This month is Monster Girls, so why not kick it off with a Top Ten listing some great monster girl go-to reads.
I actually have a hard time thinking of Monster Girls though I know I read them all the time . . . I suppose this also depends on one’s definition of “monster”
- Mrs. Coulter from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. This woman is truly monstrous: she is cold, unfeeling and incredibly malicious.
- Queen Levana from Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. This evil Queen is one of the best I’ve every read. She is compelling and absolutely despicable. A perfect monster.
- Libba Bray’s Wei Mai from Lair of Dreams was a great monster girl . . . a truly chilling story.
- In the more conventional sense I love Mrs. Lupescu from The Graveyard Book by Gaiman. She’s just so mysterious and monstrous and awesome and lovable. Such a compelling character that I want so much more of.
- Even more conventional was the first “monster girl” I ever read was Vivian from Blood and Chocolate by Annette Clause–I think I was just so stunned that she was the monster and the protagonist and kick-ass–that sweaty yellow dress is still in my mind.
Hmmmmmmm…I think I’ll just tell you all what I plan to read/discuss in the coming month.
- Madigan Mine – Kirstyn Mcdermott
Honestly, the synopsis does an interesting job painting Madigan as someone very messed up so I’m certain she’s going to be some kind of monstrous. I hope to have fun finding out what kind exactly.
- The Cuckoo Song – Frances Hardinge
This one I have already read and yep, a literal monster girl here. You’ll see what I mean when I talk about this book in more depth but until then you can go read it yourself to find out what I mean.
- Immortal Beloved – Cate Tiernan
I recently just reread it and yep, interesting discussion on monster girl and immortality coming up next week.
- Tantony – Ananda Braxton-Smith
This is also an Australia YA fic as is Madigan Mine. I think this will be more of a psychological kick than a supernatural one but we’ll see.
Just FYI, the books on this list won’t be overlapping with the books I have in store for this month:
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: Obviously. I’d been working my way to connecting these kinds of characters that I like, but it wasn’t until Noelle’s dedication that I found the perfect trope name.
- The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Hi, have you met Adelina? Because you should. And then you should run.
- Fire by Kristin Cashore: Fire is, literally, half-monster and it puts her in the rather unique position of being both wanted and unwanted.
- Serpentine by Cindy Pon: Kind of a similar case, only Skybright’s monstrosity manifests in ways that repel people and, sometimes, herself. I can’t wait for the sequel. I can’t wait to see how Skybright finds a place to call home.
- The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: At the risk of giving too much away, I wish we’d gotten a lot more about a certain monster in this one. What we do have is interesting because this one isn’t born “monstrous”, she’s made into one. (Similar, in a way, to Adelina from The Young Elites.)
- Sigrid Sugden from Jill MacLean’s The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden and her two best friends. You don’t want to meet these girls, except through the safe medium of a book. Similarly, the girls named in “The Shape of a Girl” by Joan MacLeod are monsters walking around in female form.
- Monster women who seem reasonable, even motherly: Janine from Deep Secret and Sibyl from The Merlin Conspiracy, both by Diana Wynne Jones, are ruthless and utterly selfish, the sort of monster who precipitates events that kill millions of people.
- Tana from Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She and the monster(s) in The Darkest Part of the Forest would get along swimmingly. Claire from Dylan Meconis’ Bite Me! might also fit the bill.
- Irene (Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner) maintains her throne – and her life – and her realm by using exactly as much cruelty as necessary. She is very, very good at maintaining the balance of power.
- Elda, Claudia, and Olga from Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones. Elda is the obvious monster, as a griffin created from DNA donated by an eagle, a cat, and her human parents. As a biracial (bi-species?) woman, Claudia is loathed by her father’s people (to the point of trying to execute her [*see edit*]) and disliked by her mother’s people. And Olga is denounced by her father because she dares to choose for herself. Oh yeah, and they all have rather powerful magic.
[Edit: Sorry, I originally conflated Claudia with Felim. It is Felim who has to worry about assassination attempts, and Claudia who has to worry about being executed. And then there’s Ruskin, who is in danger of being dragged back to slavery before he can become a proper wizard and organize a revolt, and Lukin, who … Yeah. Read the book.]