‘A pox on your house’

Every Thursday we go a travelling.  We pack up our spotted hankies with provisions and go in search of the tropes of fantasy.  Yep, it’s time for some Tough Travelling as hosted by Nathan at the Fantasy Review Barn.  This week : CURSES are long-standing ill-wishings which, in Fantasyland, often manifest as semi sentient. They have to be broken or dispelled. {Can include}

-Curses on lands, curses on families, curses on buildings, cureses on rings/swords, curses on people, curses with conditions.

And so, without further ado, I give you my list – although I feel compelled first of all to mention the play that shall not be mentioned, you know, that Scottish play, Shakespeare?  Cursed for sure.  Did Shakespeare really use true witches incantations (queue evil laughter).  Anyway, moving swiftly on:

  1. Cursed by Benedict Jacka – the clue, of course, is in the title.  I’ve read the first couple of this series and enjoyed them.  One of the characters definitely has a curse – Luna.  But, I’m not going to tell you about the curse because that would spoil all the fun of reading it for yourself.
  2. Blackbird, Mockingbird, Cormorant by Chuck Wendig – Miriam Black.  I do LOVE this series and so this may be something of a cheat.  Could I possible get away with Miriam being cursed with the ability to foresee the exact time and nature of a person’s death – following her own near death experience (I think that was when the ability manifested – but my memory could be being tricksy!)
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  Something of a ghost story and something of a psychological thriller.  I’m plumping for the house being cursed by badness.  Badness by the person who built it and badness of what happened within it’s walls.  Anyhow, it seems to be evil!!
  4. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I loved this book!  Anyway, the young girl of the story, Sophie, finds herself cursed by the Witch of the Waste.
  5. Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence – very entertaining epic adventure involving Prince Jalan and Snorri ver Snagason who are cursed by a witch and their fates are tied together.
  6. Ring by Koji Suzuki – in which a video tape is cursed and anybody who watches it will die within a specified time frame.
  7. White Cat by Holly Black – I haven’t finished this series yet but I did enjoy the first two books.  Set in the world as we know but with an alternative history where curse workers have been banned.

Honorable mentions:

Harry Potter!  Three curses which shall not be named here!

LoTR – the one ring – cursed!

Princess Fiona – cursed to change form at the end of each day.

Tough Travel

Every Thursday, Nathan at The Fantasy Review Barn takes us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  I love this weekly event – it’s good fun and it’s thought provoking and, if that’s not enough to encourage you to join in then you should go and check out all the other participants answers – there are some great book recommendations and we all love to grow our TBR after all!!

This week’s topic:

‘PRACTICE RING OR COMBAT RING is a sanded circle used for sparring and WEAPONS practice… It can be found attached to any school of weaponry, outside mercenaries’ winter quarters, and quite often on the outskirts of aggressive towns.’

I think I probably could have got some more – The Magician from Raymond Feist or Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – but I could remember exactly whether they did or didn’t have practice rings.

Bloodsong by Anthony Ryan – lots of combat rings going on in this novel.  Vaelin is the protagonist, he joins the Sixth Order where he trains to become a warrior.  In order to succeed he must pass a number of fierce challenges.  This is a great book – highly recommend.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie – the combat ring in this is only very briefly mentioned so maybe it’s a bit of a cheat but…  Prince Jarvi is not deemed fit to rule the Kingdom to which he is born due to the fact that one of his hands is deformed.  Unfortunately in a cruel twist of fate he ends up becoming King quite unexpectedly.  At the start of the novel we see him take on one of the other young men in combat – a fight he can’t win with the aim being to humiliate him in front of his subjects.  Of course he has the wit to change this situation around.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – I’m thinking of the training ring where Zahel will train both Adolin and Renarin – pretty funny reading about Renarin jumping off heights in his shards and basically face planting!

Unbelievable as this may seem – this week I haven’t got Lord of the Rings on my list!

Shiver me timber and splice the mainbrace, pirates be Tough Travelling this week!

Every Thursday Nathan at the Fantasy Review Barn takes us a roaming through some of the tropes of fantasy.  This week the topic be pirates:

‘PIRATES range the seas in force, though most of them operate individually…The sole qualifications are that they must be rough and ruthless, which a penchant for dressing gaudily.’


1. The Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride by William Goldman.  Much feared his daring and sword fighting abilities precede him.  However, there’s more to Roberts than at first meets the eye????  I won’t give it away here though.



2. The Sky Pirates from Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.  Captain Shakespeare sails his vessel around the skies illegally collecting lightning until one day he collects two unsuspecting passengers instead.



3.  Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch.  In which our two Gentlemen Bastards turn to the high seas and try to find their sea legs.  They are unwittingly captured by Captain Zamira Drakasha and taken on board her pirate ship.

4.  Anvil of the World by Kage Baker.  A fantasy tale packed with action and so much wit.  Blending fantasy with murder mystery and pirates.  Smith, a retired assassin  takes on the role of caravan master.  Lets just say a lot of trouble ensues.  False names, butterflies in glass, Lord Ermenwyr – who is literally one of the funniest characters ever, not to mention a duel of fatally verbal abuse.  The pirates only play a small part in this story and I can’t remember what they were called!  I was thinking Gilders???

That’s it for me this week.

It’s tough up North..

Every Thursday Nathan at The Fantasy Review Barn takes us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  I love this although I have to admit that the newest books are the ones that usually spring most readily to mind and LoTR seems to be making my list virtually every week!  Without further ado this week we’re looking at:


1.  Brodar Kayne from Luke Scull’s Grim Company.  Tough as old boots.  Used to be ‘The Sword of the North’ but now seems to be on the run from his former master, accompanied by his trusty psycho friend The Wolf.  He’s no longer a spring chicken but he can kick ass!  An entertaining pair!

2.  The Sa’ba Taalor from the Seven Forges by James A Moore- a race of people, largely forgotten who live amongst the huge mountain ranges of the north – The Seven Forges.  The Empire of Fellein, always in search of more places to plant a flag or collect goodies send an expedition over the blasted lands of the North and this expedition returns with more than they ever anticipated.  I’m not sure that I would call these Barbarians although I’m sure that the Empire thought little more of them than that until they had a rather rude awakening!

3.  Yeine Darr from The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin.  Yeine’s mother was once heir to the Amareri throne until she eloped with a man considered to be far below her status and was disinherited.  At the start of the story Yeine’s mother has died and Yeine is called back to the city in the Sky.  Against all odds, and not least because being half Darre she is considered a barbarian, she is named heir along with two others – and thus starts a political struggle with all kinds of deception and maneouvering.

4.  Sven Broke Oar – from Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools. – a particularly nasty character.  Ruler of the Hardassa Clan.  His Black Fort really is based far up in the icy North.

5.  The Nac Mac Feegles from Terry Pratchett’s Wee Free Men – I had to.  They’re rum little buggers with fiery tempers and unquenchable thirsts (for anything even remotely alcoholic).  Do not get on their wrong side.

‘OK, lads, this is what we’ll do.  As soon as we see somethin’, we’ll attack it.  Right?’
This caused a cheer.
‘Ach, ‘tis a good plan,’ said Daft Wullie

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