Tough Travelling: Apprentices

Welcome to Tough Travelling – a monthly feature created by Fantasy Review Barn and hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, every month we set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.

| Apprentices |

Apprentices are people who are training for a trade or skill, which means they are usually quite young and bad at what they do. Most of the time they are like nurses during an operation, being there only to hand the master his told. They seem to have to do this for a good many years before they get to do anything more interesting, and it is therefore not surprising that some of them get restless and either try to do the interesting stuff themselves or simply run away. The Rules state that if an Apprentice tries to do the interesting stuff on their own it will blow up in their face. If they run away, they will learn all sorts of things very quickly and also probably prove to be the MISSING HEIR to a Kingdom.

The Tough Guide To Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

| Apprentices from A to Pprentice |

Fantasyland, with its myriad worlds, lands, kingdoms and hovels, really does have a rather narrow career path for those wishing to earn a living. Under the careful guidance of their master, the next generation learn new skills and prepare for the discovery that they are in fact the chosen one.

With more apprentices inhabiting the world of fantasy than I’ve had hot dinners, we’re spoiled for choice with this week’s Tough Travelling. 

| 1. |

Reaper’s Apprentice


Mort by Terry Pratchett

In a dramatic case of interfering parents inadvertently altering the fabric of reality, Mort is taken to a job fair by his father in the hope that he would land an apprenticeship. Believing his son to have become apprentice to an undertaker, Mort has in fact scored a far more interesting position, and soon finds himself collecting souls under the tutelage of Death himself. 

| 2. |

Wizard’s Apprentice


The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

From humble beginnings as a kitchen boy in Crydee, Pug, on his day of Choosing (whereby teenage boys are selected by craft masters to become their apprentices) is discovered by the magician Kulgan. Sensing potential in the boy (but not quite sensing the right amount), he takes him under his wing to begin his training in magic.

| 3. |

Super Crime Fighting Wizard’s Apprentice

Peter Grant

The Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch

Threatened by a life behind a desk, Constable Peter Grant is rescued from eternal inaction by Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. And Nightingale just so happens to be a wizard. Taking Peter under his wing, Nightingale begins tutoring him in the weird and wonderful world of magical crimes.

| 4. |

Thief’s Apprentice

Locke Lamora

The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora and his fellow Gentlemen Bastards were once apprenticed to Father Chains, a priest of the Crooked Warden, the god of thieves. Under Father Chains’ tutelage, they were trained in the art of deception; becoming accomplished liars, masters of disguise, and con-men with the most impeccable taste in fine cuisine. 

| 5. |

Assassin’s Apprentice


The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

Orphaned as a child, Azoth is taken – or rather forces himself – under the grim wing of Durzo Blint who agrees to train him in the arts of the ‘wetboy’. Despite this strangely coined term, Azoth is not trained as either a bed-wetter or a male prostitute, but as a completely bad-ass assassin who blends magic and martial skill to become a deadly human weapon. 

Who would you like to be apprenticed to? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the The Fantasy Hive and sign up!

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The Friday Face-Off: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Update

Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a new weekly meme here at Books by Proxy. Join me every Friday as I pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe.

The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Welcome to this week’s Friday Face-Off update! Apologies for the late post, Amsterdam beckoned! Last Friday we were looking at covers which feature something relating to death… so there was one motif that had to crop up (time and again) – the skull!

Published by Doubleday in the UK and by Disney / Hyperion in the US, The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud – the second book in the Lockwood & Co. series – features two creepy covers to sink our teeth into. Scroll down to see which one won last Friday’s vote!

Doubleday – UK Cover

Artwork by Alessandro ‘Talexi’ Taini

Disney / Hyperion – US Cover

Artwork by Michael Heath

| The Friday Face-Off: Winner |

Well this Face-Off was something of a landslide. The UK cover really didn’t win me over and presents an almost amateur look – I’m not sure I would assume Stroud was an established author if I hadn’t read and enjoyed him previously. The skull is certainly creepy and draws the eye but looks oddly photoshopped into the sky, nor is the figure in the foreground interesting enough to lift the composition, and the typeface doesn’t do it any favours at all. Definitely a disappointing cover from this side of the pond.

The US cover however is wonderful! I love that creepy skull in the glass vial. I love that glowing, smoking green liquid and the chains, dirt and grime which surround it. This is definitely an interesting and eye-catching composition which benefits from a diverse range of lettering – and I certainly find my eyes drawn to the ‘Lockwood & Co.’ title. The US cover is the hands down winner for this Friday Face-Off!

Which cover wins your vote this week? Have a cover of your own? – Post the link below!

Amazon | The Book Depository | Goodreads

Post LinksTomorrow’s theme is: Like One, That on a Lonesome Road

A cover which features a road

Remember to check The Friday Face-Off Feature Page for upcoming themes

| Links |

DJ @ MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape – Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Zezee @ Zezee With Books – The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek – The Shotgun Arcana by R.S. Belcher

Lynn @ Lynn’s Books  – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

S J Higbee @ Brainfluff – Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Nick V Reys @ The Paper Dragon – Mort by Terry Pratchett

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