Discussion: Classifying Fantasy Subgenres

Posted June 23, 2016 by Jamie in Blogger Advice // 4 Comments

discussions 1 more hearts

We love talking with you guys about books here at BAMF but some times we need to go a little further than just reviewing books and interviewing authors. Thus, Discussion Posts! We may give you some advice, tell you about something you may not know, and generally talk about the bookish world as a whole. The idea is to generate conversation around a topic so that you can think critically about it — or just think about it in general! Be sure to comment with your thoughts!

If there is a topic you want to see one of us discuss, email us at hello@booksaremyfandom.com with the subject line “Discussion Idea!” and we will credit you!

Divider

Classifying Fantasy Subgenres

Many books are classified with the broad term “fantasy” but there are many subgenres within this that need to be discussed. Not every style of writing fantasy appeals to every person so I am going to break down five of the most frequently seen fantasy subgenres plus gives you some required, I mean, recommended reading if you want to try this new genre!

Urban

Has fantasy elements but takes place in a city setting, usually more modern. Think werewolves and vampires or magic in a large metropolis.

Recommended Reading:

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS by Cassandra Clare
THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLD TOWN by Holly Black
CASTER CHRONICLES by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Alternate Worlds

Our world has a parallel magical world in which a lot of customs and traditions are the same but there is the presence of magic

Recommended Reading:

HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
PERCY JACKSON by Rick Riordan
A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

High/Epic

A new world is created with it’s own sets of rules, lands, and cultures typically different from our own although they may bear some resemblance to our world. There is usually a Hero or Heroine that drives the story forward and a large cast of characters.

Recommending Reading:

AIR AWAKENS by Elise Kova
FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes
MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson

Low

Mostly a “catch-all” for everything that isn’t Quest Driven or Hero-centric. This has a changing definition and many people use it as they see fit to describe fantasy books that they don’t know how else to classify. Traditionally it means it has less magic and has more “realness” to it.

Recommended Reading:

THE RAVEN CYCLE by Maggie Stiefvater
DREAM CATCHER by Lisa McMann
A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON by Samantha Mabry

Historical

Takes place in a historical setting with the inclusion of fantasy elements to tell the history we “know”

Recommended Reading:

SHADOWS OF ASPOHDEL by Karen Kincy
SHARDS OF HEAVEN by Michael Livingston
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

Divider

Every “fantasy” book can be classified even further but sometimes it is hard to say EXACTLY which each is, as the definition for low fantasy is constantly changing. There are also TONS of subgenres that you can look up and find a whole new world (sometimes literally). I hope this post helps you figure out which type of fantasy you like to read, want to read more of, and even what to avoid!

Divider

What subgenre of fantasy do you read the most? Are you going to try a new one?

About Jamie

Jamie lives over the ocean in a small town in Canada. She is a perpetual people pleaser, thus she took up a career path in Human Resources. She moonlights as a book blogger and catches up on Netflix shows when she is laying in bed wishing she could sleep.

She's been blogging at Books and Ladders since May 2015 and co-blogging at Queen of the Bookshelves since August 2015. Since Jamie can't ever really say no to a book, she reads all varieties of Science Fiction and Fantasy, YA Contemporary, YA Historical Fiction, and YA Fairy Tale/Mythology Retellings.

4 responses to “Discussion: Classifying Fantasy Subgenres

  1. Ahh I really love this post! I have a hard time classifying magical realism and urban fantasy, they’re just really similar sometimes! Thank you for putting time and effort in classifying (+ giving recs) for this post! ❤❤❤

  2. As fantasy is my favorite genre I’ve read all of these subgenres, I believe. My favorites, though, are high/epic and urban. They’re the ones I feel the most pull to, but especially high fantasy. There’s just something about reading about a completely different, new world that’s just so interesting to me.

Leave a Reply