By Anne Huang
Fantasy in a lot of ways is like Facebook with the social media industry. It’s one of the most classic, timeless genres that despite being “old”, is still going strong. Many genres have reached their heights and am already going down (Dystopia being a very good example), but Fantasy has always remained as one of the most prominent, popular, and relevant genre.
Being a classic, Fantasy is one of the best genres to start off if you want to become a reader, but it can seem intimidating. Magic, paranormal, and adventures, it can seem overwhelming. But with the right guide and introduction, not only can it open the world for all the other books out there for you, you will forever appreciate the many worlds and experience this genre can bring to the table.
The charm with fantasy books aside from the (obvious) magical factors is the complexity fantasy provides. It’s also what sets it from other fictional genres. Fantasy is a whole new level when it comes to fiction. It’s fantasy that requires the author to have to create a new world down to the culture, language, and the smallest detail. The fascination of learning a new world to such an extent and the new possibility the stories provide is what I love most about this genre, and frantically what makes it timeless too.
Whenever a noob hears the word “fantasy”, the first books that usually comes to their minds are The Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter. But it is important to not jump into a random series, because if you don’t know what you except, your patience might be weaker than normal, so it’ll be easier for you to quit. But the thing that makes fantasy so special (and timeless) is despite its difficult introduction and intimidating description, once you get to know it, it will forever be the gateway to the most amazing escapes you will ever desire and need.
Low Fantasy and High Fantasy
Yes, there is a different kind of fantasies (because just one fantasy is not enough).
I understand that I am not helping you to feel more comfortable with this genre. But before you give up even trying, please hear me out. It will be much easier after you understand, so I’m ripping off the band-aid off cold turkey and giving you this emergency crash-course so you’ll have a better idea what the article is talking about. Low fantasy is a kind of fantasy where the author connects our real world (the one we’re living in right now) to another new fictional fantasy world. Notable examples of low fantasy books are the Harry Potter series, the Mortal Instrument series, and the Percy Jackson series. Both series follows the main character that is born and raised in the real world but then discovers another fantasy fictional world that exists.
High fantasy is when there is no this world, and the book only takes place completely in another place with no connection to this earth whatsoever. Notable examples for high fantasies are the Game of Throne series and the Lord of the Rings series. Both series takes place completely in another world and does not connect to the world we live in whatsoever.
Why is it important to let you understand low fantasy from high fantasy (and the fact that these two existed in the first place)? If you really want to start fantasy, it is vital for you to understand the importance of starting with a low fantasy book. Do not just go straight ahead and immediately and jump in a high fantasy world. Your brain would decay, and I’m talking about the full leaked-through-your-eyes-and-ears-and-nose-holes style. But what’s worse than this? You will quit, and most likely would never begin your amazing fantasy journey because of this traumatizing experience.
Starting with a low fantasy series would significantly ease your introduction experience with this genre because you would be learning about the new fantasy world along with the main character. Because the main character (like you) just recently discover this new world, the book would on behalf of the clueless protagonist make extra vital explanations to aid their understanding, and along with that will aid you in understanding it. Only when you are comfortable enough in low fantasies books would it be easier for you to read and handle high fantasy books. High fantasy books would take at least twice as long to learn about the world building than low fantasy, because since it wouldn’t make sense for the author to make extra explanations (since the book only have this world and our protagonist already know everything about the world), you can only learn the world gradually as the book progresses, from description, storyline, dialogues, and characters.
So if you really want to start fantasy, I strongly suggest to you start with a gateway low fantasy book/series. One of the most prominent reasons (aside from just being amazing books) for the Harry Potter, Mortal Instruments, and Percy Jackson series to become such classics is because of their identity as the most popular and eminent gateway books to young children. Their addictiveness and how easy to get addicted to these series are the books’ greatest asset in officially solidifying the children’s love for books through their story. 8/10 kids would say that their gateway books are from one of the three series (if not all). It’s not an exaggeration, why do you think these books are so popular?
So here is a summarization of this article:
- Don’t start with a high fantasy book/series.
- I strongly suggest starting with one of the “big three” (Mortal Instruments, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter). They are definitely one of the easiest fantasy series to get into, and in result is the best introduction you can get with the genre.
The definition of something that is a “classic” is timeless. A thing becomes timeless when it is a classic, and fantasy is a classic. No matter what the hype is anytime and anywhere, fantasy would forever go strong. It’s timeless, and while other genres’ hypes come and go it will forever be the most pertinent, popular, and preferred genre. That is because of the opportunities this genre provides. Things such as magic and fantasy sound really cheesy, but it provides so much hope and self-confidence to ht readers through its characters, and the amazing experiences as well as lessons the book teaches have the power to transform how the reader views the world as well. Fantasy shows us through their infamous “life-or-death” scenarios and even when there is no way that plan is going to work, the characters’ impressive wits, undying loyalty, and love, as well as unchanging morals. These all shine a light on the path of positivity no matter how negative the situation is. “The good medicine always tastes bitter”, sometimes, the least pleasant choice is the best, and that is one of the things I definitely learned from the Percy Jackson books.