Tough Travels #5: Strongholds

Tough Travels is a monthly meme that recommends fantasy books based on tropes, themes, and clichés cited in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. The meme was created by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and is now hosted by Fantasy Faction.

Since I haven’t read many fantasy books, I instead create my list at the end of the month, after reading everyone else’s, and include recommendations from them that are interesting to me.

August’s theme (I’m late, again):

Strongholds

The Tough Guide offers information on various kinds of fantasy strongholds. For example, you might be looking for castles, complete with ‘frowning battlements, slit windows and multiple defensible spiral stairways inside’ and which ‘occasionally adorn the heights for pictorial effect’.

Or perhaps towers, which ‘stand alone in waste areas and almost always belong to wizards.’ Towers are often ‘several stories high, round, doorless, virtually windowless, and composed of smooth blocks of masonry that make them very hard to climb. The Rule is that there is also a strong no-entry spell, often backed up by a guardian demon.

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Tough Travels #4: Adepts

Tough Travels is a monthly meme that recommends fantasy books based on tropes, themes, and clichés cited in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. The meme was created by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and is now hosted by Fantasy Faction.

Since I haven’t read many fantasy books, I instead create my list at the end of the month, after reading everyone else’s, and include recommendations from them that are interesting to me.

July’s theme (I’m late):

Adepts

The Tough Guide defines an ADEPT as ‘one who has taken what amounts to a Post-graduate course in Magic. If a Magic User is given this title, you can be sure he/she is fairly hot stuff. However, the title is neutral and does not imply that the Adept is either Good or Evil.’

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Top 5 Wednesday #19: Middle-Grade Novels

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

I know it’s Friday, but I’ve been so busy lately with my new job that it’s hard to post stuff on time.

This week’s topic:

Children’s books

For this, I’ll focus on middle-grade novels. Here are five I’ve read and enjoyed:

Magyk by Angie Sage (illus.)

It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but I recall enjoying it. Magyk is the first novel in Sage’s fantasy series Septimus Heap about the eponymous seventh son of a seventh son who was pronounced dead and stolen by a midwife when he was born. Later, Septimus’s father, Silas, found a baby girl in the snow with violet eyes, who he named Jenna and raised as his own. The story is mysterious at the beginning and is quite charming as it unfolds.

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Tough Travels #3: Non-Human Heroes

Tough Travels is a monthly meme that recommends fantasy books based on tropes, themes, and clichés cited in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. The meme was created by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and is now hosted by Fantasy Faction.

Since I haven’t read many fantasy books, I instead create my list at the end of the month, after reading everyone else’s, and include recommendations from them that are interesting to me.

This month’s theme:

Non-human heroes

The Tough Guide assures us that HEROES are ‘mythical beings, often selected at birth, who perform amazing deeds of courage, strength and magical mayhem, usually against all odds.’ Furthermore, ‘if you get to meet a so-called Hero, she/he always turns out to be just another human, with human failings, who has happened to be in the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the wrong time, more likely)’.

HOWEVER. For good or for evil, some of fantasy’s most memorable Heroes are not human at all. Some look human, but aren’t. Others may look monstrous, but be ‘human’ on the inside. Others still never pretend to be anything other than what they are – and why should they? In nearly all cases, we are likely to Learn Something from them – usually that appearances can be deceiving, or that the concepts of both ‘Human’ and ‘Hero’ are entirely subjective.

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Tough Travels #2: Assassins

Tough Travels is a monthly meme that recommends fantasy books based on tropes, themes, and clichés cited in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. The meme was created by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and is now hosted by Fantasy Faction.

Since I haven’t read many fantasy books, I instead create my list at the end of the month, after reading everyone else’s, and include recommendations from them that are interesting to me.

This month’s theme:

Assassins

Assassins are ubiquitous throughout fantasyland. Sharp-eyed readers (or even dull-eyed ones) will notice that their hooded forms often adorn book covers, and that they frequently appear – rather improbably – not to mind being the sole focus of our attention. Whether they’re spotlight hogs or camera-shy and brooding, most assassins will have trained for years and are very, VERY good at their job (i.e. killing people for money).

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Tough Travelling #1: Beginnings

I’ve decided to participate in the Tough Traveling feature, a monthly meme that features book recommendations based on fantasy tropes, themes, and clichés mentioned in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

This feature was created by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn back in 2014 and will now be hosted by Fantasy Faction. I decided to participate because it seems like a great way to discover new books I may be interested in based on tropes I like. Also, I bought The Tough Guide to Fantasyland about a week before this meme started, so… fate wants me to do this.

Fantasy is my favorite genre, but I reread books so often that my knowledge of fantasy novels isn’t as extensive as I’d like it to be, which means I don’t have a large resource of books read to recommend. Because of this, I’ve decided to compose my lists a little differently and will include one or two personal recommendations based on the topic and then feature books I’ve seen on other bloggers’ lists that I will add to my TBR list.

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Top 5 Wednesday #16: Classics and SFF

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

I skipped last week’s topic because I was too busy to post and it was difficult to think of answers for it. Last week’s topic was

Future classics

which refers to books that we think will one day be considered classics. I consider a book a classic not because it’s old or very popular, but because it presents an idea/topic in a novel way, sparks conversation or change by upseting norms, or is a forerunner of a genre, type of writing, or certain trend. Such books are also well composed. With that in mind, I chose these 5 books as my future classics:

Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

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