“Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created by Nathan at Review Barn where participants make a new list each week based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. This hilarious little book cheerfully pokes fun at the most prevalent tropes in fantasy. All are welcome to take part, and there is a link up over at his site. Join in any time!
This week’s trope is PETS:
Everybody needs somebody to love. And the best companionship doesn’t always come from the same sentient group, does it? Be it furry or scaled, large or small, sometimes an animal companion is the best thing a person can have. Thank you to Nathan’s wife for this week’s topic!
I love this topic! I’m an animal lover and I’m always envious of characters in fantasy novels who can communicate with their pets. I chose a mix of pets, ranging in species and abilities. Some are just regular animals in a crazy world while the others are special snowflakes in their own right!
|Skysong / Kitten – The Immortals series by Tamora Pierce
Daine, the protagonist of the Immortals series, is a wild mage who can understand animals. Her bond with other creatures leads to her adopting a baby dragon named Skysong, whom she nicknames Kitten. Like all dragons, Kitten’s colour changes with her moods and she can speak. Ultimately she’s more like family than a pet!
|Kenji – Darkness Rising series by Kelley Armstrong
Maya is another animal lover protagonist, with a passion for treating animals evident in her relationship with her rescue dog Kenji. Kenji is loyal, protective, and shares an unexplainable bond with Maya. While Maya can intuitively understand animals more than normal humans, she cannot verbally or telepathically communicate with Kenji (or other animals).
|Cagney and Lacey – October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
Toby Daye’s cats are named Cagney and Lacey (hehe), and like their namesakes they are trouble makers. While the cats do have some sort of alignment with the fae Court of Cats occupied by the Cait Sidhe (cat shapeshifter fae), but they aren’t fae themselves. They are regular cats so Toby can’t understand their thoughts but the Cait Sidhe can.
|Manchee – The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This series is seriously brilliant and one of the best aspects is the relationship between protagonist Todd and his dog, Manchee. Todd is able to communicate with Manchee two ways: by talking and telepathically through the Noise. The Noise is a disease that impacts men and animals in the new world (space!), one that enables people to see and hear thoughts. Manchee uses the Noise to tell crude jokes and he’s so full of heart. Love you, Manchee!