badass!
Ghosts– even though I’m totally afraid of scary stories, I can’t help but be drawn to ghosts in stories (a bit like how I’m scared of heights, but love rollercoasters). I can’t say that I have a definite favourite here, but I did realllly like the version in The Girl in the Tower, possibly because the Russian atmosphere gave me the chills in more ways than one.
Phoenix– I mean, it’s another creature that is fiery and can fly. Plus, it’s got powers often linked to resurrection- I think it’s fairly obvious looking at this list why I like them. Now for a lot of people, the first phoenix that will come to mind is the rather lovely Fawkes from Harry Potter, but recently I’ve discovered an even MORE EXCITING representation of this mythical creature… say hello the phoenix riders in Crown of Feathers! This definitely goes above and beyond any other depiction I’ve seen before!
Kitsune– when I first heard about these mythical creatures, I was falling straight down the rabbithole/foxhole of research, because they are so fascinating! Cunning and magical, they easily crept onto the list. And when it comes to the best version I’ve seen- well, that’s obviously Shadow of the Fox.
Fae/Faeries/Fey– this one is quite on vogue lately- and I am living for it! I had so many options here for examples I could go with- I loved the evil Phaeries in Wooding’s Poison and I was tempted again by Kagawa’s portrayal in Iron Fey. Ultimately though, I decided to go with Holly Black’s Darkest Part of the Forest, for an atmospheric take that falls somewhere in between the two styles.
And the last one that feels like a bit of a cheat…
Witches and wizards– I’m not sure I even count these as magical creatures- especially because their conception is so vast. And yet it would feel remiss not to mention them. Best by far that I’ve seen lately is Madeline Miller’s Circe– she takes the idea of talent and hard work, then melds them together in the most interesting version I’ve come across in recent history.
And that’s all I’ve got for now! What do you think of these creatures? And what are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!