Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fantastic Fantasy Finds: Lycanthia and Heart-Beast by Tanith Lee


In Lycanthia (1981), a young man named Christian arrives in turn-of-the-century Europe to claim his inheritance; a chateau. He's warned by his servants about the de Lagenays, a strange family who live nearby. An atmosphere of foreboding is established. And there are wolves in the woods...
Then Christian meets the mysterious woman and young man--Gabrielle and Luc--who are the de Lagenays and, possibly, werewolves. Lonely Christian befriends them despite the village's hostility towards them. But when Christian betrays his two friends, it doesn't end well. The sense of dread and desperate loneliness matches the winter setting, creating a very dark fairy tale indeed.

The protagonist in Heart-Beast (1992)--also set at the turn-of-the-century and beginning in the exotic Middle East--is Daniel Vehmund, a young man who soon succumbs to a horrifying curse after coming into contact with a diamond with a bad reputation. Daniel leaves a trail of bodies as he travels. When he reaches Europe, he meets Laura, an enigmatic young woman married to a sweet young man she doesn't love. A love triangle results as Laura becomes fascinated by the dangerous and beautiful Daniel. This is a love story with teeth and claws, and it, too, steers the reader towards an inevitable conclusion. It also definitely leaned more toward horror in the dark fantasy category.

Both novels are about werewolves, with strange and elegant characters whose humanity remains despite bizarre circumstances. Both novels have a Gothic beauty that haunts long after they've ended.

Find the rest of my favorite books on GoodReads:  Katherine Harbour (Author of Thorn Jack)

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