There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife…

tough travelPeople, today is a ‘woo hoo’ moment – Tough Travel (as originally envisaged by young Nathan of the Fantasy Review Barn we’re not worthy) is resurrected.  Fantasy Faction have taken on this wonderful meme.  Each month, with a pre arranged theme in mind, we will all come up with out own individual selection of books that take us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  Visit Fantasy Faction today to check out all the other entries and find out the theme for the next month.  Come and join in the fun – a whole month to come up with your own original ideas. You know you want to 😀

And, today is all about beginnings – great beginnings to the books we love.

Now, as this is the first, I’m going to go old school, classic if you will:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends thehobbitof worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort – J.R.R. Tolkien,

The Hobbit : Maybe an obvious choice but as beginnings go this is a winner on many levels. It’s a curious start to a book, it definitely makes you want to read on – how can a hole in the ground mean ‘comfort’. It has a bedtime, ‘reading aloud to your children’ feel to it but at the same time feels like a story that you can also enjoy as an adult. And, as this is a new beginning for Tough Travel I can’t help but think of the parallels, because Bilbo is himself about to go on an adventure. This is the ‘beginning’ of the rest of his life, without it, well, he would have spent a good many years in that little hobbit hole with the round door, no doubt chomping on bread and cheese and drinking wine – but he wouldn’t have seen the elves, he wouldn’t have had to riddle his way out of trouble or rescue a bunch of dwarves from gigantic spiders, he wouldn’t get to ride the white water rapids in a barrel – come on, who wouldn’t want these sort of beginnings! Not to mention – a dragon. Okay, he almost dies, but stop thinking of the negatives for God’s sake – a dragon, that talks!  So, lets go on an adventure.  Lets go Tough Travelling.

Next we have this:

The lion‘Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.

You simply have to love a story that begins with ‘Once there were’.  It verges on the brink of fairytale doesn’t it?

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Next:

alice in wonderlandAlice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it “and what is the use of a book” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

Indeed – what is the use of a book without pictures and conversations?

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

A very quirky book indeed.  A book that brings to us this particular poem:

An excerpt from The Walrus and the Carpenter:

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.’

And, now, for some teasers: (the books and authors are given below, you need to hover over the space indicated and change the font colour) but see if you recognise these:

Where’s papa going with that axe?’

Marley was dead to begin with.

It was a pleasure to burn.

A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the street before he could get back.

The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the village.

Click and highlight below for answers:

Charlotte’s Web by E B White
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
end here
Next month’s topic : 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).

 

 

Read all about it…

milesThis is a little heads up.

Tough Travel is back!

Travelling through the tropes of fantasy is tough – it really is (the hint is in the title after all), but, pack up your spotted hanky, dig out your maps, tote your packs with dried beef, hard cheese and lembas bread because  we are once again embarking on our travels.

You may recall Tough Travel.  It was the brainchild of Fantasy Review Barn and was a very popular meme.  Fantasy Faction will now be picking up the mantle so keep an eye open for the initial post which is due any day now (the 1st of April I believe).

Basically, Tough Travel is a meme that looks at the tropes of fantasy.  Each month we will explore a specific trope where we all get to highlight specific books that we love that represent the particular theme for that month.  Tropes are tropes for a reason after all and this gives us a chance to display some of our favourite novels in a perfect forum for discussion. So, come and join in.

See you all soon I hope.

 

 

 

‘All’s well that ends well…’

This week, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, Nathan is taking us travelling once again through the tropes of fantasy.  This week the topic for discussion is:

PEACE AT LAST

Life in Fantasyland is often hard but even the hardest fought battles can come to an end.  The good guys win, the quest is over, evil is gone.  Yes, the land can finally know peace when the protagonist reach their goal.

Peace at last – okay, I think I’ve gone with a lot of fairly obvious choices here but..  Also, given that we’re talking of endings here there could be potential spoilers lurking below.  Beware!

  1. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – I simply had to go there.  The ring has been cast into Mount Doom and there is simply no way for Sauron to recover from this one.  Peace at last has come to Middle Earth.
  2. JKRowling’s Harry Potter – he who shall not be named is finally gone.  And didn’t they all just go on and live happily ever after!
  3. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis – the White Witch is dead, Narnia is no longer living in perpetual winter and all the little critters that were turned to statues, including his good self Mr Tumnus, have been restored to life. Good times.
  4. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – in which, thankfully a terrible apocalypse is prevented – at the very last minute!
  5. The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence.  Not to give too much away, maybe not an all singing and dancing, happy bunnies bounding through the fields type of ending – (SPOILER) not if your name is Jorg anyway, but, certainly a peaceful ending in terms of necromancers and armies of the dead being thwarted at the last minute!
  6. The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum – okay, maybe the woman in the pointy hat with the green tinged skin wasn’t too happy at the conclusion of this story but the Munchkins were throwing a party!
  7. Bear with me with this one – I am Legend by Richard Matheson – okay, the protagonist is due to meet a sticky ending – but – SPOILER – in a land now overrun by vampire type creatures, where he is the only human, he has in fact become the bogeyman and by killing him the vampires can finally live in peace.
  8. Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  No explanation needed.

That’s it for me this week.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius

This week, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, Nathan is taking us travelling once again through the tropes of fantasy.  This week the topic for discussion is:

MILITARY GENIUS

Let’s face it.  Fantasy life is often a life of war.  One can only hope to serve under a commander who has some clue what they are doing.

So my choices this week:

Kaladin from Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings and Words of Radiance – I did think about going for Dalinar but I think Kaladin showed his skill when he joined the bridge crew and managed to not just train them into the ways of staying alive but also to make them feel more positive.  Gone from strength to strength.

Rig Black from Erin Lindsey’s Bloodforged.  Wow, can this guy form a good battle plan or what – risky, but good!  The Bloodforged is the second book (the first being Bloodbound and they’re both very readable.

Colonel Janus bet Vhalnich from the Thousand Names by Django Wexler.  This character really is a military genius – but maybe he’s not all he seems.  Or maybe he’s more than he seems!

Merros from James A Moore’s Seven Forges and Blasted Lands.  Merros starts out as a soldier but pretty quickly rises through the ranks to become General.  He becomes responsible for training up the gone soft Fellein army.  Year’s of peace have left the army in poor shape and with an army marching on their doorstep they need a good leader.

Reva from Anthony Ryan’s Tower Lord – really comes into her own in this story and helps to form a plan to defend the city.

General Anhalt from The Vampire Empire series by Susan and Clay Griffiths.  Cool headed and incredibly correct – a great character to have on your side when the vampires are swarming!

That’s it for me this week

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

‘Ooh-de-la-lay! Ooh-de-la-lay! Fortune tellers!’

This week, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, Nathan is taking us travelling once again through the tropes of fantasy.  This week the topic for discussion is:

THE GOOD THIEF

Sure they may pocket things that don’t belong to them.  And yes, anything that can be wiggled loose isn’t really locked down and may be fair game to them.  And if they put half of their intelligence into legit trades instead of long cons they would probably be pillars of fantasyland’s community.  But damn it, some thieves are still good people.

  1. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch.  Yep the GBs had to make the list.  First and foremost.
  2. Six of Crows – another heist story by Leigh Bardugo with a very clever gang of characters
  3. The Palace Job by Patrick Weeks – just finished this one and it was highly entertaining – and, another heist job
  4. Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish – Owl is a thief of antiquities – an Indiana Jones
  5. The Thief Who pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung – another recent read as part of my SPFBO – the clue is in the title
  6. Time Salvager by Wesley Chu – yes, you can call this a time salvager or somebody who goes back in the past to recover resources – but, basically it is stealing from the past.  Yes?
  7. Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp – mm, Saxon Tang may deal in antiquities, he may be successful and filthy rich – but he was involved in some dodgy deals in his bygone years!
  8. Drothe – Among thieves by Douglas Hulick.  Clue in the title.

Finally – you decide one of these – or maybe both – is a thief??

Next Page »