Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tough Traveling - Bards

Tough Traveling is a fun meme that aims to tour all the tropes big and small, abhorred and loved that are littered across the fantasy landscape. It was conceived of and is hosted by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and here's how it's explained on the blog: 

Each Thursday, our copy of ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week's trope is Musicians/Bards:
"BARDS often join questing parties and provide entertainment around the campfire.  Sometimes their music even holds a little bit of magic.  Or a clue to an ancient mystery.  Or…"
Musicians, Bards  - I'll also throw out the word Minstrel.   I found this one incredibly difficult, either because I don't read books with a lot of music or I always forget the musicians - shame on me!

The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

This is the first one that came to mind as music plays a very strong role in these stories.  The narrator and MC, Kvothe's family were traveling minstrels.  They were killed because they sang a song about some magical folk they shouldn't have sung a song about.  Kvothe goes on to become a master musician and pursue an investigation into the shadowy creatures who killed his family mostly by investigating the song that drew them and its origins.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is a court musician and music is very prominent in this awesome YA story.  I'm not sure you can classify Seraphina as a Bard but I really enjoyed all the musicians in the story and the role music played in this novel!
A Man of His Word series by Dave Duncan

This is an older fantasy series that I enjoyed discovering last year.  It has a unique magic system based on people knowing up to 4 words of power.  Each word imbues the possessor of the word with power and enhanced skills.  One of the most interesting "characters" are the Sequentials - five people/personalities sharing one body.  They were cursed into this state and each can be brought forth at will and has a different talent - there's the scholar, the thief, the burly violent one, the smooth charmer and....the Bard.  I, of course, can't remember his name. If only there was a site where I wrote reviews and recorded things like key character names....

And I think that taps me out this week.  Not a terribly impressive list - I'll look forward to see what books the other well-read participants in Tough Traveling include on their lists!

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