Tough Travelling“Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created by Nathan at Review Barn where participants make a new list each week based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. This hilarious little book cheerfully pokes fun at the most prevalent tropes in fantasy. All are welcome to take part, and there is a link up over at his site. Join in any time!

This week’s trope is FAE:

Surprisingly not in the Tough Guide.  How can this be?  Fairies are a constant in the fantasy world and it is time they get their own week.  Give us your Fae, be they sweet or nasty.

Sweet Fae? I think not. I’ve chosen the meanest and nastiest I could think of. LET THERE BE BLOOD!

Spoilers for Visions by Kelley Armstrong at the end of this post!

Daughter of the ForestDaughter of the Forest by Juliet MarillierThese Fae are all powerful, somewhat like gods in their manipulation of the hapless humans. Not necessarily malicious but they’re generally unwilling to lend a helping hand – except for the Lady of the Forest. If you’ve read anything by Marillier, then you know that she understands that compelling Fae characters are morally ambiguous. Count on her for the best fairy tales out there!

 Tithe by Holly BlackThe Modern Faerie Tales series by Holly BlackThis one is a little different from my other picks: we get to explore Faerie and its culture in this series. And it is EPIC. Holly Black isn’t afraid to make her Fae dark, regardless of which court they belong to. A lot of people seem to have issues with some aspects of this YA series (swearing, references to sex, torture, etc.) but I thought they elevated it to truly gritty and creeptastic.
Moon Called by Patricia BriggsMercy Thompson series by Patricia BriggsLook, I’m not gonna spoil it for people. But if you’ve read anything in the Mercy Thompson or Alpha & Omega series, then you know that the Fae aren’t exactly cuddly. Humans and Fae have been at loggerheads ever since the latter made themselves known – and the Fae won’t hesitate to use their powers to mess people the eff up.
Visions The Cainsville series by Kelley ArmstrongThe only thing scarier than being outright evil is hinting that evil lurks beneath the surface of a seemingly normal “person.” And let’s just say that these “people” aren’t particularly concerned with moral quandaries…they’ll steal children, murder innocents, and start regional turf wars. Not much has been revealed about these Fae, but I know enough to be afraid.


    • Graham Austin-King

    • 8 years ago

    Fae should never be sweet. I have my suspicions about the tooth faerie too.

    1. Psssh, everyone knows that she’s crazy!!!

  1. Holly Black’s Modern Fairie Tale series is hands down my favourite depiction of Faeries. And also just my favourite haha. Daughter of the Forest made my list too! I’m actually surprised it’s on so many people’s lists (I think I didn’t know that many people had read her books! Have you read any of her other series?) And I’ve been hearing GREAT things about Patricia Briggs, so adding in non-cuddly faeries has sold me. I need to read this!

    1. YES, I love that series! Holly Black has “it,” whatever that may be. I feel like there’s been a resurgence in Marillier love since her new book Dreamer’s Pool came out. I’ve read that one too and I LOVE it! Definitely recommend. Patricia Briggs is also a must-read if you like either a) urban fantasy or b) werewolves. And who doesn’t like those things? 😉

      1. I’m really excited about the attention Marillier has been getting, because her books absolutely deserve it. And I’m actually fairly new on like urban fantasy! I think I just had a bad run with YA urban fantasy (and for the most part it’s still not for me, but I could just be heading all the wrong directions), but adult urban fantasy has turned out to be SO AWESOME. Have you read Jacqueline Carey’s Agents of Hel? I just read the first book, and it’s SO different from her other series, but holy cow is it good! And it’s got werewolves, so although I originally avoided them (I think because of vampires not usually being my thing? Who knows. My brain does not do the logic.) I am totally down. (Especially after reading the first Parasol Protectorate as well). So Patricia Briggs is quickly becoming a-read-this-ASAP author!

    • Laura @ Half-Strung Harp

    • 8 years ago

    Yet another list where I haven’t read a single one of the entries! They all sound intriguing. 🙂

    1. This happens to me at least once a week! I’ll go over to someone’s list, they’ll have like four or five entries, and I won’t know a single one! It’s a great way to learn about new books, I think.

  2. Ooh, right, Mercy Thompson. Completely forgot about her.
    And I still haven’t managed to read Marillier… Soon, though, soon! 🙂

    I read only the Summoning trilogy by Kelley Armstrong and I wasn’t *too* impressed. Is this one ok?

    1. Oooooh girl, you are gonna love Marillier so much! Her books are definitely your cup of tea. 😉 I will warn you though: shit is dark.
      Kaja….KAJA! You don’t like Kelley Armstrong? This is a problem!!! I must find the perfect series for you (she has many). I will admit that I prefer her adult books to her YA offerings, but there’s just something about her writing style that sucks me in…or maybe it’s the tension she creates between her heroines and heroes, haha! Omens and Visions (first two books in Cainsville) were really cool, definitely recommend them. Omens reads like an atmospheric mystery with a hint of the supernatural, with more supernatural elements to be added as the series progresses.

      1. Ok, I’m willing to give Armstrong another try if you’re a fan – I didn’t *hate* that trilogy, really, it was just kind of average. I’ll try Omens, then. And Marillier. GAH so many good books to read – and I haven’t even read A Dance With Dragons yet and I KNOW that tv series will have spoilers now…

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    I was going to put Mercy but decided to calm it down – I tend to get a bit carried away with vampires, werewolves and fae – it’s all the UF!
    I have just finished (literally last night) – that book was so good that I nearly cried when it ended. WTF – where has Juliet Marillier been hiding all my life. Really? I loved that book. I actually just want to give it away to somebody right now so that they can experience how good it is!
    And I already bought Daughter of the Forest ages ago – is it as good??

    1. YES I love the UF-centric weeks! I feel like I can squeeze some really good ones in there.

      Welcome to the Marillier fandom! Here is your complimentary box of chocolate and pack of tissues, you will need both. GAH she’s amazing. Daughter of the Forest is just as good as Dreamer’s Pool (maybe….better?!) but it’s a lot darker, too. There’s a scene with a somewhat graphic sexual assault, so bear that in mind before you dive in. I’ll keep an eye out for your review!!

        • Lynn Williams

        • 8 years ago

        I can’t wait to read Daughter of the Forest – of course it’s one of my own books so it will take something of a backseat – but not for too long. I can’t wait to read more of her books. I loved Dreamer’s Pool.

  3. I didn’t realize that Mercy Thompson series has Fae – that might draw me off the fence for reading that series. I know your the UF Czarina and the first book that came to my mind was War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It was kind of the first UF I read and I didn’t love it but it’s swimming in Fae.

    1. Yay! Another convert, haha. UF CZARINA, LOVE IT! Hmmmm, Emma Bull. That name sounds familiar but I’m not sure why. I’ve definitely never read a book by her!

  4. Daughter of the Forest! Nice choice, the only one we have in common this week. Yes, best fairy tale retelling I’ve read, and I think Marillier’s ruined that sub-genre for me forever. Who could ever live up?


    1. Honestly, no one. Marillier is the best I’ve read, bar none. Her books – UGH! They’re too good. They also make me want to go to Ireland and Scotland really badly, haha. So atmospheric!

    • Windsprite

    • 8 years ago

    I know NONE of them. How can this be? I read SO many books about fairies, how can this be?
    But the rule of today’s world: You will never read all of the books in the world :’D

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