The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan of Review Barn, who has come up with the excellent idea of making a new list each week based on the most common tropes in fantasy, as seen in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynn Jones. Nathan has invited anyone who is interested to come play along, so be sure to check out the first link for more information.
This week’s tour topic is: The Ace
Some people are just ridiculously good at everything. Be it magic, swordplay, or all of the above. THE ACE has no equal.
Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell
Falcio val Mond’s talents may lie in his silver tongue, but his two companions are the ones who are the master fighters. Brasti’s skill with the bow and arrow are unequaled, and Kest is the best swordsman in the land, and even claims the title of Saint of Swords.
The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes
Dreadaeleon may be young, but he’s an ace wizard. He also has a hard time taking advice from others and can sometimes be an arrogant jerk. What can you expect though, from a kid who knows he’s the best at what he does, which includes channeling lightning and hurling fireballs.
The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
Arlen is just good at everything. It was he who ventured out into the desert and uncovered the old relics and wards that people long thought were lost. It was he who came up with the idea to tattoo himself with those wards, making himself virtually indestructible. And after deciding to munch down on a demon, the “misting” ability and other powers he gains makes him the best coreling hunter around.
Riyria Revelations by Michael J. Sullivan
Hadrian Blackwater was raised by his father, a blacksmith and a Teshlor Knight. He was trained to follow the code and to fight in the style of the ancient order, After several stints as a mercenary in various armies and becoming a renowned pit fighter, his reputation as the greatest swordsman became firmly established.
Blood and Iron by Jon Sprunk
Horace is shipwrecked and washes up on the shores of Akeshia , where is is promptly pressed into service as a house slave. But then it turns out Horace is a latent sorcerer, which vaults him to the top of the royal court food chain. Never mind that he just discovered his power like, yesterday, or that his there’s not even magic where he came from, Horace is already a better mage than everybody else, even those who have been training since childhood.
The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
“I’m the only human who can do it!” A sharp glance from his mother wiped the grin from his face. “Mom, what? I’m not bragging. It’s true! Watto says he’s never heard of a human doing it.”
Oh, STFU Anakin. Yes, we all know you’re the best podracer, and that you’ll grow up to be the best starfighter pilot the galaxy has ever seen. But you’re still an annoying little snot.
Mogsy beat me to the Wolverine reference, so I’ll offer this X-Man instead, who even comes with his very own aces!
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
John Carter is awesome at everything he does. How do I know this? Because John Carter says it is so. When he gets to Mars, his earth-based biology makes him even awesomer. Look out Martians, John Carter is here to be awesome. For you.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Adarlan’s Assassin might be the king’s slave at the start of this book, but she’s far from down for the count. As Celaena makes her way through this series, she just keeps getting better and better at everything she does.
The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold
Ingray is the one people call on to get the job done, whether it be escorting a condemned woman to her trial, or releasing long dead soldiers from their ghostly prison. His demeanor leaves something to be desired, but we’re not inviting him to social parties now, are we. If Ingray is summoned, it’s because we want him to let the wolf out.
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
It takes a monster to fight a monster, and when towns have trouble with the former, a witcher is what they need. Geralt of Rivia is the witcher that other witchers look up to. You just better make sure you have the orens to pay him for his work. Witchin’ ain’t easy.
And finally, no one of consequence:
Comic book characters embody this trope more than anyone for me, so my list is doing some things. Please enjoy this musical tribute (not made by me and is also not the music from the comic Deadpool the Musical) of my favorite overpowered comic book character, Deadpool.
Boric the Implacable (Disenchanted by Robert Kroese) – Expert swordsman. Expert tactician. Troll slayer. Dragon hunter. Handsome as hell… until that whole death thing happened and turned him into a wraith. All around badass who turned into a bigger badass even after he died, if such a thing is possible. Badass.
Flemeth (Dragon Age by BioWare) – She’s in the novels, so it totally counts. Flemeth’s magic is the stuff of legends in the game, comics, and novel. Since I met her in the first game and subsequently read about her, she’s always been a magical character I liked and knew was totally overpowered FOR THE GODS. I mean, she can turn into a dragon. My mage in game wanted to learn this trick from her for reasons she need not disclose at this time. She literally tells every other magical character in the Dragon Age universe, “Get on my level.” After this last Dragon Age game, we now know why Flemeth is such a magical genius.
Dr. Strange (Dr. Strange by Marvel Comics) – If you’re ever in a comic book jam in the Marvel Universe, it’s time to call Stephen Strange and his object conjuring, time-warping, transmutating, bolt slinging God Tier magic. Dr. Strange has more titles than a college professor. Not only is he Sorcerer Supreme. He’s also a neurosurgeon. He’s in more clubs devoted to the magical arts than any other fictional being ever. This dude is even in the Illuminati. I mean, who can stop him? What can’t he do with magic? No, seriously, what can’t Dr. Strange do?
Kazuo Kiriyama (Battle Royale by Koushun Takami) – Boy #6. Kazuo is a lethal weapon. Martial arts, he’s perfected that. Sword-wielding, he’s perfected that. Gunplay, he’s perfected that. Smarts, got those, too. Being the perfect psycho capable of killing a fair chunk of his classmates without remorse in Takami’s dystopian novel/manga/movie Battle Royale? Yeah, he’s got that, too. He took #1 spot for number of kills. There can only be one king.
Mitsuko Souma (Battle Royale by Koushun Takami) – Girl #11. I can’t mention Kiriyama without mentioning the female counterpart. She doesn’t work with Kiriyama, but she certainly earns her place alongside him. However, she’s given a more carefully crafted back story than Kiriyama to explain her behavior (and really, what the hell on his back story in the novel and manga?). She’s a scrapper, but her best asset is being the perfect seductress hiding her hand behind her back. (And yes, these two meet in the final fight for one of them.) She took the #2 spot for most kills. The queen is dead; long live the queen.