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From Epic to Urban: A Guide to Fantasy Sub-Genres

Fantasy fiction is a genre that has been popular for centuries, captivating readers with tales of magic, mythical creatures, and epic adventures. From the works of J.R.R. Tolkien to the more recent successes of George R.R. Martin and J.K. Rowling, fantasy fiction has proven to be a timeless genre that continues to attract readers of all ages. In this article, we will explore the origins and sub-genres of fantasy fiction and provide recommendations for books to read in this genre.

Origins of Fantasy Fiction

The origins of fantasy fiction can be traced back to ancient mythology and folklore. Tales of gods, heroes, and mythical creatures were often used to explain the mysteries of the natural world and to teach moral lessons. These stories were passed down orally from generation to generation, and over time, they evolved and were adapted to suit different cultures and audiences.

The modern form of fantasy fiction, however, can be traced back to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. In the mid-20th century, Tolkien created the world of Middle-earth, a fantastical realm filled with elves, dwarves, wizards, and hobbits. Tolkien’s works, including “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings,” were wildly popular and helped to establish fantasy fiction as a distinct genre. You can find many fantasy genre books online, both in ebook and paperback format.

Sub-Genres of Fantasy Fiction

Fantasy fiction can be broken down into several sub-genres, each with its own distinct characteristics and themes. Some of the most popular sub-genres of fantasy fiction include:

High Fantasy:

High fantasy is perhaps the most well-known sub-genre of fantasy fiction. It is characterized by its epic scope, sprawling world-building, and larger-than-life heroes. Works in this sub-genre often feature mythical creatures, magic, and ancient prophecies.

Recommendation: “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss is a perfect example of high fantasy. The book follows the story of Kvothe, a legendary wizard, as he tells the story of his life to a chronicler. The book is rich in world-building and features a complex magic system and a wide array of mythical creatures. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Urban Fantasy:

Urban fantasy takes place in a contemporary, urban setting and often features supernatural elements such as vampires, werewolves, and witches. Works in this sub-genre often explore themes of good vs. evil, and the struggle to maintain balance in a world filled with magic.

Recommendation: “Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher is a popular urban fantasy series that follows the story of Harry Dresden, a wizard who works as a private investigator in modern-day Chicago. The series is action-packed and features a wide array of supernatural creatures and intricate magic systems. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Dark Fantasy:

Dark fantasy is a sub-genre that explores the darker side of fantasy fiction. Works in this sub-genre often feature anti-heroes, morally ambiguous characters, and graphic violence. Dark fantasy can also explore themes of horror and the supernatural.

Recommendation: “The Blade Itself” by Joe Abercrombie is a dark fantasy novel that follows the story of three main characters as they navigate a world filled with political intrigue, war, and magic. The book is known for its complex characters and gritty realism. You can buy this book online at Bookbins India.

Historical Fantasy:

Historical fantasy takes place in a historical setting and often blends real-world events with fantastical elements. Works in this sub-genre can explore themes of magic, myth, and legend in a historical context.

Recommendation: “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke is a historical fantasy novel set in 19th century England. The book follows the story of two magicians who bring magic back to England and become embroiled in a war against Napoleon. The book is known for its rich historical detail and intricate world-building. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Fairy Tale Retellings:

Fairy tale retellings take classic fairy tales and re-imagine them in a new context, often exploring different perspectives or adding modern twists. Works in this sub-genre can range from lighthearted and humorous to dark and twisted.

Recommendation: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer is a popular fairy tale retelling that takes the classic story of Cinderella and sets it in a futuristic, dystopian world. The book follows the story of Cinder, a cyborg mechanic who finds herself at the center of a political conspiracy. The book is known for its creative world-building and strong female protagonist. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Magical Realism:

Magical realism is a sub-genre that blends elements of fantasy with realistic, everyday settings. Works in this sub-genre often explore themes of identity, culture, and spirituality.

Recommendation: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a classic example of magical realism. The book follows the story of the Buendia family over the course of several generations in a small, isolated town in Colombia. The book is known for its lush prose and magical, dreamlike quality. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Mythic Fantasy:

Mythic fantasy combines elements of mythology and folklore to create a unique world filled with magical creatures and gods. Works in this sub-genre often explore themes of destiny and fate.

Recommendation: “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman is a popular mythic fantasy novel that explores the idea of gods and mythical beings living among us. The book follows the story of Shadow, a man caught between the world of gods and the world of mortals. The book is known for its rich mythology and intricate storytelling. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Science Fantasy:

Science fantasy blends elements of science fiction with fantasy, creating a unique world that often explores themes of technology and magic.

Recommendation: “The Broken Earth Trilogy” by N.K. Jemisin is a popular science fantasy series that takes place in a world where natural disasters are controlled by people with magical abilities. The series explores themes of power, oppression, and survival in a world that is constantly under threat. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Contemporary Fantasy:

Contemporary fantasy takes place in a modern setting and often includes fantastical elements such as magic or supernatural creatures.

Recommendation: “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern is a popular contemporary fantasy novel that follows the story of two young magicians who are pitted against each other in a magical competition set in a mysterious circus. The book is known for its lush descriptions and imaginative world-building. You can buy books from this genre online at Bookbins India.

Final Thoughts

Fantasy fiction is a genre that continues to captivate readers of all ages. Whether you prefer epic tales of heroism and adventure or dark and gritty stories of anti-heroes and political intrigue, there is a fantasy book out there for everyone. By exploring the different sub-genres of fantasy fiction, readers can discover new worlds and exciting stories that will keep them engaged and entertained for hours on end.

In conclusion, the genre of fantasy fiction is incredibly diverse, with sub-genres to suit every taste and preference. Whether you’re a fan of epic battles, complex political intrigue, or imaginative world-building, there is a fantasy book out there that will captivate and entertain you. So why not pick up a book from one of these sub-genres today and immerse yourself in a world of magic and wonder? Buy them here!

Categories: Book Recommendations|Published On: 17/05/2023|By |