Discover the captivating world of thieves in fantasy novels. From daring heists to cunning schemes, these must-read books offer action, suspense, and thrilling twists. Explore the top picks that will keep you on the edge of your seat. #fantasybooks #thieves #mustreadnovels
Fantasy novels often offer a unique twist to traditional crime stories, and tales about thieves are no exception.
Whether it’s a heist gone wrong, a daring escape, or a cunning scheme, these stories are full of action, suspense, and thrilling twists.
Here are ten must-read fantasy novels about thieves that will keep you on the edge of your seat:
1. “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch.
Set in the city of Camorr, the Gentlemen Bastards series follows the adventures of Locke Lamora and his band of thieves. The books are filled with complex heists, daring escapes, and political machinations, and the characters are both lovable and deeply flawed. Lynch’s writing is sharp and witty, and the world of Camorr is a rich and fully realized setting.
2. “Thief of Time” by Terry Pratchett.
Set in Discworld, this novel follows the adventures of thief-turned-monk Lu-Tze and his journey to prevent Time itself from being stolen. Pratchett’s signature wit and humour shine in this book, making it a must-read for fans of his work.
3. “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.
Set in Bradugo’s Grishaverse, this story follows a group of six criminals hired for a nearly impossible heist. With a diverse cast of characters and fast-paced action, Six of Crows is a thrilling ride from start to finish.
4. “Farseer Trilogy” by Robin Hobb.
This classic fantasy series follows the story of FitzChivalry Farseer, an assassin and thief who is forced to navigate the dangerous world of the Six Duchies. Hobb’s writing is rich and descriptive, and the characters are complex and fully realized. Fitz is a compelling protagonist, and his adventures are both thrilling and thought-provoking.
5. “Riyria Revelations” by Michael J. Sullivan.
This six-book series follows the adventures of Royce and Hadrian, two thieves who find themselves caught up in a web of political intrigue and ancient magic. The witty banter between the two leads, combined with Sullivan’s intricate world-building and fast-paced action, make Riyria Revelations a must-read for fans of the genre.
6. “The Master Thief series” by Ben Hale.
A delightful romp through a world of thieves, con artists, and other unsavoury characters. The main character, Jute, is a street thief who finds himself drawn into a larger scheme that will test his skills and loyalty. The books are filled with twists and turns, and the writing is both witty and action-packed.
7. “Lightbringer series” by Brent Weeks.
This series follows the adventures of Gavin Guile, a powerful magician and master thief who must navigate the dangerous world of the Chromeria. Weeks’ writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and the world of the Chromeria is rich and complex. The characters are fully realized, and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.
8. “Mistborn series” by Brandon Sanderson.
Set in the world of Scadrial, the Mistborn series follows the story of Vin, a young thief who discovers she has the ability to use magic. Sanderson’s writing is fast-paced and action-packed, and the world of Scadrial is rich and complex. Vin’s journey from street urchin to powerful Allomancer is both thrilling and heart-warming, and the twists and turns of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat.
9. “Thief of Magic” by Trudi Canavan.
This second book in the Millennium’s Rule series follows the adventures of Rielle, a young thief who discovers she has a talent for magic.
10. “The Thief’s Gamble” by Juliet E. McKenna.
This book is the first in a series of novels that follow the adventures of Kaira, a young thief who finds herself caught up in a world of magic and political intrigue. With a strong and likable protagonist, fast-paced action, and intricate world-building, The Thief’s Gamble is a must-read.
If you love fantasy with thieves, you can get my novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.
Explore the influence of the iconic ‘Final Fantasy’ video game series on contemporary fantasy literature, from world-building to character complexity. Dive into the parallel universes!
Final Fantasy, the video game series that’s been anything but ‘final’, has made a considerable impact not just on the gaming world, but also on the pages of contemporary fantasy literature.
So, how exactly did a bunch of pixelated characters hopping across our screens wield such influence over authors and their hefty tomes?
Chocobos to Giant Hawks?
The first, and possibly most important, aspect is the sheer scope of the worlds Square Enix created.
If you’ve read any of Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle”, you may have noticed his world’s depth, from the currency system to the layout of the University.
Much like the intricate maps and city layouts of Final Fantasy, it seems Rothfuss might’ve spent a wee bit too much time in virtual taverns.
Environmental issues, from the lifeforce-sapping Mako Reactors in FFVII to the Sin-tainted oceans of FFX, run deep.
N.K. Jemisin, in her “Broken Earth” series, paints a world under ecological collapse.
Well, maybe. But who wouldn’t fancy a ride on the Highwind while navigating through a post-apocalyptic Earth?
You thought Cloud’s and Squall’s angst was reserved for teenagers with oversized swords?
The nuanced character development we see, especially in later FF titles, mirrors the emotional depth and complexity found in characters like Kaladin from Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive.”
Moody hero with hidden depth? Check.
Just as in the games, where a side quest could lead to acquiring that elusive ultimate weapon, authors like Sarah J. Maas in her “Throne of Glass” series often indulge in side plots that are just as compelling as the main narrative.
Sometimes, they even steal the show.
Mixing Technology and Magic
FF has always toyed with the balance between the mystical and the mechanical.
A theme picked up by authors like Brian McClellan in his “Powder Mage” trilogy where gunpowder sits alongside sorcery, lending the stories a similar charm to FF’s technological landscapes brimming with magic.
In the end, while it’s a playful stretch to claim that every modern fantasy author has a hidden stash of FF games under their bed, there’s no denying the influence of this legendary series.
It’s as if the literary realm looked at Final Fantasy and thought, “Well, why should video games have all the fun?”
Dive into fantasy’s darker corners with our top 10 novels featuring cunning thief heroes, who prove that sometimes, moral ambiguity steals the show.
In the usual realm of swords, sorcery, dragons and direwolves, aren’t we all occasionally partial to a protagonist that’s a bit, well… shifty?
I’m not talking about the big muscle-bound, honour-bound heroes that are as predictable as the British weather, I’m talking about the sneak-thieves, the tricksters, the rogues!
There’s something devilishly enjoyable about a character that walks the line of morality, their pockets full of ill-gotten goods, their minds full of cunning plans, and their hearts (eventually, after some character development) full of the right intentions.
This ensemble cast of characters, led by the wily thief Kaz Brekker, are about as far from virtuous knights as you can get.
Bardugo creates a motley crew of criminals and misfits, each with their own set of unique skills, emotional baggage, and snappy one-liners.
The group’s mission? To infiltrate an impenetrable fortress, of course!
What could possibly go wrong?
4. “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien:
Remember our good old friend Bilbo Baggins?
Yes, that cuddly, comfort-loving hobbit who got dragged on a journey by thirteen dwarves and a wizard with an apparent disregard for proper notice.
Hired as a burglar to reclaim the dwarves’ treasure from Smaug the dragon, Bilbo might be the most unlikely, and yet most endearing, thief in all of fantasy literature.
5. “The Queen’s Thief” series by Megan Whalen Turner:
If you’re a fan of political intrigue, clever schemes, and a thief who’s a touch more regal than your average cutpurse, then you’ll love Gen, the protagonist of this enthralling series.
Starting with “The Thief,” the series follows Gen’s evolution from a simple (if ridiculously talented) thief to a player in the highest echelons of power.
6. “Among Thieves” by Douglas Hulick:
What’s that? You want more thieves? Well, I hope you’re not tired of twisty alleyways and shadowy figures because that’s exactly what you’re getting in the form of Drothe, a Nose (information gatherer) for one of the criminal organizations in the city of Ildrecca.
With its gritty atmosphere and compelling plot, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the criminal underworld (without the risk of being pickpocketed).
7. “Mistborn: The Final Empire” by Brandon Sanderson:
Our next stop on the larceny express takes us to the heart of the “Mistborn” series.
The story begins in a city oppressed under the iron fist of the Lord Ruler, where our resourceful heroine Vin exists as part of a thieving crew.
But Vin isn’t just any common thief—she’s a Mistborn, able to consume metals and gain powers from them.
She’s soon embroiled in a plot to overthrow the tyrant, and you can bet your last bent copper that there will be heists, intrigue, and a fair amount of metal-fuelled mayhem.
8. “The Blacktongue Thief” by Christopher Buehlman:
This is a tale with a fresh and compelling voice that might just swipe the top spot on your favourite thieves list.
Our main character, Kinch Na Shannack, is a thief trained by the Takers Guild (so he’s got a professional edge, you see).
He owes the guild an awful lot of money (or ‘guilders’ as they call it), so he’s trying to earn… or, let’s be honest, steal, his way out of debt.
He’s sardonic, rough around the edges, and utterly captivating.
This book is a wild, action-packed ride filled with danger, dark humour, and a dash of magic.every.
9. “The Palace Job” by Patrick Weekes:
Want some audacious heists with a side of snappy dialogue and a diverse cast of characters?
Look no further than “The Palace Job.”
This tale follows Loch and her eccentric crew (which includes a death priestess and a unicorn, among others) as they attempt to steal from the most secure building in the Republic.
It’s Ocean’s Eleven meets high fantasy, and it’s every bit as delightful as that sounds.
10. “Master Thief” series by Ben Hale:
Rounding off our list, we have Ben Hale’s “Master Thief” series.
Here, we follow the (mis)adventures of Jack Myst, the titular master thief who’s so adept at his craft that he’s practically an artist.
Well, an artist in stealing everything from precious gems to tightly guarded secrets.
The story is a delightful romp of thievery set against a backdrop of a richly built world.
And Jack? Well, he’s as charismatic a rogue as they come.
So, go ahead, immerse yourself in these fascinating worlds of fantasy where the thieves reign supreme.
Remember, though—stealing is wrong.
But reading about it? Now that’s a crime I’m willing to commit.
Explore the captivating world of magic systems in fantasy literature. Understand their importance, varieties, evolution, and examples from renowned authors like Tolkien, Le Guin, and Sanderson.
Today, we’re going on a trip to the fantastical realm of magic systems in fantasy, the invisible scaffolding supporting the marvellous spectacles in our beloved enchanting tales.
As ubiquitous as a unicorn in a fairy tale, these systems are the heart and soul of many a fantastical narrative.
What is a Magic System?
A magic system is the set of rules that governs the use of magic in a fantasy world.
Yes, that’s right, even magic—seemingly the epitome of unregulated whimsy—has rules.
Magic systems dictate who can use magic, what they can and cannot do with it, and what consequences follow when they twirl their wand, click their ruby slippers, or utter cryptic phrases (which, for some reason, are often in Latin).
Why are Magic Systems Necessary?
You might ask, “Why bother with all these rules? Isn’t magic meant to be, well, magical?”
Magic systems are not an elaborate scheme to sap the fun out of wizards’ lives.
On the contrary, they give structure and believability to a world.
Imagine watching a Quidditch match where players can score a million points with a wave of their wand.
That would make for a rather short and dull game, wouldn’t it?
Simply put, restrictions breed creativity and tension.
They allow for plot twists, character growth, and most importantly, they keep us, the readers, at the edge of our seats.
After all, where would be the excitement if our hero could simply wave away every dragon, riddling sphinx, or marauding orc army with the flick of a wrist?
The Magical Spectrum: From Mystical to Scientific
Magic systems come in all shapes and sizes, from those shrouded in the mists of mystery to those laid out like a physics textbook.
On the one end of the spectrum, we have Mystical Magic Systems.
These are the systems that maintain an aura of mystery and capriciousness.
They function more like an art than a science, relying heavily on intuition, emotions, or the whims of magical entities.
Rules? Pah! These systems scoff at rules. They are as unpredictable as a box of kittens, and just as likely to change direction without notice.
At the other end, we have Scientific Magic Systems.
These systems have detailed rules and clear limitations.
They’re logical, predictable, and follow consistent principles, much like the laws of physics (well, if physics included spells and potions, of course).
They can make magic feel as commonplace as making a cup of tea, but when done right, they give a sense of realism to the fantastical.
They are to magic what an Ikea manual is to flat-pack furniture— demystifying, useful, but sometimes downright baffling.
Of course, most magic systems fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
They maintain an air of enigma while also keeping a tight leash on magical escapades.
The magic may be mysterious, but its application and limitations are usually well-defined.
In the end, the choice of magic system depends on what serves the story best.
Some tales benefit from the ethereal nature of a mystical system, while others require the rigour of a scientific system.
Just like a good cuppa, it’s all about personal taste and the right blend.
The Evolution of Magic Systems
Magic systems in fantasy literature have evolved from the grand, ambiguous power of the likes of Gandalf to the intricately detailed and logical systems seen in novels like Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series.
In the beginning, there was Tolkien. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying that J.R.R. was the first to pen fantasy. But let’s face it, his influence on the genre is as immeasurable as the length of a hobbit’s second breakfast.
It’s more about a sense of wonder, a mystical force that surrounds wizards, elves, and enchanted objects.
Gandalf, our favourite wizard (sorry, Rincewind), seldom explains his power, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Le Guin’s True Names
Then, we have our good friend Ursula K. Le Guin, who introduced us to the wizard Ged in “A Wizard of Earthsea.”
Le Guin’s magic is based on the “True Names” of things.
It’s a bit like having a secret nickname for your toaster that, once uttered, can make it dance the cha-cha.
It’s a more systematic approach than Tolkien’s, yet it still retains a certain enigmatic quality.
Pratchett’s Colourful Chaos
Terry Pratchett took us in a completely different direction in his “Discworld” series.
In this flat world carried on the back of four elephants standing on a giant turtle (yes, you read that correctly), magic is a common and chaotic force, rather like trying to herd cats during a full moon.
Pratchett’s wizards spend more time trying to avoid magic, for fear of the unpredictable effects.
It’s like dealing with a highly caffeinated toddler—you never know what will happen, but it’s certain to be loud and potentially destructive.
The Wheel Turns
Now, let’s take a leap across the pond to our American friends. Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series presents us with a distinct magic system with a strong gender divide.
Women channel the ‘One Power’ far more safely than men, who risk madness and death.
It’s a bit like asking your partner to control the TV remote—sometimes it’s safer to just do it yourself.
Magic as Science
In more recent times, Brandon Sanderson has become the darling of logical magic systems.
His novels, particularly those in the “Mistborn” series, present magic as a science, with clear rules and limitations.
Sanderson’s “Allomancy” involves ingesting and “burning” different types of metal to gain specific powers.
It’s like a high-stakes version of choosing your breakfast cereal—each one gives you a different kind of boost.
The evolution of magic systems mirror our own changing understanding of the world.
As our knowledge has grown, so too has the complexity and logic of the magic in our favourite novels.
Yet, the sense of wonder remains.
After all, as Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Below you’ll find some books with unique magic systems from a range of fantasy sub-genres.
Whether you’re a fan of epic fantasy, or prefer your stories with vampires and werewolves, this list has something for you.
“Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson
Starting us off, we have Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series. In this world, magic comes from ingesting bits of metal, a practice known as Allomancy. Better yet, if you can stomach a mix of various metals, you become a Mistborn, capable of wielding extraordinary power. If that’s not a unique take on “You are what you eat,” I don’t know what is.
“The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin
Next, we find ourselves in the world of “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemisin. Here, magic is a force of nature, quite literally! The magic system, orogeny, allows certain individuals to manipulate thermal, kinetic, and related forms of energy to prevent and cause earthquakes. It’s like being a living, breathing weather app with the added bonus of earthquake alerts.
“Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke
Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” brings us a magic deeply rooted in British history and folklore, with a library’s worth of fictitious books about magic. It’s a beautifully intricate system where magic is more about knowledge, study, and the ability to argue with a straight face that the colour of your socks affects the potency of your spells.
“The Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang
With R.F. Kuang’s “The Poppy War,” we delve into a magic system inspired by Chinese history and myth. Shamanism allows individuals to access the power of gods, but it comes with a price. It’s a bit like renting your mind to a deity with questionable intentions. Remember to always read the terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.
“A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab
In V.E. Schwab’s “A Darker Shade of Magic”, we find not one, but four Londons, each with a different relationship to magic. The catch? Only the rare Antari can travel between them. It’s like having a magical Oyster card with unlimited travel. Just mind the gap between Red London and White London!
“The Black Tides of Heaven” by JY Yang
JY Yang’s “The Black Tides of Heaven” presents us with the Tensorate series, where magic, or the Slack, is manipulated through a complex system of elemental sigils. It’s a world where gender fluidity is the norm and the magic system is about as simple as quantum physics.
“Storm Front” by Jim Butcher
If you prefer your magic with a side of detective work, Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series, starting with “Storm Front,” is your cup of tea. Here, wizard Harry Dresden solves magical crimes in Chicago. Magic is as everyday as a cuppa, but with more fireballs. Just remember, don’t tick off the faeries!
“Who Fears Death” by Nnedi Okorafor
Nnedi Okorafor’s “Who Fears Death” gives us a post-apocalyptic Africa where magic is a deeply personal and transformative power. It’s a harrowing but captivating journey. Warning: this book may cause an existential crisis and a sudden urge to explore your own magical abilities.
“The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss
In “The Name of the Wind”, Patrick Rothfuss gives us Sympathy, a magic system steeped in scientific principles. It’s the kind of magic system that would make Newton proud, if he wasn’t too busy being miffed about that apple.
“Assassin’s Apprentice” by Robin Hobb
Journeying into the realm of Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy, we find the Wit, a deeply intimate and often stigmatised form of magic. It grants the user a telepathic link with animals, lending an altogether different perspective on the phrase ‘walkies’. It’s like being Dr. Dolittle, but with more political intrigue and fewer dancing pushmi-pullyus. Just remember, while talking to your dog about the state of the kingdom, don’t forget his regular scratch behind the ears.
Exploring David Eddings’ ‘The Belgariad’ and its undeniable influence on modern fantasy, from ‘Game of Thrones’ to ‘Harry Potter’.
Once upon a time, as all good stories start, in the small town of Spokane, Washington, a man by the name of David Eddings put pen to paper and began to weave a tale of prophecy, magic and, most importantly, a farm boy named Garion.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, not another Chosen One narrative.”
Yes, I hear you, and I can only offer a shrug and a sheepish grin in response.
But if one were to dismiss Eddings’ work as just another predictable riff on the same old trope, they’d be missing out on an influential cornerstone of the genre.
“The Belgariad,” with its magical orbs, prophecies, and a cast of characters so colourful they make a bag of Skittles look positively monochrome, has had a reach far greater than it’s given credit for.
Its influence can be seen in the works of authors from across the globe, like a whisper of Spokane in every fantasy bookshop.
The boy who didn’t know he was a wizard until a giant man broke down his door one day?
Smells a bit like Garion’s own journey, doesn’t it?
The parallels go beyond the surface, though; they both grapple with destiny, they both have a dark lord to defeat, and they both have a wise old mentor guiding them (no points for guessing which one has a longer beard).
Into the Cosmere
Let’s not forget Brandon Sanderson, who seems to have taken a leaf or two out of Eddings’ book.
Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series, with its complex magic system, may seem far removed from “The Belgariad,” but look closer.
The deep, diverse world and the idea of prophecy as a central plot device?
That’s all very Eddings.
Plus, there’s also the whole “humble beginnings” thing.
Vin, the street urchin turned hero of “Mistborn,” could be Garion’s long-lost sister (or at least distant cousin twice removed).
A lasting legacy
So, whether you’re a fan of the “Game of Thrones” bloodbaths, the “Harry Potter” wizarding world, or the “Mistborn” metallic magic, you’ve got a bit of “The Belgariad” in your bookshelf.
Eddings may not have reinvented the wheel (or the magic orb, as it were), but he certainly gave it a good spin.
His work stands as a testament to the impact of a well-told story, and a reminder that even the most unassuming farm boy can end up saving the world.
In the end, the influence of “The Belgariad” is a bit like Garion’s magic—it’s there, bubbling under the surface, quietly shaping the course of things.
You just have to know where to look.
And don’t worry—unlike Garion, you won’t need a grumpy old sorcerer to help you out.
Dive into the thrilling world of fantasy heists! Explore seven iconic literary thefts that blend risk, cunning, and magical audacity.
Ah, there’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned heist.
The thrill of the chase, the danger of detection, the subtle art of misdirection—it’s all the fun of the fair but with a higher risk of decapitation.
So, let’s tighten our cloaks, check our hidden pockets, and stroll down the shadowy alleyways of fantasy literature’s greatest heists.
Remember, it’s not stealing if it’s for a good cause. Right?
The Salvaran Job (The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch)
Locke and his Gentlemen Bastards don’t just steal; they elevate theft into a sophisticated art form. The Salvaran heist was less a crime and more a meticulously choreographed dance of lies, deception, and false-bottomed wine barrels. It makes the Italian Job look like nicking penny sweets from a corner shop.
The Theft of the Orb (The Belgariad, David Eddings)
Garion and his band’s quest to steal back the Orb of Aldur was a romp across kingdoms, through sorcerous battles and into the heart of a hostile empire. It’s a lesson in why you should always keep your magical artifacts under lock and key, or at the very least, not in a place marked ‘swipe me.’
The Theft of Stormbringer (Elric of Melniboné, Michael Moorcock)
Stealing a sentient, soul-drinking sword from a melancholic, semi-deranged prince? Just another day at the office for Elric’s treacherous cousin Yyrkoon. Makes your office politics seem rather tame, doesn’t it?
Pilfering the Precious (The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien)
What’s a list of heists without Bilbo Baggins and his misguided quest to pickpocket a treasure-obsessed dragon? Not only does it set the gold standard for burglary, but it’s also a stark reminder: always check your insurance covers kleptomaniac hobbits.
Stealing the Allomantic Atium (Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson)
Vin and her crew didn’t just plan to rob the Lord Ruler of his precious atium, they aimed to topple an empire. When your bank robbery is also a political coup, you know you’re in deep. And people think organising a pub crawl is challenging.
And there we have it. Five magnificent, perilous, downright audacious heists that have kept us entertained, petrified, and seriously doubting our career choices.
Next time you’re planning a daring escapade, remember: do it with style, avoid dragons, and for goodness’ sake, never trust a cousin with a grudge.
Explore 10 epic fantasy series that match ‘The Wheel of Time’ in scope and complexity. Dive into new worlds rich in character development and intrigue.
If you’re a fan of Robert Jordan’s sprawling masterpiece, ‘The Wheel of Time,’ finding the next big series to sink your teeth into can be quite the task.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
We’ve compiled a list of epic fantasy series that share a similar scope, rich world-building, and complex character development.
Here’s your guide to finding the perfect series to embark on next.
1. ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin
Martin’s epic series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ is an intricate, multi-faceted world with a vast cast of characters. The series, which inspired the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV show, is known for its realistic portrayal of political intrigue and unpredictable plot twists. If you enjoyed the complex character relationships and political manoeuvring in ‘The Wheel of Time,’ this series is a must-read.
2. ‘The Stormlight Archive’ by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson, the author who completed ‘The Wheel of Time’ series after Jordan’s untimely passing, has his own epic series: ‘The Stormlight Archive.’ Known for his intricate magic systems and world-building, Sanderson’s series is a treat for any fan of ‘The Wheel of Time.’ It also features strong female characters, echoing the powerful women in Jordan’s series.
3. ‘The Broken Empire’ by Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence’s ‘The Broken Empire’ series is a dark, gritty epic fantasy with a morally ambiguous protagonist. It’s a stark contrast to the traditional hero’s journey and provides an intriguing exploration of the darker side of power and ambition.
4. ‘The Malazan Book of The Fallen’ by Steven Erikson
‘The Malazan Book of The Fallen’ by Steven Erikson is notorious for its complex plot and expansive world-building. With a vast array of characters and cultures, it’s a series that requires some dedication but is rewarding for those who appreciate intricate, epic narratives.
5. ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin, the first black author to win the Hugo Award for best novel, has a number of epic fantasy series under her belt. ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ is a blend of political intrigue, personal growth, and divinity, all set in a richly diverse world. Her work is known for its representation of various races and cultures, and it provides fresh perspectives in the epic fantasy genre.
6. ‘The Poppy War’ by R.F. Kuang
‘The Poppy War’ trilogy by R.F. Kuang is an epic fantasy series grounded in the history and culture of 20th-century China. The series’ protagonist, Rin, is a dark-skinned war orphan who battles systemic racism and gender discrimination. Kuang’s exploration of war, religion, and power dynamics, paired with her complex characters, makes this a must-read series.
7. ‘The Books of Pellinor’ by Alison Croggon
‘The Books of Pellinor’ by Alison Croggon is a four-book series that follows the journey of a slave girl who discovers she is the key to overthrowing an evil regime. The series’ complex magic system and rich world-building make it a compelling read for any fan of ‘The Wheel of Time.’
8. ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon
‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon is a standalone epic fantasy novel, a rarity in the genre. With a matriarchal society, dragons, and a richly built world, it’s a fresh take on epic fantasy. Shannon’s story is a page-turner that’s as intricate as any series, and it’s perfect for those who want a complete story in a single volume.
9. Chronicles of the Black Gate’ by Phil Tucker
Phil Tucker’s ‘Chronicles of the Black Gate’ is an ambitious and riveting series filled with magic, warriors, and gods. It combines high stakes, multidimensional characters, and intense battles that will captivate any fan of ‘The Wheel of Time.’
10. ‘The Riyria Revelations’ by Michael J. Sullivan
Michael J. Sullivan’s ‘The Riyria Revelations’ series is a tale of adventure, friendship, and overcoming odds. With an endearing pair of thieves as its main characters and a world brimming with magic and political intrigue, it’s a series that’s both heartwarming and exciting.
These series all offer something unique for fans of ‘The Wheel of Time.’
Whether it’s the intricate world-building, diverse characters, or complex plots, these books will keep you engaged and entertained.
So, grab a cup of tea, find a comfy chair, and lose yourself in these great titles!
Exploring Scott Lynch’s monumental impact on modern fantasy literature through his ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series, shaping characters, world-building & narrative style.
Scott Lynch’s tour de force, ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ burst onto the fantasy scene in 2006, marking a significant turning point in the genre’s evolution.
The book, and its subsequent sequels in the ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series, introduced readers to a unique and innovative world of fantasy that has since greatly influenced countless authors and contributed to the development of modern fantasy literature.
Lynch breathes life into the city of Camorr, imbued with a Renaissance Venice-like setting, complete with a network of canals, grand structures, and a dark underworld.
This type of detailed and vivid cityscape, one that is both fantastical and grounded in historical reality, has inspired subsequent authors to create rich, detailed, and believable fantasy worlds of their own.
The city of Camorr, much like a character itself, is layered, flawed, and complex.
Its distinct districts, culture, social structure, and even food, craft an immersive and palpable atmosphere.
Lynch’s approach to world-building has changed how modern authors perceive and depict their settings, encouraging them to create worlds that extend far beyond generic kingdoms and forests.
The Significance of Realistic Characters
Lynch has also made his mark on the fantasy genre through his complex, flawed, and deeply human characters.
Locke Lamora, the eponymous protagonist, is no stereotypical hero.
Instead, he’s a crafty thief with his own set of morals, which don’t always align with societal expectations.
The novel’s emphasis on character development, relationships, and moral dilemmas has encouraged authors to break away from traditional, archetypical fantasy characters, forging instead more relatable, complex, and morally grey personas.
Further, the use of camaraderie and brotherhood as a central theme adds depth to the narrative.
The characters in ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ are tied together by bonds of friendship and loyalty, rather than destiny or prophecy, which was previously a common trope in fantasy literature.
This has pushed authors (include myself) to explore the themes of loyalty, love, and friendship in more profound and nuanced ways.
The Impact of Lynch’s Narrative Style
Lynch’s narrative style, rich in its use of suspense, humour, and shocking plot twists, represents a departure from the more traditional, linear storytelling techniques previously prevalent in the genre.
This approach adds a level of unpredictability and dynamism to the story, compelling readers to stay engaged and constantly guess what might happen next.
‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ also excels in its fusion of elements from different genres.
The book blends fantasy with crime, mystery, and thriller elements, creating a diverse and captivating narrative.
This cross-genre style has inspired many contemporary authors to experiment with genre boundaries, resulting in a new breed of hybrid fantasy books.
The Legacy of ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’
Lynch’s narrative introduced a vibrant blend of genres and a distinctive approach to character and world-building that many subsequent authors have embraced.
Notably, Michael J. Sullivan’s ‘Riyria Revelations,’ Fonda Lee’s ‘Green Bone Saga,’ and Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Six of Crows’ exhibit the profound influence of Lynch’s work.
One of the distinctive qualities of Lynch’s novel is the comradery and complex relationship between Locke Lamora and his partner-in-crime, Jean Tannen.
The bonds of brotherhood that tie these characters together have created a blueprint for ‘bromance’ that is apparent in Michael J. Sullivan’s ‘Riyria Revelations.’
The protagonists of Sullivan’s series, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, mirror the friendship and loyalty seen in ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’.
Sullivan, like Lynch, establishes a balance of humour, camaraderie, and dark pasts in the dynamic between his characters, showing that deep, platonic relationships can serve as a strong backbone for a compelling narrative.
‘Green Bone Saga’ and the Reflection of Realism
Fonda Lee’s ‘Green Bone Saga’ series reflects Lynch’s commitment to grounding a fantasy world in realism.
Much like Camorr, Lee’s city of Janloon is a well-structured, believable world.
Lee’s decision to focus on crime families and their struggles for power within a fantastical setting mirrors the gritty underworld and realistic socio-political structures found in ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora.’
The emphasis on gang wars, politics, and crime within a fantastical setting, strongly resonates with Lynch’s Camorr and the criminal activities of the Gentleman Bastards.
‘Six of Crows’ and the Band of Misfits
Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Six of Crows’ bears the undeniable mark of Scott Lynch’s influence.
Bardugo’s story revolves around a band of misfits who undertake a seemingly impossible heist, much like Locke and his band of thieves.
Kaz Brekker, the leader of the gang in Bardugo’s novel, shares Locke’s cunning and tactical mind, coupled with a moral compass that isn’t always aligned with the law.
Bardugo’s knack for intricate planning, multiple point-of-view storytelling, and the unexpected plot twists strongly echo Lynch’s narrative style, as she takes readers through a thrilling journey full of surprises.
Each of these works, while unique and inventive in their own right, owe a certain level of their approach to the trail blazed by Scott Lynch.
From the strong bonds of friendship, detailed world-building and the intricate blend of crime and fantasy elements, Lynch’s influence is apparent in these modern fantasy sagas.
Lynch’s masterpiece has not only altered the way we perceive fantasy literature but has also served as a stepping stone for other authors to push the boundaries of their own creativity.
As such, ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ continues to shape the landscape of fantasy literature through its lasting influence on contemporary works.
Recommended Fantasy Reads for Fans of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard Series”
If you have been captivated by the charm and intrigue of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series, then you’re likely seeking more fantasy books that echo its rich world-building, morally complex characters, and intricate plots.
Below is a selection of excellent fantasy novels that should satiate your craving for more such fascinating stories.
‘The First Law’ Series by Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie’s grimdark fantasy series ‘The First Law’ offers a realistic portrayal of a fantastical world, much like Lynch’s Camorr. Its morally grey characters and ruthless political machinations will appeal to fans of Lynch’s dark and complex narratives.
‘The Broken Empire’ Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
This trilogy, starting with ‘Prince of Thorns’, introduces readers to Jorg Ancrath, a character whose morally grey persona echoes that of Locke Lamora. The series is filled with complex characters, clever plots, and a dark, gritty world that fans of Lynch’s work will appreciate.
‘The Powder Mage’ Trilogy by Brian McClellan
Brian McClellan’s series is set in a world transitioning from a monarchy to a republic, and like Lynch’s work, it features a richly detailed world, complicated political intrigue, and characters with dubious morality. Its unique blend of gunpowder-era technology and magic adds a distinctive flair to the narrative.
‘Mistborn’ Series by Brandon Sanderson
For readers who enjoy Lynch’s intricate heists and complex magic system, Sanderson’s ‘Mistborn’ series is an excellent choice. The protagonist, Vin, is a young woman adept at allomancy – a magic system involving the manipulation of metals – and her journey is filled with intriguing twists and turns that will appeal to fans of the Gentleman Bastard series.
‘The Night Angel’ Trilogy by Brent Weeks
A dark, gritty fantasy series about a young street rat who becomes an apprentice to the city’s top assassin. Fans of the ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series will appreciate the dark atmosphere and layered characters.
‘The Dagger and the Coin’ Series by Daniel Abraham
This series stands out for its intricate politics and economics, as well as a diverse cast of characters. Its blend of fantasy and political intrigue is reminiscent of the power struggles in Camorr.
‘Low Town’ Series by Daniel Polansky
This series centres on a former intelligence agent turned drug dealer navigating through the criminal underworld. Its noir style and focus on the seedy underbelly of society will appeal to fans of Scott Lynch.
‘The City of Stairs’ by Robert Jackson Bennett
This standalone novel is renowned for its innovative world-building, something Scott Lynch’s fans would be familiar with. The novel’s main character, a spy tasked with solving a murder in a city where gods once lived, will resonate with fans of complex, morally ambiguous characters.
‘The Gutter Prayer’ by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
This book is the first in ‘The Black Iron Legacy’ series, and it takes readers into a world of gods, monsters, and thieves. Its mix of horror and fantasy elements, along with its rich world-building and focus on the criminal underworld, should appeal to fans of Scott Lynch.
If you enjoy reading about thieves and assassins, you might also enjoy my Dawn of Assassins series.
You can get the prequel novel Birth of Assassins as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.
Explore the rise of epic fantasy across literature, TV, film, video games, and music. Discover how this genre has revolutionized popular culture.
We’re about to embark on a thrilling ride through the expansive realms of epic fantasy.
It’s been said that we’re living in a golden age of this grand genre, and as we venture from literature and video games, to television and film, it’s hard to disagree.
The past decade or so has brought with it a resurgence of epic fantasy that would make even the most hardened orc shed a tear of joy.
This period, brimming with magical creatures, intricate world-building, and complex characters, has heralded a revolution in how we consume and perceive this genre.
No longer confined to dusty tomes enjoyed in candle-lit, wizard-themed bedrooms, epic fantasy has soared on dragon wings, spreading its influence far and wide across popular culture.
Today, it’s as common to hear chatter about the latest dragon-slaying escapade on the commute as it is to discuss the weather.
In this thrilling expedition, we’ll delve into the staggering impact of epic fantasy on our books, TV shows, films, video games, and music.
So, pull up a chair, summon your beverage of choice, and join us as we embark on this fantastical journey.
An Explosion of Fantasy on the Bookshelves
First, let’s pay a visit to the realm of literature. It’s hard to talk about epic fantasy without tipping our hats to the unstoppable force that is Brandon Sanderson.
Sanderson churns out novels with the same speed that a poorly trained wizard casts fireballs (and with far less collateral damage). His “Stormlight Archive” series has given us a world so epic it makes the Himalayas look like a minor inconvenience.
Then we have the fantastical work of N.K. Jemisin and her ‘Broken Earth’ trilogy. Her powerful prose and intricate plotting rocked the literary world. Not only did she bag the prestigious Hugo Award for each book in the trilogy, a first for any author, but she also managed to subtly weave poignant social commentary into her lore. She has, quite literally, redefined the landscape of fantasy.
And, of course, there’s George R. R. Martin. His ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, a veritable ‘War and Peace’ of Westeros, continues to delight and horrify us in equal measure. (Of course, this mention is contingent upon the long-awaited sixth book ‘The Winds of Winter’ ever seeing the light of day. No pressure, George, but the kettle’s been on for a while now).
And Sarah J. Maas burst onto the scene like a unicorn on roller-skates with her ‘Throne of Glass’ and ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ series. (I always want to see what A Court of Guns and Roses might look like, but after this year’s Glastonbury performance it might not be the best idea). Maas’s enticing mix of fantasy, romance, and strong female leads has inspired a new generation of readers to pick up the mantle and read past their bedtime.
A New Chapter: Indie Heroes of the Epic Fantasy Realm
If the corporate publishing landscape is akin to a neatly trimmed English garden, then indie publishing is the wild, untamed forest just beyond, rife with the unknown and bursting with possibilities.
With the rise of the digital age, an ever-growing crop of talented wordsmiths have bravely ventured into this wilderness, bestowing upon us a treasure trove of self-published epic fantasies.
Leading the charge is none other than Michael J. Sullivan with his ‘Riyria Revelations’. If you’ve not had the pleasure, Sullivan’s series offers a refreshing brew of classic high fantasy with a generous dash of modern sensibility. His dynamic duo, Royce and Hadrian, steal more than just gold.
Then there’s Anthony Ryan, who exploded onto the scene with ‘Blood Song,’ the first book in the ‘Raven’s Shadow’ series. Ryan’s tale, as gritty as a winter’s day in Grimsby, is proof positive that you don’t need corporate backing to win over fans. His success caught the attention of Penguin Books, who re-published his work, thus transforming this self-published gem into a mainstream marvel.
We mustn’t overlook Will Wight’s ‘Cradle’ series, an ingenious blend of epic fantasy and xianxia (a Chinese genre focusing on cultivation of moral and spiritual virtues). As innovative as a solar-powered teapot, Wight demonstrates the creative liberties of indie publishing, delivering tales unfettered by conventional genre expectations and marketing executives.
Amanda Hocking, the queen of paranormal romance, took a leap into the epic fantasy genre with her ‘Trylle Trilogy.’ Hocking proves that when it comes to indie publishing, not even the sky’s the limit. Why stop at the sky when there are entirely new worlds to explore?
Of course, indie publishing isn’t as easy as a Sunday morning lie-in. It requires the tenacity of a determined terrier and the entrepreneurial spirit of Richard Branson.
These authors aren’t just writing, they’re also acting as their marketers, and, on occasion, therapists.
It’s a challenging path, but as our highlighted authors prove, it can lead to rewards as satisfying as the perfect biscuit dunk.
A Feast for Our Telly Boxes
Shifting our gaze from ink and paper, let’s flick on the telly and cast our eyes towards the fantasy genre’s successful infiltration of the small screen.
Let’s start with the behemoth in the room, or rather, the dragon on the screen. ‘Game of Thrones’ gave fantasy television a jolt stronger than a double espresso on a Monday morning. George R. R. Martin’s deliciously intricate storylines, coupled with HBO’s willingness to shell out more gold coins than Smaug’s treasure hoard, resulted in a series that captivated a global audience and redefined fantasy on television.
Not to be outdone, Netflix threw its hat in the ring with ‘The Witcher,’ based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s series of novels. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of the grizzled Geralt of Rivia became an overnight sensation, as did his catchy tune, ‘Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.’ Who knew monster hunting could have such a rousing soundtrack? The series adeptly balanced monster-of-the-week plots with a grand overarching narrative, and the production value was higher than a gentleman’s top hat.
Amazon, too, is keen on joining this magical melee with its ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel series and the adaptation of Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time’. Between you, me, and the lamppost, these ambitious projects are about as secretive as the Queen’s pudding recipe. Yet, the mere whiff of these beloved epics getting the screen treatment has fans twitching with excitement.
Fantasy TV has indeed proven itself as popular as a dog in a park full of squirrels, much to the delight of book lovers everywhere. The magic of these sprawling epics, replete with dragons, witches, and an alarming number of medieval political squabbles, has found a comfortable new home in our living rooms. Just be sure to keep your remote handy – there are endless worlds to explore, all from the comfort of your favourite armchair. What an age to be a fantasy lover, indeed!
A Silver Screen Spectacle
Just as the heartiest English breakfast isn’t complete without a slather of HP sauce, our tour of the golden age of epic fantasy wouldn’t be whole without a tip of the hat to its cinematic counterparts.
With bated breath, we’ve watched our favourite realms spring to life, one painstakingly rendered CGI dragon at a time.
First off, we must pay our respects to the grand-daddy of them all – ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Peter Jackson’s masterful adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic saga broke records, hearts, and the established notion that “those fantasy tomes are unfilmable, old chap.”
Following in Bilbo’s furry footsteps, the ‘Harry Potter’ series proved that fantasy wasn’t just for us old-timers. J.K. Rowling’s charming blend of magic and quintessentially British boarding school life bewitched a generation, and the movies broadened that spell. Hogwarts, with its shifting staircases and genial ghosts, became as real as Buckingham Palace, just with fewer corgis and more house-elves.
Of course, not every cinematic expedition into fantasy is a skip through the Shire. Take the ‘Eragon’ film, for instance. As the saying goes, “the book was better,” and never have truer words been spoken. The film was about as well-received as a fox in a henhouse, proving that bringing an epic fantasy to life requires more than a few spells and a CGI dragon.
In recent years, Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Hellboy’ films and Duncan Jones’s ‘Warcraft’ have shown us that fantasy films can wear many hats, from dark comedy to high-stakes action. ‘Warcraft,’ though it didn’t charm critics, nevertheless proved a hit with the fans. After all, who could resist the lure of oversized armour and epic griffin flights?
These days, we fantasy buffs are spoilt for choice. Between the magic-infused majesty of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and the whimsical journey of ‘Stardust,’ it’s clear that epic fantasy is alive and well in the cineplex.
Video Games: An Interactive Epic
As we continue our magical mystery tour of the golden age of epic fantasy, it’s only proper we take a side quest into the vibrant realm of video games.
First, we must traverse the snowy landscapes of Bethesda’s ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’. With its stunning open-world design and dragon-shouting (Fus Ro Dah, anyone?), it’s been as big a hit as the Beatles. Players find themselves immersed in a world teeming with lore, dragons, and an alarming number of cheese wheels. Whether you’re bashing trolls or simply enjoying a breathtaking aurora over the mountains, ‘Skyrim’ offers an epic fantasy adventure as expansive as the London Underground, but with fewer delays.
Then there’s ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’, CD Projekt Red’s gloriously gritty adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels. As Geralt of Rivia, players navigate a beautifully crafted world, grappling with beasties and moral conundrums in equal measure. The game’s rich narrative, engaging side quests, and dynamic combat system have been lauded as more satisfying than a perfectly brewed cup of English tea. A tip for the uninitiated: Beware the drowners and always – always – play Gwent.
Let’s not overlook ‘World of Warcraft’, an online universe so compelling, it’s been the cause of many a missed social engagement. Even after several years, its allure remains as potent as a nicely matured Stilton. The intricate lore, the sprawling world, the sense of community — it’s as thrilling as a surprise holiday, but with dragons.
For those with a penchant for intricate strategy, there’s ‘Dragon Age: Inquisition’. BioWare’s gem presents a world where player choices shape the narrative. Do you save the village from a marauding horde, or let it burn? It’s like being in your very own epic fantasy novel but without the risk of paper cuts.
Indeed, the appeal of these games extends beyond their fantastic visuals and engaging gameplay. They offer an immersive, interactive experience that’s as close as one can get to actually living in a fantasy realm, without the inconvenience of having to polish one’s own armour.
A Song of Ice and Fire: Epic Fantasy’s Influence on Popular Music
No grand journey through the golden age of epic fantasy would be complete without an exploration of its influence on the music scene.
The modern metal scene has been particularly bewitched by epic fantasy. Bands like Blind Guardian have entire albums dedicated to Tolkien’s Middle-earth, while others, like Burzum and Summoning, delve into the darker aspects of the genre. Their music is as grandiose and dramatic as the tales that inspired them, perfect for those moments when life calls for a bit more oomph.
And, of course, who could forget the hit TV show soundtracks? Ramin Djawadi’s ‘Game of Thrones’ score, haunting and heroic in equal measure, not only enhances the on-screen action but has found a life of its own in popular culture. You can’t swing a direwolf these days without hearing someone humming ‘The Rains of Castamere’ or ‘Light of the Seven.’
Music artists, just like authors, have seized upon the imagery, themes and mythology of epic fantasy to infuse their work with a sense of grandeur and adventure. Be it through lyrics, album artwork, or sonically through the music itself, the influence of epic fantasy reverberates throughout today’s music landscape.
And let’s face it, there’s something utterly epic about belting out a power ballad infused with references to dragon-fire and elven lore.
Beyond the Realms of Fantasy: Epic Fantasy’s Impact on Popular Culture
As our journey through the golden age of epic fantasy draws to a close, it’s time to take a step back and admire the spectacular view.
From the bound pages of a well-worn tome to the digital reaches of a role-playing game, it’s clear that epic fantasy has permeated more than just our bookshelves, TV screens, cinemas, and consoles. It has, in fact, seeped into the very fabric of our popular culture.
The surge of interest in epic fantasy has had a profound impact, like a truly magnificent cup of tea on a rainy afternoon.
Suddenly, it’s no longer the preserve of the niche and the nerdy. The age-old stereotypes associated with fantasy enthusiasts—you know, the image of a bespectacled recluse in a dragon-emblazoned T-shirt—have been banished to the shadowy corners of ignorance.
Nowadays, confessing your love for fantastical realms is as normal as complaining about the weather.
TV series like ‘Game of Thrones’ have transformed fantasy into a hot topic at the water cooler, with office chat just as likely to revolve around the latest dragon sighting as last night’s football match.
Harry Potter, that bespectacled wizard boy, has charmed our language, adding phrases like ‘Muggle’ and ‘Quidditch’ to our lexicon as easily as a ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.
On the fashion front, elven jewellery and wizarding robes have sashayed from the realms of cosplay into everyday street wear.
Don’t be surprised if your next date shows up sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with a witty Game of Thrones pun or if your local fast-fashion store showcases a line of Witcher-inspired accessories.
Even our food hasn’t escaped the fantasy influence. From Butterbeer to lembas bread, we’ve developed a taste for fictional fare.
Suddenly, hosting a ‘Hobbit’-themed dinner party seems as reasonable as a Sunday roast.
And who among us hasn’t yearned to sample a flagon of ale at The Prancing Pony or indulge in a Witcher-style feast?
What this all boils down to is this: epic fantasy has transformed from a secluded genre into a cultural powerhouse.
It has become a shared language, a social glue that binds us together in our quest for the magical, the mythical, the marvellous.
The golden age of epic fantasy has spun tales that entertain, yes, but it has also fostered communities, sparking connections across borders and cultures. It’s made the world a touch more magical and a whole lot more fun.
So, whether you’re a reader, a viewer, a gamer, a self-published author or simply someone who enjoys wearing a Gandalf-inspired hat, let’s raise a glass (or rather, a goblet) to the golden age of epic fantasy.
Its influence has made our reality a little more fantastical.
Embark on a captivating journey through the enchanting world of coming-of-age fantasy. Explore themes, top books, and claim your free starter library. Let the adventure begin!
Welcome to the enchanting world of coming-of-age fantasy!
In this post, you’ll discover the heart of this genre, exploring why readers are so drawn to these tales, and highlighting the top books and authors that have defined it.
And as a special treat, don’t miss the chance to claim your free Ravenglass Universe starter library when you join our newsletter today.
What is Coming-of-Age Fantasy?
Coming-of-age fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy literature that focuses on the growth and development of a young protagonist.
The stories often centrr around themes of self-discovery, responsibility, and the transition from childhood to adulthood.
With the backdrop of a magical world, these narratives resonate with readers as they follow the protagonist’s journey, both physical and emotional.
Themes and Subjects of Coming-of-Age Fantasy
Coming-of-age fantasy stories are rich in themes that explore the human experience. Common themes include:
Self-Discovery: As the protagonist navigates their world, they often discover hidden talents, powers, or abilities that define their identity and influence their destiny.
Friendship: The bonds formed with companions on the journey are integral to the protagonist’s growth, teaching them about trust, loyalty, and sacrifice.
Responsibility: As they mature, the protagonist learns to shoulder the weight of their newfound powers and the expectations placed upon them.
Conflict: Coming-of-age fantasy tales often involve battles against external forces, such as evil sorcerers or malevolent creatures, as well as internal struggles within the protagonist’s own heart and mind.
Good vs. Evil: The protagonist discovers moral ambiguity and navigates the complexities of right and wrong, light and dark.
Love: The protagonist experiences various forms of love—familial, romantic, platonic—that shape their character and choices.
Choice: At critical junctures, the protagonist must make difficult decisions that determine their fate and the fate of others.
Identity: The protagonist undertakes a journey of self-discovery to determine who they are and who they want to become.
Independence: The protagonist gains freedom from authority figures or home environments, allowing them to think and act for themselves.
Courage: Finding bravery in the face of fear and danger is central to the protagonist’s triumph over adversity.
Top Coming-of-Age Fantasy Books
Some of the most celebrated books and authors in coming-of-age fantasy include:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:
This classic novel follows the journey of Bilbo Baggins, a young hobbit who discovers his own courage and resourcefulness as he embarks on a perilous quest.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling:
This beloved series chronicles the life of young wizard Harry Potter as he navigates the magical world of Hogwarts, learning about friendship, love, and the power of courage.
His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman:
A thought-provoking series that explores themes of self-discovery, morality, and the nature of consciousness, as young Lyra Belacqua sets out on an epic journey through parallel worlds.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss:
This captivating novel follows the life of Kvothe, a legendary figure who recounts his rise from a lowly orphan to a renowned magician and adventurer.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle:
A moving story of Meg Murry, an awkward teen girl who embarks on an adventure across dimensions to find her missing father.
Sabriel by Garth Nix:
Sabriel, a young necromancer, must venture into the perilous Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead.
The Belgariad by David Eddings:
Garion, an orphaned farm boy, discovers his destiny in a quest to retrieve a powerful orb and fulfill an ancient prophecy.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin:
The story of Ged, a sorcerer who must journey far from home to escape the darkness he unleashed into the world.
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson:
Joel, a non-magical student at a school for Rithmatists–those who can animate chalk drawings and use them for defense–gets caught up in a dangerous mystery.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb:
This novel follows the life of FitzChivalry Farseer, a royal bastard who is apprenticed to become an assassin in the Six Duchies. As Fitz navigates court intrigue and the skills of his grim trade, he also struggles to find his place in a world that does not always welcome him.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the captivating world of coming-of-age fantasy, it’s time to embark on your own adventure.
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