discussion

Discussion: My “fear” of fantasy (& talking about magical creatures & maps)

Ever since I was little I’ve had a weird relationship with fantasy books. When I was young I never read fantasy. I thought wizards were boring and unrealistic (yeah seriously, who could say that about Harry Potter??), and magical creatures were just… idk, made up? I guess. (Like all those contemporaries weren’t???).

So one day my friend borrowed me a few books, they were her a few of her favourites, so of course, I think I might as well try them. The first book I tried was a fantasy book, but I gave it a chance, because that’s what you do when your best friend tells you that it’s their favourite book. I have to tell you, it was very boring. Exactly the way I expected it to be. I don’t even remember what the book was or what it was about, I just know it was about a man and a dragon, and they were friends? (No it was not Eragon).

I believe that after that I just quit reading fantasy altogether. I had this picture in my head that fantasy was long, dull, and complicated, and the only experience I had with this genre completely fitted with that picture. When I was about 15, I learned of YA, this genre I had never heard of and exactly fitted my needs, I still read a lot of contemporary, but dystopia and fantasy made its way in my bookish obsession. Still, I was, and still am, very hesitant when I pick up any fantasy.

I think you can clearly see this in my dislike for maps (shocking I know), I really don’t like maps in books. It makes me feel dread. For me, the only reason why you would put a map in a book, is when it is actually necessary and you wouldn’t be able to follow the story without it. So seeing a map in a book feels like a warning: this is going to get complex!

I have absolutely nothing with magical creatures; elves, fae, dragons (yes even unicorns). Now I feel bad because I once recommended a book highly because of the dragons and I usually don’t even like them. I have nothing with mythical creatures, and basically myths altogether. And witches: no thanks. Demons, maybe? Talking animals, great! But people with magical abilities, hell yeah, give them all! (that’s quite strange, I don’t like witches but I love magic, I’m a very contradictory person it seems)

The strange thing is, while I have a dislike for many of these things, I really do enjoy reading some books with these aspects. If you look at the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor, which is one of my favourite series of all time, but at the same time, it has angels, demon-like creatures (aka chimaera), flying creatures that remind me a little of dragons, magical powers and much more. So where is the border between things I like and things I dislike? I really don’t know.

I really don’t know if my opinions are just based on some fantasy books I didn’t enjoy, or because I just don’t like these aspects. I feel like I haven’t read enough fantasy to make this decision, but I’ve been putting off reading a lot of fantasy for these reasons.

Overall I have grown to like fantasy to a certain level, I like light fantasy (contemporary, urban, etc), but the heavy kind… It’s really just a grey area for me, some stories I highly enjoy and some not at all, and I just don’t know why. Books like Lord of the Rings, I think are boring (sorry, I just don’t like it. At all.), while I loved The Wrath and The Dawn and An Ember in the Ashes (and some more). Made up languages and fantastical creatures just don’t really add anything to the story for me.

A factor is, that sometimes I have a hard time picturing things in my head while I’m reading, especially fight scenes, and because often fantasy books are action packed, this can cause some confusion and often leads to distraction. Now that I think some more of it, I think that maybe, just maybe, that in fantasy books the story is often built upon this world, and not on the characters. While I think if done well, worldbuilding can be done amazingly, I still think that characters need to lead the story. For me, that is very important. While I will always read my fair share of fantasy books, I don’t think this genre will ever become my favourite, there is just too much grey between the black and white.

I am not saying that fantasy is bad in any way or that whoever reads fantasy and loves it is a bad person, I’m just saying that it’s not my favourite thing.

What is your relationship with fantasy? Do you love it? Hate it? Or is your relationship just as complex as mine?


If you have any suggestions to topics you’d like to see discussed, please let me know! I have a long list of topics I’d like to talk about but some fresh input is appreciated!

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32 thoughts on “Discussion: My “fear” of fantasy (& talking about magical creatures & maps)

  1. Fantasy is my favorite genre because of it’s complexity, but it can get confusing and hurt my brain if I try and read too much (hence why I’ve been working on the Game of Thrones books very slowly).

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  2. This is so interesting! Personally, fantasy (well, YA fantasy really) is pretty much my favourite genre, and most of my favourite books/series are fantasies! That said, I know exactly what you mean about maps at the front of books – I find them quite daunting, and usually don’t bother to look at them!

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  3. I love fantasy for its magic and all the different ways you can go for it. I don’t like fantasy creatures like elves and goblins (except for HP, and Keeper of the Lost Cities — which is MG). But I loooooove powers and magic! And sometimes I like maps. Sometimes I don’t. Most of the time I do because they help me imagine the world.

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    1. I love magic and powers too! That is one of the aspects of fantasy that I do love! So far I haven’t liked maps at all, I do think some have pretty drawing but I’d rather have regular illustrations.

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      1. I love contemporary but I don’t love romance, and quite often those are paired, but I guess I prefer contemporary over fantasy, or maybe a mix? Mixes are the best.
        Fantasy is really sometimes confusing though!

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  4. Fantasy used to be my favorite genre although I gravitated towards low fantasy, mostly fairytales and urban nothing super complex. I’ve always found a lot of fantasy to be extremely dull, mostly Adult and high fantasy. Recently I’ve been disappointed with a lot of fantasy books and I now love contemporary just as much maybe even more.

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    1. I’m happy you like it! I don’t even like maps in contemporary, I remember finding a map in We Were Liars and thinking “oh no…”

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  5. I totally get you. I absolutely hate high fantasy. I personally hate fantasy with dungeons and dragons and the like. However, I do absolutely love fantasy that has real life mixed in. Like books with mythology or feature and such but there was still “real” people in the story. I’ve been reading more and more fantasy tho 😊

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    1. Ah yes! The thing I love about some fantasy is the mix with real life and magic, it makes me so happy to see magic or fantasy aspects incorporated in our world.!

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  6. Fantasy is one of my favourite genres but I can see why you wouldn’t like it.After a time I feel I have grown out of fantasy although my list of favourites still has a lot of fantasy books.Even I dislike maps in books especially with a lot of places that can’t even be pronounced.

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  7. I used to be hesitant with fantasy too but HP helped my grow out of that. it’s now one of my favourite genres BECAUSE SIX OF CROWS IS MY LIFE.
    And. sorry, did you just say you don’t like MAPS? WHAT. OMG MAPS ARE JUST WONDERFUl and I LOVE complex books – and the map adds to that. heavy fantasy IS AWESOME. Gah, i don’t get you!

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  8. I loved reading this, as fantasy has always been my favourite genre haha. Saying that, Lord of the Rings is definitely hard to get through, fantasy lover or not. I still need to read the other two books, but the first one took me like a month or longer (I don’t really remember). I should probably give the movies a go and go with those instead haha

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  9. I adore fantasy, personally–I love seeing how people are able to yake elements of the real world and twist them onto their heads. I’m not a fan of maps either (I skip over them, 9 times out of 10) or fight scenes (I get bored quickly, far more often than not), but I adore the supernatural elements. I can see how you might pick on the lack of character focus, but I personally find the same problem all too much in contemporary and similar genres: they’re more plot than they are character, often. The way I see it, at least fantasy has an interesting world/magic system.

    To each their own, though! I thought it was really interesting to read this explanation. Thanks for sharing, Lia 🙂

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    1. I love that aspect of fantasy too, when they use real-life things and turn it into something magical. I can see why you adore fantasy, but tastes differ 🙂
      You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting and reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a very interesting post, thank you Lia!
    I grew up playing pencil and paper Role Playing Game (RPG) in fantasy setting, and read almost no fantasy books until I was in high school.

    So for most of the time fantasy for me has always been more active (creating own characters and plots). Even when I read fantasy books I tend to skim through the songs, poem, and maps simply because it’s too much.
    But again, tastes differ. Maybe some short stories surrounding supernatural, myths, and mystery will be a good start. Keeps you alert. (I happen to write short stories so feel free to check my post)

    Once again, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! That’s really interesting! I also don’t like songs and poems and maps because they tend to distract from the story. but like you said, tastes differ!

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