Welcome to part two of our review of Fantasy sub genres. For part one, click here.
The different fantasy genres are as varied and complex as the people who enjoy them. And as a fantasy writer, I find them endlessly fascinating. I hope you do, too.
And please check out the website Worlds Without Ends. Their site provided the bulk of my research. While I don’t usually do this, I will point out they’ve got a Patreon page.
A fairy tale story is one that strongly uses what would be considered fairy tale motifs. Poisoned food, magic talismans, wicked witches, bubbling streams that give advice, talking pearls. I don’t have much experience writing this sort of thing, but I do love it.
Some examples of the Fairytale fantasy sub genre are Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Deerskin by Robin McKinley and Red as Blood by Tanith Lee.
Fantasy of Manners
Alright, this one’s a little confusing. A fantasy of manners is sort of like a Rodney Dangerfield movie. A character threatening or going against a set of rules or expectations in a certain society, for a satirical look at the situation.
The first example that comes to mind is A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. (Did I need to mention that? I assume if you’re reading my blog you know who wrote A Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.) Another good example is Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett. I would even argue that the first Fantastic Beasts movie had some strong elements of this sub genre.
Heroic fantasies are kind of exactly what I think of when I think of the fantasy genre. A hero travels the land, defeating monsters and saving the world. Heavily character driven, with a great and powerful person kicking ass. It’s swords and demons and everything that makes for a great, thrilling read. I would say Woven falls into this category, but not so much as the new trilogy, the Coinkeeper’s Saga.
Some examples that aren’t mine are The Lord of The Rings by JR Tolkien, The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (Personal note: I didn’t like this but I’m like the only one who didn’t.) and Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. I told you, it’s exactly what people think of when they think of fantasy.
This is also known as epic fantasy, and really similar to heroic fantasy. It’s the story of an epic battle between good and evil on a grand scale. This is no Spiderman saving Manhattan. This is The Avengers taking on Thanos. I would argue that a high fantasy story is more plot driven than character driven.
Some examples of high fantasy series are the Mystborn series by Brandon Sanderson, Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. I assume I don’t need to tell you that Sanderson is my favorite fantasy author, Jordan is my husband’s, and CS Lewis is our favorite author all together.
Historical fantasy is similar to alternate historical fantasy. They both deal with adding fantasy elements to one specific time in history. The big difference is that where in alternate historical fantasy we’re dealing with a story that ends differently, historical fantasy keeps everything just the same, it’s just that now there’s magic. This is another sub genre that I want to explore.
Some examples of historical fantasy are The Golum and the Jinni by Helene Wecker and The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty.
Well, that’s it for part two. Stay tuned next week for part three and four.
In Devon’s world, magical work is as common as turning a pot or fletching an arrow. What isn’t common is a man with thread magic. When Devon finds that he is a seer, weaving prophetic tapestries, his family tries to keep it a secret.
But the family can’t hide Devon’s visions after he predicts a devastating plague in the dragon lands of Coveline. He travels there to help the dragon queen save her people.
Meanwhile, Devon’s sister Lenore joins the Church of Singular Light. As Lenore learns to serve, and falls in love with her city, she discovers a dark underbelly to the church.
Lenore fights for her city, and Devon rushes to find a cure to the plague, while an unseen enemy raises an army to destroy Septa from within.