I was tagged by Alex from spellsandspaceships.com to take part in a fun little challenge he created. To take part, all you have to do is write a short blog post about an element, trope, or device that you are partial to while reading. Tag five people and hope that they participate to keep the fun going.
Most people that know me and my taste in books can probably guess mine.
I’m a sucker for Animal Companions!
No surprise here! If you have followed me for the last year or so, you’ll probably have guessed that I’m an animal lover. Okay, let’s be real. You’ve probably been beat over the head with that fact that I’m an animal lover, as evidenced by the many tweets about my pets that I’ve subjected you all to. That love absolutely extends into the books that I prefer to read. I started reading Harry Potter in second grade and I used to deliberate about the animal that I would choose to take with me to Hogwarts if I ever got admitted– I chose an owl, mostly because of my allergies to cats. As as adult, I instantly became Team Stark because, duh, direwolves. Of course I’m going to the support the house that are destined to raise these massive and protective doggos. My kind of people! I went as far as adopting a white 100 lb Husky and Great Pyrenees mix and naming her Ghost. I held my breath with each novel and show, more for the fate of the animals than the rest of the characters. A few years ago, my mad obsession with Robin Hobb was fueled not only by her beautiful, emotive writing, but by the Wit magic system. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it is a mental and physical bond with animals and the main character Fitz is blessed with it (or cursed, depending on what type of person you’re talking to). The real star of the show is Nighteyes, a wolf cub that Fitz bonds with. My whole heart officially belongs to him, now and forever. Ghost and Nighteyes are both close enough to my heart that I got a tattoo of them. But wait! There’s more great animal companions. Red Rising has a sneaky, smart fox that loves jellybeans. Even Outlander has a beautiful wolf dog that found a place in my heart. The Faithful and the Fallen has talking crows, wolven, dogs, and war horses. Honestly, tFatF is one of the most animal companion laden series that I’ve had the privilege of reading. His Dark Materials features animals that are LITERALLY A PART OF YOUR SOUL. What an actual dream!
A book with an animal companion gives me something automatic to root for. I have found that people that love animals fiercely are often more compassionate and empathetic people. It gives something to bond with the authors over and makes me feel connected to their interests. Much like comedic relief in novels, I think that animals offer a similiar sense of relief; the relief of something that is easy to love. The simple joy of animal companions, especially in these fantasy novels where the stakes are high and losses are severe, provides us some solace as our anxieties are mounting. I can pretend that all of the animals that I read about are MY animals, since I can’t physically own any more pets than I already do. Animals make everything better– point blank.
If you have any animal companion recommendations, let me know in the comments! Feel free to take part in this challenge and tag Alex and/or me.
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne has Oberon , a telepathic dog
Iskryne by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear has wolves
and Saga by Brian K Vaugn and Fiona Staples has lying cat
i adore animal companions