Hi Everyone, As you may all know I'm having a fantasy month on the blog, so as well as reading fantasy books, I'm also featuring some of my favourite as well as some upcoming authors. So my first pair of authors to open up #FanasticalFeb is the amazing Katherine and Elizabeth Corr author of The Witch's Kiss series.
I've had the pleasure of meeting these ladies for book week at work, and they were amazing, I have also read The Witch's Kiss and loved it, but I've just been sent the final book in the trilogy and I feel a binge reading of this series this month and I can't wait. Also the cover art of their series is divine. So before I had over to Kate and Liz who are going to talk about their Favourite Fantastical Creature, here is a bit more on their books.
About The Witch's Kiss series
A blend of fairytale, magic and modern teenage life, The Witch’s Kiss trilogy follows trainee witch Merry and her older brother Leo. When a prince who has slept for hundreds of years finally wakes up, Merry has to deal with an Anglo-Saxon curse and a dark wizard hell-bent on revenge, whilst she and Leo discover whether true love’s kiss really can save the day. But curses are hard to kill, and the ripples of Merry’s choices and actions – and her growing power – attract more attention than she bargains for. As witches start dying and an ancient fairytale becomes a horrifying reality, both Merry and Leo have to choose who to trust, risking their lives and even their world in the process. Past and present collide and Merry faces a decision: how much is she really willing to give up to finally lay the curse to rest?
Our favourite fantastical creatures
Fantastical beasts have old roots. Centaurs, basilisks and other fabled creatures are found in bestiaries (books describing real and imaginary animals) dating back hundreds of years, but most of us are just as intrigued by them as our medieval ancestors were. Here are a few of our favourites.
Probably the best known and definitely one of the scariest mythological creatures. Dragons have been fire-breathing treasure-addicts at least since the days of Beowulf - check out the amazing Seamus Heaney translation! We’re particular fans of Smaug, from The Hobbit (J R R Tolkien). Smaug is greedy, fond of riddles, and completely unable to believe he might be defeated. The description of Bilbo’s breath-taking first encounter with the dragon is just as thrilling for the reader:
and his huge coiled tail, and about him on all sides stretching away across the unseen floors, lay countless piles of precious things, gold wrought and unwrought, gems and jewels, and silver red-stained in the ruddy light.’
Luckily Smaug, like all respectable dragons, has a vulnerable spot, and is eventually shot down by Bard the Bowman.
Other great fictional dragons include Kalessin, the Eldest, from Tehanu, (the last book Ursula le Guin’s The Earthsea Quartet) and The King of Ankh-Morpork, the troublesome dragon summoned in Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (the eighth Discworld book).
Snakes and worms
Scaly/slimy things have had a dubious reputation for a LONG time. It’s no surprise that the Medusa had snakes for hair, or that both The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter have treacherous, slimy characters called (respectively) Wormtongue and Wormtail. For sheer terror, it’s hard to beat The Basilisk that slithers around the corridors of
Hogwarts in Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (J K Rowling):
‘The Basilisk’s head was falling, its body coiling around, hitting pillars as it twisted to face him. He could see the vast, bloody eye sockets, see the mouth stretching wide, wide enough to swallow him whole, lined with fangs as long as his sword, thin, glittering, venomous…’
Thank goodness for Fawkes the phoenix (another wonderful fantastical beast) and the sword of Gryffindor!
If you’re into snakes and worms, be sure to check out Dune by Frank Herbert. The fictional drug melange (aka ‘Spice’) is a by-product of the life cycle of the giant sandworms (hundreds of metres long) which rule the desert world of Arrakis.
Horses and their hybrids
There are lots of mythological creatures based on horses, or horses and humans. Most people will be familiar with centaurs from either Narnia or Harry Potter. Unicorns also make an appearance in both of those worlds (and we’ve got one in The Witch’s Blood too!). However, our favourite fantastical horse is definitely Fledge from The Magician’s Nephew (C S Lewis), the first book of the Narnia series. When we first meet him, Fledge (then known as Strawberry) is an ordinary horse, worn down from pulling a hansom cab around London all day. But once he’s brought to Narnia, he receives the gift of speech from Aslan and – even more excitingly – a pair of wings:
‘The horse shied, just as it might have shied in the old, miserable days when it pulled a hansom… And then, just as the beasts had burst out of the earth, there burst out from the shoulders of Fledge wings that spread and grew, larger than eagles’, larger than swans’, larger than angles’ wings in church windows. The feather shone chestnut colour and copper colour. He gave a great sweep with them and leapt into the air.’
What wouldn’t we have given as children to explore magical lands with Fledge?
Did you know? As well as ‘regular’ centaurs (half man, half horse) myths and bestiaries refer to onocentaurs (half man, half wild ass or donkey) and ichthyocentaurs. These creatures have the torso of a human, the front legs of a horse and the tail of a fish, and some have crab claws growing out of their heads like horns. Nice!
Okay, so furniture is not usually included in a bestiary, but some furniture in fantasy novels is so very alive! As children, we both loved The Wishing Chair from the stories by Enid Blyton. This little chair with wings on its legs has real personality: it loves to fly and misses Mollie and Peter when they’re at school, but it also gets tired and cross sometimes. Needless to say, our favourite adventure to read about was in the (aptly named) Land of Goodies.
If you’re also a fantasy furniture fan, why not try The Colour of Magic (Terry Pratchett)? This
- the first Discworld book – introduces The Luggage. A chest made of sapient pearwood, The Luggage acts as both bodyguard and suitcase for its owner. It’s vividly described in another Discworld book, Sorcery:
‘…probably no other item in the entire chronicle of travel accessories had quite such a history of mystery and grievous bodily harm. It had been described as half suitcase, half homicidal maniac. It had many unusual qualities… but currently there was only one that set it apart from any other brass-bound chest. It was snoring, with a sound like someone very slowly sawing a log.’
Wonder if we can get one in John Lewis?
Thank you so much to Emma for having us on her blog. Hope you all enjoy #FantasticalFeb!
We are sisters and best friends (try writing a book with someone else and you’ll see why that last bit is kind of important). After spending our childhood in Essex, we now live ten minutes away from each other in Surrey. We both studied history at university and went to work in London for a bit. When we both decided to write novels – on account of fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious we should do it together.Stuff Katharine likes: playing instruments badly; dead languages; LOTR; loud pop concerts; Jane Austen; Neill Gaiman; Loki; the Surrey Hills. Killing off characters.Stuff Elizabeth likes: sketching, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cinema, long baths, kitchen discos, Terry Pratchett, Thor, London. Saving characters.
Thank you so much to Kate and Liz to being part of my #FantasticalFeb! The final book in The Witch's Kiss series, The Witch's Blood is released March 8th 2018.