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on 27 April 2005
This book is great fun. Diana Wynne Jones gives a comprehensive run down on all the cliches of fantasy fiction, including musings on the unique properties of horses in Fantasyland, the origins of elves, and why fantasy characters don't wear socks.
It really is very, very funny, and it's also a good guide to what to avoid if you're thinking of writing your own fantasy epic.
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on 16 November 2000
This book is laid out as an encyclopedia to help tourists in Fantasy Land. It lampoons classic stereotypes found in fantasy novels, including those written by Diana Wynne Jones.
A previous reviewer got the impression that the book is about fantasy role playing games, which is not the case. Certain entries refer to "pamphlets" which actually means "fantasy novels" as is obvious when reading the entries that imply that your tour will last through three pamphlets. The convention of writing in the second person and addressing the reader as a person who will actually, physically travel into fantasy land may have confused this reviewer.
In any case, I'm having great fun both reading the book and applying its categorizations to other fantasy books I'm reading and have read.
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on 16 March 2001
This is a dictionary of everything you may find on your travels through fantasy novels. The entries on the different qualities of such items as swords, cups, jewels and other talismans was hilarious. buy this book if you love fantasy novels. Much as I love them, there are so many silly things in them, and Diana Wynne Jones sends them up beautifully. You can't get cross with her if she does ridicule something you have a sneaking love for, because she writes this kind of thing herself.
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on 21 April 2005
Absolutely a must read for those who like parodies, it's also a plus if you like fantasy novels as I found myself nodding along at some points.

It's set out alphabetically as things you're likely to encounter on your "tour" of fantasyland obviously based on "The Rough guide to..." series.

As the authour is a writer of fantasy fiction herself the book must be read as intended with tongue firmly in cheek.

If you like parodies and have read some fantasy stories you WILL like this book.
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on 27 July 1999
This alphabetical guide to travelling in Fantasyland has everything you need - Official Management Terms (trademark); all the people you will ever meet; The Map; and the compulsory double-cross-reference. You will never read fantasy novels with a straight face again.
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on 21 November 2012
DWJ is sorely missed. This is a companion to her own fictional send-ups of pulp fantasy, 'The Dark Lord of Derkholm' and 'Year of the Griffin', written with the same sense of humour and extensive knowledge of the genre. If you have ever read anything involving dragons, swords and fur loin-cloths you will find something to recognise and laugh at!
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on 12 December 2002
Add fun to your perusal of fantasy literature by acquiring and examining this essential guide! A wickedly funny look at cliches and conventions of fantasy writing, presented as a dictionary. Look up Food, of Horses, or Lost Heirs, and reread your well thumbed copy of The Belgariad, or Lord of the Rings, or indeed any fantasy, and see these books in a new, wry but affectionate light. Then read DWJ's Dark Lord of Derkholm, and Year of the Griffin; in these, she puts her observations into practice.
Recommended by Terry Pratchett himself (according to the cover)
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on 13 February 2015
Whilst this is amusing, it's not a gripping read for its own sake, and serves most usefully as a reference manual for anybody looking to construct a trope-laden fantasy universe, likely to be a parody.

It's fun, I'm glad I got it, but it's not the amazing masterwork I'd been lead to believe.
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on 30 April 2013
This little book is an excellent guide to the world of Fantasy particularly in regard to games playing and Sword and Sorcery style fiction. Diana Wynne Jones is both entertaining and enchanting. Worth a space on your bookshelf.
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on 4 February 2014
Contains what you already knew and what you don't know (and maybe didn't need to know) about fantasy. It is not a serious fantasy-encyclopedia, but rather a fantasy-cliché-book. Simply hilarious.
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