Tough Traveling: Disguises


The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan oReview 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 (and inspired by) 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: Disguises

Hiding in plain site?  Put on a disguise.  Often used to sneak into the evil lair.  For best results brain a guard and steal his; no one is tracking these things.


Wendy’s Picks:

TalonTalon by Julie Kagawa

How do you hide a dragon in plain sight? You let them take on human form, of course. Ember and Dante hill are just gorgeous 16 year olds, hanging out at the beach for the summer with friends, right? Nope! They are actually young dragons, stationed there to learn how to blend in with society. Conveeenient!

7643b-americangodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman

You know who are really great at disguises? Gods. Like all the gods in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  And poor, naive Shadow, gets to meet just about all of them as he travels the United States.

Mystique (X-Men) and Voodoo (formerly WildC.A.T.S.)

Disguises? Well that’s pretty easy to cover when shapeshifting is your mutant power.

 aabe7-steelheartSteelheart by Brandon Sanderson

How do you lure the great Steelheart into a trap? By pretending to be an even more epic Epic than he is, complete with all the technology necessary to mimic super powers.

Arena Mode - Matthew MoxonArena Mode by Blake Northcott

Lots of people with mutant powers stroll around Northcott’s future, and many of them are willing to face death in the Arena for a chance at some big cash. Matthew Moxon is one of them. Or rather, he’s pretending to be, because he really, really needs that money…

The Wizards’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Sneak into the lair of the deadly Mord Sith, a group of women who have been conditioned to a life of pain and misandry, you say? The Seeker of Truth and the Mother Confessor are up to the task!

Legend of the Seeker

CloudRoadsThe Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Moon is an orphan with no clue about his origins. He’s spent his life hiding his shapeshifting abilities from the various cultures he settles with, especially since his true form resembles that of a feared enemy.

NPCsNPCs by Drew Hayes

When a group of adventurers wind up dead at the local bar, the usual suspects of non-playable characters decide to forego their typical roles and take up the quests the dead adventures have left behind.

And finally:

Superman Clark Kent

 Tiara’s Picks:

Siren's FuryMyles (The Storm Siren Trilogy by Mary Weber)

Myles is the handsomest creepster you’ll probably ever meet. He’s one of the magical beings in Weber’s series whose ability is mind  manipulation. One of his favorite tricks is using those abilities to disguise himself and others, often making himself appear as trusted allies to others in order to get access to information, move around in places he shouldn’t be, and of course, to get in close to people… One character even complains about him making her look like a teenaged boy after he tells her to stop gawking at herself as a boy. LOL!

Batman RIPJezebel Jet (Batman R.I.P. by Grant Morrison)

Jezebel’s is a former model and now the leader of an African country. While these are her true professions, she uses them to the best of her ability to get close to Batman as a undercover agent for the Black Glove who tasks her with making him fall in love with her. This does and doesn’t work out for her in the end. He does reveal an insane amount of secrets to her including his Bat persona and takes her back to the Bat Cave, but this is Batman we’re talking about. He’s not the called the world’s greatest detective for nothing.

Jezebel Jet

ASD2Bob Arctor (A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick)

In PKD’s dystopian story, Bob Arctor, a cop, is tasked with finding out who supplies a deadly narcotic known as Substance D (also called Death) that has some very disturbing affects on the brain. How does Bob plan to find the source? Well, he’s going undercover as a drug user. To say that’s an interesting experience is an understatement.



The Bad BeginningCount Olaf (A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket)

Count Olaf is the distant cousin of the Baudelaire children who becomes their caretaker after their parents die. He wants their inheritance. However, he’s foiled and the children are taken from him, and he begins a very dogged chase to get them back by assuming many disguises to ruin every opportunity they have at happiness.

Count Olaf

The StrandedCullen (The Stranded by Mike Carey)

Cullen starts this book as a “sleeper,” a humanoid alien refugee with powers whose memories have been manipulated so he forgets who he is. His powers allow him to absorb the feelings, persona, and powers of others to disguise his presence, a power that he’s inadvertently continued to use even as a sleeper, which makes him difficult to find in a crowd or remember when the bad guys come looking for him and other sleepers. However, since he works as an investment banker while he’s “sleep,” his inadvertent use of his powers help him to connect to people and make them believe they have things in common, that he’s one of them, which makes him an excellent banker to his colleagues’ chagrin. (Note: This comic is hard to find.)

Fables v1The Fables (Fables by Bill Willingham)

In Fables, fairy tale land is real, but has been taken over by an entity known as Adversary. The Fables, which includes names such as the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, flee to modern day New York. Those who don’t normally look human have to pay to keep up a glamour. Otherwise, they’re shipped off to what’s known as The Farm. The Fables are policed in part by Bigby Wolf (The Big Bad Wolf) who has mostly atoned for his past, but can sometimes be pushed to reveal his true form.

Bigby Wolf

This is only his partial true form. His true form is a wolf.

25 Comments on “Tough Traveling: Disguises”

  1. Ah they’re all new to me I confess but it’s a great topic even if quite difficult… I would say the Ciel series by Linda Grimes maybe too.


  2. Ha ha, Superman is the epitome of “disguises.” 🙂

    Hmmmm, let’s see… what disguises do I remember from SFF books I’ve read?

    – The faces of the Many-Faced God from George R.R. Martin’s Song Of Fire And Ice saga
    – Polyjuice Potion from Harry Potter
    – Akiva’s mask and “wing glamour” during the festivities in Loramendi (Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
    – Valek’s many disguises during Maria V. Snyder’s Study series


  3. Oooh there are some really good picks here! Mystique is perf, what more is there to say? Count Olaf’s disguises were so ridiculous and amazing. Remember the time he dressed up as a female receptionist? Classic!


    • Just seeing what he was going to dress up as next was an adventure, and I do have to say that I loved the scenes in the movie of Jim Carey dressed as him in various disguises.


  4. Lots of excellent picks that I totally didn’t think of – The Cloud Roads, American Gods, Wizard’s First Rule… and Mystique of course!!

    And Fables! I played The Wolf Among Us, and not having read the comics I thought we had the big reveal of Bigby’s true form at the end of episode 3…. until I played episode 5. OMG! Such an awesome moment!


  5. Ohh your inclusion of dragons in human form opens up so many possibilities! Humanoid aliens – I’m currently reading a book about one of those. Somehow I completely forgot about this aspect (and shape-changing like polyjuice potion in HP) and only went for clothes and such. Eh.


  6. I love the Howl’s Moving Castle gif! American Gods is a brilliant choice – I love the idea of Gods living amongst us and that book is one of the best to tackle that idea. Great call also on Fables! I love Bigby and sometimes forget that he is actually a gigantic wolf so… great disguise:)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I first started reading Fables, I wasn’t prepared for how huge Bigby really is. I expected him to be large, but dang, boy. LOL.


  7. Really interesting choices, but sadly I haven’t read any of these books or comics. I have seen the films of Superman, X-Men, and A Series of Unfortunate Events though. Being Mystique is like the ultimate disguise 🙂


  8. You could have a ball with this one really – the choices seem endless when you start with Superman, Spiderman, etc. I love the Mystique pick and that you got Howl’s Moving Castle on here. I love that book.
    I hummed and ahhed about whether or not to pick up Talon – I do love the cover. Maybe I should take another look at that one.
    Lynn 😀


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