Fantasy Fiction: A World of Possibilities

Posted: June 18, 2019 9:00:00 AM CDT

As you may have read on our blog last month, we have more Stephen King books than any other single author in the Popular Reading Collection, but did you know that the most popular genre is fantasy? We offer more fantasy books than any other genre. And you will find a variety of both Young Adult and adult fantasy titles including, ironically, a Stephen King fantasy series, The Dark Tower.

What makes the fantasy genre so popular among readers?

A quick search online will reveal many varying definitions of fantasy, but the key seems to be the existence of the unexplained, impossible, non-rational, or to state it simply, the presence of magic. However, these elements can also be found in genres like science fiction and horror. In fact, the three genres are collectively known as speculative fiction.

American fantasy author, Will Shetterly, said it best when describing the differences among the three genres.

“In fantasy, impossible things exist. In science fiction, impossible things exist and can be understood by humans. In horror, impossible things exist and cannot live in peace with humans.”

Science fiction appeals more to our intellect. While fantasy and horror appeal more to our emotions. However, horror is designed to evoke fear or dread and fantasy to explore those human emotions surrounding the challenges, victories, defeats, and sacrifices faced.

Envisioning is at the core of fantasy. In fact, the word itself comes from the Greek word phantasia, meaning “to make visible.”

Fantasy authors are skilled at creating vast and detailed worlds that are as believable as our own even in the presence of the impossible. Many people mistakenly think that if there is magic involved then anything and everything can happen. But the magic in fantasy worlds has rules and consequences just like our world does. Fantasy worlds must remain internally consistent for that world to remain believable.

Another characteristic is the struggle between good and evil. Although you can certainly find exceptions.  More importantly, the confrontation with evil is worth the risk, the pain and suffering, for the struggle will always come to a resolution usually with good triumphing over evil.

As humans we need stories, and fantasy more than other genres creates stories that we thrive on. They are stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and making enormous changes in the world. Fantasy is a literature of empowerment (and discovering one’s potential). It opens the door to the realm of “what if” and challenges readers to see beyond our world as we know it and to envision other ways of living and alternative mindsets.

Interested in reading a fantasy novel? Fantasy fiction can vary widely in style, setting, characters and plot. Below you will find suggested titles available in our Popular Reading Collection.

Happy readings!

Anjanette

Fantasy Titles

The Binding book coverThe Binding
by Bridget Collins
Books are dangerous things in Collins's alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It's a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them. Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, but his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

Wicked Saints book coverWicked Saints
by Emily A. Duncan
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light.

Descendants of the Crane book coverDescendant of the Crane
by Joan He
“Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.” Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death... because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago. Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant and alluring investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

The Raven Tower book coverThe Raven Tower
by Ann Leckie
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven.

He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven's Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained by the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven's watch, the city flourishes.

But the Raven's tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself...and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

The Ruin of King book coverThe Ruin of Kings
by Jenn Lyons
Kihrin grew up in the slums of Quur, a thief and a minstrel's son raised on tales of long-lost princes and magnificent quests. When he is claimed against his will as the missing son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds himself at the mercy of his new family's ruthless power plays and political ambitions.

Practically a prisoner, Kihrin discovers that being a long-lost prince is nothing like what the storybooks promised. The storybooks have lied about a lot of other things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he isn't the hero after all. For Kihrin is not destined to save the world.

He's destined to destroy it.

Catwoman: Soulstealer book coverCatwoman: Soulstealer
by Sarah J. Maas
Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, the city looks ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever—she may be Batwing's undoing.

Circe book coverCirce
by Madeline Miller
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Spinning Silver book coverSpinning Silver
by Naomi Novik
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. She will face an impossible challenge and, along with two unlikely allies, uncover a secret that threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood book coverThe Sisters of the Winter Wood
by Rena Rossner
In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami's babka and the low rumble of their Tati's prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell - despite their mother's warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.

As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true...and could save them all.

Skyward book coverSkyward
by Brandon Sanderson
Spensa's world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what's left of the human race and becoming one has always been Spensa's dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father's--a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa's chances of attending flight school at slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

A Darker Shade of Magic book coverA Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes--as such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne -- a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see--a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason.

The Priory of the Orange Tree book coverThe Priory of the Orange Tree
by Samantha Shannon
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction--but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

By: Anjanette Jones

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