Hey, this is my first time participating in Tough Traveling, a weekly event created and hosted by Nathan from the Fantasy Review Barn! I’m finally joining the party this week, because the theme is “Monsters,” and I tend to read lots of books with monsters in them.
Nathan’s idea for Tough Traveling is to follow along with Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, which is a funny and irreverent send-up all of the fantasy clichés and tropes you can think of. Each week, Nathan picks one of those tropes, and bloggers are encouraged to come up with a list of books that fit the category.
This week, we’re talking about MONSTERS:
MONSTERS are likely to lie in waste areas, caves, and old ruined cities. You can usually detect their presence by smell.
If I didn’t limit myself, this list could seriously get out of control! So I selected the first six books with great examples of monsters that popped into my head:
Urav from City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. Urav was one of my favorite things about this book, even though he only plays a small role in the story. Urav is a many-tentacled sea monster that devastates the city of Bulikov. Scary yes, but I sure loved him!
Gobbos (goblins), Vollraths, Trogbodies, Snakefaces and more from The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig. This was one of my favorite books last year, and is a great example of a creative use of monsters. In The Blue Blazes, the underground world of New York City is alive with monsters, because of a hole that leads straight into Hell. The kicker—you can only see them if you take a drug called Blue Blazes.
Penitents from Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone. Max’s Craft Sequence books all have monsters in them, but I particularly liked the Penitents from this book. Penitents are huge creatures made out of rock that act as prisons for humans who break the law. These unfortunate people are trapped inside the body of a Penitent and must go after other law-breakers, in order to force them into the same horrific situation. It’s an extremely painful process for those unfortunate enough to be caught.
Gerta from The Shotgun Arcana by R.S. Belcher. I haven’t posted my review of this book yet, but it has one of the most interesting monsters I’ve run across: a Frankenstein-like creation. Auggie’s dead wife Gerta’s head has been kept “alive” by mad scientist Clay since the first book in the series, The Six-Gun Tarot, and you won’t believe what happens to Gerta in this follow-up book!
The Weir from Three by Jay Posey. Weir are humanoid-like creatures with glowing blue eyes that live in the desolate Strand, a dangerous place where humans are prey. If you are caught by a Weir, you may become one yourself.
The Remade and more from The Scar by China Miéville. It’s been YEARS since I read this book, so my memory is a bit hazy. But Miéville is one of the grandmasters of monsters. Just about every character in this book has some monstrous quality or other. The Remade are slaves who have had their bodies physically altered. This book also has grindylows (like the ones in Harry Potter!), sea creatures who drown their victims in the ocean. I know I’m forgetting a bunch of other great examples from this book, but like I said, I read this a really long time ago. Just READ THIS BOOK if you haven’t already.
That was fun! I’d love to hear from you. I’m sure I missed many great examples of monsters:-) Thanks to Nathan for hosting! Check out the link above if you’d like to join in the fun.