In Fantasy this week Paranormal Romance has invaded and it’s taken it’s friend Magical High Schools, with it! Or at least, that is what it feels like in this week’s analysis of the trends and niches in the Fantasy best selling charts.
Since Paranormal Romance will be covered in its own post later this week, I shall not go into very much depth here. But once the post is on the website you will be able to find a link to it here. But suffice to say the hallmarks of the genre are still holding true, there is magic, there are women ready to kick ass and take names, and there are probably going to be werewolves, vampires, angels and demons, and perhaps elves.
But, moving on, this week in Fantasy the sub-genre of LitRPG or Gaming Novels is doing well, with both The Crafter’s Dungeon, by Jonathan Brooks is selling high numbers of books, while Hearthglen by Daniel Schinhofen, is also getting a lot of attention. Both these books utilise the tropes, and cliches of video games, such as health points, skill trees, and experience points, to tell their stories. Hearthglen, features an Overpowered Main Character, Graphic Sex Scenes, and a Harem. Meanwhile, The Crafter’s Dungeon, features a female protagonist who in life had a disability that prevented her from fulfilling her life long dream. After she dies and is reborn as the soul running a dungeon she get the chance to live out this dream. As you can see, while they are both books in the same sub-genre and niche, they are both very different. This means that those writing in the LitRPG genre will have to be careful to fulfil the correct tropes of their target readership.
In quite the contrast, The King of Bones and Ashes (Witches of New Orleans Book 1), by J. D. Horn, tells the story of a world losing it’s magic through the eyes of a young witch. It is a Magical Realism story, described as having a gothic tone and atmosphere, so is a good reminder to those writing in the fantasy genre that books like this are still popular. It does not all have to be Secondary World Fiction, sometimes you only need to make a few changes to this one for it to work as well.
Up next is the more classic idea of Fantasy, Secondary Worlds filled with magic and strange beasts, plus lots of political intrigue and attempted murder. Jeff Wheeler has several books in the chart this week, Storm Glass, the first book in his Harbinger series is one of them. Like many of the other books on this week’s chart, the main characters are young women. They are also both outsiders, either by nature of their birth and status in society, or because of their interests and beliefs. The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold, features a young man plunged into the knotted centre of a spider’s web, otherwise know as national politics in a fantasy court.
Also on the list are some books that are perhaps a little more Science Fiction than Fantasy, but which share a few of the characteristics. Vengeful, by V. E. Schwab, tells the story of supervillains in a superheroes’ world. The protagonist, Marcella Riggins, is determined to rule over her city and she has a plan. Something, that is no doubt as dangerous as any superpower. Meanwhile, in Mary Robinette Kowal’s alternate history version of Earth where women are the astronauts of choice and the sixties have the promise of colonising Mars just on the horizon, The Fated Sky, is shooting for the stars. I do not know why this one has been put into the fantasy section of the charts, since it does not even have the excuse of superpowers, but it seems to be continuing the trend of brave women daring to go where no one has gone before.
Of course, the classics are still there, J. K. Rowling might as well bring a tooth brush at this point, because she is not likely to leave any time soon. But, over all, there has been a lot of movement in the genre this week with a lot of new books on the chart. What do you think? Anything we’ve missed? Leave a comment!