Fantasy Fiction: The Wonderful Genre of Escapism

When London went into lockdown earlier this year, like many other people, I revived my obsession with fantasy novels. The genre had kept me company for most of my teen years, but somehow, in the midst of A-levels and university, I’d forgotten all about it. One good thing to come out of lockdown for me then was this - having the time to rekindle my relationship with the beautiful world of fantasy fiction.

It started with some harmless videos on Booktok (a section of creators on Tiktok devoted to books) but before I knew it, I had a ‘to read’ list that seemed endless. Seeing so many people buying and talking about books again made me want to read as much as possible, so I began collecting novels and forming my own little library.

In my humble opinion, the fantasy genre hosts some of the best literature. I often call it my guilty pleasure, but the variety of different worlds and the details specific to each of those worlds leaves me mystified. How can authors just come up with things like that? Fantasy books are extremely entertaining reads and the perfect form of escapism. Here are a few series that helped me pass the time when the world seemed to be taking a break:

 

1. The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

The Six of Crows is part of the grishaverse, a fantasy world created by the author Leigh Bardugo. There is a series that comes before it called The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, but you don’t really need to read it in order to read this duology. It would’ve been a good way to become acquainted with the Grisha world but I managed fine without having read the preceding series. The story takes place in a city called Ketterdam and the book is split into the multiple points of view of the main characters: Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan and Jesper. Kaz Brekker, one of the protagonists, is faced with the task of trying to pull off a heist. In order to do so, he recruits a team to help him complete this near-impossible task. We get an insight into each character’s past and witness their development throughout the story. It takes a little while to get used to and to fully understand the world that we’re thrown into. But once you get to know Ketterdam, it starts to feel like your own city and you start feeling protective of it. Funny and full of excitement, this is one of my favourite series and a duology that I always recommend to friends.

 

2. The Folk of the Air series (The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, The Queen of Nothing) by Holly Black

Starting a trilogy is often a daunting prospect. It seems like a long and laborious process to get to the end. Pushing aside my apprehensions, I decided to read this trilogy and, to my surprise, I breezed through it. Jude is a human whose parents are killed by an assassin. The murderer brings her to the Faerie world and raises her there. Being a human in the Faerie world is no easy task; Faeries look down on humans and see them as weak. Jude soon realises that in order to survive she needs to gain power in some way and free herself from the torment of the cruel prince of the kingdom. The first book in the series, The Cruel Prince, was an extremely fast read for me, with fantastic world building that helps you become accustomed to the story. I loved seeing such a powerful female lead. Jude never gives up on her quest to gain power, never allowing the Fey folk to step all over her just because she is a mortal. Her strength is inspiring. There are some plot twists in the book and at some points I wanted to throw it across the room in irritation, but the end makes the frustrations worthwhile. I loved this trilogy so much and often flick through it. I highly recommend it if you’re new to fantasy, as The Folk of the Air world isn’t too complicated and provides a nice introduction to the genre.

 

Now that I’m back at university, I have so much assigned academic reading that I barely have any time for pleasure reading. But once in a while, if I need to slip away for a little bit, I pick up one of my fantasy books and let the story engulf me, taking me to a world of endless possibilities. Try to do the same if you need an escape; it’s incredible to be taken to a place where there are Faeries and supernatural beings.