Fantasy Subgenres and Their Must-Reads

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 Fantasy Subgenres and Their Must-Reads

Fantasy has long been a genre of literature and other forms of entertainment that have been fascinating and captivating readers and viewers alike. Whether it’s the traditional medieval fantasy of dragons and sorcerers, the urban fantasy of today’s world, or something entirely different, everyone is sure to find something that appeals to them and hold their interest. To make it easier to navigate the popular and ever-growing fantasy subgenres, we are going to discuss some of the most popular ones, their must-read books, and the best of the best in each one.

High Fantasy

High fantasy, often referred to as epic fantasy, is the grandest of all fantasy subgenres, full of epic adventures across magical worlds filled with magic, creatures, and fabled races. If you’re looking for something grand, then this is the genre to explore.

Must-Read Books of High Fantasy

-The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
-The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
-A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
-The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

The Best of High Fantasy

-The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
-The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
-The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
-The Belgariad series by David Eddings
-The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy is set in the real world, or a version of it, and combines traditional fantasy elements, such as magic and mythical creatures, with the urban setting. This subgenre makes it easy to find characters and stories that appeal to modern readers.

Must-Read Books of Urban Fantasy

-The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher
-The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
-The Shadowhunter Chronicles series by Cassandra Clare
-The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
-The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Best of Urban Fantasy

-The Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch
-Stardust by Neil Gaiman
-The Edge series by Ilona Andrews
-The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
-American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Dystopian Fantasy

Dystopian fantasy deals with a world that is post-apocalyptic, dangerous, or otherwise unpleasant. The stories’ characters must fight against tyranny, oppression, and injustice to free themselves from the corruption of the government or a powerful elite. You’ll find themes involving politics, social structures, and morality in this genre.

Must-Read Books of Dystopian Fantasy

-The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
-The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
-The Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld
-The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner
-Legend series by Marie Lu

The Best of Dystopian Fantasy

-The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
-1984 by George Orwell
-The Giver by Lois Lowry
-Divergent by Veronica Roth
-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Dark Fantasy

Dark fantasy, also known as Grimdark fantasy, is similar to high fantasy in that it includes major elements of epic fantasy, but it usually delves deeper into themes of darkness, horror, and violence. The characters and plots tend to be more extreme and gritty than in other fantasy subgenres.

Must-Read Books of Dark Fantasy

-The Black Company series by Glen Cook
-The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson
-The Dark Tower series by Stephen King
-The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
-His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

The Best of Dark Fantasy

-A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin
-The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series by Stephen Donaldson
-The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
-The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
-His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

Romantic Fantasy

Romantic fantasy is a subgenre that combines traditional fantasy with the themes of romance and love. Stories often revolve around the central love story and are usually set in a magical land or a fantasy world.

Must-Read Books of Romantic Fantasy

-The Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey
-Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
-The Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
-The Selection series by Kiera Cass
-The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop

The Best of Romantic Fantasy

-The Crash Into You series by Katie McGarry
-The King and the Cottingley Fairies series by Bridget Hodder
-The CinderQueen series by Jodi McAlister
-Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
-The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S.Lewis

Fantasy has been a popular genre for many years, and it continues to be so, with new takes on old stories and new ones being created as well. With so many different subgenres and variations, it can be a bit overwhelming, but we hope that with this guide and the must-reads and best books listed, that you can now choose your next great fantasy read with ease. So, the next time you’re looking for a new fantasy story that appeals to you, you can refer back to this guide and find the one that best fits your preferences.

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