The Fantasy books on the best seller’s list this week fall under three categories almost exclusively. These three categories are, Magical Academies, Paranormal Romance, and LitRPG/GameLit. There are a few that come under the additional heading of, “And Everything Else” but there are far fewer of these than you might expect.
The Magical Academy books are generally a subset of Paranormal Romance, however they are so popular that it is easier to set them apart and look at the niches and trends on their own. Typically these books are pitched at a YA audience, there is some variation in what could be called the “Heat level”, as some are essentially “clean” while others are really, really not. These books tend to have a lot of the usual tropes from Paranormal Romance and other romantic genres, however there are several that are more unique to the niche. For example, love triangles are very common, as are Reverse Harems and everything from the Fated Mate side of romance. Bully Romance is also very common in these books, though it tends to be common in all High School set romances, magical or not. Enemies to Lovers is also fairly common, especially when tied into that other common trope in the niche, of fights to stop the end of the world. Magic, it seems, only exacerbates the human habit of causing trouble, and the characters in these books tend to show that in abundance. The main character is usually a young woman, she is typically on the outskirts of her magical society, either new to the society or the victim of bigotry. Often, she has magic, or similar powers that fit into the world. These stories tend to take place across long series of books, some series stretching well into the double digits. Obviously, this shows that the genre is very popular, since it would be difficult to maintain such long series without plenty of readers.
Paranormal Romance is similarly popular, for example, the October Daye series, by Seanan McGuire, hitting book 13 with The Unkindest Tide. Many of these books also follow similar tropes to those in the Magical Academy series. There is a society of magical people who are apart from the ordinary humans. They have powers but also weaknesses that have persuaded them to stay away from most of humanity. The main character is a young woman, one who can fight, often physically and magically. There is lots of romance, Reverse Harems, and Love Triangles litter the pages. The heroes tend to be burly warrior types, or seductive, lethal assassins. If there’s a love triangle, the odds are there will be one of each.
The third niche seeing a lot of interest from readers this week, is LitRPG and GameLit. Unlike the books in Science Fiction genre from this niche, these books tend to be a lot more focused on magic and political intrigue. This quite an interesting divide, as there is no obvious reason for it. But the books which have done best in this genre are the stories of mages and political connivers.
Finally there are all the other books that do not fit into these three niches. This week is seeing a lot of women focused fiction on the chart, though it is not a firm rule. Curses and hexes are common, and the settings are a mix of the familiar Faux-Medieval setting, and quite a few books set in periods reminiscent of the Renaissance or the Victorian era.
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