Myths, Monsters & Oddities is a monthly feature on The Lit Express that transports us back into the worlds that exist within the pages of our favorite books. We'll explore the dangerous beasts and harmless critters, sinister sorcerers and sparkly vampires that make YA fantasy come alive.
Since I'm in the middle of reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, I thought I'd spend this month's post talking a little bit about demons. In Clockwork Angel, those skillful Nephilim slice them, dice them, and make those sinful demons explode into colorful gooey residue. Pretty awesome, right?
Demons are everywhere, and the idea of them have been around for centuries and centuries and centu...I think you get it. Demons, or some form of them, are found in cultures all around the world. For example, in Japan there are the ONI, demons who look like humans except for their third eye, nasty horns, and sharp claws that slice their prey into perfect bite sized pieces for their tasty teriyaki bowls. These nasty little devils can fly and steal the souls of the dying.
But, never fear! The world in Clockwork Angel may have the Nephilim to kill those ugly Shax demons and all the others, but in the world where the ONI exist, they have something even better. ISSUNBOSHI is a sage, no taller than an inch, who travels in a rice bowl and paddles with a chopstick. This pint-sized warrior once conquered a demon with a needle. And you thought those handsome boys in Clockwork Angel were something special.
And after the success of Fallen by Lauren Kate, and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, I just have to ask. Are fallen angels considered demons? There seems to be some controversy over the matter. Modern Christianity says angels become demons after falling from grace. It's also believed that demons are the spirits that are left behind by deceased Nephilim to "roam the earth in search of rest." As you may or may not know, Nephilim are the offspring of a fallen angel and a human woman.
Why are demons and fallen angels popping up in so many YA novels? I think the answer's pretty obvious. On one side of the spectrum, they make awesome villains; they terrorize humans, have nasty ulterior motives, and have some pretty cool supernatural abilities. On the other side of the spectrum, demons, and fallen angels alike, are the perfect candidates for a story about a bad boy who loves being bad, of course, until he meets the beautiful maiden who effortlessly makes him see the error of his ways.