Underrated mythological creatures in YA books

I have always loved mythological creatures, but I think too many YA paranormal books focus on four creatures: vampires, werewolves, angels and fairies. So with the help of my followers (really they did all the work, I just wrote down the books into categories), I have compiled a list of books with underrated mythological creatures. Just to clarify, I haven’t read most of these books.

So if you like:


  • Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
  • Siren by Tricia Rayburn
  • Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
  • Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
  • Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
  • Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
  • Ingo by Helen Dunmore
  • Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Ascension by Kara Dalkey
  • Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
  • Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
  • Wake by Amanda Hocking  
  • The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
  • Tangled Tides by Karen Amanda Hooper
  • Tempest Rising by Tracey Deebs
  • Lies Beneath series by Anne Greenwood
  • The Siren by Kiers Cass
  • Daughters of the Sea by Kathryn Lasky


  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison (A retelling of Hamlet)
  • Shades of London by Maureen Johnson
  • The Riddles of Epsilon by Christine Morton-Shaw
  • The Hollow by Jessica Verday
  • Shade by Jeri Smith Ready
  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson
  • Ruined by Paula Morris


  • The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong
  • Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen (a trilogy) by Garth Nix
  • Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
  • The Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L. Howard 


  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Personal Demonsby Lisa Desrochers
  • Demon Lexicon series by Sarah Rees Brennan
  • The Demonata by Darren Shan


  • My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent
  • Sidhe’s Call by Christy G. Thomas 
  • The Banshee Initiate by Kelly Matsuura


  • Runemarks by Joanne Harris
  • The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell
  • The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle
  • The Dark Lord of Derkholm by Diana Wynn Jones


  • The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey
  • Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link


  • Eon by Alison Goodman
  • The Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudsen 
  • Enchanted Forrest series by Patricia C. Wrede
  • Dragonkeeper series by Carole Wilkinson
  • Voices of Dragons by Carrie Vaughn


  • Deep Secrets by Diana Wynne

Soul Colector:

  • The Collector by Victoria Scott

Water horses:

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


  • Other by Karen Kincy
  • War for the Oaks by Emma Bull.


  • Firelightby Sophie Jordan
  • Talon by Julie Kagawa


  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle 

Greek mythology:

  • Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs
  • Pegasus by Robin McKinley
  • Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

The Devil:

  • Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Different creatures:

  • Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  • Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst
  • Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
  • The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
  • Beautiful Decay by Sylvia Lewis
  • The Changelings by Elle Casey
  • The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddel
  • Barnaby Grimes by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddel

  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke


  • Mesmerized by Julia Crane and Talia Jager

Egyptian mythology:

  • The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White


  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


  • The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud


  • The Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong

Trickster gods and demons:

  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (A retelling of Beauty and the Beast)

Original mythology:

  • Books of Great Alta series by Jane Yolen


  • As You Wish by Jackson Pearce


  • Seven Tears into the Sea by Terri Farley
  • Half Human by Bruce Coville


  • The Madison Avery series by Kim Harrison

Polynesian mythology:

  • Wildefire by Karsten Knight


  • The Nightmare Affair  by Mindee Arnett

“Fear’s useless. Either something bad happens or it doesn’t: If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted time being afraid, and if it does, you’ve wasted time that you could have spent sharpening your weapons.”


underrated book rec list; the demon’s lexicon 

“There isn’t much of a Goth or Wicca scene in Exeter, but I went to a few places I know and asked around. A lot of people wouldn’t talk to me because the Goths think I’m a bit of a baby bat, and the Wiccans think I’m a playgan.”

“People think you’re— a bat,” Nick said slowly. “Well, of course. Many people think I’m a blueberry scone.”


It’s a psychological pattern that people rarely use contractions when lying (they say “It is” not “It’s” for example)

Alan rarely uses it, which comes off as his perfect charm and grammar. But what I’ve realized is that lying is so ingrained into him that even when he tells the truth, he talks like he’s lying.

“In two worlds, there is nothing I love half as much as you." 

That’s undeniably true, his love for Nick. But Alan’s lied so much for so long that the speech pattern of a liar is literally his speech pattern and everything hurts.

anonymous asked:

So, I finished reading the Demon's Lexicon trilogy last night and I am in a glass case of emotions and there is very little fanfiction I find appealing and I am annoyed at the world. Help.

Nonny. NONNY. Let me tell you right here and now that I feel your pain. FEEL IT. I have read those books like 4 times each, and I know well the pit of despair one falls into when the realization hits that there is just no more.

BUT NICK! Your heart cries out. ALAN! Your dreams taunt. SIN! Your soul yearns. JAMIE! Your shattered innocence wails. MAE! Your mind sobs, inconsolably.

Well, NEVER FEAR, my lovely! I have come to temporarily soothe (and eternally add to) your suffering with the revelation that SRB, that cruel heartbreaker of an author, did indeed HERSELF write short stories in TDL universe!

Nick’s First Word (A Christmas Story)
Sorcerer and Stone Part 1
Sorcerer and Stone Part 2
The Arundel Tomb
Quiet In The House
Nick And Jamie Go To The Movies
The Coward With A Kiss
All The Way Back Where We Started From

Look, I am here to tell you that these stories are all A++, 10/10, would read again (I may or may not have read them all at least 3 times, and some of them like 6 times). And, look, I don’t mean to be Judgey McJudgerson, but if “Quiet In the House” doesn’t leave you with a bone-deep well of sadness and/or make you sob uncontrollably, then you are probably dead inside. (Or you are Sarah Rees Brennan herself, who is filled with a dark and terrible power that only grows stronger by the strength of our anguish and tears.) (Alternatively, you’re Nick, in which case: Hey, bae, how are you? Car good? Excellent. Any new, gorgeous blades? Tell me about what’s made you dryly amused lately.)

So, my dear anon, go forth and ruin yourself! Also, come here and talk to me about these books and characters some more. PLEASE. Tell me all about stuff you love and everything incredible in those pages because I LOVE THESE BOOKS SO MUCH SOOOO MUUUUUCH.

The Demon’s Lexicon Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan

I totally should not be doing something else right now…Stop looking at me like that. It’s been a while since I read these books! But I still love them. I’m sad I couldn’t fit Jamie in so maybe I’ll make another one.

Also I know Mae doesn’t look as serious as everyone else but I just adored the unimpressed look on her face too much to not use it.

Images taken from Ao no Exorcist, Hyouka, Michiko to Hatchin, Noragami, Ergo Proxy, Ghost Hunt and Full Metal Alchemist.

sherlockandtheholmeboys  asked:

Hi, so I read The Demon's Lexicon series this week, and was looking at reviews and discussion of the books online. Several people described Nick as 'emotionless,' and that really surprised me, because to me, Nick reads like someone who *has* emotions but doesn't understand them (or anyone else's, really). I was just wondering - when you wrote the books, which were you aiming for: an emotionless Nick, or one who has emotions but doesn't understand them? (PS. I love your books!)

Thank you, my petal!

I think Nick has emotions: I think he doesn’t have *human* emotions, and he’s very conscious of that. He discusses how his anger is clearly not the same thing as Alan’s anger. (Anger: Nick’s expert topic, emotionally. But even when he thinks he’s angry, I hope it’s clear to the reader that sometimes he’s actually more frustrated: at himself and his inability to understand himself, at other people and his inability to communicate with them effectively. Sometimes it’s hard for humans to differentiate between whether they’re feeling anger or frustration: multiply that by a thousand for Nick.)

Fantasy is a way of talking about both how things are and how things will never be. Talking about werewolves can be a way of talking about people who have rage. And yet it can never map on perfectly–angry people do not *actually* exist under a curse which makes them eat others on the full moon. 

So I was both examining very human uncertainty about feelings–not knowing how someone else feels, how you yourself feel, how the feelings of others can seem alien to you–and talking about how I thought it would really be, to actually be a very alien being with emotions essentially different from humans.

And of course, since emotions are a human thing, I can completely see how nonhuman emotions would be perceived as ‘not having emotions.’ Nick says definitively that he’s not human and he doesn’t want to be: this is not a story about becoming human, but being inhuman. Nick definitely has a dearth of several human emotions we perceive as positive and necessary–he says explicitly that he doesn’t feel anything like pity. And of course, there’s the question of what many people consider the most important human emotion: he doesn’t know if he feels love.

I often think about whether it would be better to have written Nick as more sympathetic–since obviously readers have more sympathy with the sympathetic. ;) But ultimately, it was important to me to write it like this: the small steps we take, at great cost to ourselves, toward understanding each other and ourselves, toward truly changing. At the end of Demon’s Lexicon, Nick has an emotional breakthrough but he can only express it by talking about through his actions and desires: he tells Alan ‘I won’t leave you. I don’t want to.’ rather than ‘I feel x.’ And in Demon’s Covenant, he says: ‘Don’t leave’–meaning ‘don’t leave *me*’, making himself more vulnerable than before. And then we see that he’s made even more progress, by Demon’s Surrender. Anzu says, about Alan: ‘He would have lived, without you. He would have had a life, if only he hadn’t wasted his time trying to love something that could never love him back.’ Nick doesn’t respond in a human way–he laughs a laugh ‘with nothing human in it,’ because I never wanted to make Nick human, make him something he wasn’t–and he says ‘Maybe I did.’

And, reader, maybe he did. Maybe.   

Jeannette Winterson writes, talking about humans, ‘If what I feel is not precise then should I call it love?’ People say you should be sure about love, but we all know it’s hard to be sure. That’s why many long for love that is sure and never-faltering: because it’s rare. Nick never says ‘I love you’ to anyone. ‘I love you’ is a great end to a lot of stories. But not, I thought, Nick’s. He starts out not being able to even conceive of the possibility of loving someone–and then by the end, he is able to conceive of the possibility. The world is full of radiant potential. I think that’s enough. ;)

If Nick had known he loved Alan, he would have told him so. He really wants to please Alan (see: getting Mae to give him Lessons in How to Human Good) and he knew Alan wanted to hear it. But he always tells the truth: it would be a huge and terrifying thing to have someone tell you they love you, and *know*–not just have faith–that they meant it. How much scarier to be the one to say it? How would Nick know? He can’t know, so he can’t say it–not quite, not yet. 

So, I’d say: he’s both dealing with the fact that he doesn’t have emotions in the same way as humans, and he is trying to understand his own emotions as they map onto human emotions with mixed results–and trying to express said emotions in human language, which is also tricky for him. He has emotions. But what emotions, and how closely or how little they resemble human emotions… 

Even Nick doesn’t know.

And still. There is that progress: there is that potential. To quote Philip Larkin, in a beautiful line full of qualifiers because even humans often don’t know how to say it and be sure it’s true: 

‘Prove/Our almost-instinct almost true/What will survive of us is love.’


“there are wolves, they would say. and there are stories about wolves and girls. girls in red. all alone in the woods. about to get eaten up. wolves and girls. both have sharp teeth.

anonymous asked for girls in ya lit

from top to bottom, left to right: the winner’s curse by marie rutkoski, fearsome dreamer by laure eve, the demon’s lexicon by sarah rees brennan, the archived by victoria schwab, saving francesca by melina marchetta, the raven boys by maggie stiefvater, legend by marie lu, graceling by kristin cashore

  1. Sometimes I want to be human for you. But only sometimes.
  2. I don’t lie to you, I lie with you.
  3. I won’t leave you. I don’t want to.
  4. I will not destroy the world, because it has you in it.
  5. I’m a social worker.
  6. Hey Bambi.
  7. Hey Clive.
  8. I could maybe draw you with a hook.
  9. We can do whatever boring thing you want.
  10. Do whatever you think you need to do, I do not care. But don’t leave.
  11. I’m going to lie and scheme and kill to keep you anyway.
  12. I want you to have many goals.
  13. He doesn’t like being left alone.
  14. The most interesting girl I know.
  15. You don’t have to be honest. If you lie, I’ll know what you mean.
  16. Anything I can do, I will.
  17. If I had a soul to trade, I would trade it for his.
  18. You’re not taking him.
  19. Where did you learn to dance?
  20. If you wish me to turn away this client for your peace of mind, I will.
  21. I wasn’t trying to hurt you.
  22. Next to those two choices what happens to me doesn’t matter.
  23. It matters.
  24. I was glad to do it.
  25. I hope that boy wastes his chance.
  26. I want you to teach me how to be human.
  27. I didn’t mean for you to take that laughing thing the wrong way.
  28. He’s ours.
  29. [You said you were interested] I was being polite.
  30. You are so much more trouble than you’re worth.
  31. When losing isn’t an option, it doesn’t matter what you have to do to win.
  32. Would you grab the first-aid kit anyway?
  33. Stay away from my brother!
  34. That’s my brother.
  35. You were willing to defend me with a kettle?
  36. I was hoping you would come back.
  37. I think we could manage to tempt a demon or two together.
  38. I’m on your side.
  39. She’s kind of amazing. And beautiful.
  40. I thought it would please you.
  41. I don’t mind it as much when some people touch me. Because I’d let them hurt me.
  42. Hi, Nick. Did you miss me?
  43. I had a nightmare. I need you to come and sleep in my bed.
  44. Why can’t you stay out of trouble?
  45. You manage that all right. You’re just learning.
  46. Maybe sometimes I could read the assigned books to you.
  47. I can trust you enough for anything.
  48. Which demon am I calling?
  49. That bookshop manager thinks she can run him into the ground. Don’t wake him.
  50. He was coming to look for me.
  51. Get up and go to bed.
  52. We toil not, nor do we jog.
  53. They can’t have him. He’s my friend.
  54. Knife work at night is something you’re going to have to learn.
  55. No, you should stay.
  56. Sit down. I’ll make you something to eat.
  57. Put your shirt back on right now.
  58. I’m going to save you.
  59. You are my friend.
  60. Your hair is the colour of flamingos!
  61. Sometimes when you are not being psychotic, you are quite funny.
  62. Then Gerald’s a fool, and so are you.
  63. You’re right. I am warning you.
  64. This is how you help me.
  65. I’m - sorry. That’s the way it is. I don’t know how to make it any different.
  66. You’re right, I’m an idiot.
  67. You’ll feel better when you start running.
  68. Get away from my son.
  69. I know I never did it right.
  70. I thought you’d be happy.
  71. We used to play dolls together for hours when we were little.
  72. Jamie. Come here.
  73. You don’t know my brother.
  74. We’re going to go home.
  75. It won’t happen to you. I won’t let it.
  76. I’ll protect you.
  77. I’m counting on it.
  78. I’ll sit with you in case you need help.
  79. And you’re not a monster.
  80. You’re brave.
  81. I put you first. I always have.
  82. (How many times have you lied to me?) I’ve lost count.
  83. Don’t leave me.
  84. I didn’t want you to - feel any diffferently about me.
  85. I’m sorry.
  86. I understood being brothers, I understood that word, but now I don’t understand anything.
  87. All right. I’ll put down my weapons.
  88. Kill them all.
  89. I set you free.
  90. In two worlds there is nothing I love half so much as you

Also a study in ‘this makes way more sense in context’.
(okay, some of them are I love him/her)

“Sometimes when you pull knives on people, they get this impression that you’re going to hurt them, and then they’re completely terrified. Crazy, I know!“

"Okay,” said Nick. He turned to Jamie and popped his left wrist sheath again. “Look.”

Jamie backed up. “Which part of ‘completely terrified’ did you translate as 'show us your knives, Nick’? Don’t show me your knives, Nick. I have no interest in your knives.”

Nick rolled his eyes. “This is a quillon dagger. That’s a knife with a sword handle. I like it because it has a good grip for stabbing.”

“Why do you say these things?” Jamie inquired piteously. “Is it to make me sad?”

“I didn’t have you cornered,” Nick went on. “You could’ve run. And this dagger doesn’t have an even weight distribution; it’s absolute rubbish for throwing. If I had any intention of hurting you, I’d have used a knife I could throw.”

Jamie blinked. “I will remember those words always. I may try to forget them, but I sense that I won’t be able to.”

—  Sarah Rees Brennan, The Demon’s Covenant

kddailey  asked:

Since you're waxing eloquent on Nick already, here's a question I've been trying to figure out on my own, but would prefer your insight. Nick has a difficult time with written words because demons don't use them. But (thankfully for us) his sense of sarcasm and humor is quite well developed. Why are spoken words so much easier for him?

The short answer is, I don’t think spoken words are much easier for him. Nick has problems with words in every capacity. 

Even Nick’s PoV (the way he sees the world) is affected by this: the sentences in Demon’s Lexicon are shorter, choppier, the rhythm off, the word choice different and simpler, than in any of my other books. (Of course… since it was my first book it was not immediately clear that this was a *thing* I was doing. This may have been poorly thought out of me: give El Dummo a prize. ;))

But more on Nick and speech! I have actually been asked this before, which is I think a compliment for Nick’s sarcastic charms. ;)  

I remember being puzzled about it at first, until I worked out that I was being asked why Nick was *good* with words–and I could totally understand why people thought he was, even while I didn’t think he was.

Nick learns to speak at age four, and in a way that human children don’t. So it was quite a struggle to get him to talk at all.

Once he could talk, he went with Cold Hard Facts and using words as weapons.

Nick is a guy who uses most things as weapons. His own body, actual weapons, a drop-dead stare: he is unconsciously hostile to pretty much the entire world he’s living in, a world not his own. Once he could use words, they became another thing in his arsenal.

And he does have certain advantages, when it comes to using his words–he’s much less conflicted about words than most of us are: he doesn’t want people to like him, the way most of us do. He doesn’t want to look cool or smart or kind. He doesn’t feel self-conscious in the same way other people do. He definitely doesn’t have any interest in big declarations, or indeed in meaningful interactions. He doesn’t care about being too mean. Shakespeare said ‘brevity is the soul of wit’ and Nick certainly doesn’t babble, obscuring humour or meaning with too many words. All these things can make us stumble and second-guess our words, and none of those things are obstacles for Nick.

But I still don’t think of Nick as good with words, in anything but a very limited way.

In Demon’s Covenant, Alan and Nick’s father Daniel Ryves writes in his diary: ‘I have a theory Nicky developed his smart mouth to stop Alan beaming at him every time he spoke. Nick doesn’t like it when we make a fuss.’

Nick’s dad could see Nick using words to deflect something Nick is even less comfortable with: human feelings. The rest of us use words to express those feelings, at least sometimes. Not Nick! At certain points of great emotional turmoil in each of the three books, Nick is literally at a loss for words. 

The Demon’s Lexicon: ‘He couldn’t seem to find any words, just a hollow feeling where words should have been. He opened his mouth and an odd sound came out, like a croaking bird’ and ‘As usual, he could not find the words to say what he meant.’ and ‘Nick shook too, but not from horror or grief. He just felt cold, empty of the right words. He knew how to talk, but he did not know what to say. He could not give Alan what he did not have.’

Nick is not crying or anything: there is no physical reason for him not to be able to speak. He is not struggling with how many things he has to say. He is past capacity: he has shorted out and lost his grip on words completely.

I personally find it much easier to be funny than to be sincere, and I think I gave that to Nick (though of course I have a much easier time with words than Nick does!). Again, it’s a method of deflection. Being sincere is terribly difficult. Nick doesn’t want to be sincere, and he can’t lie. Nick is in a tricky position, even if he had a natural facility for words… and he does not. Sarcasm is an escape hatch out of being sincere.

Words go wrong for all of us occasionally, and they do for Nick, too. Nick does try to be sincere sometimes, and even helpful and supportive: usually when he tries, he horrifies Mae, Jamie and even Alan. Honestly sharing his worldview does not go well for Nick. ‘Did he just tell me “well done” for KILLING A GUY,’ Mae must think at one stage. What a horrorshow. Someone stop him!

Nick is a guy who does have a snappy retort a lot of the time, but his humour is largely reactive: he would never tell a funny story. He takes verbal cues from people who are better verbally than he is, i.e. almost everyone: Alan, Mae, Jamie, even Gerald and Black Arthur. He is verbally cruel to shut down people when they talk about things he finds uncomfortable and upsetting, and verbally cruel to drive people away, but he doesn’t know how to use words to draw them closer.

Nick has learned to use words as weapons, and he can be good with words in this one way, on a fairly shallow level. 

We all use words as shields, and sometimes as swords. But the best way to use words is as tools: words as ways to clearly communicate what’s going on with us to others, words to build a bridge from us to someone else. 

Nick’s not great at that. But he is like the rest of us in one way: he’s learning. We all have to work out how to tell people the truth of us, how to convey real meaning. I spend all my time trying to think of better ways to tell stories. ‘I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words.’ (We were almost out without a Taylor Swift quote! But I would never do that to you all.) 

We’re all learning how to say it better, all trying to finally, finally reach the point where we can say it right.

It takes a lifetime to learn how to really use your words.

Playing Demon’s Lexicon headcanons meme with nykyo on FB  and we have agreed that:

- Sin steals the covers from Alan and she occupies the whole bed while sleeping.

- She also cuts his hair when it’s too long

- Alan proposes to her in a very old fashioned style, and when he kneels to ask her, she beams with absolute pride.

- Seb spoils Jamie to impossible levels of spoiling.

- Jamie is the one proposing in the end because he wants to make sure Seb knows he is wanted.

- Mae tries to convince Nick to dye his hair and eventually succeeds.

- Mae is the one ordering pizza because the last time Nick did he scared the hell out of the delivery boy.

- Nick gives in to marrying Mae because he understands that she cares about it, and even if it’s a stupid human thing, well she’s his human


“I think that we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us… We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far away from everyone… A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside of us.”

-Franz Kafka

So I think we’ll just go away together, you and I. Somewhere lovely, with mountains. Do you like mountains? I do. The others like their humans so much. I’ll try it. I can have it too. You can love me. (…)
I’m tired of being alone. I want you with me. Come to me like you did before– at the window, when you said you were here. I want you to mean here for me, not him. I want that for me. Tell me what I have to do to get that.

- ANZU (The Demon’s Surrender by the lovely Sarah Rees Brennan)

Anzu makes me so sad. He just needs to be loved! Why can’t people love him? I have not finished the book yet, but I sense he won’t be very happy in the end. Don’t worry, honey, I’ll love you :)

sarah rees brennan’s book are so underrated which makes me sad bc they are so great

there’s the demon’s lexicon series which has one of my favourite sibling relationships ever, very morally ambiguous characters, great female characters, did i mention brothers who would do anything for each other????, questions about what it is to be human, the hate to love trope

the lynburn legacy which has a half japanese female protagonist, explores family dynamics, uses the word bisexual, a f/f relationship, has characters learning to value themselves, examines the difference between unhealthy and healthy relationships and how it can be okay to depend on others without it detracting from who you are

and there’s the turn of the story, where the main character is bisexual. also magic (you can access this for free)

her books have great characters, diversity, lgbtqa protags, amazing plot lines, and she writes families so well