Discovering the Wonders of Fantasy: A Beginner’s Guide to Fantasy Sub-genres

Discover the diverse sub-genres of fantasy literature, from high fantasy to urban fantasy. Explore epic quests, magical cities, and mythical creatures in this guide.

Are you tired of trying to figure out what sub-genre of fantasy you enjoy most?

Fear not, because I’m here to provide a quick guide to the different sub-genres of fantasy literature. From epic high fantasy to dark and gritty urban fantasy, we’ll cover it all.

High Fantasy

This sub-genre is the classic sword-and-sorcery stuff that most people think of when they hear “fantasy.” It typically features a medieval-style setting with plenty of magic, mythical creatures, and epic quests. The characters are usually noble heroes on a mission to save the world from some kind of evil force. Think Lord of the Rings.

Urban Fantasy

This sub-genre brings fantasy elements into a modern, urban setting. You’ll find magical creatures like vampires and werewolves coexisting with humans in a city environment. The stories often involve supernatural detectives, urban witches, and other characters with magical abilities navigating the challenges of modern life. Think the Dresden Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Dark Fantasy

This sub-genre takes the darker, grittier aspects of fantasy and runs with them. It often features morally ambiguous characters, intense violence and gore, and a bleak, oppressive atmosphere. The stories may involve themes like death, destruction, and existential dread. Think A Song of Ice and Fire or The Black Company.

Epic Fantasy

This sub-genre focuses on large-scale conflicts and epic battles, often spanning multiple books or even entire series. The stories usually involve complex political intrigue, multiple factions, and plenty of world-building. Think The Wheel of Time or The Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Historical Fantasy

This sub-genre blends historical settings and events with fantasy elements. The stories may take place in real historical periods, but with added magic, mythical creatures, or supernatural events. Think Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell or Outlander.

Fairy Tale Fantasy

This sub-genre retells classic fairy tales with a fantasy twist. The stories often involve familiar characters like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Little Red Riding Hood, but with added magical elements or reimagined plot lines. Think Stardust or The Bloody Chamber.

Mythological Fantasy

This sub-genre draws from mythologies and legends from various cultures, such as Greek, Norse, or Celtic. The stories may involve gods and goddesses, legendary heroes, or creatures from mythological lore. Think Percy Jackson or American Gods.

If you enjoy fantasy books, you can get a free Ravenglass Universe starter library when you join Jon’s VIP newsletter.

Author: joncronshawauthor

Best-selling author of fantasy and speculative fiction brimming with adventure, escapism, and an exploration of life's big questions.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: