It’s time I admit it. I’m a contemporary girl and I don’t know how to change that. In 2015, I read 93 contemporary books (51%) and… 18 fantasy books (10%). My breakdown is otherwise mostly even between genres, aside from contemporary. If someone asks me what kind of books I read, though, I always say “mostly contemporary but I like fantasy too!” It’s kind of true, but honestly? I read more mystery books last year. In 2016 so far I’ve read pretty similarly. I’ve got about half contemporary, and mystery + fantasy are tied for second with a low amount. My biggest issue with fantasy most of the time?
The mix of world-building, action, and character development has to be just right for me to stay super engaged with the story. I seem to like lighter fantasy books, where the world is not too hard to understand, or the “fantasy elements” are kind of understated. I’ve read a few complex ones and enjoyed them, but I usually lean towards paranormal or lighter fantasy compared to high fantasy. I don’t even really know what this means. I just know it’s true, without fail, that I will get easily confused and disengaged if I can’t understand the magic system or world-building. There are some books (Truthwitch) that managed to keep me engaged even when I was confused. Some other element – like the writing style or characters – made me want to keep reading. Other books (Red Queen) were impossible to get through for a while and I even read another book in the middle instead. The ending made up for it in general but the whole process of reading it took me forever.
The fact of the matter is though, I want to get more into fantasy. I want to diversify my reading choices a little more so I have a balanced amount of each genre. I don’t ever expect to have fantasy (or any other genre) take over contemporary – I mean, come on, I know what I like – but I would love to double the amount of fantasy stories I read each year.
Do you ever say you like a certain genre and then realize how rarely you read it?
I don’t know how it happens. I read widely across young adult fiction (except horror) but don’t read as many genres as I could. When I’m reading 50% contemporary romance, the rest of the genres get spread around kind of evenly… but it’s not a lot of books! I NEED MORE. I WANT MORE. There are things I know I like and things I don’t really like, so here’s a nice breakdown for you:
- Great characters
- Historical fiction with magic involved
- Easier to understand world-building and/or magic systems
- Enough action to keep me engaged
- Faeries in general
- Too much world-building and not enough action
- Too much action and not enough world-building
- Flat characters / too trope-y
- Pacing issues
- Story isn’t unique enough
SO GIVE ME RECOMMENDATIONS OKAY? Here are some fantasy books I liked, the elements I struggled with, and the stuff I liked. I’ll also give you some I didn’t like as much and why.
Hit me with em! If you have any kind of recs for fantasy books I might like based on the books I shared above and my ~issues~ please send them my way.