TOUGH TRAVELING – PRINCESSES

tough-traveling

Every Thursday, Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn hosts a weekly party where blogs get to follow along with Diana Wynne Jones’ hilarious book The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel listing their favorite books with a particular fantasy trope. So sit back and enjoy the fun.

31st July, 2014 – PRINCESSES

PRINCESSES come in two main kinds:

1. Wimps.

2 Spirited and wilful. Spirited Princesses often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth.

What’s not to love about princesses? Though I do prefer the spirited and wilful variety more than the wimpy one. Anyway, here are a few of my picks.

1. ARISTA ESSENDON OF RIYRIAN REVELATION BY MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN
arista essendon

Sure, Arista was not a favorite of mine at the beginning of this series. She was the classic rich, self-absorbed and a bit clueless (not dumb, just innocent) princess, being the daughter of the King of Melengar and the sister of Alric, the heir to the throne. Heck, she was so naive that she is duped into releasing someone from a magical entrapment, but as the stories go by, Arista develops into an all-around great person: powerful, kind, and caring. Without her, the Riyrian Revelations would not have been as nearly as much fun as it was.

Read my review of the first novel: THEFT OF SWORDS.

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

2. AERIN OF THE HERO AND THE CROWN BY ROBIN MCKINLEY
AERIN
This is one of the first strong princesses I recall reading about back in the day. I’ve never forgotten her, but I don’t think I could describe her better than the Goodreads blurb of the book.

Although only child of Damar’s king, and best friends with heir Tor, Aerin is “the only pale-skinned redhead in a country of cinnamon-skinned brunettes”. When convalescing, she reads about fighting dragons, experiments with kenet herbal dragonfire-proof burn ointment, and learns to ride her father’s old wounded warhorse Talat. After Tor gives her lessons and a sword, her opponents, though small and almost fatal from the first, increase in size and danger. Immortal mage Luthe gives her the Blue Sword Gonturan, relates her true history, and prepares her for a huge battle with evil, but not the discovery of her country’s lost Crown.

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

3. KEELY DAUGHTER OF THE LION BY JENNIFER ROBERSON
keely
Another strong princess from back in the day, and one with a whole book just about her struggles. Once again, I think the Goodreads blurb describes proud and strong Keely better than I ever could.

She is Keely, twin sister to Corin, and daughter to Niall, the ruler of Homana, and she alone has the power to shapechange into any form—a power akin to that of the Firstborn. Like her brothers, Keely has been chosen to play a crucial part in the Firstborn’s prophecy. Yet Keely is no weak pawn to be used in men’s games of power and diplomacy. Trained alongside her brothers in the art of war, gifted with more of the old magic than most of her close kin, she will not easily give way even to Niall’s commands, nor be forced against her will into an arranged marriage.

But others besides Keely’s father have plans for her future. Stahan, the most powerful Ihlini sorcerer, is preparing a trap from which even one as magically-gifted as Keely may find no escape. And in the deepwood, another waits to challenge Keely—an outlaw fully as dangerous to her future freedom as Strahan is to her life…

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

4. MIST OF THE DREAD EMPIRE SERIES BY GLEN COOK
REAP THE EAST WIND

Glen Cook’s Dread Empire series is a world spanning affair, heavy on character interaction as well as gritty politics and warfare. The cast of amazing characters Mr. Cook concocts here is rivalled only by his more well-known series: The Black Company, and among the list of stellar heroes and heroines, villains and villainesses portrayed by Mr. Cook is Princess Mist.

Mist is a kickass wielder of magic from The Dread Empire. She was well on her way to become the overlord of all when she sort of lost interest and found herself in love with the wrong man and banished from her home. Finding a sanctuary with King Bragi of the western kingdoms, she sets about plotting and scheming to find herself then find away to return to her homeland and take over the Dread Empire. She is strong, sensual, and one hell of a princess. The only reason she is so far down my list is that she has to share the pages of the series with so many other characters that she never really is the star of the show. But hey, Mist could be the star of my show anytime.

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

5. CE’NEDRA OF THE BELGARIAD/THE MALLOREAN BY DAVID EDDINGS
CE'NEDRA

Another princess from the far away olden times of fantasy. You know, back in the 1980s and 1990s before grimdark reigned supreme. Anyway, any list of princesses has to have this Imperial Princess of Tolnedra. She was the daughter of Ran Borune XXIII, Emperor of Tolnedra, and the Dryad Ce’Vanne, and she was know to all the other girls in Tolnedra as the Jewel of the House of Borune, because she was beautiful, smart, cunning, and you damn well better call her what she wanted because her daddy was the Emperor!

Wilful and stubborn, Ce’Nedra runs away from the imperial palace at age 15 to avoid being sent to Riva in accordance with the Accords of Vo Mimbre, thereby beginning an international crisis, but our princess doesn’t really care. After traveling for a time with Belgarath and Polgara’s group, she finds herself attracted to a poor, farm boy named Garion — who later turns out to be a lot more than that.

Throughout the Belgariad, Ce’Nedra slowly turns from a spoiled brat into a powerful woman; eventually strapping on her golden armor and leading the armies of the west to battle the god Torak. Quite the princess and worthy of a shout out on this list.

Read my review of the first book: Pawn of Prophecy.

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

5. LAURANA KANAN OF THE DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES BY WEIS AND HICKMAN
Laurana_Kanan

Another princess from my teenage years. God, I’m beginning to see a trend her. Lol! Be that as it may, Laurana is another willful, courageous, charming and incredibly beauty princess. As the youngest child of the elf king Solostaran, the Speaker of the Sun who rules of the elves of Qualinesti, she was given a lot of freedom by her father and naturally fell in love with the wrong person: Tanis Half-Elven. Not only was Tanis a half-breed but he was also her foster brother. (Damn, isn’t there a law against that or something? Just saying.) Naturally, our princess’ family frowned upon their match, and they are pleased when Tanis decided to leave Qualinesti. Unfortuantely, Laurana promises never to give up on him but remained true to her vow to be with him.

Years later, the two erstwhile lovers meet up again during the War of the Lance, and Laurana goes on to become a commander of armies, a hero in her own right, and Tanis’ significant other. She might not be the bad girl, but Laurana always gets what she wants. Take that Kitiara, you skank!

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

HONORABLE MENTIONS

While that completes my list of “Princesses”, I have to mention a couple of very worthy royal ladies that were not on my list only because they did not fit the fantasy definition of “Princess” that I was working with.

1. MARA OF THE ACOMA IN THE EMPIRE TRILOGY BY FEIST AND WURTS
mara
She was called back from her training when a rival clan kills her whole family. Set up to fail and allow her house to fall into ruin, Mara grabs the reins of power, finding a way (no matter how personally brutal to herself) to strengthen her clan and begin the rise from desolation to preeminence in this amazing world. She plots, bends tradition, avoids assassination attempts and trades her heart for power in order to save the Acoma from destruction. Mara might not be a “princess” but she was an amazing woman, mother, and ruler.

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

2. ALIERA E’KIERON OF DRAGAERAN NOVELS BY STEVEN BRUST
ALIERA E'KIERON

One of the stars of the Dragaeran novels penned by Steven Brust. As the Lyorn Records describe her:

Aliera e’Kieron is a Dragon, the daughter of Adron and Verra. She specializes in sorcery and exercises great skill with a blade. She currently wields the Great Weapon Pathfinder. Her other interests include genetics.

Aliera is short for a Dragaeran. Her eyes are normally green but turn grey or blue when experiencing anger or aggression, as is the mark of an e’Kieron. Her hair is blonde, which is also a characteristic of the e’Kieron line, and is very rare for a Dragaeran – especially a Dragon.

Aliera descends from the most prestigous line of Dragons. That is, her lineage can be traced back to Kieron himself. The three known members of this line (Kieron, Adron, Aliera) are seen, generally, to be arrogant, to operate at an individual code, to be highly ambitious and to posses a firey temper – even for a Dragonlord. Aliera naturally responds with immediate aggression to all shapes and varieties of challenges but has a more open strategic mindset than a Dzur. She is loyal to friends, and secretly holds both her father Adron e’Kieron and her cousin (on her father’s side) Morrolan e’Drien as personal heroes.

When we meet her, she is often annoyed by something or someone.

Aliera is one bad “princess” without a doubt as well as the future ruler of her world. Worth a mention, even though she is not exactly a princess in the normal mold.

See some of my reviews of the series.
Jhereg The Phoenix Guards

BUY BOOK ONE OF THE SERIES AT AMAZON

3. PRINCESS LEIA OF STAR WARS
princess leia
No, Star Wars isn’t fantasy. And no, she shouldn’t be anywhere near this list. But you know what? When anyone says “Princess”, Leia is the one I immediately think of. As a teenager I enjoyed her pictures on my wall, and as an adult, I’ve appreciated reading about her in the Expanded Universe books. Leia is everything that a princess should be in my opinion. Plus she looked really good in that metal bikini. Yeah, I went there. Well, not exactly went there, but you know what I mean. God, some of you guys have dirty minds.

Read my review of one book about Leia: RAZOR’S EDGE.

BUY ONE OF LEIA’S BOOKS AT AMAZON

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY BEST OF FANTASY LISTS.

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25 Responses to TOUGH TRAVELING – PRINCESSES

  1. A great post, and some great princesses! 😀

    Like

  2. Great list! I though of Arista, but wound up going with books I’ve read more recently. That’s the only pick on your list that I’ve read, but think it sounds like I should check out Dread Empire!

    Like

  3. lynnsbooks says:

    Hah – so glad you put Leia on here – she’s the only princess I know! If you had to pick one of these that is absolutely a ‘must read’ – which would it be (that’s it you’re on the spot and don’t go picking two!!!!) I like book recommendations (which is why I have such a ridiculous tbr – but, if you pick one – I will include it on my stacks!)
    Love that picture for the Eddings book.
    And, now I want to go and watch Star Wars – the 1st one – the real 1st one that is.
    Lynn 😀

    Like

    • Bookwraiths says:

      Wow, put me on the spot. Huh, a must-read would be Daughter of the Empire by Wurts and Feist. Mara of the Acoma is a great character. But if I could recommend a under appreciated classic fantasy series, it would be Chronicles of Cheysuli by Jennifer Roberson. It starts off rough and simple but gets better and better. Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Like

      • lynnsbooks says:

        Haha, the pressure!!! I’ve read the first three of the Riftwar Saga and enjoyed them. Not read further though but as I like Feist I’ve just picked up Daughter of the Empire -a steal for £1.99!! Will give that a go. Thanks. May also take a look at Robertson – seems to be quite a lot in that series but in particular a couple of short stories that I might check out.
        Thanks.
        Lynn 😀

        Like

  4. Man do I love dragonlance – I really need to get back into reading some more of those. Quite a few other’s here I totally plan on reading!

    Like

  5. Mogsy says:

    The only ones we have common this week is Arista — and of course Princess Leia! And bah, sci fi is fair game in these lists, I say!

    Like

  6. Nathan says:

    I have not read a single one of your picks this week except for the obvious one in your honorable mentions. Not often I get hit with list full of unknows, though I have read some of the authors mentioned.

    Like

  7. Hahaha, that Eddings book sounds classic. Of course the poor farm boy is anything but! Diana Wynne Jones really knows what she’s on about with these tropes. 😉

    Like

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