What makes a great fantasy book?
A great fantasy book takes the reader away from real life and that is a big part of the genre’s appeal. Exchange your reality for something magical and enchanting, maybe even let yourself be a little frightened some of the time – seek out a fantasy story.
Fantasy books can be set in virtually any place or time. Although fantasy is like science fiction, horror and several other genres, a type of speculative fiction, it tends to be rather more whimsical in its outlook.
5 things to look for when choosing a fantasy book
- Choose a book with the right level of fantasy to suit you preferences. Some fantasy novels are set in completely fictional worlds with mythical characters while others may involve fantastical beings or magical events that exist in a ‘real’ city among ordinary humans.
- Decide whether you want to read more sinister dark fantasy which may feature frightening or evil beings as opposed to a fantasy starring a main character who uses his or her magical gifts for good.
- Pick your preferred time period. There are historical, contemporary and futuristic works of fantasy available and you can also read fantasy novels that were published many years ago and which ‘look forward’ to the present day.
- Consider mixing genres for a bit of variety. There are fantasy novels that combine elements from other types of genre fiction as well as literary fiction or modernism. Fantasy is a truly huge category that has something for almost everyone.
- Look for a story with a setting and characters that can keep you entertained. Even though the characters and setting may require you to suspend your notion of what’s believable, the book should be so well-written to not make it difficult to do so.
5 great fantasy books
Fantasy books, regardless of when they were written, often end up being turned into popular movies. Many of the classic stories listed here have been adapted to film at least once.
- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (published in 1870) by Jules Verne involves a group of people going on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster which turns out to be a futuristic type of submarine. It has been the basis for numerous films and even a musical.
- The Lord Of The Rings (published in 1954) by J.R.R. Tolkien is an example of high fantasy which has become extremely popular on the big screen. It features mythical beings such as elves and takes place in the fictional Middle Earth.
- The Land That Time Forgot (published in 1924) by Edgar Rice Burroughs combines a wartime sea adventure with a lost world inhabited by dinosaurs. The story has twice been adapted to the big screen.
- A Voyage To Arcturus (published in 1920) by David Lindsay is set on a fictional planet and throws in a large dose of philosophy with questions about good and evil.
- The Well At The World’s End (published in 1896) by William Morris is a classic fantasy that was influenced by medieval style stories and deals with the concept of immortality.