Saturday, February 9, 2019

5 FANTASY SUBGENRES I HAVEN'T READ MUCH IN // february is fantasy month!

There's something special about fantasy.

There's something so, so special about diving into a different world bred from the human imagination - that amazing, God-gifted tool inspired by all we see and feel and know about the world around us.

Fantasy is almost LIMITLESS. There's so much to play with in the genre, and so many subgenres for both fantasy writers and readers to expand their horizons across.

This month, a big chunk of bloggers led by Jenelle Schmidt are celebrating fantasy in an awesome event called February is Fantasy Month. << Click to see the main post over on Jenelle's website! And there's a giveaway for a pretty epic letter-opener, so you'll definitely want to check that out HERE.

Today I'm contributing to the event with a post about GENRES. Specifically, the subgenres of fantasy. Because obviously, I can't talk about anything but fantasy for February is Fantasy Month.

Image result for against the rules gif
 via Gifer

Instead of discussing fantasy subgenres in general, though (because that would probably result in a monstrous, scattered post NOBODY has time to read), I'm narrowing down the discussion to fantasy subgenres I haven't read much in. Maybe, as we consider these subgenres, we'll be able to figure out the why. If there even is one, haha. I imagine that for at least some of these, I don't have much of an excuse. ;P

Note: All book links go to their respective Goodreads pages.

1. Historical Fantasy

Basically, historical fantasy is fantasy set in an actual historical period of our world. That could be Victorian era, ancient times, or even World War II. SO MANY OPTIONS. And yet I haven't read much of it??? I know Libba Bray has a few, e.g. A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Diviners, but I'm not interested in any of Libba Bray's works. And I Darken by Kiersten White and Jackaby by William Ritter are on my TBR, not to mention Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, but I can't think of a lot. Part of the problem is I simply haven't heard of many historical fantasies that I'm actually interested in. GIVE ME RECS??


What intrigues me about historical fantasy is that it blends alleged historical accuracy with fantastical elements. That's a win-win!

2. Comic Fantasy

I read a lot of fantasy with humor in it (I'm pretty sure every single book has at least a TINY bit of humor), but the official comic fantasy genre has "amusing the reader" as its biggest focus. At least, that's how I understand it.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman and The Lady Janies series are two comic fantasies on my TBR. At least, I'm assuming The Princess Bride is comic fantasy.

Related image
via Imgur

The Lady Janes could be historical fantasy as well, although I'm not sure about their historical accuracy. I've definitely heard that those books are HILARIOUS, though, so I'll venture to put them under comic fantasy.

I've heard of plenty of fantasy books in the comical vein, so I have no excuse for not having read many of them. *insert blushing emoji*

3. Grimdark Fantasy

Okay, so I'm justified in not having read much grimdark. This subgenre in general doesn't appeal to me, mostly because of the heavy topics/themes it often delves into, plus the predominantly dark atmosphere puts the reader in a headspace I'd rather not spend a lot of my reading time hanging out in. It's #uncomfortable. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 always pops into my mind when I think about this: "You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness."

Not to say I don't love a good dark fantasy (a lot of the fantasy I enjoy, even write myself, has dark elements) mixed with light and hope to combat the darkness. That's realistic and inspiring. And not to say that I don't love a well-written story that happens to have an unhappy ending or a morally gray character every once and a while. But grimdark fantasy seems to delve DEEP into moral grayness and triggering topics, and most of the time I'd just... rather not, ya know?

Examples would be The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Due to significant amounts of language and moral grayness in the former and other triggering content in the latter, neither are books I'm interested in at this time. They're super popular, though, and I know people who love Locke Lamora especially.

These are adult books, by the way. Grimdark fantasy is usually adult.

4. Paranormal Fantasy

Again, I have a right to stay away from this. Vampires, werewolves, and other such beings are creatures I feel uncomfortable reading about in general. There are exceptions - based mostly on what the role of the vampire or werewolf is and how they're portrayed - but not many.

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer - of course lol - and The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater are examples of paranormal fantasy. Personal preference, but I keep my distance.

Me @ sparkly vampires
Related image
via somewhere, idk. Credit goes to original gif creator.

Yes, you heard me. SPARKLY.

5. Arthurian Fantasy

This is technically a sub-subgenre because it's a branch of medieval fantasy, but a double subgenre is still a subgenre, so it works. ^_^

Arthurian fantasy is basically the realm of King Arthur retellings and reimaginings. I think the general requirement is that the story be set in the medieval setting and time period of King Arthur and heavily incorporate Arthurian legend in some way. Can a book even be legally categorized as Arthurian fantasy if it doesn't have an obvious Merlin or Queen Guinevere character?? Likely not.

Examples would be The Once and Future King by T.H. White and Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell. My mom, sis, and I are *cough* trying to read the former together. (We're making slow progress.) Song of the Sparrow used to be on my TBR, but I've since lost interest. *shrug* Maybe that interest will come back someday, but don't count on it. XD


Arthurian fantasy doesn't appeal to me a WHOLE lot, which is probably why I haven't read much of it. If you've read any good ones, though, hop into the comment section and recommend away!


And that's it for this post! I hope you enjoyed, and if you want to read more fun February is Fantasy Month articles, follow the link at the top of this post to Jenelle's main post so you can access the full blog schedule. Or from here you can directly visit Kyle Robert Shultz's How to Write Non-Human Characters post or Jenelle's Author Spotlight of Terry Brooks!

The Lord's Truly,

What are your thoughts on these subgenres? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let's chat about fantasy! :D


  1. I have had Jackaby for almost two years, but I haven't read it yet! I don't know why. So many book, so little time.

    The Princess Bride is hilarious!!!!!!! If you ever get the chance to read it you must!! :D It is fabulous!

    1. I've had it on my TBR for a while too! SO. MANY. BOOKS. And only 24 hours in a day. O_o

      Oooooh, I want to read it even more now!!! I love a good comic fantasy, even though - of course - I haven't read much in that subgenre. XD


    I think I want to read And I Darken? I don't know. It sounds really dark, and I'm not sure if my reading time can take that xD One genre I've really been getting into lately is faerie stuff, like Cruel Prince, although it's SO HARD to find stuff that's any semblance of CLEAN in that genre *sniffles* *eyes SJM in disgust*

    Oof, I want to read Wolves of Mercy Falls, if only because Stiefvater is the QUEEN and I adore her. But...idk. I'm more interested in her magical realism xD

    I way prefer noblebright to grimdark, too. Even though half the time, I feel like my writing sort of borders on grimdark. Whoops...

    Lovely post! :D

    1. Lol, I feel your pain in trying to find clean faerie books, Faith. *glares at SJM too* Oi, guess if we want clean faerie books then we're just going to have to write them ;P

    2. @Faith - I've heard good things about And I Darken, so I think I'm interested too, but then again it's not a TBR priority so WHO KNOWS when I'd read it. XD And oooh, faeries are AWESOME. But yeeeeep, they're not often clean. *glares at SJM with both you and Nicki*

      Well, if/when you read it, I hope you like it! Werewolf romance ain't my thing, though. :P Stiefvater IS extremely talented, though, oh my GOOODNESS. <3

      Hmmmm, well, personally I don't think your book could be called grimdark. It's dark, but it doesn't quite reach the caliber of grimdark. It's got too much light and hope in it! Love iiiiit. <333

      Thanks so much!!

      @Nicki - YES, we must write them ourselves! I'm so excited for your faerie book!!! :D

  3. Jackaby is amazing! I just found Wolves of Mercy Falls at a thrift store, super excited to read them.

    Lies of Locke Lamora is one of my new favorites despite the language. The world building is next level.

    1. I can't wait to read it!! And oooh, thrift store finds are the BEST!

      I'm sure it's a well-executed story! I may try it out later in life, lol. :D

  4. I love historical fantasy! I don't get to read enough of it, honestly. Also, READ JACKABY. It's excellent and I love it.

    Also, you are fully justified in not reading Lies of Locke Lamora. There's a LOT of language on it, enough that I'm not reading the rest of the series even though I thought the plot was good.

    1. SAME. And okay, I'll try to get my hands on it maybe soon. Ish. XD It sounds amazing!!

      I knew I heard there was a mountain of language. :P Well, at least I'm not alone! *high-five* :D

      Thanks for commenting, Sarah!

  5. I LOVE historical, comic, and Arthurian fantasy. :)

    1. I want to read more of all those genres!!! Especially comic fantasy. :D

  6. Comic fantasy is the BEST!!!! You need to read My Lady Jane - I can’t remember the last time I laughed throughout an entire book. And the Princess Bride, of course, is AWESOME.

    Ugh, paranormal is just annoying - and usually full of content. Definitely would not recommend the Wolves of Mercy Falls series - I read the first part of the first book before Mom made me stop, and looking back, I can see why. There’s just weird stuff going on.

    Great post, Lila! I’m loving how many people are participating in Fantasy Month!

    1. I REALLY want to read My Lady Jane!! AND Princess Bride. They sound so great. :'D

      YES. Paranormal just does NOT appeal to me. Wolves of Mercy Falls does look weird... Not for me. :P

      Thanks, Nicole! Fantasy Month is awesome!!

  7. Great post, Lila! You're right, these aren't very common genres.

    I don't read much of Historical Fantasy because I'm very picky about Historical books that I read. I did enjoy Fawkes though. Honestly, I don't think I'll ever read the "And I Darken" trilogy even though I have read other of White's works because of personal preferences. I've heard that there is a love triangle where both the girl and her brother fall for the same guy and that's just... weird. The Lady Janies series is so good though (I would count it as historical fantasy, honestly even though it veers very far from historical events).

    I actually kinda like vampires and you know that I like werewolves too XD But that's just me. I also like Twilight because I grew up watching those movies with my mom so I just feel very nostalgic about them now.

    I want to write a book in the Arthurian sub-genre about Morgana... with faeries! (of course, it's me, there's going to be faeries) XD So hopefully I'll be able to write that someday.

    1. Thanks, Nicki! They do seem to be more obscure...

      Ohhhhhh, wait, so that love triangle is in the And I Darken trilogy??? That's super unfortunate. I probably won't read it, then, because that's just... *shudders* Ugh. Disappointing! :(

      I thought The Lady Janes weren't very accurate, lol! XD I liked the werewolf in your A Week of Werewolves because he was depicted as bad. Werewolf romance is... a no for me. ;P And I totally respect that you like Twilight! It's interesting to know someone who likes it, because a lot of people seem to hate it.

      Ooooh, that sounds great!! Haha, yessss, you and your faeries! <3

  8. I haven't read much historical fantasy, but it SOUNDS SO COOL!!! (Also, Fawkes was pretty good.)

    You forget to mention non-magic fantasy, which is a fave of mine. :)

    1. Me neither, but YES IT DOES. (I can't wait to read it. I put a request in for it at my library today, so here's hoping they accept it! *crosses fingers* :D)

      Oooooh, yes, that's a good one! You should read The Ascendance Trilogy if you haven't already! It's non-magic fantasy and AMAZING. <333

  9. Awesome post! Loved reading your take on some of these less-popular sub-genres.

    I'm not usually a fan of grimdark, either. But MAYBE Frank Peretti's "The Oath" could be considered Christian-Grimdark-Fantasy? Is that even a possibility? But it's SO SO SO creepy, but then the hopeful rays shine through and it's AWESOME.

    Arthurian fantasy is one of my favorites! I LOVE Stephen R. Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, definitely my favorite Arthurian fantasy series ever.

    For comic fantasy (esp if you enjoy it blended with fairy tales twisted on their heads) Kyle Robert Shultz's "Beaumont and Beasley" series is HILARIOUS and so fun and clean. Love it so much!

    1. Thanks, Jenelle!

      Ooooh, cool! I've read ONE Frank Peretti book and it was... all right. *nods* Not my fave. I'll definitely look into The Oath, though! Maybe that one's horror rather than grimdark...?

      Eep, I'll see about that as well!

      I'm planning on reading the first book in Beaumont and Beasly in a couple months and I'm SO EXCITED!!!! I LOVE fairy tale twists and I want more comic fantasy, so this is gonna be a win-win. I feel it in my bones. XD

      Thank you so much for February is Fantasy Month! I've LOVED participating and reading others' posts! Epicness. :D

    2. I don't think The Oath could be considered "horror." I tend to categorize it with "Dracula" which I consider to be "gothic fantasy"? I don't know if that's a thing. LOL If "grimdark" is supposed to focus more on the "dark/evil" side of things without the hopeful rays, then it's probably a subgenre I just have zero interest in. I don't mind dark themes, but I need to see the light and hope in order to feel that the story is worth my time.

      You are welcome! Thank you so much for being a part of #FantasyMonth! I have really enjoyed running it as a blog tour this year and getting to read all the posts!!!


If you haven't commented before, just know that I would LOVE to hear from you! And if you're a frequent commenter, just know that I never get tired of talking with you. <3

(Moderation has been set up for comments on posts older than 6 days, just to make sure that your message doesn't escape my notice. xD)