Tough Traveling: People on Boats


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: People on Boats

Grab a map of Fantasyland and you are sure to see there is water.  Of course not everything important is going to happen on land, right?  Sometimes people actually have to get on a boat and hit the water.  Where, being fantasyland, anything can happen.

Mogsy’s Picks:

47d81-theredwolfconspiracyThe Red Wolf Conspiracy by Robert V.S. Redick

Yes! I can finally pull out this book again for Tough Traveling. A maritime fantasy through and through, this book kicks off the Chathrand Voyage series about a great ship that vanishes at sea along with the 800 souls she was carrying. The Chartrand was originally tasked on a diplomatic mission, but she carried more than just ambassadors. Spies, sorcerers, assassins, gremlins, and more also made their home on board.

GracekeepersThe Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan

I didn’t think I was going to be pulling out this book again so soon, but it definitely fits the theme. The Gracekeepers takes place in a world where the ocean has flooded most of the earth, so its people have learned to adapt. Those who have taken to the sea and made their permanent homes aboard ships and other vessels are referred to as damplings.

2b9c8-cityofdragonsThe Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb

This is the only one of Robin Hobb’s series which I’ve actually read to completion (I was doing things a little backwards there). It chronicles the journey of a group of dragons and their keepers who are traveling along the river to the legendary Elderling city of Kelsingra. Tagging along to keep them company is a wizardwood liveship and her crew, led by the great captain Leftrin.

Red Seas Under Red SkiesRed Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

After an iffy heist that doesn’t go exactly as planned, Locke and Jean take to the seas in this installment of The Gentleman Bastard series! We get to learn a lot of nautical terms and meet some dastardly pirates.

Mother of EdenMother of Eden by Chris Beckett

Starlight Brooking and her tribe are known as the Kneetree Folk, who live on a tiny island far away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Eden. They learn to swim before they learn to walk, and their whole industry revolves around boat-making and fishing. The book starts off with a scene featuring Starlight and her family and friends, paddling out to gather resources to build new vessels, and later on they travel to the trading hub in the hopes of selling their boats.

Half a KingHalf a King by Joe Abercrombie

When his father and older brother are unexpectedly killed in an enemy ambush, Prince Yarvi has no choice but to inherit the throne, but he barely has the chance to warm the seat before he is betrayed and left for dead. His fight for survival sees him sold into slavery and taken on the high seas. In the ship’s hold, he and the other slaves find themselves rowing rowing rowing for days on end, traveling around the Shattered Sea.

5ff04-voyageofthebasiliskVoyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

Once again, we find Isabella making preparations for an expedition to continue studying her dragons. There are several major differences about this particular book, though. Isabella will be leading it, for one; no longer accompanied by her old associate and benefactor Lord Hilford. Isabella has also decided to bring along her son Jake, who is now old enough to travel. And finally, this upcoming expedition will be her longest and most ambitious one yet: two years aboard the Basilisk, a royal survey ship hired to sail her and her party around the world in order to study all manner of dragonkin.

Tiara’s Picks:

I took liberty with once choice on this list, and I’ll explain why when we get to it!

CloudRoadsThe Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

When the Raksura decide that it’s time to pick up and leave their homeland, they face a problem with some of their nonflying citizens, and no one gets left behind. They eventually negotiate a deal with another race who have flying ships they use for trade and travel. Not spaceships, but traditional boats that sail the skies with use of wind and magic. I’m sure it looked just like this, okay. I know that’s Peter Pan. Work with me.

Flying Ship

AcaciaAcacia: The War with the Mein by David Anthony Durham

After the crumble of their father’s empire, the Akaran children are scattered to the winds to meet their destiny. The youngest, Dariel, goes from royalty to being one of the most feared pirates to travel the seas despite being only in his late teens by the start of the second phase of the book. He’s not the biggest pirate and maybe not the baddest, but…

You Have Heard of Me

QuicksilverQuicksilver by Neal Stephenson

In this historical novel, Daniel Waterhouse (who has awesome family members with name like Wait Still Waterhouse and Praise-God Waterhouse–they’re Puritans) is a natural scientist late in his years who’s been asked by the queen to basically make Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz stop pulling each other’s hair. His voyage includes a lengthy trip from America back to England where he encounters pirates and other craziness while reminiscing on his past life with some of the world’s greatest scientists. This book is one big nerdy ode to science (among other things). I LOVE IT. This is an accurate summary of the science in this book, especially where Newton is concerned:


The ScarThe Scar by China Miéville

“Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of New Crobuzon. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a renowned linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passage—and escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.” I stole that from Goodreads because it made it sound better than I could.

One Piece v1One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

After eating Devil’s Fruit and being able to do rubbery things with his body because of it, they told Luffy he could be anything he wanted to be. He chose to be a pirate. Good answer. Luffy travels the world looking for something called “one piece” which will allow him to rule over all the pirates. He’ll be Pirate Sorcerer Supreme.


Dawn TreaderThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

In this book, two of the Pevensie children are transported back to Narnia to take part in a sea journey on Dawn Treader with Prince (now King) Caspian to rescue the seven lords and save Narnia… again…


Dragon AgeDragon Age by Bioware

Isabela the pirate queen is often written off by many for being such a carefree female character who’s comfortable in her own skin, but what many fail to realize is that Isabela is the survivor of an abusive marriage who took her husband’s ship Siren’s Call after doing away with him. After that, she decides to live life on her own terms as a pirate, a duelist, a thief, and I’ll fight anyone who begrudges her for that. Isabela says, “I like big boats, and I cannot lie.” Me too, baby. Me too.

Batman RIPBatman by DC Comics – People usually think of the Batmobile and the Batplane, but forget a very important part of Bruce’s mobile arsenal. The Batboat. ‘Cuz the party don’t start til Bruce walks in wherever the bad guys are. Unfortunately, he can’t always make an entrance with the Batmobile, and the firm hand of justice is impeded by no natural element as water. HE IS THE NIGHT! And the night doesn’t fear water.


I chose this picture because of Robin’s face, okay.

Wendy’s Picks:

Tiara took all the awesome gifs and images. Please scroll back up to enjoy their glory one more time.

His Majesty's DragonHis Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Lawrence is a dragonrider now, but before he earned his rank within his Majesty’s dragon airforce, Lawrence was captain of a ship–one that captured a smuggled dragon egg that would forever change Lawrence’s life with the birth of Temeraire. Who looks just like Toothless. Totally does. Fight me.


The Prophecy ConThe Prophecy Con by Patrick Weekes

Not all ships need to be waterbound. In The Prophecy Con, the ships, including the gorgeous elven tree ships with really cool unpronouncable names that mean really elaborate and poetic things… that I can’t remember right now. I’ll get back to you.

The Way of KingsThe Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

Shallan Davar spends a good chunk of her time on boats in Brandon Sanderson’s series, beginning with her boat ride on the  Wind’s Pleasure on her way to see Jasnah Kholin, the heretic scholar. Later, her boat trip with her new mentor doesn’t go quite so well…

Kushiel's DartKushiel Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey

Jacqueline Carey’s lead characters do a lot of travelling and as such, much of their time is spent in boats. It’s helpful that Phedre is friends with, well, everyone, including Quintilius Rousse, Admiral of the Fleet, oh and the Master of the Straits, the supernatural being who wields control over the waters themselves.


19 Comments on “Tough Traveling: People on Boats

  1. Tiara. Your section. Those gifs. I couldn’t stop laughing. I loved it. XD And a great job overall from everyone this week!

    I never knew how many SFF novels feature water vessels of some kind. And out of all the books listed here, I’ve read a grand total of… one. (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) *lol* So I’ve got nothing to add.

    Although… one of the books on my TBR list is A.M. Dellamonica’s Child of a Hidden Sea, which (if I’m not mistaken) features pirates and boats.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally didn’t think of the airships in The Cloud Roads, that’s a great choice. And of course, Isabela… be still my heart.

    Temeraire looks like Toothless? Headcanon accepted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Red Wold conspiracy looks interesting! And of course Scott Lynch was perfect for this week’s meme. On the other hand I slapped myself for not thinking about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, because it was exactly in the spirit of the topic! And last but not least… there is a second book by Patrick Weekes???? I just finished The Palace Job and totally LOVED it, so I’m very happy to know there’s more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahhh JACK SPARROW! Fantastic choice. As much as I was bored by the sequels, the first movie was great – I must have seen it at least five times.
    I always forget to include the Narnia books, I think I have a mental block there (I never liked them, even as a kid, I don’t know why).

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL. There’s nothing wrong with that. I put on my blinders when it comes to Tolkien. I think we all have authors/series that we’re like that about.


  5. Well, again, who knew that there were so many book related books out there – perhaps we should have included orphans on boats – that might have narrowed down our choices?? Maybe not – because last week proved there are also a LOT of orphans!!
    I can’t believe I didn’t think of Kushiel’s Dart! Doh!! I’m taking part in a readalong at the moment – and it’s a reread too.
    Lynn 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right. We could’ve found a lot of orphans on boats. Heck, even on my list, the boy I mentioned from Acacia is an orphan and of course, Batman. LOL.


  6. I need to read Mother of Eden. I did like the first one. And I wonder if I would like Red Wolf more this time around? I read it quite a long time ago and it wasn’t what I wanted at the time.


  7. Awesome list as always and as always a lot on here I’ve not read. I’m most intrigued by Quicksilver – that sounds amazing! And I like the graphic you paired with it:).


    • I really enjoyed Quicksilver. It’s actually part of a really huge series he did. You can either buy the books separate (8 in all) or in 3 books with the novels bundled together. Quicksilver is the name of the first book and the volume that 3 of the books are bundled in. Very interesting if you like history with a fictional twist, the origins of various sciences, etc.


  8. Half A King is on the “ASAP” tier of my TBR, and I need to get caught up on Lady Trent too! Can’t believe I forgot The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, such a perfect choice. And you’re right Wendy, Temeraire definitely has a Toothless vibe going on!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: 5 on the 5th: Five Fantastic Speculative Fiction Blogs | Sara Letourneau's Official Website & Blog

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