This week the best selling books in Fantasy are pretty varied, while Magical Academy books and Paranormal Romance are still very popular, there are also lots of other smaller niches that are growing in strength. For example, Viking Era Fantasy is very popular, as are books set in Magical Realism worlds in the 1800s and 1900s. There is also an uptick in the number of books which can be described as Portal Fantasies, as are the number of High Fantasy (or High Fantasy adjacent) novels on the chart.
Magical Academy books and Paranormal Romance are still filling many of the corners of the chart. These books typically feature a young woman, and are set in a world where magic is an important part of the world building. There are usually lots of different types of magical being, with shape shifters, fae, witches and various other magical powers seen as nearly common place. There are frequently internal issues in the magical society which mirror that of real life, such as prejudice and bigotry. There also tends to be a surprising amount of bureaucracy in place in these worlds, frequently this is supposed to prevent normal humans from finding out about magical people, but this is not always the case.
As a setting Viking Era Fantasy fits into the more stereotypical view of fantasy, the Faux Medieval mould as it were. These books typically involve a lot of violence, some magic, some fantasy religion, and at some point the reader will be led to wonder if the protagonists really are on the good guys side. There tends to be a little more effort put into historical accuracy than when the setting is simply, “Vaguely Medieval and probably European”, but there is a lot of variation in how close people actually get. For example, many of the now famous burials that feature warriors buried with boats, horses, and treasures, have actually turned out to be women, thanks to DNA testing. Some of the books in this niche clearly know about this and gleefully include it, but others prefer to ignore it.
Also very popular this week are books set in Magical Realism versions of the 1800s and 1900s. These stories tend to be very based in magic, plus an expectation that the protagonist needs to go out and discover what is going on in their world. Generally the protagonist is a young woman who is an outsider, suddenly brought into the middle of the chaotic magical world. They sometimes have a romantic plot line, but it is not usually as important to the story as it generally is in Paranormal Romance.
Portal Fantasies, or stories where someone from one reality or era ends up in another, are rising in popularity. These are often the cousin to LitRPG novels, which are also doing well. Often the person falling from one world to another is someone from a reasonably, normal world, falling into a bizarre and magical one. If there are people crossing over from a strange and magical world to one that would be seen as normal to the reader, it is usually not the portal traveller that is the protagonist, but instead they are the villains.
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