Tough Traveling – Hidden Kingdoms

May 22, 2014



This feature originated Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn. Here’s his outline for what it is and how it works.

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.

A feature/meme started here at Fantasy Review Barn, Tough Traveling is yet another excuse to make lists.  Because I am lazy, I decided to just grab entries from the wonderful book by Diana Wynne Jones, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.  A book that every fantasy lover should own.

My post goes up every Thursday (well, late Wednesday really), but the linky will be open for one week from first post so feel free to join in anytime!

Here is this weeks theme: Hidden Kingdoms.

Hidden Kingdom.  Usually reached through CAVERNS or after an arduous trek into the heart of the central masssif, this is often the object of the Tour QUEST…


I came up with a varied list this week, we’ve got fairies, elves, dead, living, and at least one psycho!


  • Fillory in The Magicians series by Lev Grossman – 6101718Having just one level of hidden destinations was not enough for The Magicians. After getting to Brakesbill Academy, we find out there is a way to Fillory. Oh, the magical land of Fillory, complete with Kings and Queens, the fantastical place that serves as a setting for children’s books. But, when it is real and the magicians are able to travel there, well then, I consider it a hidden Kingdom.



  • TheCorpseRatKingbyLeeBattersbyKingdom of the Dead from The Corpse Rat King by Lee Battersby (review)- Hey, the dead get to have a Kingdom, too don’t they? And of couse, it will be underground in the dank depths of the earth. The Corpse Rat King will take you there, and let you see how the other side (the non-live side) exist.




  • 16300881Limestone Kingdom from Dreams and Shadowsby C. Robert Cargill (review) – Found in Texas, this Fairy Kingdom is home to all sorts of fae, most of which have a wicked twist to them.





  • 10199908Arborlon from Bearers of the Black Staff duology by Terry Brooks (I believe it appeared on other books by him as well, this is just the ones I have read) – Arborlon is hidden in the Valley, at least until the magic wears off, Arborlon is a thriving city of elves complete with an Elf King.




  • 20317802Christmasland in NOS4A2 by Joe Hill  – Every day is like the best day ever in Christmasland. And while there is no monarchy in place to make it a true Kingdom, it does have a mystical and majestical air about it. And it is definitely hidden, only a select few children are chosen for entrance. Who wouldn’t want to find a way to visit? Well, other than people that are familiar with Joe Hill’s books to know that obviously there is going to be a dark side to Christmasland.



  • Honorable Mention: The Smurfs – OK, yes, this is TV not books, this may be a ‘village’ more than a Kingdom, but let’s face it: Papa Smurf rules them all, he is very much a monarch (or dictator). So, I think it qualifies for an honorable mention.


  • Mogsy May 22, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Great list this week! Only one I’ve read is N0S4A2 and Christmasland is something I should have remembered. I’m hoping to read The Magicians later this summer in time for the third book.
    Mogsy recently posted…Book Review: Gemsigns by Stephanie SaulterMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 22, 2014 at 8:24 am

      Christmasland was one that I worried was a bit of a stretch, but included it anyway 🙂 I really like The Magicians, but it does seem to be a rather divisive/marmite book. Hope you are one of the ones who loves it.

  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) May 22, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Friggen Fillory. And yet no Narnia?

    The only book I read on your list was one I don’t like. Thought I do want to read the Corpse-Rat King someday.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Traveling – Hidden KingdomsMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 22, 2014 at 8:23 am

      I haven’t read Narnia! 😀 Really, given the length of time I have (or rather, have not) been reading the genre, I am going to run out of books for these lists 😉

      Corpse-rat King was different, but of those listed, I enjoyed NOS4A2 and Dreams and Shadows more (and The Magicians, but guess you fall on the hate side of that marmite book)

  • Carmel @ Rabid Reads May 22, 2014 at 10:54 am

    You and Nathan sure are broadening my horizons. I’ve never heard of any of these! Ok, well except for the Smurfs, but it’s your honorable mention, so does that even count? LOL Happy Thursday!
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Question: What Tends To Be The Deciding Factor When Choosing Your Next Great Read?My Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 22, 2014 at 11:05 am

      All of my books in this list are rather dark on at least some level (except the Brooks book). If you like that sort of thing, they’re definitely worth checking out. 🙂 I’ve only read one book from all the other lists, kind of fun seeing all these different books.

  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) May 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    OMG yes the Smurfs hehe.

    I should have totally remembered The Corpse Rat King since I read that one a few years ago – I’m such a dummy! I read NOS4A2 as well and its a smidge of a stretch but totally can still fit!

    We need a topic of “kingdoms you reach through portals” lol
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    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 22, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Yeah, I felt I was grasping a bit with NOS4A2, well, maybe more than a bit, but I couldn’t help it. It maybe should have been an ‘honorable mention’ instead. I wanted to find more real kingdoms that are really there in the same world, but just hidden (like through a cave, etc like in the blurb). Soo much harder than I thought. Even asked my boys, thinking surely there are some kids books I am blanking on. I got the response: “I don’t know…. but I really want to read it!”

  • Lynn May 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    This is a great list. I like the look of the Corpse Rat King and Dreams and Shadows – must go and check out your reviews for them. They might just have to go on the list. In fact I can see what’s going to happen here – my tbr is going to grow to new found heights until it topples over and kills somebody!
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…We seek them here, we seek them there…..My Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      I always feel like I should be “catching up” on my TBR pile, but somehow, it always grows faster than I can read. Ahh well, more books to pick from next time I want something to read 🙂

  • Maija's Fantasy Reads May 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    NOS4A2 and The Magicians are on my TBR, I expect great things. And the Smurfs – yeah, Papa Smurf totally rules them! Thanks for making me smile!
    Maija’s Fantasy Reads recently posted…Hidden Kingdoms in FantasyMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) May 22, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      I loved both of them (hope you do too!). And yeah, I thought about leaving the Smurfs off, but, well, thought it was too perfect to not include it. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it.