Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I wanted to try something new, so please bear with me. Basically it’s the start of a new possible series of posts, where I will explore a said genre. I will talk about the definition of each genre, how it has developed, key examples of each genre and my recommendations. Since I read primarily fantasy, it seemed fitting to start with epic fantasy. It is sometimes hard to categorise fantasy books because they can fall into a few different sub-genres. This is going to be a long one, so grab a cup of your favourite hot beverage and I’ll get started.
Epic fantasy is a sub genre within the whole fantasy genre. It is one of the most popular and well known fantasy sub genre. What makes this sub-genre epic is the scope of the story, world and characters. It usually includes a life or death fight against an antagonist, a well-developed magic system and world, as well as a large cast of supporting characters. There is generally a fight between good and evil, but some will have more morally grey characters. A quest often plays a large role in the story.
It can sometimes be confused with high fantasy because they share a few similar elements. However they are two separate sub genres. As the name suggests epic fantasy is epic in scale, whereas high fantasy focuses more on the setting/characters – it does not have the same scope. Epic fantasy will take place over a large part of the world, whereas high fantasy will take place mainly in a smaller area.
Perhaps the first and most obvious epic fantasy recommendation is the Lord of the Rings trilogy (first published in the 1950’s) and the Hobbit (first published in 1937) by J. R. R. Tolkien. These books did a lot in establishing epic fantasy as one of the most popular sub-genres of fantasy. Since then, epic fantasy has continued to thrive and a lot of modern fantasy can be considered part of this sub-genre. However it can be traced back further than that to works such as Beowulf (Old English epic poem) and the Iliad by Homer (Greek epic poem, circa 1,000 BC).
Other examples include the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, the Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb and the Raven Shadows trilogy by Anthony Ryan.