Tough Traveling is a weekly feature, created and hosted by Nathan at the Fantasy Review Barn, in which participants come up with a list of books that follow the fantasy tropes that can be found in Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. Each week, Nathan picks a new subject. This week the top is:
Dead Gods: Fantasyland had gods, right? And now they are dead. Dead Gods are not forgotten though, often they are still just influential to the land as they were when living.
My memory is a little fuzzy, but I believe I was the one who came up with this idea (so you can all blame me later!), and at the time I had a bunch of books in mind that I could use. Now that I’m trying to put a post together, I’m like “What was I thinking???” Much harder than I expected, or maybe I’m just forgetting all the examples I thought of a couple of months ago. But here are the books that come to mind (and sorry for the repeats, I think I’ve used all these examples before):
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. You’ve seen this book on Tough Traveling lists everywhere, because it’s one of those stories that seems to have a little of everything, including dead gods. In this case, the gods were killed during an event called the Blink, along with the city of Bolikov itself.
Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone. The story begins with the death of a god named Kos, the fire god of the city of Alt Coulumb. But is he really dead? Or is he just hiding? That’s what lawyer Tara must figure out, before the city crumbles in the wake of his disappearance. Gladstone’s amazing series features gods in just about all the books, including:
Full Fathom Five, in which a girl named Kai creates idols for people to worship. However, what happens when those idols start dying? Is it a conspiracy? It’s up to Kai and her friends to get to the bottom of the mystery. OK, so idols aren’t technically the same as gods, but for today they are:-D
Dark Star by Oliver Langmead. This book was such an unusual story, and so beautifully written, and I wish more people would take a chance on it. On a planet with no sun, people live in virtual darkness, praying to the dead god Phos, the god of light. They worship statues of him hoping for some spark of illumination in their lives.
The Godless by Ben Peek. I feel bad that this book was a DNF for me—it just never got off the ground, and after fifty pages or so I gave up. BUT it is a great example of dead gods, because hey, it’s right there in the title! In a land where the gods went to war, many of their bodies have become part of the landscape, in the form of mountains and lakes. I loved this idea, I just wish it had worked better for me.
I know there must be lots I’ve forgotten. As is always the case:-D