Books With The (Somewhat) Dreaded Book Travelling Syndrome

Book Travelling Syndrome Definition: the art of getting so lost in your own story that plot, character and everything else is forgotten in favour of random adventures

Yes, I made the term up, and no, it’s not taking off. I feel like the response to this post could be very Mean Girls…

it's not going to happen.gif

Whatever- it’s totally a thing. And I know it’s a thing, cos it’s something I’ve struggled with as a writer. So I’ve decided to compile a list breaking it down, into the good, the bad, and, well you get the idea- enjoy:

The Good


The Hobbit– Yup, even my beloved Hobbit has it, that’s why I got it into my head that this was a good idea in the first place (as I explained here). I won’t say I have no regrets about this cos it’s not always a great storytelling strategy. At least, most of the time, as we’ll come to see…


Neverending Story– again, this book tricked me your honour, cos sure it has “neverending” in the title, which would imply boredom, but this is *far* from boring. In fact, it’s one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. I owe it so much as a story- but also *shakes fist* curse you for filling my head with so many bad structuring mechanisms.

The Bad


Eragon– really not the worst book on this list- but it does meander about a lot pointlessly.


Phantastes– it’s alright, but it has plenty of pointless meandering about and is quite forgettable.

And the Ugly…


Eye of the World– I’m sorry to disappoint fans of this book, but oh-my-gawd I was so bored with this! I think this was like a sledgehammer over the head that book travelling *doesn’t always work*- so I guess some thanks is in order, in a way.


Wise Man’s Fear– one of the most disappointing sequels I have ever read. And one of the worst things about it was all the unnecessary different places (inevitably where Kvothe would pick up another skill, then be on his merry, ambling way).

Hope you enjoyed that very random post- my cold-smothered brain thought was a good idea… What books do you think suffer from book travelling syndrome? Let me know in the comments!


88 thoughts on “Books With The (Somewhat) Dreaded Book Travelling Syndrome

  1. oh god, ERAGON. It’s not the worst book ever but it’s definitely wayyyy tooo long. There’s also a lot of purple prose that I feel like takes away from the story. Too bad because I love a good dragon tale.

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  2. There is definitely something to be said for books that spend at least half their text traveling. It totally is a thing! And it certainly depends on the style as to whether it’s palatable for readers or not. The only time I’ve actually enjoyed a book with this syndrome (apart from most of The Hobbit, because stuff keeps happening) was an actual travel book by Bill Bryson — and that was because most of it wasn’t the boring “I drove 134 miles until I hit the next stoplight in Montana” but rather funny antecdotes of stuff that happened once he got to his destination. And I haven’t even tried reading more of his work in quite a while.

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    1. hehe yes!! I totally agree with you- it can really work… but sometimes not 😉 Oh that sounds cool- yeah I’m not totally adverse to books with travelling and that sounds like it was really well done! 😀 So yes again to style making a huge difference 😉


  3. Tiger’s series by Colleen Houck. Oh my goodness does it travel. It was nice at first cause it was giving you a lot of Indian culture but good good I couldn’t wait til the series ended. If I wasn’t such a good friend, I would have quit it after like the 2nd book, lol.

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      1. Don’t get me wrong! If you read it, you might like it cause I did at first. But I said the same thing about Twilight and look how that turned out, hahaha.

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  4. This post is so fetch (one day it will happen). I do love a bit of random wandering in stories but they probably should get somewhere eventually. Have to confess I haven’t read a single one of the books you mention but I should maybe warn you there’s a bit of pointless wandering in the Hazel Wood if you were thinking of reading it.

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    1. hahaha one day 😉 Yes for sure! Oh that’s okay- I think that one sounds pretty atmospheric so I’m sure (I hope) that one will be fine 😉 I think Daley put it really well in the comments- it’s more about style and the way it’s done than anything else.


  5. The Good: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

    I would classify Eragon as the Ugly because old Angel Eyes in that western movie was the evil kind of bad. The entire Inheritance Cycle suffers from Book Travelling syndrome, but it isn’t terrible.

    I’m on the fence about Les Mis right now because I’m still reading it, and everything seems connected in one way or another.

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    1. I haven’t read 13 Little Blue envelopes (but want to check it out now) but definitely agree with you about Deathly Hallows!!

      hehe I think that’s fair (though I’ve not seen the movie) 😉

      I get what you mean- personally I think that’s overall an excellent book- it just has some very boring sections 😉


  6. Ugh, Eragon. This book is the bane of my existence. I really, really, REALLY wanted to like it. There are so many great things about it, but good gosh, it gets boring real quick.

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  7. Ughhhh…do books count that you eventually stopped reading when you were experiencing travelling Syndrome? For I had that with the Silmarillion from Tolkien. I was in for about 120 plus pages…and I just could not travel any further. It felt like I was reading a bible at times with so many names that I got completely lost in it. But….this post was definitely a great idea: no worries ! 😊😊

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    1. hehehe yes they do 😉 And you know, funnily enough I DNF’d Simarillion at that point when I was young, and then picked it up 10 years later, only to get stuck around the same point- I persevered though and it ended up being alright. So yes I *totally* get why you’d stop with that book (and yes it counts for this 😉 ) hehehe too true 😉 Thank you!! 😊

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  8. I think The Lord of the Rings is mine. I love the story but I think I’ve only read all of it once. Okay twice. But every read since then it’s “Elf Song – Skip.” “Sam and Frodo in Mordor – Skip.” “More Elf Songs – Skip Skip Skip.”

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  9. Oooooh I loved Wiseman’s Fear! I did want the middle section to just speed up a bit though. My roommate and I strongly disagree on this topic. He thinks that the part with the tree and the fairy world are the most important turning points in the book, and I just wanted him to move along. haha

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    1. hehe fair enough 😉 I was a big fan of the first one- couldn’t stand Wise Man’s Fear though 😉 hehehe I did not think that the fairy world part was important (except in saying *look at how proficient Kvothe is at sex 😉 ) He spent way too long there imo lol.


  10. Wise Man’s Fear, yeah, I like the book but totally agree! Especially the 10% where Kvothe is in one place, learns something and then goes to another place 10% passes and he learns something else and then by the end he still hasn’t done anything that he’s supposed to!😂

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  11. Haha, I enjoyed ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ so much and even Kvothe’s travelling to different places 😀 I was SO into it, but I understand why people wouldn’t like it.

    Eragon, I couldn’t make it very far in this one, and let’s not talk about the Wheel of Time 😀 It should be called Wheel of TOO MUCH TIME SPENT DOING NOTHING

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    1. hehe fair enough 😉 I get that people like it- especially since I really liked the first one- but it just pushed some things too far for me (aka how magically wonderful Kvothe was) and I ended up bored.

      hahaha YES!! Oh my goodness that book!

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  12. I’m actually rereading the Hobbit right now for the first time in many many years (Just finished the Silmarillion & plan on reading the Lord of the Rings next), but have never actually read The Neverending Story. I may have to add it to my, unrealistically long, reading list 🙂

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  13. The Hobbit is one of the few books with travels in it that I really like (aside from LotR, of course!). I think it’s because the events feel important, if not to the plot, at least to Bilbo’s character development. So we have the trolls to get weapons, Gollum to get the magic ring, Beorn to appear later in the battle, the spiders to help Bilbo see he’s brave, etc. At least Bilbo’s accomplishing stuff on his journey!

    But sometimes quest books just seem to introduce a series of random adventures and characters because they seem to think that’s what you do in a quest book–randomly fall in with people. That can be annoying. I just finished Searching for Dragons and it was an entire book of the protagonists not getting where they wanted to go so they could meet “amusing” characters. I wasn’t amused. I wanted the characters to take their quest seriously and get somewhere already!

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  14. I started off reading your post thinking oh my favorite, virtual traveling through books…. but then I went on to read your actual meaning of Book Travelling Syndrome… definitely NOT a favorite in that case. LOL

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  15. Neverending Story was totally my childhood! I have a copy of the book that’s still from my dad’s teen years and the ink is like red and green only. And I watched all the movies 32949845 times. My dad has a picture with the flying dog from some kind of conference he went to once and I totally had a stuffed animal that resembled him. I LOVE THAT STORY SO MUCH *sobs with all the memories in mind*

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  16. I love your term!

    I guess I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Da Vinci Code series. I’m fine with a story taking liberties in the name of artistic license, but this series felt like one long, theological car chase. It was a guilty pleasure that many people took way more seriously than that, IMHO.

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  17. The Wise Man’s Fear is literally the biggest let down OF ALL TIME. At this point, I don’t know if I even care about book three… But The Name of the Wind was SO FREAKING AMAZING!!!! Why did book 2 have to meander so pointlessly? I mean, there was SOME of that in The Name of the Wind, but The Wise Man’s Fear took it to a new level. Complete let-down.

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    1. Oh gosh yes!! And to be honest I agree with you- I think the longer he takes over it the more I lose interest- cos the memory of liking the first one (which like you I really loved) is fading behind the memory of how much I disliked the second one. Yes!! I totally agree with you!!

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      1. Haha, so true! I was recommending The Name of the Wind to my husband because his current theory is that he only likes books about academia. And he was like “what’s it about?” and I was like, “uhhhh… I don’t remember.” haha

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  18. I almost hate to say that I’ve never read any of these books, or even thought about adding them to my to-read list, but then again considering some of them ended up on your ‘Bad’ and ‘Ugly’ lists maybe not! 🙂 I can say I’ve seen the film versions of The Hobbit and The Neverending Story so really I need to get around to the books at one point.
    Also I really love that you came up with your own term and definition for ‘Book Travelling Syndrome’ I feel like I’ve definitely read a few books here and there that suffer from that! 😀
    Great post. 🙂 ❤

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  19. *gasp* I thought in order to have your Inklings street cred you HAVE to like Phantastes 😉 I keep telling myself I’ll read it one day (because George MacDonald! Lewis! Tolkien!) but maybe I’ll let this simmer for now.

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  20. Ah, the Wheel of Time series – I got a third of the way into The Eye of the World and thought “this is deathly boring” but then it picks back up…then gets boring…then I thought “I’ve started so I’ll finish”. Now I’m invested and actually the series has got better, although sometimes it feels like an abusive relationship that I can’t get out of.

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    1. Oh gosh yes!! I totally felt that way about it. I think the ending almost made me want to continue- but not enough. I’ve heard some good things about later in the series, but then I’ve heard it dips again, so can’t motivate myself!! hahahahahaha! 🤣🤣

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