Tough Travels #7 & #8: Minions & Mentors

I fully intended to do a Tough Travels post last month and the month before that, but time got away from me so I didn’t get a chance to sit down to it. But, as the saying goes, better late than never. Here are the Tough Travels posts I’ve since missed.

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. (The meme will move to the Fantasy Hive in January.)

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. However, I now realize that not as many bloggers participated for these topics, so I’ll have to get creative about finding recommendations.

October’s theme:


Minions of the DARK LORD can be male or female, though he tends to favour males (who seem to be more susceptible to the Evil One’s wiles). They can take many forms: BAD KINGS, ENCHANTRESSES, HIGH PRIESTS, EUNUCHS, DUKES, REGENTS or WITCHES. Additionally, there are the non-human minions, such as ORCS, TROLLS, GOBLINS and random OTHER PEOPLES . . . not to mention MUTANT NASTIES, carefully selected MONSTERS, UNDEAD, and DEMONS.

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Tough Travels #6: Dragons

My plan was to post this earlier in September, but since I was busy and hardly around in that month, this post is late and popping up in October. I love fantasy but haven’t read many fantasy novels to always have unique recommendations for the topics in this meme, so I usually wait until the end of the month to do my post so I can read everyone else’s and get recommendations from them. Doing this has caused me to add loads of books to my TBR. Well, maybe not loads, but definitely many.

I was excited for this topic because dragons are one of my favorite fantastical creatures. They come in many shapes and sizes with various abilities. Sometimes they contain knowledge and wisdom vaster than any human or other creature; sometimes they are simply animals, large and powerful or small and quick but cunning; other times they are spiritual beings or creatures able to take on human form.

September’s theme (late again): Dragons

The Tough Guide advises that Dragons are ‘very large scaly beings with wings and long spiky tails, capable of breathing fire through their mouths. They can be almost any colour or combination of colours, though green, red and black are preferred. They are always very old. Most of them seem to have flown to Fantasyland aeons ago across the void. This migration was almost certainly to get away from our world, where people would insist that they were dangerous monsters that had to be exterminated. Dragons, as all Fantasyland knows, are no such thing.’ Or are they?

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