This week in Fantasy, a third of the books hitting the top selling charts are Magical Academy books, the niche is so popular that it appears to be mowing down all opposition before it. Tied to this trend is that of Paranormal Romance books, Magical Academy books are rarely found without Paranormal Romance, but Paranormal Romance is often found without it, so it too takes a large cut of the Fantasy genre’s charts. Paranormal Romance will get its own post tomorrow, so it is a little redundant to go into too much depth on it right now.
Instead, focusing on the niches and trends enjoying their time in the sun is probably a better use of time.
Political Intrigue is hugely popular this week, there is a list of books an arm long that feature this genre staple. Often kingdoms are in the midst of war, or permanently on the cusp of one, or our valiant heroes must stop one in its tracks. A fine example of this is, The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold, where politics, international, national, and personal are all on show and ready to be argued over. And then of course there are huge amount of books from the Fantasy Military niche, where people are either charging in and having a merry old time fighting foes who are clearly evil, or who are just scratching out a survival amidst enemies and allies who are like in many ways. There are plenty of J. R. R. Tolkien books with this theme, but also Terry Goodkind’s, Siege of Stone: Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles, Volume III, which continues a tale featuring stone soldiers and magic.
Monster Hunting is, as always, hugely popular, with Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher, stealing a lot of the limelight. And it’s close cousins, Epic Fantasy and Quest Fantasy, are also in high demand. Ilona Andrews’, Sweep Of The Blade, is pulling in the fans for a lot of these niches, and so is, Shannon Mayer’s, Wyvern’s Lair. Jeff Wheeler’s Harbinger series, which has multiple books on the list, is still doing well many weeks into it’s run on the chart, showing that there is a lot of staying power in these niches if you can get lucky.
Also popular this week is Satirical or Humorous Fantasy. The best example for this is probably, Another Roadside Attraction, by Tom Robbins, which apparently features, “the Second Coming [that] didn’t quite come off as advertised?” and a clairvoyant who work in a version of this world that is not quite the world we recognise. Some points from this are quite clear, Religious Fantasy, Magic, and Magical Realism are also on show, while the aesthetic of Middle America and Freak Shows seems to be reappearing in the list from a short period of hibernation.
Also in the charts is Circe, by Madeline Miller, a retelling of the Legendary Greek story. It adds to the long list of powerful women on the chart, especially women with magical powers as well as political power. Witches of all kinds are popular this week, from the Classical, like Circe, to the more modern takes on the subject like Harry Potter. Magic is not a requirement for Fantasy, but it is so interwoven into the fabric of what makes it what it is that it is hard to step away from it in the genre.
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