Tough Travelling “Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created byΒ Nathan at Review BarnΒ 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 TOWERS:

TOWERS stand along in waster areas and almost always belong to Wizards. All are several storeys high, round, doorless, virtually windowless, and composed of smooth blocks of masonry that make them very hard to climb.

Here’s what I came up with!

SquireBalor’s Needle – Protector of the Small Quartet by Tamora Pierce

The highest tower in the royal palace of Corus, Balor’s Needle is 100 feet tall and primarily used by court mathematicians. At the very top of the balcony there’s a balcony accessible only by a rusted metal staircase -the tower has fallen into pretty serious disrepair. Kel must face her greatest fear (heights!) when she is forced to scale the tower to rescue a friend.

Book of a Thousand DaysThe Tower – The Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

In this retelling of the little-known folk tale Maid Maleen (made famous by the brothers Grimm), Dashti gets more than she bargained for when she accepts a job as a maid to the Lady Saren. When Saren refuses to spurn her betrothed for her father’s preferred suitor, he banishes Dashti and Saren to a tower far beyond the city limits. Saren will either marry the man her father has chosen, or she – and Dashti – will remain locked inside the tower for seven years. Added points for non-Western setting!

The Scroll of YearsHangnail Tower – The Scroll of Years by Chris Willrich

While the Hangnail Tower isn’t the most splendid or even the tallest tower in Palmary, it is the most forboding. It is home to the kleptomancers, dark wizards who rule the city through their human vassals. Perhaps even more (in)famous than the kleptomancers are the Goblin librarians, catalogers and protectors of the famed Goblin Library at Hangnail Tower. Persimmon Gaunt asks her lover Imago Bone to steal back her volume of original poetry from the Goblin Library and complete chaos ensues. It’s wonderful.

CastleTower at Caer Colur – The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander


When Princess Eilonwy is forced to abandon Taran and his quest so she can train to be a “proper lady,” she is understandably furious (kind of her default setting, actually). But etiqutte lessons aren’t the scariest thing about Castle Caer Colur – that award goes to Queen Achren, an evil sorceress who wants to harness Eilonwy’s magic and turn her into a puppet. Like all evil sorceresses, Achren locks Eilonwy away in the tallest tower of the castle. It’s here that Taran finds her and the pair unleash some serious whoopass.


  1. Forgot about the Goblin librarians! Oh there is just so much awesome stuff in Willrich’s series. SO GOOD.

    1. I’m loving it so far!

    • jen mullen

    • 8 years ago

    I really liked The Book of a Thousand Days and am adding The Scroll of Years to my wish list.

    1. The Book of a Thousand Days was such a pleasant surprise! I love Shannon Hale’s writing.

  2. The only one I’ve read is The Scroll of Years and I totally forgot about Hangnail Tower. I love the covers you chose for your other books though, very classic!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Everyone always talks about how awesome The Scroll of Years is, so I figured I had to get in on the greatness!

    • bookwraiths

    • 8 years ago

    God, more great books I need to give a try. Love how every Thursday I keep finding more novels to read. Great list!

    1. Thanks! I know, these lists can be brutal for the wish list. But that’s book blogging for you – a never ending pile of books!

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    Wow, i love that you’ve got a list that I haven’t heard or read any of the books at all – will have to go and look them all up now! I’m sure I’ve heard of Tamora Pierce though? Rings a bell for some reason.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

    1. Hmmm…maybe because I rave about her in like 2/3 of my lists? Hahaha. But actually though, her Alana the Lioness series is pretty famous, you’ve probably heard of that one!

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    • 8 years ago

    Another Tamora Pierce reference. One of these days I shall read one of her books. I’ve actually not read any of these! And I notice all these books feature a female protagonist which is awesome and amazing! πŸ˜€

    1. It’s my personal mission to make everyone read her books πŸ˜‰ Good catch with the female protagonists – I’m so glad someone picked up on that, Lisa! I was feeling pretty clever about it, hehe.

    • Charlotte

    • 8 years ago

    Ahhh. So many new books for me to check out. All of these books are new to me. And you have another Tamora Pierce book in your list again. One day, I am going to pick up one of her books.

    Thanks for sharing, Danya!

    1. Based on your love of YA, I think you’d really like Tamora Pierce! She’s all badass lady heroines, all the time. What’s not to like? πŸ™‚

  3. I can’t remember the last time I read a book that featured wizard, so as far as towers go… I’ve got nothing. Maybe Compelled by Shawntelle Madison, there were sorcerers in that one, but I can’t recall if there was a castle or not.

    1. I’ve read lots of books with wizards in them, and I *still* found this week’s trope pretty hard! Shawntelle Madison is an author I’ve been meaning to check out for a while, but haven’t gotten around to yet. Did you like Compelled?

  4. I read all of the Chronicles of Prydain in my early teens, but I can’t
    remember this one! To tell the truth, I mostly just remember The Black

    The Scroll of Years has really beautiful cover art! Those colours, that composition – gorgeous!

    1. Probably just as well – The Black Cauldron was the best book, imo. But I read the series during my post-Narnia phase, and I would’ve taken anything even remotely resembling that masterpiece.

      The cover *is* beautiful! And the book itself is amazing, too! You should check it out, Maija.

      1. I read more about The Scroll of Years on GoodReads, and it sounds like I should give it a go. But there’s no ebook version and my library doesn’t carry it! ;_; I guess I’ll wait, and buy the paperback when I have less physical TBR books on my shelves (yeah, when will that happen)!

    • Anya E. J.

    • 8 years ago

    Oo yeah, the tower in Scroll of Years definitely sticks out, great list πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks, Anya! Have you read it? I’m loving it so far! Exceedingly Accurate Woo has got to be one of the best secondary characters ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.