Nyx in the House of Night: An anthology on P.C. and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series

By May 12th, 2011

Last season, we did an official introduction post for our Fall 2010 books. This season, we’re trying something new: officially announcing our Spring 2011 titles individually, each in their own post. If you’ve missed any, you can check them all out here.

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Almost three years ago, I went to a book signing for P.C. and Kristin Cast just north of Dallas. P.C. had recently been our editor on Immortal, a collection of fabulous vampire short stories we released originally for Borders; Kristin had contributed a story. And I was excited to meet them in person–not to mention pick up a copy of the latest House of Night book (Untamed, if I recall correctly).

It was a great event; the store had gone all out (I still have the dreamcatcher I made). But what struck me while I was listening to the Q&A, and what stayed with me most afterward, were the type of questions readers kept asking. Where do you get your ideas? (Okay, that one’s a standard.) Can you tell us more about Nyx? Do the raven mockers come from a real Cherokee myth? (The answer to that last one: Yes, but Kalona doesn’t.) It was maybe the first time I really realized how essential mythology was to the series–and how fascinating it was to tease out the “truth” from the fiction.

Fast forward to now. P.C. and Kristin have put out twice as many books since then, and the mythology of the House of Night series has become way, way richer. So we’re beyond pleased to be publishing Nyx in the House of Night: Mythology, Religion, and Folklore in P.C. and Kristin Cast’s House of Night Series, edited by P.C.

If you’re coming to this post already familiar with Smart Pop, you probably have a sense of what to expect: a collection of smart, entertaining pieces by authors and experts, here on the myth, folklore, religion, and history that are woven into the House of Night series. (You can read excerpts of each right now, actually, on our book page.)

But here’s how this book is different: It’s not just black and white text. The book is fully illustrated, rendered in black, white, and the same sapphire blue of vampyre tattoos . . . or as close as we humans can get on the printed page. (The illustrations, by the way, were all P.C.’s brilliant idea–and the illustrator, Alan Torrance, is a friend of hers, who she met in Scotland while researching HoN.) Here’s one of my favorites, from the chapter on Nyx herself:

 

Gorgeous, right? (We’ll be giving away a print or two closer to the book’s release, so stay tuned!)

The content’s just as good. First, there are P.C. and Kristin’s contributions: In addition to her introduction, P.C. wrote a fantastic piece on her travels in Ireland and Scotland, sharing the legends she heard that inspired Sgiach and the Isle of Skye (plus her visit to the hanging tree Zoey and Stark also visit at the beginning of Awakened). Kristin wrote an equally fantastic essay on polygamy, showing how Zoey’s multiple boyfriends–and the tradition of vampyre priestesses being allowed both a human consort and a vampyre mate–has a long and storied history.

We also have great piece from Bryan Lankford, the real-life model for House of Night professor Dragon Lankford (who, coincidentally, was also in attendance at that book signing three years ago), on vampyre ritual’s connection to Wiccan and Pagan traditions. It’s written, fittingly, as a lecture from a vampyre professor. We even have a Tulsa local, Amy H. Sturgis, who takes us on a tour of the Tulsa locations (and the Tulsa history and legends) in the House of Night series, from the gazebo where Aphrodite holds the Samhain ritual in Marked to the museum where Rephaim hides out in Burned. Not to mention essays from Jeri Smith-Ready, Yasmine Galenorn, Jordan Dane, Trinity FaegenKaren Mahoney, Jana Oliver, Ellen Steiber,  John Edgar Browning, and Christine Zika. And the book concludes with an appendix detailing the origins of the series’ character (and cat) names.

From tattoos to Mary to modern vampi(y)re communities to cats, Nyx in the House of Night highlights the real mythology behind the series, and made me, at least, appreciate what P.C. and Kristin have done with the world of the House of Night even more. It’s the kind of guide that I like to imagine Damien would carry around, dog-eared, but that even the Twins would reluctantly appreciate.

We hope you guys enjoy reading it come this June (the official release date is June 7) as much as we enjoyed working on it. Until then: merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

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