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Literature / The Claidi Journals

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The Claidi Journals are a series of young adult novels by Tanith Lee. The series spans four books: Wolf Tower, Wolf Star, Wolf Queen, and Wolf Wing.note  Claidi is a teenage girl in the service of a cruel princess in the equally cruel House. Her life changes when she aids the escape of a handsome foreign prisoner, Nemian. The two steal away into the desolate wilderness known as the Waste. But, as Claidi soon learns, not everything in the Waste is poisoned - particularly not the singularly terrifying and dashing bandit leader, Argul. Claidi soon finds herself at the center of tangled webs of deceit among warring families. And eventually, she must face come to terms with her own mysterious family and her identity, and choose between them and the new family she has found. You, the reader, are Claidi's only confidant on her many, bizarre adventures.


Contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Is there anything Argul isn't totally badass at? His status as The Ace makes the final moments of Wolf Queen all the more impressive, where it's ultimately Claidi that saves them both.
  • Arc Words: "Break the rules."
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Venn and Claidi in book 2 kind of have this going on.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: It's almost easier to list characters who aren't related to Ustareth...
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": It's not a llama, it's a graffapin. Stands out oddly, since most animals in the series aren't Mix-and-Match Critters and have their usual names.
  • The Chess Master: Ustareth
  • Changeling Fantasy: Starts out as sort of a fantasy retelling of "Cinderella", then gets... weird.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Whatever happened to Venn's unrequited love for Claidi? Venn, meet Dengwi... Claidi's half-sister.
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  • Clock Punk
  • Clockwork Creature: Everything from people to clock tower gods.
  • Cool Horse: Pretty much all the Hulta horses.
  • Cool Airship: It's a star piloted by a robotic snake with a human face. If that's not cool...
    • Then when the star loses power, Yinyay (the robot snake) turns into a tower-shaped airship.
  • Crapsaccharine World - Chylomba
  • Diary: The format of the series. Claidi prefers to call it a journal.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ngarbo is type 2 to Winter.
  • Dystopia - The Tower City on the Wide River.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Gardener at the Rise.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: The shark people in the fourth book. Subverted though, they're pretty friendly.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Twilight and Ustareth, who planned to breed their kids.
  • Flight: One of the many functions of Ustareth's power-jewelry.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: The timeline's a bit fuzzy, but Claidi and Argul's engagement and marriage comes across like this, but Venn and Dengwi are a more obvious example.
  • Genre Savvy: Claidi, full stop.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Nemian or so you're meant to think.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: "Wolf [X]"
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Venn and Dengwi, who up until the end seemed to hate eachother for reasons unknown. Possibly justified, as the format doesn't allow for much insight into characters who are not Claidi/around Claidi, so we may have missed some things.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Wolf Star Rise, which would be a perfectly nice place if it wasn't for the fact that the rooms move unpredictably and without warning, to the point where it's possible to get lost for days on your way to the bathroom.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Ironel Novendot, who tries to groom Claidi into her successor as the one who interprets the Law. Her grandson Nemian shares her bastard tendencies.
    • Jizania takes the cake, though. Even Ironel was just a small part of her master plan.
  • Moving Buildings: Wolf Star Rise has moving rooms.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Subverted by Jelly. Then subverted again. He's Argul in disguise.
  • Overly Long Name: Prince Venarion Yllar Kaslem-Idoros. He'd rather you just call him Venn. Not that many people do.
  • Omniglot: Nemian, of all people, seems to speak the language of every village or nomadic tribe he comes across. Just what was he doing before the story started? Studying ethnolinguistics?
  • Pardon My Klingon: The Hulta and Venn both will frequently curse in other languages.
    • Claidi attempts this in the second book, yelling at Venn what the Gardener always yells at the monkeys. He tells her that it means "may you get fur balls."
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Averted. Claidi's wedding dress is actually very simple.
    • The dress she wears at the Wolf Tower and her wedding dress when the Raven Tower attempted to force her to marry are quite extravagant, however.
  • Plant People: Grembilard, whose hair was engineered to be half plant. A couple other people of Pearl Flamingo Village also have half-plant hair.
  • Prophetic Name: Claidi's name is ultimately revealed to mean "wolf on the wing."
  • Royal Brat: Lady Jade Leaf and Winter Raven.
  • Royally Screwed Up: All the families of the Wolf, Vulture, and Raven Towers.
  • The Unfavorite: Venn. He outright states that it's why he refuses to leave the Rise with Claidi, his half-brother Argul already made him The Unfavorite to Ustareth, he didn't want to have to live with that happening with Claidi, too.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Hrald & Yazkool
  • Triang Relations: Claidi is involved in two-
    • Type 7 in the first book, with Nemian and Argul. It's actually type 10, as Nemian was just using Claidi for Ironel's benefit, and was already married to Moon Silk.
    • Type 4 in the second book, with Argul and Venn.
  • Tsundere: Venn is type A, Claidi has type B moments.