Handle With Care

handle with care; the fantasy edition

It took me a long time to actually write this post because generally, I adore fantasy novels. Fantasy is one of those genres where you can take a whole bunch of tropes and turn them on their head.

Do all authors take advantage of this fact? No, they do not. And it’s a shame.

But of course, as in all genres, there are things that I feel are handled poorly more often than not, and things I would love to see worked into the story less for plot convenience and more naturally.

  • Sometimes, the use of prophecies in stories just seems a way to make the main character the focus, despite them not having anything else going for them. Sometimes they are self-fulfilling, and just disappointing. They can be handled well, of course, if the seeds are planted, if the characters are charismatic enough for the reader to connect to them. But honestly, most of the time, prophecies just seem very contrived.
  • The urge to create a magical empire and hierarchy in stories is one I understand, but it occasionally feels like a cheap way to create ‘oppression’ in world building without considering the real world implications of it all. Fiction does not exist in a vacuum, after all.
  • I went through a vampire phase. I will admit it. I think maybe we all did. But the more I read stories involving immortality in some way, the more it feels like these stories don’t make immortals actually learn over their long life. For someone who is over 500 years old, you’re sure making a whole bunch of stupid decisions, Jan*.

*Please stop having immortals date teenagers 2k19, thanks.

Of course, sometimes these things can and have been handled well! But most of the time, I think twice before picking books with these aspects up. I avoid them until trusted bookish friends mention them positively.

I’ve been burned one too many times.

What are some of the things that make you pause before picking up a fantasy book

I’m Ara, a Southeast Asian writer who someday hopes to have published a novel, and who is currently losing herself in the worlds created by others. I love books and food and television and blogging and I get distracted and sidetracked easily.

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