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 HOLIDAYS:

Never too late to celebrate … holidays! Because fantasy festivals and feasts are always fun. Thanks to Wendy from Bibliosanctum for the suggestion!  And feel free to blame her if this proves to be as hard as it sounds.

Why? Why, Wendy?! This topic was brutal.

Poison StudyFire Festival – Poison Study by Maria V. SnyderProtagonist Yelena visits the fire festival, a carnival that travels from town to town during the hot season in Ixia. It’s basically your typical carnival, with food stalls, competitions, and live entertainment. But the real draw of the fire festival is the acrobatic competitions held there each year! All forms of public religion are banned in Ixia (so religious holidays are out), but the fire festival is considered good for morale for working people since it’s a national holiday from work.
WolfspeakerMidwinter Festival – Wolfspeaker by Tamora Pierce (and all other Tortall universe series)The Midwinter Festival is a Tortallan holiday celebrating the winter solstice. It’s a time for family, friends, and exchanging gifts. Unfortunately for squires, it’s also the time of year they’re expected to undergo their Ordeal of Knighthood, the ominously named test you must pass to become a night. It works because you know…the holidays can be an ordeal.
Dreamer's PoolFestival of Lugnasad – Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet MarillierThis is a briefly mentioned (literally one line) holiday that is held in celebration of harvest time. That’s all we know about it as of yet, although a quick search tells me that Lugnasad is actually an ancient Gaelic holiday. I know it’s a stretch…but I was desperate, okay? Don’t judge me.


  1. I always add new books to my tbr because of this Tough Travels meme… Poison Study sounds awesome!
    Completely unrelated: I misread “squires” in your description of Midwinter Festival as “squirrels” and it didn’t make much sense 🙂

    1. You would LOVE Poison Study! Fantasy, kick ass ladies, romance – what’s not to like? 😉

      Hahaha I wonder what squirrels would see in the Chamber of the Ordeal…maybe a shortage of nuts or feral cats? Owls, maybe.

  2. I hope the fire festival wasn’t their one day off per year!!

    1. You know, now that you mention it I think it might have been…LOL. No wonder there was so much unrest in Ixia.

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    I can’t wait to read Dreamer’s Pool – not least because it seems to have good examples for all our tropes! I knew there was a festival in the Snyder books – but could I remember it – No! Well done with that.
    No LotR for me this week – boo!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Dreamer’s Pool was soooo good, very much your style I should think. Usually when I’m writing these I just eyeball my high fantasy books really intensely until the answers come to me – it’s hit or miss. 😉

    • Bob Milne

    • 8 years ago

    I agree, this week’s topic was the hardest one yet. Yikes!

    1. Seriously! I had a hard time coming up with three entries.

    • Nightxade

    • 8 years ago

    Oh come oooon! Challenges are fun and you managed some great picks! At least Nathan gave us something easier for next week 🙂

    1. Tee hee, yeah I managed to pull through – but I was panicking for a while there! I’m definitely looking forward to the snarky sidekicks, I think we’ll have some really diverse picks.

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    • 8 years ago

    I need to get through my book club read for January so I can hopefully finally read/listen to Dreamer’s Pool!

    1. Definitely recommend listening to the audiobook! It was really well done.

  3. Wow…. You picked up a one liner from Dreamer’s Pool.

    Slow Clap for you.

    1. I’m pretty pleased with myself, not gonna lie.

  4. Yep, totally missed the Dreamer’s Pool one…you remembered it from a one line mention?! Wow 😀


    1. *Pats self on the back* Well, I did read it like less than two weeks ago!

  5. Jeez holidays would be hard unless you specifically read some books just FOR them having holidays in them….like HogFather or uhhh those crazy contemp books that seem like they are written just specifically to be released at Christmas time. I see them in bookstores every year and it kinda makes me a gag a little. But I guess I can’t cause I do LIKE holiday MOVIES (well the cartoons actually). So I’m a hypocrite huh?

    1. It was seriously difficult! Haha, there are sooo many of those Christmas reads at work, I do not get the appeal. Mostly seniors sign them out soooo….yeah. The classic holiday cartoons are awesome! I’m partial to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

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