Diana Wynne Jones: A tough guide to fantasyland

47510Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 234
Stand alone/dictionary

(It’s even Dark Lord approved!)

A tough guide to Fantasyland is the book that will prepare you for every Fantasyland you will visit during your travels (or Tours).

If you ever wondered about the next things, this is the book for you:
– What kind of swords are there?
– What is the role of the missing heir?
– What exactly is hardship?
– When at an inn, what does one buy?
and so on and so forth. This book provides the answers to all the questions you might have about a fantasy novel.
When you open the book you’ll find a few pages that will tell you what to do when you first enter a fantasyland (aka: a fantasy novel). These pages contain several steps including to find the map.
Immediately after you’ve read the steps you need to take before you go on your Tour, there will be a helpful page with identification elements. These elements tell you if the object/person/event is for example a cliché (Ambush), an animal (Alligator) or entertainment (Bets). Knowing what they mean you may continue to the toughpick section of the book. This contains (or actually is) a dictionary.

“Hardship: Be prepared to have to go about saving the word with one leg or your soul missing. Until you have done this, you will not know what hardship is.”

This is a part of the text in the toughpick section of this guide to fantasyland. That section will contain every word (or almost every word) used in your basic fantasy novel. The book also mentions “Official Management Terms” or “The management”. With this Diana Wynne Jones (from now on DWJ) means the author of a book or whatever terms are used most to describe something like for instance Stew. (DWJ seems to have a serious problem with stew. You’ll encounter the word a lot in the tougpick).

I could write about the contents of this book a great deal more but I think that I’ll reveal to much of the book when I do that, and so you’ll simply have to do with the above.
The funniest part for me was that I recognized so much of every fantasy book I’ve ever read in this tiny book! It was great to finally see that every fantasy novel is alike, DWJ did a really good job there. She did a terrific job.
The “gnomic utterances” at the start of every new ‘chapter’ were great. The best one in my opinion was:

 “Politics is when you sell your daughter to bandits and your daughter and yourself are then both set free”.

Personally I liked this book, though I was not that taken with it. When I opened it at first I thought everything was quite funny, and believe me it was. But after I read a about 40 pages, I started to long for the end a bit. The way DWJ describes everything is very comical but this is not a book I’d like to read in one time again.
I do think that if you like to write your own stories, this book can be helpful. This because it contains everything that has already been used a hundred times but DWJ will tell you what most fantasy novels lack as well. So in a way you can use that knowledge to improve your own story.

Amusing as this book was I’ll give it three stars because it just missed that something for me that would keep my attention throughout the whole book.

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