Anybody who reads my blog semi regularly knows that when it comes to YA genres, I think fantasy is the cream of the crop. It's the crown jewel of genres to me. It's my favorite thing to read, and I never get tired of i. It has elements of all the other genres: it's got a plot like a thriller, it can be creepy as horror, it should have feels like a contemp, cool old timey bits like a historical, and (if you really want to make Gillian very very happy) it should bring the swoons like a romance novel. PLUS MAGIC.
I love the tropes. I love the epicness. I love the inventiveness. I love being immersed in a whole entirely different and entirely better but also with much higher and more dangerous stakes. I love dragons and wizards and warriors and beasts and queens and I LOVE FANTASY.
So...why have so many fantasies been letting me down lately?
Is it something I said? WAS I TOO NEEDY??
Okay, I know what the problem is. It's because the rest of the world is fiiiiinally catching up with me and liking the things I like (#fantasyhipster). The publishing world has realized fantasy is the BEE'S KNEES, so it's all over the place. WHICH, YAY! Never stop! Write me all the fantasy! (I don't think it will stop, btw. Not like dystopian. We hardcore fantasy readers, raised on Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley and other bad ass fantasy ladies of yore, aren't going anywhere.)
But it also means were are getting a loooooot of fantasy...and a lot doesn't feel new.
It's so tricky, because obviously, like any genre, fantasy has tropes. I'll never tire of secret princesses, girls in disguise, or dragon riders. I just won't. But after reading high fantasy for twenty years, i think I expect these things to come with some kind of twist, you know? Or for the world-building to feel full and rich? And for the author to feel like just as much as a HIGH FANTASY PERSON as me and my other high fantasy-reading blogger friends? Instead, sometimes it feels like a romance that's just kinda plopped into a made up land and doesn't really DIG into the things that make me love the genre. Or it doesn't push the envelope in the way i'm hoping. Sometimes, they just feel kinda...rote.
This post comes from a convo I had with Kristen of My Friends are Fiction and Bekka from Pretty Deadly Reviews at how high fantasy has been so hit or miss lately, with some TERRIFIC HITS and a few flopping flops for us. The genre is getting so crowded, which in some ways is a great thing because we fantasy lovers have so many options, but it also makes it feel like not as many books are trying to break the fantasy mold.
But then there's the argument that these books will be GREAT for fantasy newbs! Which I've actually seen be the case. The book Kristen, Bekka, and I were specifically discussing is one that Kristen (a fantasy lover) personally didn't feel was bringing anything remotely new to the table, and felt like a ton of books she'd read before, only minus the ***magic***. Whereas I know of another blogger, who vastly prefers contemporaries, loved the book, saying it's one of the few fantasies she was able to get into and understand.
Oh, look. I've written another discussion post where I'm unable to come to any conclusion at all! Except that I like when fantasy books twist their tropes. I love this genre because it's so VAST, and anything is possible, and I love when fantasy authors stretch it as wide as it can go. (Or at least clearly show me they've read a TON of YA fantasy and know what's out there already.)
What about you? Are you a fantasy lover or a contemporary lover? Have you run into these problems? What about in other genres? I know this has very much been the case with paranormal and dystopian for me!