In my previous post, I have discussed the issues with the fantasy genre. You can find the first part of the post at Is Fantasy a Lesser Genre
Since fantasy is rarely considered to be high literature, with little literature value, only the people who actually indulge in reading these books understand what fantasy is able to bring to the table.
I believe this genre is highly underrated. The poor quality and numerous works featuring silly characters and unrealistic worlds have discredited the genre, giving it the perception of guilty pleasure kind of read. And although all the genres are filled with poorly written works as well as really amazing pieces, the high literature type of genres do not get that much of a judgement.
Having quite a few issues, and being well, quite unrealistic, fantasy genre often presents trouble in getting used to the new supernatural world of the book. However, when fantasy is done right, it has so much to offer. So there are a few examples why fantasy should not be brushed under the rug so easily:
The Benefits of Fantasy
1. The plot can be completely unexpected.
When you pick up a novel set in reality, certain things are expected. For example, if you are reading a war story, you know how it is going to end. Who is going to win, and who is going to lose. With fantasy, you are in for a surprise. A war can be horrible, and bloody, and the outcome – completely unexpected. There is so much space in fantasy for really powerful moments, with immense consequences. And this unpredictability has the power to surprise the reader much more than a book set in the real world.
2. The story can be taken much further.
Although there are quite a number of series set in the real world, I always tend to think that they work better in a standalone format. Fantasy, on the contrary, works better when it is told in series format. With the previously discussed ability to deliver a truly surprising and captivating plot, it is more likely for the fantasy story to keep the reader interested for a longer time. The truly compelling series, featuring the same characters and maintaining the intense and captivating plot going, are able to bring the reader to care more about the books. Since the plot takes the time to develop, the reader is able to form stronger connections with the characters, and the story in general, making the whole journey much more satisfactory.
3. Ability to create a truly magnificent enemy.
I do not in any way suggest that other genres are not able to deliver captivating villains. Yet in reality-based works, the impact will not be that immense as it is possible in fantasy. Because in a supernatural world, there are no limitations The bad guy might have destroyed worlds, or have possession of truly horrifying powers. You just never know, making the possibility of utter terror a true possibility.
4. As well as a true hero.
Of course, it can always be done in any kind of genre. It depends on the ability of the writer. Just the hero’s journey has much more potential and twists. And really tough tests.
5. Compelling love story.
In fantasy, the romance can be really compelling, attracting a lot of attention from the readers. There are some factors that work in crafting a magnificent romance, that purely romantic books are not that able to deliver. Like:
- Romance can develop over time since it is not the main or at least not the only focus of the story. And we always want the things we do not have, making us root for the characters even harder.
- Forbidden love can be taken to a completely new level. I mean, there aren’t that many forbidden love stories set in reality, unless really immoral. With fantasy, it can be a completely new perspective. Like two rivalry species. An enemy lover. Some magical twist that keeps the characters apart. And let’s be honest, forbidden things are always the sweetest.
- Possibility to really develop characters. You get really attached to them after following their journey for a while.
There are certainly more aspects that make fantasy such an enjoyable genre. However, these factors cease to be that exclusive to the genre. The ability to create a complex story with an unpredictable plot or truly entertaining multi-dimensional characters, allows fantasy genre to always surprise the reader. Of course, the issues of creating a captivating story always exist, making only the well-crafted works stand out from the immense amount of crappy texts. After the reader becomes familiar with the formula, fantasy loses its ability to surprise just because of its creativity. Therefore, it is up to a skilled and talented author to create an amazing story.
Having explored both the issues and benefits of the fantasy genre, it is easy to say that all the genres have truly magnificent works as well as the crappy works. Each genre possesses their dangers and strongpoints. But having found the love for this particular field quite recently, I feel the need to inform the fellow readers of the truly magnificent books that the genre allowed me to read. It really should get more recognition for the ability to convey a truly complex and captivating story.
I always love to hear your thoughts and opinions and welcome recommendations of your favourite fantasy books.