Hi all! Fantasy is one of my all time favorite genres and I want to focus on it as a feature! I love lists so I’m going to keep making those (and they make me feel safe so there’s that…) but I also want to chat some about the fantasy genre specifically and hear what other fans of fantasy are thinking. FYI sometimes I’m going to use some other posts for ideas so look to the bottom of the post to find credit* where credit is due…
Culture is one of my all time favorite subjects. I lived in Germany as a middle school kid and traveled all over Europe. My favorite “culture” are ALL the Asian ones Japanese, Chinese and Korean. I’m not the only American in love with culture as it is the basis of the world building in many, many stories, especially fantasy ones!
Here is my short wishlist of culture based magic and world-building that I would love to see more of in young adult fiction and fantasy in general…
Like Gilded by Christina Farley
If you don’t know I’m a k-drama fan then you haven’t been reading my blog long (thanks for following me!) so I know A LOT about their culture and I’m even learning their language. Recently I read a YA book based upon their mythology and it was very neat. They have a pantheon of gods that I’d not heard a lot about with some different folklore attached to them. (I can’t say the book used the mythology in the best ways but the premise was a neat one!) As a fantasy fan I love folklore and how it forms the backdrop of a world and imbues it with power from the unseen.
Like the Red Winter Trilogy by Annette Marie
To scholars yokai are “supernatural or unaccountable phenomena” and they take many forms. They can be malevolent and be an inanimate object or even have no apparent shape. Some bring good fortune if they are treated with good will. The most common like in this series are the ones that appear mostly human with animal features and whom can shape shift. These were allies and enemies but they can also populate the world in a very dense way… As a fantasy fan I love monsters, beasts and creatures and all the opposition they bring a party of travelers or a band of adventurers.
Like Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
There are other Asian nations that i would love to see explored… some of these live on islands and are an offshoot of the mainlands culture. There are also islands around Africa and India as well as the islands around Greece and Italy. So many islands and while many have used the physical location there are not enough stories that use the people’s connection to the water! Mermaids can be brought into it or not at all… The people could be amphibian like going from water to land… As a fantasy lover I have read countless books and water is not a huge subject in them. In fact, much is made of fire… let’s change things up and surprise the fantasy world.
Like Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
The wonderful thing about Africa is the rich heritage that peppers the continent with the many little countries that range across it. The book I read was written by an own voice author about a girl in Nigeria and centered around the Leopard juju magic. The idea of leopard spirits and spirit faces was a fascinating one and I really felt like I was getting to know some of the African culture, which was really cool. We need more books where we learn about not oft thought of places in the world. As a fantasy lover I love magic and the reasons why or how the culture surrounding that magic came into being.
Like The Others series by Anne Bishop
Much like how Harry Potter is an alternate (or world within) Britain, The Others is an alternate world centered around there being ancient beings who were in the world before humans. Then the author ran with the idea! We need some authors who delve into the culture they are already a part of and take it into many and varied directions. There are many examples, not just Harry Potter and the Others… As a fantasy lover I crave creativity and worlds that are not my own but which I relate to so strongly that I wish I could be transported to them.
I kept my list contained to cultures but there is so much to culture, there are actual regions, subcultures located in one specific place as well as periods of time that can be explored… What are the cultures, regions, or periods you’d like to see explored in fantasy in the future?
Thanks for reading, XOXO