‘I am fire, I am death’

E4gGZje1.jpg-large-2

It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of 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.  This month’s theme:

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?

The quote: obviously I had to have Smaug – if Smaug wasn’t on this list then you might as well just call me a numpty and be done with it.  In fact, call me one anyway, but Smaug is on the list.  The end.

The Copper Promise (The Copper Cat #1) by Jen Williams.  I loved this book.  I loved this series.  Seriously, go and read these books.

My next series is all about the dragons.  Every sort of dragon, every species.  A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan. Such a good series:

Finally, I have to have A Game of Thrones – because, the mother of dragons:

a game of thrones

Advertisements

One book to rule them all.

E4gGZje1.jpg-large-2

It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of 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.  This month’s theme:

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 storeys 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.’

I had to go total all out Lord of the Rings this week – I’ve been saving myself for a LotR frenzy and this week’s topic was perfect (just before you panic – I’m not listing them all, this isn’t an essay after all! just three or four of the very well known ones)

Minas Tirith – a quick and snappy description: white city, white courtyard, white petrified tree steward who goes up in flames!

minas

Rivendell – everyone knows this one methinks – home to a bucketload of elves, Elrond is the main man and this is where the Fellowship came together.

rivendell.jpg

Isengard – home to Saruman, who tried to become bff with Sauron – and as we all know, Sauron does not share power.  Did a bit too much hard pruning and got on the wrong side of an Ent – bad move that.

saruman.jpg

Barad-dûr – the baddest – topped with a huge eye, lidless and rimmed in flames.  One does not simply walk into Mordor and have a sleepover at Sauron’s tower.  It is folly.

mordor

Finally, this is a wild card – but, as we all know, your home is your own little castle- shut the door, settle down with a book and bottle, pipe, second breakfast, whatever – a hobbit hole:

bagend

Why not join in?

Next month’s topic will be books featuring 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?

And don’t forget to stop over at the Fantasy Faction to link up and check out the other entries.

“I SOLEMNLY SWEAR I AM UP TO NO GOOD.”

E4gGZje1.jpg-large-2

It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of 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.  This month’s theme:

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.’

Granualle – is the initiate of Atticus in The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

hounded

Yelena – starts the series sentenced to death, becomes a food taster and then discovers she has magical ability and goes to school to train.  Maria Snyder’s Study books.

poison study

Tiffany Aching – a young wee witch, friend to the Wee Free Men and highly entertaining to read about.  Terry Pratchett.

weefree.jpg

Shallan Davar of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings.  A young woman of strange magical ability who becomes apprentice to Jasnah Kholin.

wayof

 

Tonmerion Hark is a young boy, sent to live with his aunt after his father is murdered.  He discovers that he has a strange inheritance – blood magic.  Probably a bit of a cheat this one but I figured that Merion’s aunt was teaching him the ways of his magic so I’d have it on my list.  Bloodrush by Ben Galley.

bloodrush

Nona – I had to have Nona on the list.  Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister – Nona becomes an adept at the Convent of Sweet Mercy – where she learns the way of the assassin – but there is so much more to Nona.

red sis

Now, dare I mention Harry Potter?

Finally – next month:

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 storeys 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.’

 

 

‘I am Groot..’

tough-travel.jpg

It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of 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.  This month’s theme: Non-Human Heroes (I used restraint for this one – I could have had a very, very, very long list!

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.

Orc – well, half orc – the Jackal from Jonathan French’s : The Grey Bastards: Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster.  Definitely a non human hero in my book!

grey

Coyote – Mercedes Thompson – ‘Mercedes is a Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. Her Native American heritage has gifted her with the ability to take the form of a coyote at will’.  Mercedes is a great character who has really developed throughout the series.  Definitely a keeper.

moon

Dog – Sirius Black – Harry’s Animagus godfather who escaped from Azkaban. Old friend of James and Lily Potter, shape shifts into a large black dog.  J K Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Order6

Gargoyle – from Emma Newman’s Split Worlds – the gargoyle hosts the soul of Max the Arbiter – made of stone he’s jam packed with feelings.  And, he’s just so lovely.  Everybody should have a gargoyle.

Unicorn – Ayla Nightshade from A F E Smith’s Darkshade series.  A shapeshifter flying unicorn no less.  A great series so far with more yet to come.

darkhavene1

Fae/Changeling – October Daye from Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series.  I love this series – it’s packed with all sorts of fae, Tybalt for example – king of the cat court no less.  October is a fantastic character and definitely runs into trouble without hesitation to try and rescue others.

a red rose

Spider – yes, spider’s can be heroes – and by way of proof I give to you Charlotte – of E B White’s Charlotte’s Web.  She totally saves Wilbur’s bacon – I went there. *sorrynotsorry*

charlotte

Golem – Task is probably one of the most unlikely heroes ever.  A golem created to be used in war.  Ben Galley’s Heart of Stone.

heart

I will leave it there – I had a fairly ridiculously lengthy list but decided to hold back.

‘The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client.

tough travel

The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn.’

It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of 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.  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).

Apart from the opening title (taken from Leon) I’ve gone with a cast of female assassins:

Nona – from Red Sister, (book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence.  Nona is only a young girl when she is taken to the Convent of Sweet Mercy to train as an assassin, but don’t let her age lull you into a false sense of security – Nona has a bloody history in spite of her young years.  This is a great coming of age story with a strong cast of characters told in Mark Lawrence’s highly discernible style and set in a harsh world.

rs2

Mia Covere – from Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff.  Again, Mia is a young protagonist when the story begins and similar to Nona she attends a school for assassins where staying alive is the most important lesson of all. Mia can use the shadows to cloak herself in darkness and in fact the shadows themselves provide her with the constant presence of a companion – a cat she calls Mr Kindly.  To be clear this book is not a YA novel – there is plenty of bloody violence and other material that would be unsuitable for younger readers so don’t be misguided by Mia’s age or the school type setting.  Hogwarts this isn’t.

nevernight

Katsa – from Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore.  In the world created here some people are born with certain skills – these people are known as gracelings.  Katsa seems to have been graced with the gift of killing which has led her to be used by her uncle, the king, as his own personal hit woman.  If Katsa comes to visit then your days are numbered.

graceline

Rhisia Sen -from Assassin’s Charge by Claire Frank.  This was one of the finalists from the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  Rhisia, also known as the Reaper’s Bride, is arguably the best at what she does.  When she is offered a very lucrative purse for a job she grabs the chance thinking that this will be her last hit.  Unfortunately, when Rhisia eventually locates her target she discovers that even she has boundaries – and killing a young boy it not something that she can do.  Her new found conscience means that she herself is now on the ‘most wanted’ list and so her only hope is to take the boy and try to keep them both alive.

assassins

Another very recent read:

Pyrre – from Skullsworn by Brian Staveley.  Pyrre is a devotee of the God of Death – not yet a priestess the book tells the story of her trial in which she must complete a number of objectives dictated by an old song.  For this, strangely enough, Pyrre will have to fall in love.  This is a great story with a fantastic setting.

skullsworn3

Finally, lets finish with this character from SinCity (a series of comics by Frank Miller): Miho – often referred to as ‘Deadly Little Miho’ because of her lethal ability with twin Samurai swords.  Assassin and enforcer for Old Town.

miho

Next month’s theme will be non-human protagonists – get your thinking caps on now.

Next Page »