Tag Archives: tough travels

Tough Travels: Enforcers

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week, we’re getting serious and searching for ENFORCERS: some people are made to give orders; others are made to make sure they’re carried out. Be it through muscle or guile there are just some people you don’t want to hear are looking for you.

Ooh this was a hard one. I think this is just one aspect of fantasy that I don’t particularly like to dwell on, but they can be good if they’re well-rounded personalities. I wasn’t sure I was going to participate this week but I joined forces with my husband again and came up with these (rather nasty) characters:

  • lies-locke-lamora-lynchThe Berengias sisters, in service to Capa Barsavi from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Without saying too much, these two are seriously grim. They don’t speak much and sometimes fight shark-like monsters for fun and entertainment. Camorr has a very troublesome sense of humor.
  • Bronn, in service to Tyrion Lannister from The Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Well, there’s a number of brawny characters in this series but I prefer Bronn’s dry sense of humor to Hound’s vulgarity.
  • the-blade-itself-joe-abercrombiePractical Vitari, in service to Sand Dan Glokta from The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Well, I had a whole bunch of unsavoury characters to choose from here but Vitari’s a fierce woman and deserves a place on this list. I think she starts off as a spy against Glokta but then works for him? Anyway, she’s a badass.
  • Crabbe and Goyle, in unofficial service to Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. A kiddie version of enforcers, of course, but the behavioural patterns are all there. These two are nasty little buggers and make trouble for Harry, Ron and Hermione despite the fact that there’s no finger-breaking or blood-letting to be found (at least until the end of the series).
  • darker-shade-magic-schwabPOSSIBLE SPOILERS! Holland, in service (uhm… slavery) to the Dane siblings from A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Well, I wasn’s sure about adding Holland to this list. By the way, if you haven’t read this yet, go read it now. It’s good. Holland’s not your typical enforcer and the Danes are not your usuall masterminds (they really like doing their own dirty work), but I find their relationship to be of the similar ilk as the ones above.

 

zmaj-desno

Which breaker of bones have I missed? Who would you add to my list this week? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Tough Travels: Beloved Mounts

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week, we join forces in our search for BELOVED MOUNTS. These are a must in Fantasyland. With the exception of steampunkish elements, most everybody travels by means of living creatures that are sometimes even capable of speech. Though if you ask me, I’d probably fall off that horse if it spoke to me. Honestly.

I thought about going the equine way today and list all the pretty horses, but then I decided to pick one example of every species I could come up with. Here they are:

  1. Shadowfax the horse from The Lord of the RingsOk I’m going all psychic on you now and predicting this will be the most popular choice of the week. Yes? But have you heard of Shadowfacts, his smarter cousin?
  2. Iorek Byrnison the polar bear from His Dark Materials trilogy. A polar bear with an iron armour. Pretty badass if you ask me, but he’s a great companion to Lyra and a very noble bear indeed.
  3. Saphira the dragon from Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle). It would be seriously weird if I didn’t list at least one dragon this week. Saphira is one of the very few dragons still in existence and hatches for Eragon, a simple farm boy. Their relationship is very deep and they’re much more connected than your usual rider + animal.
  4. abraxosBuckbeak the hippogriff from Harry Potter. Saved from the executioner! He’s one scary creature to tell you the truth but I wouldn’t mind flying him around for a bit. But I’d let someone else feed him ferrets… Ugh.
  5. Abraxos the wyvern from Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series). Ok he’s probably my favourite pick this week. He was meant to be killed by other wyverns for training purposes but Manon chooses him because he’s a survivor. I expect we’ll see them accomplish great things together! All the other books from today’s list have been made into movies so I could have picked a picture of one of the previous picks, but I really wanted to have one of Abraxos and Manon. Image credit.

Honorable mentions go to Bill the pony from LOTR and also giant eagles from The Hobbit though they don’t really count because they’re not named – the same goes for the unicorn from Stardust.

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I think wyverns would make excellent substitutes for bycicles in the city: smaller than dragons, less likely to eat people… Though horses are pretty cool, too, since they’re the only vegetarians on my list.

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Which lovely creatures would you add to this week’s list? 

Which one would you choose for yourself? 

Tough Travels: Bards

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

Ooh this week’s topic sounds like fun: we’re looking for BARDS, who often join questing parties and provide entertainment around the campfire. Sometimes their music even holds a little bit of magic. Or a clue to an ancient mystery… This is a beautiful song that is strangely appropriate for our journey, wouldn’t you say?

I had the pleasure of seeing these guys at a medieval fair in Ljubljana last summer (you can see my full post here).DSC_0006

  1. Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. Ok so he’s a given on this list – he’s earned his talent pipes at the Eolian, where the crème de la crème of musicians gather to perform. I’d LOVE to hear one of his songs, but I guess they’d always fall short of what I imagine them to be…
  2. Thom Merrilin from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. He’s so much more than a bard, this one. His coat is legendary as are his tricks, but he’s a savvy political figure as well.
  3. Fflewddur Flam from The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. I’m glad I listened to the audiobook here because I wouldn’t know how to say his name otherwise. He’s a funny character, he was punished for being a lazy bard apprentice by other bards (I think), so his harp’s strings break whenever he’s lying or embellishing his role (which is very often, so his poor harp suffers all the time).
  4. bard-hobbitStarling from The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. She’s a lady minstrel who’s very close to Fitz – she doesn’t appear until later on in the story but she’s crucial. She also appears in other Farseer stories.
  5. Bard from The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. Ok so this one is a bard by name only but I had to give him a place on my list because of Luke Evans. ;) I’m sure he can sing, though, so there.
  6. Seraphina Dombegh from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. She’s more of a court musician than a bard but in Shadow Scale, she travels around and often smooths the conflicts by performing on her flute (she’s also an ambassador).

 

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Which travelling musicians have I missed? Who would you add to my list? (Sorry for the horrible rhyme, but it’s fitting, no?)

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Tough Travels: Fae

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week, we’re looking for the elusive FAE. Err. Let’s just say that they’re somehow different than elves (think Tolkien), and keep it at that. They come from the realm called Faerie (or however you like to write it) and are known to be tricky, if not downright hostile in their relations with humans.

  1. wise-mans-fearFelurian from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle. She’s the pretty Fae lady who lures Kvothe into the land of the Fae, singing her seductive song. What follows is… uhm… well, Kvothe definitely gains an education there, that’s for sure.
  2. Rowan Whitethorn from Sarah J. Maas’s Heir of Fire. Oooh, a swoony Fae warrior? Yes, please. He made a blood promise to his queen so he’s bound to serve her. He’s the one who trains Celaena in magic. He also turns into a bird, which is cool (review).
  3. Tink from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s WickedHe’s actually a brownie and is a friend to Ivy, but the Fae in this series are heartless bastards set on destroying humanity, while Tink is a Harry Potter addict and bakes chocolate cakes. Waaaay cooler (review).
  4. The Fae warriors from Kevin Hearne’s HoundedThey’re working for the Celtic god of love and they get their asses handed to them by Atticus the druid when they try to kill him. Not that important, but hey, they’re there (review).
  5. falconer2Derrick, the pixie from Elizabeth May’s The Falconer. I didn’t particularly enjoy this novel (reasons here) but Derrick was one of the best features of the story. He’s hooked on honey and a real friend to Aielana (he’s similar to Tink in this regard). The other Fae in the story are really dangerous and Aielana spends her days killing them off.
  6. Oberon, Titania & crew from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Yes, I actually read this thing. It’s my favourite Shakespeare play and I really wish to see it on stage some day but Slovenian theatres insist on 4-hour, horrible renditions of King Lear for some reason.
  7. Cornish pixies from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsI don’t know whether they count as Fae, but this is a wonderful scene, I love Kenneth Branagh in that role (even if I can’t pronounce his surname).

And that’s it for tonight, it’s 11.30 pm on Wednesday and I desperately need sleep! :)

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Which fae have I forgotten to add to this list? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and read about your choices! :)

Tough Travels: Vampires

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

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This week, we’re arming ourselves with garlic, wooden stakes, crosses, and holy water, because we’re hunting VAMPIRES! Dangerous creatures to be sure – what with the blood-drinking, inhuman strength and speed, and their nasty habit of turning unsuspecting citizens into monsters.

I have a difficult relationship with vampires, so this post will be a ramble rather than a list as such (but the individual vampires are highlighted if you want to just skim to the bottom). Also: sorry for all the parentheses, I can’t seem to help myself.

dracula

See, creepy decrepit thingy. SO SCARY.

I was about ten when I started reading the Slovenian translation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and got so scared I couldn’t keep reading. Then my brother (who’s two years my junior) saw me being all creeped out and jumped out at me from behind my bunk bed (we still shared the room then), making me scream in fear, which sealed the deal. Dracula was the single most scary thing I’d read and it probably cemented my dislike of horror. THEN I WATCHED THE DAMNED MOVIE (the Keanu Reeves one, it’s probably not even that scary, but it was to me), and I remember a scene with vampires crawling over the ceiling in horrible, insect-like motions and OH MY GOD vampires are scary.

interview-with-vampire-kirsten-dunst

Child vampires. SO SCARY.

Then I watched Interview with the Vampire, which as you know isn’t really a horror movie but more of a romance (and I know it’s also a book but holy hell, I never want to read that), but at that point I was too young to swoon over Brad Pitt (or Tom Cruise), which left me with the horrifying memory of a child vampire (Kirsten Dunst) and some kids that Tom Cruise ate. WHAT WERE MY PARENTS THINKING, letting me watch this?

Anyway, you get the picture. Vampires were bad.

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edward-cullen

Sparkly. Not too scary.

And then I happened upon the genre of paranormal fantasy, starting with Twilight, probably, where the Cullen family sparkled and drank only Bambi blood (and mountain lions, don’t forget those). To make you understand just how much of a chicken I am: I watched the movie before I read the first book and I was so scared for a while there because I thought I was watching a horror movie o_O. Not that Edward’s stalker behaviour isn’t scary.

But Twilight got old fast and I liked the genre, which started something which we might as well call the great vampire binge of my early twenties. Here, I’ll get into list-making mode to tell you about my favourite vampire romance series (I obviously read a whole lot more than just these but there’s no use in listing them all):

  • Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole – there’s a whole jumble of supernatural creatures here (valkyries!), but it starts off with vampires. They’re everything that a romance hero should be, except they’re, you know, dead.
  • The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward – this is a cool series if you can handle your characters with extraordinarily stupid names. Seriously, Vishous, Phury, and Zsadist are actual character names. What.
  • Half Moon Hollow series by Molly Harper – well, this is a new addition to the list but Molly Harper is hilarious (I read her werewolf series before and I highly recommend it).
  • The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – this is more complex. I only read book one but I liked it and intend to return to the series eventually.
  • True Blood (which I only watched as a TV show, I never read the books) – I didn’t watch all of it because I can only handle so much gore and blood, but it was fun for a while.
  • The Vampire Diaries (ditto) – all the angst.

I still have a problem with vampires in romancesthough, namely because THEY ARE DEAD and because they’re usually cradle-snatchers. I always ask myself what a 200-year-old creature would want with a twenty-something human, and then force myself to stop thinking about touching 200-year-old skin because it creeps me out. But fangs don’t bother me too much so there’s something positive.

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So here it is, my bipolar relationship with the undead. Honorable mention goes to Silas from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, whom I remember as a kindly father figure to Bod (he’s a vampire, right?). I’m sure I forgot about a bunch of other blood-drinkers, but I’m looking forward to reading your lists this week! :)

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Which vampires did I miss? Who else would you put on this list?

Do you love or hate vampires? Do they scare you or would you gladly step into their cold embrace? :)

Tough Travels: Chessmasters

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week’s topic is CHESSMASTERS: A true master knows where all the pieces are at all times. Others may think they have taken control but alas, the master knew their last move before they played itOk this week was interesting. When I first saw the topic I thought I was going to skip it because I couldn’t remember a good example. But then they started trickling in, and I enlisted my husband’s help again (His response was “We shall discuss this,” and then he proceeded to name half this list for me, so there.).

Here are the brilliant minds who thrive on intrigue, deception, and manipulation:

  1. Bayaz, the first of the Magi, from The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. He was the first one I thought of. As much as I disliked him (and the whole damn series – I nearly didn’t read Half a King because of it), he’s brilliant at manipulating his minions.
  2. Patience, one of the Bondsmagi of Karthain (and Falconer’s mother) from The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. The Bondsmagi play out the election of an entire city state just so they amuse themselves. Patience is one of their leaders and leads Locke and Jean (and Sabetha) around by their… ahem, noses.
  3. Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat, from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I always liked her as a character. She’s really rough around the edges but she handles intrigue like a pro (only until she doesn’t, but her story’s perhaps even more interesting then).
  4. half-a-kingLord Varys and Littlefinger from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. These two are a killer duo. They don’t necessarily work together and it’s never quite clear whose side they’re on, but you’d better be on their side if you want to live.
  5. Mother Gundring from Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. Apparently he writes great chessmasters, because she’s… Well, I want to say evil, but that’s not it. She’d do anything to help the kingdom and her actions have serious repercussions for our beloved Yarvi.
  6. Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. What? OF COURSE he’s a chessmaster. Look what he did to Snape. He’s the real deal. Honorable mention goes to another wizard, Gandalf, but I think that Dumbledore’s deception/plan ran deeper than Gandalf’s ever did.

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Which chessmaster have I missed? Who else likes to meddle in other people’s lives? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)