This week there are several quite interesting niches doing well in the Fantasy Best Seller’s Chart. First off there is a real interest in Viking Era Fantasy, this tends to be pretty distinct in tone from normal Faux Medieval Fantasy, though there is also some of that as well. There is also a lot of interest in Magical Realism Fantasy that lies outside the usual eras, and settings, focusing in on the oppressed of the real world and not using fantasy stand ins as is often the case. Of course, there is also a lot of interest in Paranormal Romance and Magical Academies in particular, but no more than has been notable in the past. There are also several books from the LitRPG/GameLit genre on the chart as well.
The Viking era is a newly rediscovered setting for many writers, and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular for writers wanting to include a Faux Medieval European setting, but not one of the more over used ones. It is a setting that allows for easy inclusion of quest narratives, violence, and magic, since the sagas were full of such things and Beowulf and other stories are fantastic examples and inspirations. They are also a time period filled with iconic imagery, even if the horned helmets have mostly been ignored. They are a popular time period for a host of reasons, including the fact that there is almost always at least one show on the TV featuring Vikings, so it is easy to catch reader’s imaginations. There are also many interesting layers about the era which people can dip into as they write, including little known facts and making their settings seem fresh and new.
Magical Realism is always fairly popular on this chart, and there is a lot of it that is more traditional. Usually set in a US or UK setting within the last century or two, these stories typically follow the lives of young women as they fight the status quo to make something of their lives and build a future. There is usually a magical threat, and a social one, and the protagonist must overcome both to triumph. However, this week there is also a lot of Magical Realism which breaks this mould, in particular the stories focus in on young men living in disadvantage and experiencing harrowing events, including horrific prejudice and racism. One example, is the not yet released book by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Water Dancer, which tells the story of a young man fighting against slavery as part of The Underground Railroad who has magic.
There is also a lot of interest in the Paranormal Romance and Magical Academy genres this week. This week there seems to be a big push towards Vampires, Demons, and Dragons over other more usual magical creatures. Magical Academy books are still mostly focused on the young female market, however there are signs that some writers from other parts of the genre are attempting to attract these readers.
One of these examples is in the LitRPG genre, and is The Bibliomancer, by James Hunter. The story is about a young man who, in a game, joins a magical school only to end up fleeing as things turn out in ways he did not expect. As well, there has been a definite increase in the number of female protagonists and authors, which may be a sign that the genre is opening up to a larger audience.
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