Named after a literary character

Thought my fellow NEs would appreciate this site, which has a section on children who were named

after literary figures:

It also helps you look up half-remembered children's books, which is delightful. 


February 14, 2014 2:10 PM

Very cool. Thank you!


By EVie
February 20, 2014 1:22 AM

Ooh, I thought it might help me find a book I read as a kid that I've been wondering about for years, but no dice :( All I remember is that it was a fantasy novel with a character named Kara who was an archer. At the time I had never seen the name Kara spelled with a K before, and I thought it was awesome (I must have been about eight). 

February 20, 2014 9:37 PM

I'm striking out! Do you remember anything else about the book?

By EVie
February 21, 2014 12:32 AM

Not much, which is why it's strange that I remember that one character. I got it from the library in the summer of 1991 when I was staying with my aunt—I probably picked it up off the shelf at random. I think it was pretty much your standard YA fantasy fare, with a Lord of the Rings-style fellowship and quest? I don't even remember if it was any good, it just bugs me that I can't track it down again!

February 21, 2014 1:48 PM

Hmmm.... Doggone. I'll keep looking as that will bug me!


By EVie
February 21, 2014 4:44 PM

Hah, thanks! I'm sure it's something totally obscure.

February 28, 2014 10:35 AM

I thought it might be "the blue sword", but that archer's name was Kentarre.  

By EVie
March 1, 2014 12:24 AM

I've read The Blue Sword, it definitely wasn't that one. Great book, though.

March 7, 2014 11:14 AM

Maybe Dragon's Milk, by Susan Fletcher? It's fantasty young adult, published 1991, with a character named Kara (grandmother of the main character Kaeldra -- a prequel was published two years later about Kara) ... I didn't see any archer reference though.

By EVie
March 8, 2014 12:44 AM

I've read that one, too! Another great one—and I will always remember it for introducing me to the word "dracling" for a baby dragon. I assume Fletcher made it up, because I've never come across it anywhere else, and I think it's an absolutely brilliant bit of word-invention. Doesn't it sound like it should be a real word? Also, that book has one of the saddest endings of any book I've ever read. I'll have to check out the prequel, I didn't know there was one.

But it isn't the one I'm thinking of. Thanks for helping out with this, guys! It's such a random request, but it would be so awesome if I could find the answer to this mystery that's been bugging me for 20 or so years. 


March 9, 2014 12:04 AM

"dracling" is so brilliant and adorable; I'm kind of in awe.

By EVie
March 9, 2014 1:28 AM

Isn't it? Most of the other fantasy books I've read with baby dragons use "dragonet" or some variant, which just sounds clunky in comparison (even though it's etymologically legitimate, as an Old French diminutive of dragon). I think the reason dracling sounds so good is that it mimics the sound of "duckling," just changing the first vowel and adding an r in there. 

March 9, 2014 11:54 AM

Dracling also calls to mind (mine anyway) hatchling, and baby dragons, like dinosaurs and alligators, hatch from eggs, at least according to Game of Thrones.  :-)

December 1, 2016 8:11 PM

"Dracling" makes me think of ducklings, and there is a double association of "drake," which can mean a male duck or a dragon.  I haven't read the book, but I like the word.  (I would think to pronounce it "drake-ling.")

October 31, 2016 10:33 PM

I know this conversation is two years old, but I believe the series of the three fantasy books are The Secret of the Unicorn Queen.  My 6 the grade teacher read it to our class.  My name is Kara so I remember it clearly. :)

By EVie
November 23, 2016 7:14 PM

Wow, thanks! I can't tell whether that was the book I'm remembering based on the Amazon description, but it totally sounds like something I would have picked up at the library at eight years old. I am off to try and get my hands on it now to re-read now to see if it's the one. If this thread has actually solved a decades-old mystery for me, I will be very happy :)

By EVie
December 6, 2016 2:44 PM

Ok, I'm back with my verdict! I do think the book I'm remembering was from this series, although I'm still not 100% sure that the book I just finished reading (the first one, Swept Away) was the same one I read twenty-five years ago--it may have been a later book in the series.

This isn't a book review forum, but in the interests of following up, I will give a quick assessment: disappointing, though I may be holding it to too high a standard--this is really closer to middle grade fiction than YA, and it's possible that it would be a really fun read for its intended audience (i.e. 8-10 year old girls who love horses/unicorns). It reminded me of what you would get if you take the Chronicles of Narnia, cross it with the Babysitters Club, attempt to insert some girl power feminism but fall rather short, then reduce the whole thing to the Cliffs Notes version. The prose isn't bad, but the dialogue is super forced and awkward, the characters are totally flat, and the plot development is super rushed. Probably not worth the trouble of tracking it down, given that it's out of print.

I don't know why the character of Kara stuck with me so long, given that she has about five lines in the whole book. I think I just liked the name, and I thought the idea of a girl archer was cool (about three years before I found Tamora Pierce's Immortals series, which fulfills that in a much bigger and better way). 

Other name observations from the book: the main character is a fourteen-year-old named Sheila in 1988. That felt way off to me (I associate Sheila with old English ladies like my step-grandmother, who would be in her nineties now if she were still alive), but checking the stats, it's not that unlikely--Sheila was #121 in 1974. It peaked in the mid 1960s at #50. Does anyone else have the old lady association? Did it maybe peak earlier in England, and I just happen to have encountered more English Sheilas than American?

The titular "Unicorn Queen" is named Illyria, which strikes me as one of those names that someone heard somewhere, thought it was pretty and used it without any idea that it's a real historial place name (and a fictional one, too--Shakespeare). 

The author's name is Josepha, which is a feminization that I haven't often seen in English. I wonder if she pronounced it the German way? (She was American, is now dead).

Thanks again for the reference! I'm really glad to have this mystery solved after so many years of wondering, even if the book isn't one I'll re-read again :)

September 24, 2018 10:24 AM

I loved the names Bellatrix and narcissa after reading them in hp.