Tough Travelling – Dead Gods


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 FantasylandEach 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 StairsCity 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 DeadThree 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 FiveFull 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 StarDark 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 2The 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

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Posted May 21, 2015 by Tammy in Tough Traveling / 20 Comments


20 responses to “Tough Travelling – Dead Gods

    • Tammy

      I’m glad you’re thinking about reading Dark Star! I just loved it, and it isn’t very long.

    • Tammy

      I know some readers who actually enjoyed The Godless, so it may have been me just being impatient:-)

  1. This is one of the most consistent weeks in terms of lists that I’ve seen since I started… I really need to pick up The City of Stairs, The Godless, Full Fathom Five, and Three Parts Dead – so many people seem to have chosen them, which bodes well! And I love the sound of Dark Star, will be adding it to my TBR for sure.
    Jenn recently posted…Tough Traveling: Dead GodsMy Profile

    • Tammy

      I am SO embarrassed to say I haven’t read either American Gods or Anansi Boys (although I have copies of them!!) I agree, dead gods are great story fodder:-D

    • Tammy

      Oh I certainly didn’t want credit! I was just worried that maybe it was a hard topic, and I would have felt bad. But everyone seemed to come up with lots of books, so I don’t feel bad anymore:-)