In the newly released film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we get a glimpse of the magical creatures from one of Harry Potter’s school books. If you have been a fan of JK Rowling’s franchise like me (since the age of eleven!) you were likely waiting on the edge of your seat since this film was announced in 2014. I’m really enjoying the continued world-building, and I haven’t been able to put a good fantasy book down after JK Rowling lit that spark for me many years ago.
The ever mischievous Niffler, always on the lookout for something shiny. (image via The Telegraph)
As much as I like Rowling, I know she wasn’t revolutionizing anything when it comes to the idea of magical creatures. Historically, literature is peppered with creatures like fairies, gnomes, and werewolves. Thousands of years ago, the Aztecs wrote legends of the Cipactli, a great creature whose destruction created the world. More recently, Tolkien taught us about Hobbits and orcs and gave us undead vampires. Sightings of Bigfoot in our Washington forests have been reported for decades. Magical and mythical creatures have been woven into our stories and lives for a very long time, and thank goodness it’s unlikely to stop any time soon.
Luckily for us, the authors above aren’t the only ones who have been fascinated by magical creatures. We have many to pick from, and I’ve rounded up a few titles that I hope you enjoy.
Abominable Science! – Definitive text on cryptids including arguments for and against them.
Slayers – I would have done anything to attend a Dragon camp as a teen! Or, honestly, even now. Sixteen-year-old Tori has discovered she comes from a long line of dragon slayers, that dragons still exist, and she’s expected to continue BATTLING DRAGONS!
– Truly magical anthology of short stories curated by Neil Gaiman featuring creatures that have only existed in the imagination. Now that they’re out, what will happen?
Chasers of the wind – Gray and Layan, retired master thieves, have been hiding peacefully until it’s apparent they hold a secret that could bring the Damned back to power. They join up with a crew boasting a variety of skills in an effort to outpace the undead that hunt them. If you are into imaginary wars and creatures, wizards, and epic world building, this book is for you!
The Golem and the Jinni – Combines Jewish and Arabian folklore into a great story about finding one’s place in the world. Chava and Ahmad form an unlikely friendship as an enemy threatens their future.
The Stolen Child – Henry Day, a young boy, is stolen by ageless changelings and a changeling takes his place. As time passes, both are haunted over vague childhood memories and obsess over their true identities.
– We thought we were familiar with Lewis and Clark’s expedition across what is now the US, but we were wrong. In this series, we learn the adventurous duo has actually been sent by the president to eliminate the creatures that stand in the way of our young country’s rapid expansion.