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Literature / Journey

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Journey is a Young Adult Fantasy series by S. Labrecque. The series takes place in a country called The Middle Kingdom that has elements of Medieval Europe and Medieval Asia. It focuses around a teenage girl named Joyah Pain who grew up in an isolated village with little knowledge of the outside world. This all changes when Joyah finds a magic jewel that sends her on her Journey, a coming of age quest that each child in her family has to go through. She discovers the jewel is part of a larger MacGuffin, the Connarist necklace, that is wanted by powerful Guilds such as the Assassins. Joyah and her new companions, Jeffrey Raymond, Gilla Fletcher, Mallew Archibald, and Orwen must take the jewel to a Sanctuary so it won't fall into the wrong hands. Along the way, they meet an assortment of characters including Addri Mogami, Jen Enya, Henna Lyre of the Guild of Angels, and the PowerTrio Hasin Starling, Ala, and Ruen.

While book one mostly stays in the northern Gorem Region where Joyah and her friends were born, book two involves them leaving their home Region and traveling south down the coast in search of new clues. It includes new characters—both allies and enemies—and new challenges and experiences for our heroes.

The current books include:

  • Journey
  • Cold Clues, parts 1 and 2

Has a character page.

Warning: Unmarked Spoilers for book one.

Journey contains examples of:
  • Action Girl: Most of the girls throughout the book, though mainly Joyah, Gilla, Henna, and Ala.
  • Adults Are Useless: Except for Mal, none of the adults in the series are allowed on Joyah's Journey, mainly because they'd attract too much attention and get innocents killed.
  • Aerith and Bob: You have Joyah, Gilla, Orwen, and then there's Jeff. The series mixes fantasy names with real world names from many different countries.
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  • Affably Evil: Hasin is quite pleasant while he's trying to kill the heroes.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Occurs offscreen when Orwen is trying to save Jeff's life after Hasin stabbed him in the back. No one's certain he'll survive, and the question's not answered by the end of the first book. Authors are mean.
  • After Action Patch Up: Pretty much after every fight second book onward Orwen has to go around fixing everyone's wounds. It's the reason he's there, after all.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Let's look at Joyah's track record, shall we? Her first crush is a former gang member who has a family member in the Assassins. Her second crush is The Charmer who enjoys riling up her teammates, mostly Jeff.
  • Amazon Chaser: It's a plus for Jeff that Gilla kicks butt.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Joyah can take down men twice her size, and she's also tall, strong, and very attractive.
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  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Connarist Necklace, of course. It's supposedly the most powerful magical item in existence, which is why everyone's so desperate to get their hands on it.
  • Androcles' Lion: Gilla rescues a pair of wolf cubs whose mother was killed by hunters.
  • Archer Archetype: Gilla, since the bow and arrow is her Weaponof Choice.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Considering the Assassin's Guild is one of their biggest enemies, our heroes are doing this constantly.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Jeff might be overshadowed by Joyah when it comes to swordplay, but he excels at this.
  • Badass in Distress: They take turns getting into trouble and needing their friends to come bail them out.
  • Baddie Flattery: Hasin lets Joyah know how much he respects her during their duel.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • spoiler: Hasin and Henna both seem nice at first. That doesn't last.
    • Henna wasn't actually trying to deceive the heroes. They just didn't see what she really was like until it was too late.
  • Book Shelf Dominoes: Joyah knocks the bookshelves over in the Guem library in order to take out a wall and drop the roof down on some Assassins in the first book. Needless to say, Mal is not happy.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Jen, until her Character Development.
  • Brother–Sister Team: The twins Ala and Ruen.
  • Cartwright Curse: Joyah seems to be heading this way. Her first Love Interest gets killed off, and her second stabs Jeff in the back and steals the Jewel.
  • Character Development: Pretty much everyone. Most notably, Gilla starts off as a loose canon. Over the course of the book, she reigns herself in and learns to work in a team.
    • Joyah starts off as a trusting, naive village girl who is friendly to everyone who deserves it. The events of the book change that.
    • Jeff starts off a little more cocky before he's taken out of his element.
    • Orwen has to adjust to leaving his safe little isolated home. He also struggles with accepting his new magical abilities.
  • Close-Knit Community: Joyah's home village is one, and so is Orwen's.
  • Cold Snap: Book two takes place during a snow filled winter.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The series is about Joyah's Journey, which is a quest every member of her family goes on to become adults. Of course, hers is unusually dangerous and spectacular.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Hasin, Ala, and Ruen are all willing to use underhand means to achieve their goal, including interrupting a duel and stabbing someone in the back.
  • Constructed World: The series takes place in a Fantasy setting. While the name of the world itself is never given, the country is called the Middle Kingdom.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Joyah cannot bear to pass by an oppressed town without interfering, even if it means duping her friends and putting her Journey at risk.
  • Color-Coded Characters
    • Joyah: Red, and sometimes gold.
    • Jeff: Blue
    • Orwen: White
    • Gilla: Brown and green
    • Hasin: Gold
    • Any assassin: Black
  • Cool Sword: Joyah's and Hasin's swords both count as this. Joyah has a katana with a red leather grip embedded with a jewel. Hasin's sword is designed not to break and has a gilded gold hand guard embedded with many tiny diamonds. These gems allow them to use perfect balance and power.
  • Creepy Twins: Ala and Ruen.
  • Darkis Evil: The Assassins all wear black hooded coats so they can blend in with the shadows.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Guild of Angels' specialty.
  • Door Stopper: Book one was long. Book two was so long, it was split into two volumes so it could be published in hard copy.
  • Dramatic Wind: Joyah loves this. When in doubt, when she's starting a heroic speech or issuing a challenge, a wind will kick up to blow her hair out behind her.
  • Evil Wears Black: The Assassins.
  • Evil All Along: Hasin, Ala, and Ruen were just leading the heroes along until they could steal the Jewel.
    • The Guild of Angels, Henna included.
    • Considering how much the Assassins love slipping spies in among Joyah's allies, this is a rather common trope.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Guild of Angels certainly is.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The heroes manage to set it up that the Assassins and Angels fight each other in order to take the Jewel in the first book. In the second, Hasin and the twins end up on the run from Henna.
  • Faceless Goons: The Assassins seem to have tons of random goons to throw at Joyah and her friends, and due to their hoods, none of them have faces.
  • Facial Dialogue: Hasin, Ala, and Ruen can hold whole conversations with just small facial expressions, no words required. It's additionally impressive considering Ala and Ruen are The Stoic and rarely show anything at all.
  • False Friend: Hasin does this to Joyah.
  • Famed in Story: Rumors of the heroes follow wherever they go. Especially Joyah, as she has earned herself the title "The Dragoness."
  • Family Theme Naming: Children in this world are given similar names as their parents, such as "Jen" and "Jan."
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Gilla originally just joined the group because Jeff invited her. She and Joyah actually become friends after they win a fight together.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Everyone swears in Chinese.
  • Forest Ranger: The foresters are Forest Rangers who protect and guide travelers through the wilderness. It's Gilla's life long dream to be one. By book two, it's pretty much accepted she is one.
  • Gem-Encrusted: Hasin's handle guard is decorated with tiny diamonds. This allows him to use perfect power.
  • Glass Cannon: Gilla, being an amazing archer, can dish out a deadly volley of arrows, but she doesn't have any real melee skills.
  • Gold and White Are Divine: Those are the colors of mystics. They're most seen among the mystics of the Guild of Angels, who so happen to be villains.
  • Good Parents: Jeff's parents are pretty awesome. You can tell from the short time they spend together in the first book that the Raymond family is very close. Joyah doesn't seem to have parents, but her surrogate mother Aunty is equally as cool.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Played straight with Jeff and Gilla. Whenever they team up, he takes the brunt of the attacks while Gilla reigns down death from behind. Averted with Joyah, though.
  • Good vs. Good: Because of the misunderstanding with Henna, the heroes manage to make enemies out of An's Resistance.
  • Here There Were Dragons: Magic once existed in the Middle Kingdom, but not so anymore. Starting with Orwen, this is changing.
  • Involuntary Group Split: It seems to happen at least once per book. In the first book, there's the whole encounter in the swamp where Joyah and her friends keep finding each other only to lose someone else. In the second, Mal and half their following ends up washed away by a river in part 1, reappearing later in part 2.
  • I Reject Your Reality: The Guild of Angels don't believe in anything that doesn't line up perfectly with their collective delusion.
  • Jackof All Trades: Ala seems to be the only one who uses both a ranged weapon and a melee weapon.
  • Just a Kid: Joyah does NOT appreciate being called this. For the most part, people tend to respect her from second book on due to her growing reputation. There is that instance where a challenger is disappointed by her age, which ends with his utter defeat.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: While not necessarily better, it's Joyah's Weapon of Choice.
    • Ala also has one for melee.
  • Kid Hero: It can be pretty easy to forget, but when the series starts off Joyah's only fifteen, as are Gilla and Jeff. Hasin's a year older, Orwen's a year younger, and the twins are both only thirteen. Joyah left on her Journey at what her family would consider a dangerously young age since usually it doesn't happen until they're at least seventeen, although as it turns out, Joyah's more than capable of handling it.
  • Knife Nut: Mal's Weapon of Choice. Also one of the more common weapons of the Assassins, which is appropriate considering Mal is a redeemed Assassin.
  • Ki Manipulation: It's never called "ki," but Joyah's and Hasin's studies with controlling the world's energy basically amounts to this. It's an ancient art that has been passed down and studied by mystics for centuries, although mystics themselves are very rare.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Joyah is the main heroine, and she uses a sword. So does Jeff.
  • Hidden Weapons: Basically everyone who's slightly sneaky has these, mainly Gilla and Ala. Ala's so good at hiding her weapons, people can't even find them when they search her.
  • Hitchhiker Heroes: It starts off with Joyah heading out alone on her Journey. She quickly picks up companions, both good and bad, along the way.
  • Honor Before Reason: For the Guild of Angels, honor is worth more than their lives.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Basically Gilla's thing.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Guildsmen of the Guild of Angels have white cloaks and wear shining armor, but are actually psychotic.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Joyah and Hasin are probably the two most dangerous people in the entire story. They're both very strong, fast, and skilled.
  • Line in the Sand: Joyah gives one of these to her friends after Addri's death, when they realize just how dangerous her Journey is. Naturally, being True Companions they all agree to stay with her.
    • In the second book, Joyah issues another one, this time to her new followers.
  • MacGuffin: The Connarist Necklace.
  • Magical Accessory: Joyah, Hasin, and other mystics able to focus their minds through gemstones. Also, the Connarist Necklace is the most powerful magic artifact known.
  • Magic Enhancement: The Ki Manipulation mystics study mainly allows them to increase their physical abilities and heighten their perception of the world. The three greatest achievements a mystic can reach are Perfect Balance, Perfect Power, and Perfect Peace, each devoted to a certain aspect of physical being. At the beginning of the series, Joyah has been working towards Perfect Balance for a while.
  • Master Poisoner: The Assassins are very good at this. Also, Ruen concocts poisons for his sister to use.
  • Master Race: The Guild of Angels very firmly has this mindset.
  • Master Swordsman: Despite only being teenagers, both Joyah and Hasin count as this.
  • MacGuffin Melee: Basically the entirety of the series, as many factions fight for the magical MacGuffin that is the Connarist Necklace. This is especially true at the end of book 2, which has Joyah and Hasin in direct conflict over a piece.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The centerpiece of the Connarist necklace is a large red jewel, which is what everyone's after in the first book. Hasin and the twins end up stealing it from Joyah, and so far she hasn't seen it again.
    • Pretty much everyone is skilled beyond their years.
  • Mooks: Random Assassins and Angels are always coming after them. They can pretty much mow through them by the end of the first book.
  • Multi Generational Household: This is common in villages and small towns, where many generations of a family live together. It's especially true for Joyah's family, which is unusually large.
  • Nature Lover: Gilla, all the way.
    • Somewhat for Joyah. She stares up at the stars when she needs to think.
  • Never Split the Party: Joyah and her friends agree to this after they get separated in the swamp. Splitting up almost never ends well for them.
    • It really doesn't. They have so much trouble with it that they pretty much end up splitting at least once per book.
  • Non-Action Guy: Orwen and Ruen. Orwen's a healer, so naturally stays out of all fights. Ruen can fire a crossbow, but he mostly stays hidden and lets his sister and Hasin do the fighting.
  • No Badass to His Valet: No matter how strong and how famous Joyah becomes, Orwen's not afraid to boss her around when it comes to her health.
  • Only One Name: Among the main characters, there's Orwen, Ala, and Ruen. Usually, people from villages only have one name unless they come from an ancestral family.
  • Poison Is Evil: It's a favored weapon of the Assassins, the main villains of the first book. It's used multiple times against our heroes.
  • Power Glows: Orwen's healing magic takes the form of a warm, golden glow.
  • Power Trio: Two of them. For a short amount of time, Joyah, Jeff, and Gilla form this before Mal and Orwen join. Hasin, Ala, and Ruen form the other.
  • Put on a Bus: Most of the minor characters of book one, since Joyah and her friends leave the Gorem Region.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Ho cha are the Emperor's royal guard. Hasin apparently had some sort of ancestor among them, since he's inherited their specially made sword.
  • Qipao: Since their world is a mix of European and Asian, most of the dresses described are in this style.
  • Redis Heroic: Joyah, the hero, is often associated with the color red. She has a red katana, wore a red dress when she visited Jeff's house, and even has red hair.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Addri is introduced as a Love Interest for Joyah, has his own backstory, and helps forward the plot, but then is killed off a few chapters later.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Poor Mal.
  • Seers: In the prologues, Elsa randomly spouts a prophesy foreshadowing the events of the book.
  • Siblings in Crime: Ala and Ruen, of course.
  • Shipper on Deck: Joyah and Orwen take steps to try and get Jeff and Gilla together.
  • Shrouded in Myth: By the beginning of the second book, Joyah has become this. Stories of her and her friends' adventures have spread across the Gorem Region, although no one really knows what's happening.
  • Stealth Expert: The Assassins, including ex-Assassin Mal. Also, Ala and Ruen. Gilla verges on this at times with Joyah attempting to keep up.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Mystics are devoted to learning this. While Joyah hasn't quite gone past normal (although very deadly) martial arts, she's been working to taking it to that level.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Both Gilla and Jeff have traits that resemble their parents, but Joyah's are the most obvious. She looks very much like a younger version of Auntie with a few differentiating features.
  • Swordand Fist: Joyah's, Jeff's, and Hasin's fighting styles are a combination of swordplay and martial arts.
  • Sword Fight
  • Sword Sparks: Joyah uses them to light a torch, twice.
  • Take Overthe World: If the Assassins or Angels get the Connarist Necklace, they'll be able to do this.
  • Terrible Trio: Hasin, Ala, and Ruen.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: Joyah is the dragon and Hasin is the tiger. Gilla even has a dream foreshadowing their final, climactic duel in the Connarist necklace piece's hiding place by seeing the shadows of a tiger and dragon fighting in a dream.
  • Time Skip: Book two takes place months after the end of book one, just as winter is about to hit.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As Joyah and Hasin are constantly studying and practicing their ancient arts throughout the series, this is to be expected.
    • For example, Joyah reaches perfect balance in the climax of the first book, which allows her to match Hasin to the point where, afterwards, neither knows who would have won.
    • In the second book, she's been working on manipulating natural energies around her and finally gets a hang of it enough to to sustain herself during her flee from the Connarist necklace piece's hiding place so she can outdistance Hasin.
  • The Ace: Joyah and Hasin
    • Jeff acts like one before he's pulled out of his element.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: At least, in the first book.
  • The Charmer: Hasin flirts with basically every girl he meets who's not Ala, much to Jeff's annoyance.
  • The Conspiracy: The Assassins and Angels have spies in almost every Guild in the Middle Kingdom and are plotting to Take Over the World, and the only ones who know about it are Joyah and her friends.
  • The Heart: Orwen, being the kind and patient healer.
  • The Hero: Joyah. Eventually, even her friends start looking up to her for strength and leadership.
  • The Magic Comes Back: As of book 2.
  • The Medic: Orwen is the group's healer.
  • The Mole: In the first book, although she wasn't actually evil, Maggie Faulet, Mal's childhood friend, uses his trust in her to betray them to the Assassins. This becomes more common in book two, where Assassins start infiltrating the people following Joyah and her friends.
  • The Rival: Each of the main four has one in Hasin's Power Trio, except Jeff.
  • The Sneaky Guy: There are actually quite a few of them considering this book is full of assassins, though mainly Gilla, Mal, and Ala. Sometimes Joyah gets to sneak about as well, though that's mostly because she doesn't like getting left behind.
  • Token Adult: Mal is the only adult amongst a group of teenagers. He's taken it upon himself to keep them all alive, even if it costs him his own. It does during book two. However, our heroes are eventually joined by a group of young adults, which technically make Mal no longer a token.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Gilla's tomboy to Joyah's girly girl.
  • True Companions: Joyah, Jeff, Gilla, Mal, and Addri make a pact to always be friends and to always trust each other after Maggie Faulet's betrayal.
    • Joyah, Jeff, Gilla, and Orwen make a new one in book two. This solidifies who the main four heroes of the series are.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Gilla and Jeff. It's implied Jeff has had a huge crush on her for years, and she's completely oblivious. Then she ends up falling for him as well, and it's STILL not resolved.
    • Joyah gets two. One with Addri, and one with Hasin.
  • Walking the Earth: As the story focuses around a literal Journey, this trope is in play.
  • Weapon Twirling: Hasin's quite fond of this.
  • We Are Everywhere: The Assassins and Angels have spread themselves so wide, they remain undetected in almost every guild in the Middle Kingdom.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: When the team comes across a town slaughtered by the Angels in book one. Gilla puts a doll back in the arms of a dead little girl.
  • Worthy Opponent: Hasin sees Joyah as this. From book two on, it seems she finally returns the honor.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: While most of the villain would shoot a civilian, harming a healer is something not even the Assassins would do. This is due to the healers' oath that requires them to help any person who asks them to, including criminals, as long as that person isn't an immediate threat to them or the people around them.
  • You Can Turn Back: Joyah tells her companions this multiple times during the first and second book. Her Journey is dangerous, and she wouldn't blame them for leaving before they get hurt. Of course, no one ever really takes her up on it.
  • You Have Failed Me: Failure in the Guild of Angels is not an option.


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