Real Life Fantasy - Part Two of the Fantasy Series

The idea behind a good Fantasy novel is that it takes you to places where magical things are the norm, and adventure waits at every corner. Sure that isn’t surprising if you happen to be a medieval princess or live in an alternate reality, but it gets pretty darn exciting when you’re out weeding your lawn and suddenly you fall through a hole in the ground, turn up in a world of dwarfs, and you’re twenty-five pounds thinner to boot. Alright so maybe that last part falls more under Girl Fantasy, but you get the idea.

So basically, what I refer to as Real Life Fantasy is a story where our hero lives in the normal world and then something or someone leads them off the beaten track or endows them with strange and magical powers.

What I find most appealing about this type of story is the foil created when fantasy is set against reality. It leaves the reader with a glimmering hope that no matter how normal and unexciting their every-day life is, magic and adventure could be waiting to pop up at any moment.

We have some first class LDS writers who specialize in Real Life Fantasy, and like Girl Fantasy, these books are enjoyed by fantasy lovers of all ages. Just a note – any of them would make excellent choices as Christmas gifts.

M L Forman is the author of a wonderful fantasy series Adventurers Wanted. The first volume, Slathbog’s Gold, tells the story of fifteen-year-old Alex Taylor. Alex’s life is anything but adventurous. He lives in a pub with his step-father and step-brother. These aren’t bad step relatives, but Alex is looking for something more, and he finds it when he stumbles across Mr. Clutter’s shop window and a strange magical sign that only he can see. Thus begins an amazing adventure filled with heroic warriors, mysterious elves, and hard-working dwarves.

In the Farworld series, writer J Scott Savage creates two unique heroes with everything going against them. Marcus is a severely crippled orphan who requires the use of a wheel-chair to get around, yet despite his disability (or perhaps because of it) he is smart and resourceful. He has to be. Earth is threatened by a terrible evil that he must defeat. But Earth isn’t the only place under attack. Farworld shares the same enemy. In Farworld magic is normal and everything from the flowers to the people posses it to some degree, except for Kyja. Kyja is a girl with no family and no magic, but with a burning desire to make a difference. Together, the two misfits must work together moving back and forth from Earth to Farworld to save their homes from The Dark Circle. Currently Savage has two of the five book series available, part one - Water Keep and part two - Land Keep.

In the first book of his series The 13th Reality, James Dashner introduces us to thirteen-year-old Atticus Higgenbottom (aka Tick) whose invitation to adventure actually arrives in the mail. A strange letter warns Atticus that he will receive a series of clues/riddles that he must solve. At stake is reality itself and a future that Tick can’t even imagine. Dashner released book one, Journal of Curious Letters last year, and The Hunt of Dark Infinity a few months ago.

Girl Fantasy - Part One of the Fantasy Series

I’ve been following with interest the increased number of fantasy books currently being published by LDS writers. Though most of these novels list themselves as middle grade or young adult fantasy, like the popular Harry Potter series, their fans include large numbers of adults as well.

According to Wikepdia ( the definition of fantasy is as follows:

Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Many works within the genre take place on fictional planes or planets where magic is common. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction and horror by the expectation that it steers clear of scientific and macabre themes, respectively, though there is a great deal of overlap between the three (which are subgenres of speculative fiction).

Looking over the many popular fantasy titles, I’ve found that they tend to be loosely grouped in one of three categories’. The first I’ll refer to as Girl Fantasy. In Girl Fantasy there is an element of romance associated with the adventure, intrigue and magic. Here are a few examples that have been published this year.

In Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George, twelve beautiful princesses are caught up in an evil curse that threatens their health and their sanity. When Galan, an ex-soldier and apprentice gardener falls in love with the eldest daughter of the King he becomes determined to figure out the mystery and free his beloved before it is too late.

In another Girl Fantasy, Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry, Lucinda has been forced to live with her Aunt after her parents are killed while attending a ball. With the use of her quick wits, charm and magical power, she is out to free herself, avenge her parents death and perhaps win the heart of a prince.

Janette Rallison’s book My Fair Godmother is touted as a YA romance, but there is certainly enough magic to qualify it as a Girl Fantasy. It’s been a rough year all around for Savannah. First, her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister. Then when the powers-that-be intervene and send her some magic help, Chrissy shows up. Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar is Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Chrissy, who is only fair as a Godmother, turns Savannah’s life upside down with one misguided wish fulfillment after another.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike, tells the story of a common girl who’s life becomes complicated when tiny wings begin to grow from her shoulders and she discovers that her destiny may be in the faerie realm. This Girl Fantasy has been picked up by a major studio to be made into a movie.

Next week, Other World Fantasy....