When people write a fantasy story, they usually coin it as “Medieval Fantasy”. Although Medieval Fantasy is a sub-genre of Fantasy, it is a very broad one. Most Fantasy - stories, movies, or games - is Medieval Fantasy. There are several other sub-genres in Fantasy that help break up the mass. Most people do not know what sub-genres there are or what books are in them. Many times, one book can fit into two or more sub-genres.
There are too many to list and explain in one blog post, but I thought it would be helpful to make a list of the popular sub-genres in Fantasy and mention a couple of books in each of them.
Contemporary fantasy (also called Urban Fantasy when set in a city) is set in contemporary times and contains supernatural elements. Books in this sub-genre would be Dragons in Our Midst, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson & the Olympians.
High Fantasy is set in an entirely fictitious world and have characters, themes, and a plot of epic stature. Books in this sub-genre would be Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, & Tales of the Wovlen (Hey! I can dream, right?).
Historical Fantasy is a rather broad sub-genre where fantasy and historical fiction blend together. Most historical fantasy is set before the 20th century and contains fantastic elements. Branching from historical fantasy is Arabian Fantasy, Celtic Fantasy, Wuxia, Classical Fantasy, and Steampunk.
Heroic Fantasy is set in a fictitious world and chronicles the tales of heroic characters. The Chronicles of Narnia would be in this sub-genre.
Sword and Sorcery (S&S) commonly overlaps with Heroic Fantasy. It is generally characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts with small elements of romance present. Examples of this sub-genre would be Conan the Barbarian, The Heroes of Ravenford, and Dungeons & Dragons.
Dark Fantasy is the combining of fantasy with dark and frightening themes, often combining elements of horror. It also broadly refers to various works that have a dark and gloomy atmosphere about them. The Dark Tower series and perhaps even Dracula could be put in this sub-genre.
Fairytale Fantasy is when motifs and plots from folklore are used heavily throughout the story. Books in this genre would be Stardust, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the Charming Academy Series.
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
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