Where to Start

September 30, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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Looking for something different to read? Inspired by an episode of a fantasy tv series or movie? Deciding where to start can be a daunting task because the fantasy genre is large. There are many subgenres within the overall genre, so there are many possible starting points. Readers have several choices that might fit their tastes. Here are a few books where to begin a journey into a new genre.

Epic fantasy is one of the largest sub-genres and has garnered much interest because of the“Game of Thrones” tv series. Some readers start with the books but there are other books that are good too. For Tolkien, The Hobbit is an easier place to begin with his works. Lord of the Rings is excellent but rich in detail and takes time to savor. Other good starting books are:

  • The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn
  • The Riddlemaster of Hed by Patricia McKillip

Another popular subgenre is urban fantasy which has exploded in recent years. These are books where magic, mythical creatures and the supernatural exists and interacts with our modern day world. There are many excellent starting points. Many of these books have plenty of action and interesting characters both men and women. Suggested books are:

  • Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels series)
  • Stormfront by Jim Butcher (Harry Dresden series)
  • Moon Called by Patty Briggs (Mercy Thompson series)
  • Hounded by Kevin Hearne ( Iron Druid Chronicles series)

The story of King Arthur and his knights spawned another subgenre with Arthurian fantasy. Authors explore some aspect or character from the legends to tell new stories in this sub-genre. Some books to try are:

  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  • The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Finally there is for me an unofficial subgenre of mythic and fairy tale fantasy. Authors use mythology, mythic themes or fairy tales in new ways to tell thought provoking emotional stories that resonate with readers in some deep fashion. Books in this genre began with two authors, Robert Holdstock and Charles de Lint but have other authors now. Books to read here are:

  • Mythagowood by Robert Holdstorck
  • The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
  • The Onion Girl  by Charles de Lint
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Finding books to read in a new genre can be hard. The books mentioned in this article are great places to start. May the gifts of fantasy and wonder be yours. Happy reading.

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