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.

NECROMANCY is, in Fantasyland, the art of raising the dead, and you need a specialized MAGIC USER to
do it.

NOTE: Spoilers!

Gulliver's Travels Necromancer – Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

This classic satire was published in 1726, which just goes to show that necromancy is a pretty long-standing fantasy trope. The titular Gulliver encounters a necromancer who helps him communicate with the spirits of the dead in order to learn about the past(s) of several cultures. There’s also a bizarre little interlude where he eats a meal prepared by a famous dead chef.





The Awakening Chloe – The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe is a 15-year old necromancer who struggles with controlling her powers. She was subjected to genetic experiments in utero by the nefarious Edison Group, who sought to augment the powers of supernatural creatures. As a result of the experiment, Chloe is incredibly powerful – and struggles to control her newly discovered gifts. They begin manifesting very suddenly, and there’s  a disturbing incident where she accidentally raises a corpse in her sleep.




Sabriel Sabriel – Sabriel by Garth Nix

Both good and evil necromancy is at work in Garth Nix’s Sabriel. The evil necromancers raise the dead and compel them to do their bidding, while the good necromancers seek to put them down. The Abhorsen is a magical position held by a necromancer who uses a bandolier of bells to put these risen dead to rest. Sabriel’s father is the Abhorsen, and she herself is a powerful necromancer. Nix’s spin on necromancy breathes new life into the trope, particularly with the use of bells as necromantic tools.




Making MoneyDr. Hix – Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Dr. Hix is a professor at Unseen University, where he is the Head of the Department of Post Moretm Connections. Which is not necromancy, because necromancy is officially banned in Ankh-Morpork. And he is not a necromancer! Those guys are plebes. Just ignore the fading letters “NEC..M” on his door. They’re obviously not related to necromancy in any way.


  1. There was a necromancer in Gulliver’s Travels…whodathunkit? And I really have to get cracking on Nix’s Abhorsen books soon.


    1. Right? I never thought I’d be able to use required reading from class for one of these posts. The Abhorsen books are great, just a lot of fun! Plus, book 2 is about a librarian, so it’s unquestionably awesome! 😀

  2. ZOMG. I forgot about Sabriel too. And I just listened to it too (narrated by Tim Curry–it was AWESOME). I was kicking myself on someone else’s post for forgetting about The Darkest Powers when I had mentioned Jaime Vegas from Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series on yet another person’s post. *headdesk*

    1. Audiobooks are my newest vice. I *need* to get Clariel on audio when it comes out. I love Jaime! At one point in No Humans Involved she goes on this incredible diatribe about how awful working out is – that’s when I knew I loved her. I would read a book where she tutors Chloe in the art of Necromany…and gave her tips on how to manage a werewolf bf.

  3. Yet another reason why I really need to get a move on, and read Kelley Armstrong’s YA series already. Aaaannd, I’m back from vacay & ready to rock next week’s topic. Bring it!!

    1. DO IT! The Darkest Powers is one of those rare YA trilogies where the first book is just alright and books 2 and 3 are AMAZING. No second-book slump there!

    • BWB

    • 8 years ago

    This is such a cool weekly feature!!! I quite want to read some of the books you’ve listed here!

    1. I know, Nathan’s a pretty clever guy for coming up with it. I liked all of these books, although some admittedly less than others (Gulliver’s Travels…).

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    Interesting, a very good blogging friend of mine has recommended I read the Garth Nix books and now they’re on your list. It’s like fate is trying to tell me something…..
    Will have to make a note!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Clearly fate is telling you to get to the bookstore and get on it! Seriously, those books are very cool and readable. Garth Nix is a great writer who writes some seriously bad-ass lady protagonists.

    • Rabindranauth

    • 8 years ago

    Nice! I had Chloe on my list too 😀

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