Blog Tour: Given

Given

By Nandi Taylor
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Release Date: January 21st 2020
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:

A subversive fantasy-romance steeped in West-African and Caribbean traditions.
Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.
No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.
Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.
Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself.

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Guest Post

Dragon Folklore from the African Continent

 

In the world of Given there is a lot of mythology around Dragons. In the empire of Cresh and the surrounding nations a certain segment of the population known as “dragonkind” have the ability to shift into dragon form. Sadly there are no dragonkind among the Island tribes, as they were targeted for extermination during the colonial war 300 years ago. But the legends of the Island dragons remain.    

 

I have a ton of rich folklore to draw on for the Island dragons. They would likely look something like the fearsome grootslang of South African mythology, partially because I love saying that word, “grootslang.” The story goes that the grootslang is a giant snake with the head of an elephant. So far so good, right? The grootslang was a bit too powerful for its own good so the gods hunted them all down and split them into two animals, the elephant and the snake. But one escaped and now lives in a cave full of diamonds.   

 

Many of the dragon-like creatures of African legends favor serpents or crocodiles. Take the ninki nanka (another great name!) The legends about this one mostly come out of West Africa, Gambia in particular. This monster lives in swamps, and there are a few different descriptions of the Ninki Nanka. Some say it has a horse’s head, a giraffe’s neck and a crocodile’s body, but I prefer the stories that describe it as a long, reptilian creature. They’re supposed to be huge, over 30 ft in length. Furthermore, if you’re (un)lucky enough to spot one you might even fall ill and die! 

 

But my favorite is the legend of Aido-Hwedo, a giant rainbow serpent referenced in folklore coming out of Benin and Haiti. How giant, you ask? Big enough to surround the entire world, keeping everything snugly in place and then coil underneath it. According to the creation stories of the Fon people of Benin, Aido-Hwedo was the ferry of the creator, carrying her from place to place as she built the world.   

 

As you can see, I have many fantastical stories to draw inspiration from, and all this is only a brief glimpse into the monstrous and magical folklore surrounding dragons on the African Continent.    

About the Author
Nandi Taylor is a Canadian writer of Caribbean descent based in Toronto. She’s a two-time Watty award winner, and her Wattpad story Given has garnered over one million reads and earned the 2018 Worldbuilders Watty award.
Nandi grew up devouring sci-fi and fantasy novels, and from a young age wrote books of her own. Her books are an expression of what she always wanted more of growing up—diverse protagonists in speculative settings. Common themes she writes about are growth, courage, and finding one’s place in the world.
Her debut novel Given will be published by Wattpad Books in January 2020.
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