The other night I was at a dinner party where we talked about what we like to read. Of course, I responded with fantasy novels, specifically epic and high fantasy. The diversity of answers was compelling to hear what different people like to read or listen to. Taking inspiration from that conversation I decided I to come up with a list of reasons why people should read fantasy books.
Fantasy stories have a timeless allure that captivates readers across generations. From magical realms to epic quests, these ever-evolving literary marvels offer an escape from reality while igniting our imagination. If you have yet to embark on a journey through the pages of a fantasy novel, here are ten compelling reasons why you should pick up a book and enter a new and exciting world of wonders.
1. Becoming Immersed in Extraordinary Worlds: The setting of a fantasy story is a staple of what makes the genre so intrueeging. You can open the pages or press play on the audiobook and be transported to a realm beyond your wildest dreams. Weather it’s following a hobbit through Middle Earth, or flying through the mists to fight the Empire with Vin in the Mistborn series, these books whisk you away to places with endless possibilities.
2. The Unforgettable Characters: For me, fantasy stories produce the most unforgettable characters. Often times, the most unforgettable characters are those who aren’t the obvious hero or knight in shinning armor. They’re typically those who have a complex background and struggle with their morality. Authors have come a long way in making this a key part of fantasy stories in the last several decades. One of my favorite examples of this is in the grim dark fantasy novel, The Blade Itself by Joe Abercromby. The way he writes his characters make you cringe, while somehow at the same time hopeful they will get what they want. Fantasy is great for developing characters who can captivate and inspire us too. I think of Brandon Sanderson’s writing in the Storm Light Archives. The characters are faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles, yet they’re able to find a seed of hope in the darkest times to help pull them through.
3. Experiencing Epic Adventures: Fantasy novels are renowned for their epic quests and adventures. We’re able to follow multiple character’s points of view as they battle against dark forces, fly on the back of dragons, wield magic of untold strength. The thrill of epic action sequences, struggling to survive the perilous journey, and confronting personal demons draws us in and keeps the pages turning. In a fantasy story, we can escape on a larger-than-life adventure to experience successes and setbacks on an awesome scale.
4. Invested World Building: Fantasy excels at constructing intricate and immersive worlds. Fantasy authors craft unique cultures, languages, histories, and magic systems that make the reading experience richer and more rewarding. Exploring the details of these alternate realms brings a sense of awe and wonder that few other genres can match.
5. Though-Provoking Themes: Though fantasy is make-believe and fantastical in nature, beneath the surface, these books often explore profound themes and ideas. They often mirror the political climate of what happening in real life and touch on complicated subjects like race, religion, personal identity, morality, and the human condition. It’s almost as if the fantasy setting provides a safe space for authors to attempt to tackle real world problems and complex issues in a metaethical and allegorical manner. They allow readers to reflect on our own lives and issues in our society.
6. Tapping into One’s Imagination: Fantasy stories are an invitation to unleash the reader’s imagination and embrace the impossible. They can encourage us to question what the boundaries of what we perceive as reality and help us create new possibilities to think outside the box. A famous example of this is how the Sci-Fi hit Star Trek used their hand-held devices to talk to each other from those on the ship to those on the planet. Decades later, the first cell phones were near replicas of the communication devises conceived for Star Trek.
7. Escape from Mundane Reality: Sometimes, we need a break from the routines and stresses of our everyday lives. Fantasy stories provide an ideal escape into a world where magic and adventure await around every corner. You can momentarily forget your worries and immerse yourself in the captivating narratives fantasy stories provide.
8. Seeing our World through New Eyes: One thing you might not expect that a fantasy story can provide is empathy and understanding. By depicting diverse characters and exploring their struggles, these books encourage readers to see the world through different perspectives even if they aren’t aware of it. They can help teach us values of understanding, inclusivity, the consequences of moral wrongdoing, and so much more. Fantasy stories can help foster personal growth while at the same time, allowing us the value of understanding other’s perspectives.
9. Inspiring Creative: As an author, I understand how reading more and more fantasy stories helps me refill my creative well. This creative spark can be ignited and applied to other aspects of life. Fantasy stories can help aspiring creatives, artists, and writers to explore the depths of their imagination.
10. Find Hope and Inspiration: Fantasy books often celebrate the success of good over evil and the indomitable human spirit. They remind us that even in the face of overwhelming odds, courage and perseverance can lead to victory. These tales of hope and inspiration resonate deeply within us, providing solace and motivation in our own lives.
Fantasy books are more than just stories; they are a gateway to extraordinary worlds.