Discussion: Mermaids, Dragons, or Unicorns?

OK, this is a totally frivolous “discussion,” but we’re having it because it’s #mermay. 😉

I see so many unicorn and mermaid branded (for lack of a better word… themed?) things, especially on Bookstagram. I feel like I see less dragon stuff. Is that because the mermaid and unicorn followings are so much bigger than lovers of dragons?

For me, mermaids take first place in my little fangirl heart. I also feel like this is one of the easiest of the three to find books about (with dragons probably being tied for first).
Some great mermaid books:

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant depicts mermaids as apex predators living in the vast unexplored depths of the ocean. Oh my gosh, this book is so ridiculously good, if you’re a mermaid fan (and not the fluffy type of mermaids, but some vicious clawed creatures with teeth) you need to read this ASAP.

For something at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I give you Sleeping With the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson. This is actually the first in the three book Fred the Mermaid series, a paranorma about a mermaid who works at an aquarium and is snarky as hell. These books are such a fun and lighthearted read, they’re definitely worth a shot if you’re tired of the saccharine sweet depictions of mermaids in fiction.
If you liked Annette Blair’s Accidental Witch trilogy, you’ll love Fred the Mermaid. Conversely, if you love these books and want more with the same feel (except about witches, ‘stead of mermaids) check out Annette Blair’s stuff.

We mustn’t forget retelling of The Little Mermaid that fall into this category. I’m really excited to read The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill, which is a feminist YA retelling.

Just because there are SO MANY mermaid books out there, here are a few more that are on my TBR.

Do you have a favorite mermaid book to recommend? Have you read any of these I mention?

Dragons are my next favorite. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to find books featuring dragons in all sorts of fantasy genres.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede will forever be one of my favorite dragon books. This four book series is intended for middle grade (ages 10-12) but I still love them even in my 30’s. I can’t wait until my boys are a bit older so we can read these together – I think they’ll really get a kick out of the melting wizards!

And you really can’t talk about dragon books without mentioning Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels. My favorite series is by far and away The Harper Hall of Pern, probably because it’s a shorter (3 book) series and seems more accessible than the rest of McCaffrey’s admittedly daunting backlist.

And just so I don’t list ALL series (what’s with dragon books all being part of a series, anyway?) and middle grade/YA books, Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks is a fantasy paranormal romance about a dragon shifter. Yummy. And, ok, this book IS part of a series too, but it’s the only dragon one and can be read as a stand alone, so I’m counting it. 😉

Do you have a favorite dragon book (or series)?

Unicorns are OK. I love sparkles and pastels, so I’m down for unicorn stuff, but I’m not immediately going to buy something because it’s got “unicorn” in the name. It’s definitely harder to find unicorn books than dragons or mermaids.

Of course, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is always and forever a classic. I’m torn as to whether I love the book or the movie more. Beagle also includes several really great stories about unicorns in his short story collection The Overneath (plus a story about Schmendrick the Magician’s origins!)

For an adult unicorn book with a sci-fi twist, you can’t go wrong with Acorna by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball. This is actually a whole big series (because Anne McCaffrey), but the first book is the best (in my o

I really love the way Mercedes Lackey depicts unicorns in her 500 Kingdoms series.

There was a Unicorn in the garden, eating the new peas, daintily taking each pod and munching them up between his strong white teeth with every evidence of enjoyment. Elena thrust her head out of the window, indignantly.  

“You!” she shouted at him. “Shoo! I put out an entire flower bed of lilies for you lot, go eat those!”  

The Unicorn looked up, and focused his attention on her. Then went cross-eyed with the immediate onset of the stupefied devotion every Unicorn was overcome by when in the presence of a virgin. …  

“Don’t like lilies,” he said, absently, around a mouthful of pods he had forgotten to chew the moment her spotted her. Half chewed pods fell out of his mouth as he spoke. He had, of course, also forgotten that he was supposed to look noble. “Like peas.”   

The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey

Which do you prefer – mermaids, unicorns, or dragons? Or maybe you love all three, like me?

14 thoughts on “Discussion: Mermaids, Dragons, or Unicorns?

  1. Dragons are forever my favorite, but I also enjoy all three. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are also some of my favorite dragon books, though Anne McCaffrey does an amazing job, too. (Both with dragons and unicorns!)


  2. I think my rating may be the same as yours. I like unicorns, but less so in the fantasy context and now more in the \”rainbow-splosion\” context.But ugh, I want to read all of the books you suggested.


  3. I have to say dragons. Real one, not the sexy shifters. LOL The Dragonrider's Of Pern is my favorite series and I own all of them in hardcover. Mermaids are second place. especially wicked ones. Mira's killer mermaids would great reads.


  4. I'd have a hard time picking, I love all three! Dragons because of course, and mermaids are awesome (merfolk in general- and I loved Into the Drowning deep- they were NASTY) but I like unicorns too, at least concept- wise as an age-old spirit of the forest or some such, like an elder creature if that makes sense. 🙂 I need to find some books that go with that angle. 🙂


  5. The problem with Into the Drowning Deep is that now I need MORE books like that. WHERE ARE THEY, GREG?!And I hear you about unicorns as this mystical elder wood spirit. But they'd pretty much have to be a side character in such a book, wouldn't they?


  6. Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids! They hold such a special place in my heart and i have no idea why. I just love everything about them. From the fanciful, fall in love with human mermaid, to the killer siren I am all about them!Ripple my Mandy Hubbard was a good one! Now i want to read Into the Drowning Deep!!I also loved the Firelight series by Sophie Jordan (on dragon books i've read!) No unicorns for me yet!


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