Tough Traveling: True Love


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: To Blave

“Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT, a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that. But that’s not what he said! He distinctly said “to blave.” (Thanks to Wendy again. Let’s find those examples of True Love!)

Wendy’s Picks:

An easy one this week, since one of the choices is right there in the topic. 😉

15c57-richard-and-kahlan-2-225x300The Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

One of my favourite storybook romances. As a Confessor, Kahlan’s powers prevent her from giving in to her desires, lest she lose control and confess her lover. Richard might not understand this, but he respects it, and never once pressures her. Throughout their adventure, their love blooms through mutual respect and dedication to their cause.

Arwen and AragornLord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tokien

As always, LOTR has a place on the tour. Aragorn and Arwen’s love is so 4real that the bard’s will sing of it forever. Not even distance, time, nor immortality could keep them apart.

the hundred thousand kingdomsThe Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

“So there was love, once. More than love. And now there is more than hate. Mortals have no words for what we gods feel. Gods have no words for such things. But love like that doesn’t just disappear, does it? No matter how powerful the hate, there is always love left, underneath. Horrible, isn’t it?”

Kushiel's DartKushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Elua’s precept is to “love as thou wilt,” but sometimes, one’s will is not what determines whom one will love. Joscelin did not intend to fall in love with the courtesan Phèdre nó Delaunay. In fact, much about her was anathema to him and the order he represented. But though their love went on to become the backbone of the series, there was a deeper love still, that first set them on their path, as Anafiel Delaunay sought to keep a promise that endured well beyond death.

best of all possible worldsThe Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

For me, the best romance books are the ones that you don’t realize are romances. That happened with The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord where, coincidentally, the lead character, Grace Delarua, didn’t realize it either.

Wild seedWildseed by Octavia E. Butler

Some romances seem to be anything but, which is most certainly the case with Doro and Anyanwu, immortal beings whose relationship vacillates between love and hate, abuse and affection.

Mogsy’s Picks:

After browsing through the list of books I’ve read and picking out my choices for this week’s theme, I realized that almost all the romances I decided to feature here involve the lovers overcoming great obstacles to be with each other. That’s true love to me.

Kushiel's ScionKushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey

The love between Joscelin and Phèdre may be one for the ages, but we mustn’t forget the epic romance between Imriel and Sidonie in the follow-up trilogy. The two did not mean to fall for each other either. In fact he initially found her insufferably arrogant, and she didn’t trust him — Imriel being the son of the greatest villainess Terre D’Ange has ever seen. But by the third book, it’s clear nothing can come between the two of them. Imriel will go through anything to return to Sidonie’s side.

Daughter of the ForestDaughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

After her brothers are turned to swans by an evil sorceress, Sorcha retreats into the woods to work on her quest to save them. However, a terrible incident leads her to flee her hiding place and she ends up being saved by Red and his men, Britons who her people are at war with. But not even war or a magical curse could keep them from falling in love.

Flight of the Golden HarpyFlight of the Golden Harpy by Susan Klaus

A golden male harpy saved Kari’s life when she was a child and she’s been fascinated with the creatures ever since. She became obsessed in particular with her special golden named Shail, to the point where her father felt the need to send her off-world for ten years in the hopes that she would forget all about the half-man-half-bird. Of course, the plan backfires and Kari comes home feeling more in love with Shail than ever.

45739-themadscientist27sdaughterThe Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Cat is five years old when she first meets Finn, the android her father brings home to be her tutor. But as Cat grows, she discovers Finn is different from other androids. With every year that passes Cat begins to see Finn as someone more than just a teacher and a friend, and their relationship becomes increasingly complicated. After all, she’s a human and he’s a robot. On top of it all, that’s not a pairing society would accept.

b0aab-loveminuseightyLove Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh

In this futuristic dystopian novel, hundreds of dead women are cryogenically frozen in dating farms, hoping that one day some rich man will like her enough to pay millions for her revivification before whisking her home to be his wife. This is what happens to the jogger Rob accidentally kills while driving. Full of guilt, Rob visits her to ask for forgiveness, but ends up falling for her instead. Since “waking” a dead woman up even for a few minutes to talk costs a lot of money, Rob has to sell everything he owns just to afford to keep seeing her, but it’s still no where near enough to pay for her full revivification.

BeguilementBeguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold

Fawn Bluefield is an eighteen-year-old farm girl who runs away from home only to be kidnapped by a Malice, an inhuman magical creature that sucks life out of everything around them. Dag is a jaded and middle-aged Lakewalker, a soldier-sorcerer whose life’s work involves hunting down and killing these Malices, keeping the land safe for all. Dag ends up saving Fawn’s life and before long they fall in love and have plans to marry. But the two come from such different backgrounds, and especially with Lakewalker culture being so insular, will their families agree to the match?

outlanderOutlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Outlander series needs no introduction, I’m sure. This first book is practically a classic by now, though I actually have not read any of the sequels beyond it. We’re introduced to Claire Randall, a former combat nurse home from WWII. Reunited with her husband, the two go on a second honeymoon to Scotland in order to get reacquainted. One day Claire stumbles upon a time portal in an ancient standing stone circle and ends up back in 1743 where she meets and falls in love with the handsome young Scots warrior named Jamie Fraser. Stuck in the past, Claire becomes torn between desire for Jamie and her loyalty to the husband she left behind…two hundred years in her future.

26 Comments on “Tough Traveling: True Love”

  1. Oh yes some great choices! Well I’ll have to look into blave because I don’t know what it means but I learned a word today lol. Ah Kushiel, each time it reminds me that I need to try the Imriel trilogy!


    • The Imriel trilogy is great! True, it’s not as good as the Phedre trilogy (because that one’s hard to top) but I enjoyed it. I found it a lot darker and more emotional.


  2. Awesome list! And I agree, there’s no way you can have a list of true love in speculative fiction without listing Aragorn and Arwen. 🙂

    A few others I can think of from the books I’ve read:

    – Ged and Tenar from Ursula LeGuin’s Earthsea books (they meet in the second book The Tombs of Atuan, but don’t actually have a relationship until the fourth one, Tehanu)
    – Fire and Brigan from Kristin Cashore’s Fire
    – Yelena and Valek in Maria Snyder’s Study series
    – Katsa and Po from Kristin Cashore’s Graceling
    – Danaerys and Khal Drogo in George R.R. Martin’s A Game Of Thrones


  3. “Throughout their adventure, their love blooms through mutual respect and dedication to their cause.”… of Richard always being right about everything and everyone better just figure that out. =)

    I should finish Kushiel’s Dart today. This is a damn fine story I am FINALLY getting to.


  4. How on earth did I forget Outlander!! I only just mentioned that in a post the other day and then it completely went out of my head.
    What a great list.
    Can’t wait to get to both my Marillier books!
    Lynn 😀


  5. Jacqueline Carey’s books sound interesting! I’ve seen them on a few romance/fantasy lists this week.
    But Ithink the best pick of all is Outlander – I can’t believe I forgot about it! Well, the book is probably not among my top-ten of all times but the series definitely is 🙂 Yay for Jamie ❤


    • I’ve only read the first book! I’m open to reading the rest of the series, but I can only read romances (like, heavy romances like the Outlander books) when I’m in the right mood. The books all look huge too! I don’t know when I can get to them!


  6. I really need to reread Phedre. I’ve only read the first trilogy, but I remember really liking it (and forbidding my then 14 year old sister from reading it too). And Joscelin . . . *swoons*

    So yeah, great picks 😉 *goes back to thinking about Joscelin*


  7. Thanks for including the video clip! I really want to read The Mad Scientist’s Daughter mostly because the romance element sounds so interesting but I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for it. Also good call on Love Minus Eighty – that’s a unique set up if ever there was one. I loved that book.


  8. Oooh I’m intrigued by that Octavia Butler title! I’m a big fan of hers, but I’ve not heard much about Wild Seed. And Beguilement is a perfect choice! That moment when Fawn and Dag are riding on a horse together and hilarious sexual awkwardness ensues is a true classic, hahaha.


  9. I enjoyed Kahlan and Richard’s relationship as well. (Even if I did like Nikki better) Somehow I’ve never read LOTR, I always stop after the Hobbit, but I’m glad to see it made your list.

    I’m glad to see Kushiel’s made both of your lists. I should probably read that one of these days. I’ve had the first two books forever. I love the idea of a girl falling for an android!

    Nice long lists this week! 🙂


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