I had an interesting chat with my foreign exchange student over the weekend. She is a voracious reader and so we’ve had many scintillating conversations about fiction and how it interacts and informs our world. I forget how the conversation turned, but we somehow ended up discussing angelology and demonology and the nature of spiritual beings (mainly because one of the villains in my epic sci-fi is a demon-possessed alien tree that crash-landed during the Akkadian wars in the ancient Middle East.)
There are many works of fiction which play off of angels and demons and other mythologized pseudo-biblical creatures such as anakim/giants, nephelim, witches (think of Saul at Endor), vampires (mark of Cain), Lilth (Jewish/Kabbalic folklore), dragons, etc. A lot of these things pop up in Western Urban Fantasies.
The conversation begged the question, “what do scriptures really say about these things?” We had a brief conversation about that (I was already late for something else, but so enjoy those kinds of speculative conversations…as long as we can also turn the corner and discuss what we really know and what is made-up).
We discussed the City of Bones series, which features a nephelim main character and how the book takes queues from the traditional, mythological idea that nephelim are part of an angelic race somewhere down the charts and lower than cherubim and seraphim. I could write pages and pages of this stuff—but ultimately it reminded me of an old favorite which I highly recommend: Many Waters by Madeleine L’engle (yes, this is a follow-up book a couple stories down the line taking place several years after A Wrinkle in Time.)
As a teen reader, this book introduced me to some of those fantastic elements above with Nephelim and giants, even a manticore, long before anyone else was doing that sort of thing. She’s been an inspiration for a long time. Her writing is also smarter. If you want some of the interesting content and creatures from City of Bones, but without all the Twilight-inspired teen relationship drama—pick up Many Waters… and if you’re a City of Bones fan and want to read even more of similar content, I think this book will keep your pages turning.