Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is This the Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy?

Ok, so this post doesn't ACTUALLY have anything to do with Queen, but the lyrics seemed too perfect to pass up.  This week, we're reviewing Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon, which is considered High Fantasy.  So what's the difference between High Fantasy and all the rest?

Typically, High Fantasy doesn't contain a whole lot from our world.  There are incredible worlds that the authors build, constructing them from scratch and sometimes, like we see in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, creating their own languages.

J.R.R. Martin created and incredibly complicated political system when he created his world in the Game of Thrones series.  Not to mention, he created an entire land that required him to know where people were in relation to the other mythical places that he created.  Often these authors will create maps.  Both Tolkien and Martin include maps in the front of their books.

High fantasy also has an extreme magical element to it.  Our book this week features Rhapsody, who can magically sing your name, therefore doing everything from renaming to, to protecting you from fire.  Sarah Douglass wrote a series, The Wayfarer Redemption, and the characters can control STARS.  STARS!

So then what do we consider just plain old fantasy?  Well, Vampires tend to be just normal fantasy.  For instance, Laurel K. Hamilton's series takes place in St. Louis, under the impression that vampires exist, everyone knows about them, and oh yeah, they have legal rights.  It's certainly fantastical, but not so out there that it would be classified as high fantasy.

Erin Morganstern's novel The Night Circus, which we reviewed some time ago, also would be fantasy.  The idea is that they both can manipulate magic, but she came by it naturally, while he was taught to do real magic.  It's just an interesting twist on something that's already real, something that could be real, but no one has ever seen evidence of it.

This picture isn't actually relevant to anything, I just thought it looked cool.

So is one better than the other?  No, of course not.  It's all about preference.  There was one point in my life that if it wasn't high fantasy, I wasn't going to pick it up.  Now, as an adult, I have found my tastes have vastly changed and I only pick up a high fantasy book if I have a good recommendation for one.

And there are also tons of other types of fantasy classification.  This is a good website to see them, so check it out and see where your favorites would fall.


  1. I enjoy High fantasy as well as regular fantasy. I just started A Clash of Kings. Hopefully, its as good as the first one was.

    1. I saw that you were starting that! I hope that you enjoy it. I love that series, but the books are such huge undertakings. I think once the wedding is over, I'll have more time to read what I want.

      I'm a lot more particular about my high fantasy these days. They really have to be very good.