Fantasy Fiction

What’s Your Favourite Fantasy Fiction?

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The fantasy genre – quite literally, a world, or even universe, where there are absolutely no limits, so anything can go: dragons, monsters, sorcerers, fairies, unicorns and magic. Fairy tales for adults really; great for getting in touch with your imagination and part of the reason why it’s one of my all-time favourite genres.

What’s Classed as “Fantasy” Fiction?

Typically, fantasy fiction features some or all of the following:

  • An imaginary world/universe;
  • Elements of the impossible; things that couldn’t happen in “real life”;
  • Mythical/magical creatures;
  • Supernatural abilities;
  • An epic battle of good verses evil.

Sometimes, you might see the fantasy genre being lumped in with science-fiction (“sci-fi”) and/or horror as a broader genre but, as I’m something of a purist, I’m going to keep them separate and save those genres for later posts!

Often, although not always, there’s an Arthurian-type setting and characters with all manner of unusual or exotic sounding names from all over their imaginary world/universe. Most of my favourites include a map somewhere within the book to refer to and get the “lay of the land”, so to speak.

Famous Favourites:

  • Lord of the Rings, J R R Tolkien;
  • Game of Thrones, George R R Martin;
  • Discworld, Terry Pratchett;
  • Age of the Five, Trudi Canavan;
  • Harry Potter, J K Rowling;
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, C S Lewis

And of course, many more!

Other Mediums

Of course, fantasy fiction spans across a number of mediums, not just books but TV shows, cinema and games. Many times the story will have originally started as a book and later be adapted for another medium. One of my favourite games, The Witcher, was based on the book of the same name by author, Andrzej Sapkowski, and is due to be released as a Netflix original later this year. I’m pretty excited! Trailer here:

https://www.netflix.com/gb/title/80189685

The Good

The absolute best thing about the fantasy fiction genre is the fact that anything can happen at any time – even the impossible and improbable. A recent example of this is the Game of Thrones series of books/TV shows. George R R Martin went against the grain of many other authors in the genre at the time in his not being afraid to kill off big characters at any time, creating a fair, few shocks for us along the way. Looking back, it was in fact a stroke of genius really capturing his audience off-guard whether as readers or viewers, so much so that it really influenced a rapid change in trend in fantasy fiction style generally.

Fantasy fiction as a genre is really reminiscent to me of the fairy tales, stories and games of my childhood so some can be comfortingly nostalgic and familiar even if the author is new to me.

There’s also a lot of scope to expand the story in a wide range of directions in a world you make up yourself and that usually means an extended series and/or spin-off stories if done well.

The Bad

It seems slightly ironic that the worst thing for me about the genre is based on its best thing. For me, sometimes the range of stories, given that it literally can be about anything, are relatively limited with quite a few authors sticking too closely to the tried and true Arthurian style stories.

It can also be ages in between books getting released, Game of Thrones, for the obvious example!

That’s my basic take on fantasy fiction anyway. What about you – do you have a fantasy fiction favourite?

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Girl reading book in garden with apple

What’s Your Favourite Book?

What’s Your Favourite Book?

Too many to choose! I once saw a Pinterest quote that said something like asking a book-lover to choose their favourite book is like asking a mother to choose their favourite child.

So many books, genres, styles of writing, characters, worlds. Is it possible to narrow it down to one? I consider myself a book-lover and the book I come back to time and again to re-read is without a doubt Emily Brönte’s Wuthering Heights.  

Surely, this is what defines a favourite – a tale we return to, no matter how many times we’ve read it, to re-live the lives of our favourite characters, to a world and/or a time we have fallen in love with and to be an intimate observer of our hero or heroine’s highs and lows.

But I think what makes us really resonate with a writer or book so deeply is when a particular phrase jumps out at us from one of its pages and stays with you even after you finish reading the book.  It is these timeless phrases that, for me, define a classic.

My favourite quote from the book itself is the popular:

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brönte

It is that soulmate, twin-flame energy, between the doomed Heathcliffe and Cathy, that is so reminiscent to me of those other tragic lovers, Romeo & Juliet. The reason why Wuthering Heights endures for me over Romeo and Juliet, however, is the longevity of the relationship and depth of emotion between its two main characters.

Following the twists and turns of Cathy and Heathcliffe’s tumultuous relationship with one another as they grow and begin to navigate their lives according to societal norms, rather than following their hearts is something I’ve been guilty of myself too many times in too many situations.  But, at its heart, Wuthering Heights is a tragic, brutally honest love story, set and written in a time when women were themselves expected to live their lives according to societal norms.  The author herself felt the need to release her book under an assumed male name, (as did her also talented sisters) Ellis Bell, as women were simply not supposed to feel or write “like that”.

Sometimes the best books are the ones where the author’s stories are as interesting as the book itself. It adds another layer of meaning to a story you already love, an opportunity to see the world of the book through the eyes of the world of the author.

What’s your favourite book and its quote? How did it make you see the world differently? Comment below.