Discussion: How Much Realism Should We Expect From Fantasy Fiction?

Dicussion-Fantasy-Realism

Though I am an eager devourer of all fantasy, I will be the first to admit that they are not all created the same.  There are times when the logic of the world building falls short.  Other times, I find that the characters act in unbelievable ways.  Even more grating, I see inaccurate portrayals of things such as culture and history being handwaved away as ‘oh, it’s a fantasy, if there’s a dragon in here why can’t xx also happen?’  I want to know what your thoughts are on realism in fantasy books, how much can this genre push the bounds in terms of believability?

I understand the need for creative license, allowing authors to build on existing materials and history in fresh and creative ways. As an ardent fan of fantasy, I fully appreciate these deviations from real world constraints. In fact, I admire authors who can make me readily suspend my disbelief and take me into a brand new world.

However, when the answer to every single criticism against a fantasy series is met with the same lazy response: ‘Just cos Fantasy’, I get a little bit annoyed. I can embrace as much magic as the next fangirl, but what I require is a consistency in the logic and construct of the world.

Yes, I want my books to take me to a new universe, I want them to push all boundaries, I want them to be filled with infinite possibilities. However, most importantly, I want fantasy worlds that could plausibly exist, it needs logic and be realistic within its own set of rules.

MAGIC SYSTEM

I admire any magic systems that either come with a cost OR with limitations. Otherwise, you’ll just have deus ex machina running the plot.  The main reason why I love Brandon Sanderson is how strictly he adhers to rules in his world. The allomancers of Mistborn may be able to do wondrous things, but they are still bound to their specific metal elements: I love seeing them think creatively around their physical constraints anyway. Even the Mistborn, burner of all metal groups, are still bound be the laws of physics.

SETTING & INFLUENCES

I adore seeing fantasy that is set OUT of the Western world. However, I do require any portrayal of foreign spaces to be culturally respectful. No one wants to see their country made strange and exotic. All the power to books that are based on Japan, India, Africa, etc… I wish there were more of them. However, I also hope that any books set in such places are written with knowledge and research into the country that inspired them. I’m not even that picky about this, just write it in a way that doesn’t offend people from that country, please!

CHARACTERS

  • Being an immortal vampire/angel/supernatural-creature-of-the-month is NO excuse for blandness disguised as wisdom.
  • Being a witch/warlock/wizard should not excuse characters from undergoing any semblance of development,
  • Being a fantasy hero/heroine, fated to be The Chosen One, is not enough fof a reason for people to love you on sight/pledge their life for you after one meeting.

Basically, being a fantasy is not an excuse for authorial laziness!  Just because there’s some elves and a dragon in this book, it doesn’t mean every thing else has to follow alien-logic.  I read books for escapism, but that doesn’t mean I can abide unrealistic plot points, characters or settings.

So that’s just my own thoughts, but what about you?  How much creative license do you allow fantasy titles? Have lack of internal narrative cohesion ever put you off in fantasy books, or are you alright with shrugging it off and moving on?  Please share!

84 thoughts on “Discussion: How Much Realism Should We Expect From Fantasy Fiction?

  1. I think I want a lot of realism in ‘my’ fantasy worlds. The explanation “Just because” doesn’t work for me. There has to be logic, there have to be rules and there has to be development. Suddenly you get powers and you can use them just fine? I don’t think so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I completely agree, I can’t stand it when there are no set laws in place and the ‘fantasy’ is just an excuse for protagonists to get saved or jump out of hairy situation in the most anticlimactic way possible. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by, J! I am glad you agree that we should have some logic to try and let me make sense of the fantasy world 😀

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  2. Well written. I have to admit I haven’t thought about that, but it’s true that some authors use Fantasy as an excuse. It’s easy to say that some things are possible, just because it’s magic, or just because this or that world is like that. Sometimes I could use an explanation, or at east some kind of reasoning.
    Although I was re-watching first episodes of True Blood lately and there’s this scene where Sookie asks Bill how can vampire’s body exist and he simply says “magic”. It might sound like whoever wrote that simply had no explanation, but when you’re watching you just feel that he actually doesn’t want or have a need to explain that, and it felt just fine in the context.
    Gnyway… good post 🙂 and I wrote too much already and most of it without sense.. tired… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • The ‘It’s Magic’ cop out is a pet peeve of mine, even when the ‘explanation was intended to be a joke, haha. I appreciate the authors who can give up a glimpse into some sort of structure in their world, I don’t need like a 5 page info dump on it, but I like the feeling that it exists! Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your insights on this!

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  3. Another fantastic discussion!
    I agree with you whole heartedly on this one. I love structure and things that make sense or follow patterns. So even though it’s a fantasy, does not mean it gets free reign to be absurd and nonsensical. Give me some real fantasy that makes sense in the world that you built!

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    • Thanks Jesse! Yes, great fantasy does not mean ‘whatever goes’, it means a realistic world that are still governed by some sort of restrictions and rules. I don’t have fun when I get the sense that even the author is not aware of how far their worldbuilding can stretch or go.

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  4. I was actually seriously considering this when I happened to read A History of Glitter And Blood last week. The book didn’t work for me, unfortunately, but I thought that the author had made an honest blunder in taking Fantasy and pushing it until it reached Ridiculously Unrealistic. I respect an author’s creative license, of course, and fantasy isn’t meant to be REAL, but hey. That does not give free reign to make a world ridiculous. For me to enjoy a book, the least I should be able to do is to at least be able to envision myself in the Fantasy World, right?

    Great job on the post, Aentee 🙂

    Rhea @ Rhea’s Neon Journal

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    • Oh noooo I amm so sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy A History of Glitter And Blood, I am still somewhat interested in it as I heard it’s unique? But if the setting is so all over the place, I don’t know if I can buy it haha. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Rhea ❤

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  5. This is definitely something I’m working on while writing my own YA Fantasy book. I’m busy with rewrites at the moment and I just hope it all turns out good. 😄

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    • I think you’ll do a fantastic job if you’re already concerned about it!! Good luck for your rewrites and the rest of your writing journey! 🙂

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  6. Agree, agree, agree, AGREE!!!! I want my fantasy to be logical! Just because things in fantasy are impossible to happen anyway doesn’t mean you can do whatever the hell you want with it! There are some laws that cannot and must not be broken! Great post, Aentee! 🙂

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  7. This is such an interesting post, Aentee. I definitely there are limits to how unrealistic you can get with a fantasy novel. There has to be some realism at least to every element of the story for me to be able to connect in any way. I think the one thing that really bugs me with the more “Western YAs” is how everyone is white. There are no POCs or of different cultures which is so unbelievable. I want to see more fantasy books with people of different backgrounds in the same setting in the future.
    Great post, Aentee!

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    • I agree, Nick, if the book becomes too ungrounded in reality it’s very hard for me to care about any of the characters or the world. And as someone who lives in Australia and used to live in NZ, and experience so much diversity in real life, I find it ridiculous how white the fictional universe is, and how readily we can accept it!

      Thanks for sharing your insights, Nick ❤

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  8. This is a pet peeve of mine. I understand that you make things up in Fantasy, but if you’ve made rules – follow them!
    Thanks for your well written thoughts. I’m definitely sharing this with a friend who agrees with your ideas!

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  9. I feel like I don’t care about realism in the worlds but more so in the characters. Humans still have to be realistic right? And just because it’s a fantasy doesn’t mean I’ll forgive the annoying qualities we see in bad characters. If you can blow me away with a super awesome world that’s even better than an inaccurate boring one though. So it does matter what authors create in their worlds because there’s always some better than others right?

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    • Yes, characters are important for me in all genre. In fact even if the world building is impeccable, if I don’t care for the characters I just find it really hard to give a crap about the book. And it’s the characters that makes the world believable as we see it through their eyes.
      Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

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  10. I love all of your discussion posts. They’re all so thoughtful!

    I definitely agree with you about magic systems and worlds needing to be realistic/have limits. I find it so frustrating when plots are resolved by the MC finding out that they have some hidden power that they didn’t know they had before, and was never alluded to before. That just feels like laziness to me.

    I guess there are some unrealistic worlds that I can forgive (or worlds that I can’t really imagine). The Lunar Chronicles is probably my favourite series ever, and it has a world that is a kind of confusing to me. I don’t recall Marissa Meyer fully explaining how it is that people can now live on the moon and have powers. And I’m sometimes confused about what/where New Beijing really is. It feels like a combination of a lot of Asian cultures but I’m not completely sure. But because the characters and the plot are so exciting, I don’t really care that much.

    It’s 2am and I have no idea if I’m making sense. And I need to stop telling myself that I should cut down my TBR before buying Mistborn… I need that series in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jenna! I am so glad you liked this post.

      Yes, like random magic power or level up annoys me to no end, this isn’t Dragon Ball Z, people – I DO NOT accept your protagonist levelling to the equivalent of Super Saiyan Level 5 and magically conquering all problems.

      The Lunar Chronicles’s world building in Cinder is a bit lacking, I have to say, though I am very fond of the series. Like Linh might as well have lived in New London cos of New Beijing because aside from the character name and a few token mention, there was no culture in that place that distinguished it as such? Made me a bit sad.

      BUY MISTBORN you will not regret it.

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  11. I think you hit the ball out of the park when you mentioned why Sanderson rules at magic systems. Allomany is still one of the best magical systems I’ve come across because it’s so well thought-out. I’m also of the belief that deus ex machina CAN be avoided completely by just thinking through what can be used in the magic system to make ends meet. I find fantasies more fun when characters go outside the box and use their powers creatively XD.

    The cultural influences gets a bit tricky, too, so I give many kudos to Western and non-Western authors who try to bring a different culture other than their own into the story. That said, I think you’re right about doing a certain amount of research into the country’s culture before painting an image of them for the reader. I’ve fallen into a trap where I didn’t go super-deep research-wise in a short story, and there are people who have seriously pointed this out! I’ve been trying not to make that mistake again by doing more research for next stories. That said, I’ve seen bestsellers who’ve fallen into excusing their cultural misappropriations by saying “it’s a fantasy book” and *shivers*.

    But yes! While I do suspend disbelief quite a bit when it comes to fantasy (much more so than most fiction, I suppose), I do like my stories to have some semblance of realism in them. Even purely magical creatures like the Fey have their own set of rules after all.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love allomancy, also ferromancy as well, it’s just so creative yet well planned out – and utilised so wonderfully in the books. I usually have my brain on shut down when people start info dumping me with how magic systems work, but his ones are so exciting.

      I can see how writers can be afraid of touching cultural diversity because so many people have gotten flak for it – but I think that as long as you make a genuine attempt and learn from your mistakes, there’s no real harm done. It’s the people that’s just ‘oh well it’s fantasy and you obvs don’t understand my artistic vision’ type thing that rubs me a wee bit in the wrong way.

      Thank you so much for this super well thought out response, I swear your comments are way more intelligent than my posts itself ahahah.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Great discussion!♥
    I completely agree that authors shouldn’t use fantasy as an excuse for illogical things occurring in their novels. I know fantasy is written to make the impossible possible, but I like my fantasy books with at least a little bit of logic otherwise I can’t fully immerse myself in the world the author is creating.

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    • Glad to hear you agree that fantasy should be grounded in their own reality 🙂 Luckily the majority of novels I have read does it very well!

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  13. This is an excellent discussion post! I love how you have a logical explanation to support each of your beliefs. \

    Similar to you, I would want a logical reasoning for the allowances of certain happenings. It could never be…”Because.” If you’re going to be lazy in your work, my thoughts are always a long the line of “Why bother writing for the public, then.” and “How did you get published?” That sounds callous, but honestly, it’s the facts. Lack of internal narrative cohesion does put me off because I need things to make sense, i need consistency even in fiction otherwise the whole time my brain will be like, “UGHHHH. HOWWHYHOWHYYYYY.” Great post, Aentee!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree Wesaun, I feel a bit mean for saying it, but if you can’t hack criticism, especially if it’s criticism on how you have inaccurately portrayed or offended someone’s culture — try not undergo a career as a public figure? But I would never hurl abuse at them in person or on a public forum either, that’s a grey area I don’t want to get into. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Wesaun/

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  14. Oh gosh, Brandon Sanderson is the literal master of worldbuilding. But I think what makes his worldbuilding so brilliant is that he sets those rules but then breaks them in a way that the reader understands. There’s no sudden convenient solutions or random twists, all of the twists are surprising but make sense at the same time. For example, I really liked the how Vin’s earring goes into play that is a part of the magic system.
    However, I sometimes wish that fantasy would be more creative with the socioeconomic aspect. For some reason, even though there are dragons and magical creatures which are arguably beyond realism, fantasy authors feel like they have to adhere to “accurate” history which leads to gender and other biases.

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    • Oh you make such a good point with the socioeconomic or gender issue, Carolyn! I was trying to incorporate a paragraph on that in the post but couldn’t word it in coherent way. I HATE how misogyny or flat out awful treatment of women in fantasy fiction are brushed off as ‘oh, it was a product of the timeline/setting’ WHILE inconsistencies in cultural facts are brushed off as ‘oh, it’s fantasy’. Usually involving the same series, the hypocrisy is so gross.

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  15. Great Post! Fantasy is my all time favorite genre.I wouldn’t mind if they aren’t realistic but still there has to be some logic in it to make it believable. Great world building is also a major part that is necessary to make a good fantasy book and I’ve been disappointed with so many books just because of the poor world building. 😀

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    • I agree, I adore a good world building — to an extent, I think it needs to be a showcase that’s also not a wall of info dump telling me how awesome the author was to come up with all of the details. Moderation is key, haha.

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  16. I don’t have much more intelligent things to add, because you’ve said a fair few things I agree with here. There are worlds out there without rules, I’m sure, but I think they would be much more difficult to pull off well than one with rules–after all, in a world with rules, all you have to do is follow them.

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    • I completely agree, Blaise, and I think that having a new set of laws go hand in hand with a fantasy – so thankfully I haven’t had to read many awful ones 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  17. I dont read to much fantasy, so I dont have much of a comparison but I really enjoyed reading this! (I really should read more fantasy though, shouldnt I?)
    By the way, I LOVE the featured picture!! What did you use to make it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Daisy! I would rec something like Falling Kingdoms or Snow Like Ashes as a good place to start.

      I made it on photoshop using a vector of a castle and some water colour textures 🙂

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  18. I completely agree with you! Worldbuilding is incredibly important in a fantasy novel, and you can quickly tell when an author has done too little research. But on the flip-side, I can’t stand when an author does TOO MUCH worldbuilding, and the reader feels absolutely bogged down. There’s a fine line between too much and not enough information, and very few authors ever get it quite right in my experience. I just finished the second book in Saruuh Kelsey’s “Legend Mirror” trilogy, and she’s created a fantastic world (fantasy and urban fantasy together), but I kept getting confused by all of the terms and magical rules that she was throwing around.

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    • I completely agree with hating the info dump, like OK I GET IT, you have done loads of research into the world and you want us all to know – but I don’t really need to read about it if it’s not relevant to the story? I feel like a horrible person for saying that though, as it makes me sound super picky 😄 I also dislike it when I am thrown into a new world and a whole bunch of jargons are thrown into my place, I am all I AM SINKING I DON’T GET IT! I don’t like having to flip back to the glossary and appendix to keep a hold on the plot haha.

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  19. I love this topic! Fantasy, in my opinion, does need to have some kind of rule system because most things in nature have some sort of system it works around. However, I don’t think that the author needs to be crazy detailed about everything. Sometimes when the author tries to hard to give us ALL the information about their world and doesn’t integrate this info organically into the story, I get pushed out of the narrative.

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    • I have an issue of info dump as well, I get that after all of their research, the author would want to show the reader how solid their world is – but if it doesn’t have any relevance to the story, we don’t really need to hear it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😉

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  20. I need worldbuilding that ISN’T contradictory. And that’s also why I LOVE Brandon Sanderson, because like you said, he makes rules and sticks to them. A world that is contradictory won’t make sense, and it will just be confusing 😛

    Great post Aentee!

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  21. PREAAACCHHHHHH!

    I do NOT like it when people take fantasy lightly and/or uses it as an excuse to compensate for laziness. I mean, it still has to make sense. Sure, have purple skies and green seas, but MAKE SURE YOU PROVIDE AN ADEQUATE EXPLANATION. I do not want a logic-less, nonsense world with more plot holes than sentences. By all means, be creative. But there has to be at least SOME logic involved. Things shouldn’t happen “just ’cause.”

    And thank you for the magic systems! I adore magic in books, but if you make up rules as you go or have “convenient” loopholes to suit your character’s situation, the magic is basically just a deus ex machina. Authors should be consistent with their rules and make sure the costs are reasonable and at least provide a bit of consequence to the character. Otherwise there wouldn’t be much in the way of problems if everything could be solved with a wave of a wand or a couple of pseudo-latin words.

    Wit the setting one, that’s tricky. I give them leeway since it’s fantasy, so it doesn’t have to be 100% correct, but I agree that if it’s actually SET in that country (as opposed to simply being “inspired” by it, where there’s a bit of wiggle room about the correctness of it all), they should put some research into it. You don’t want to offend anyone out there by making light of important events or saying false things about their culture.

    I like to provide a lot of creative freedom in fantasy, but there’s a line between fantasy and outright senseless. Fabulous post!

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    • THANKS CLAUDIA ❤

      I feel like the fantasy genre gets defended and shielded from a lot of criticism due to the nature of the genre, like it's more acceptable for the story to pull a deus ex machina. HOWEVER it also is a genre under a lot of scrutiny from picky people like us.

      This is why I love when there's a cost to the magic – and I love worlds where magic is a thing that should have a price or be controlled rather than have free reign over life. I think it makes things more complicated and thus more interesting. Thankfully an overwhelming majority of fantasy operates on this principle anyway.

      The cultural diversity thing is always such a gray area… however, I think that we shouldn't accept inaccuracies so easily – I used to accept any flaws because I was just HAPPY to see .e.g a POC or a non Western setting in a book, but if we were all happy with a crappy portrayal, how will things get to improve?

      Thanks for sharing your insight.

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  22. YES TO THIS. I am a completely left-brained person, so my brain drives on logic and facts; which makes it really difficult for me to read fantasy. I always end up wondering if I’m reading about an external world / just a fantasized version of our current world / etc, etc. (If that makes any sense…LOL). I think that makes realism so, so important to have in fantasy – but not to the point where it feels like a contemporary or a magical realism book, you know? Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ❤

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    • I AM COMPLETELY RIGHT BRAIN, so if I am annoyed by this, I can only imagine how your brain must heat into over drive when you see ridiculous plot points haha. I understand completely, I really want to know whether the world are based on an alternate version of our own or a completely different space. I love magical realism, but I think they tend to be more grounded in real world than fantasy is. E.g. The Accident Season or Alice Hoffman’s books 😀

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  23. I love this post so much! If anything, the fantasy genre is where authors should put the MOST effort into creating an elaborate world with a distinct and well thought out culture and if magic is involved, a strong system that is realistic in the fact that it, as you said, has some limitations.
    Wonderful discussion!
    xoxo 💋

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    • Thanks Josie, thankfully many of the fantasy I’ve read have had really good portrayals of the magic system with costs and limitations. However I get SUPER upset when I read a book with an amazing premise, but the worldbuilding is left to rot while we pursue a love triangle, WHYYYY *cries*

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  24. You make VERY good points here, and I definitely think that fantasy manages to wriggle out of a lot of criticism because of the nature of the genre (imagine if sci-fi tried to do that??). But yeah, as long as the author abides by the rules they’ve created in their fantasy world, and is culturally respectful, I have no problems 😀

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    • Scifi I think gets away with a lot as well, from me anyway, cos I know nothing about physics so even if something completely ridiculous happen (like when someone started folding a proton in two dimensions and eyes started popping up everywhere) I can totally roll with it. Thanks Emily ❤

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  25. *NODS* I’m basically noting down all of these for my most fantasiest fantasy I’m gonna work on in NaNo. (Gosh, you can just tell I’m a writer. Fantasiest. *sighs*) I’m still working on the magic system, because I typically go for minimal magical elements, but I should like to try. And cultural accuracy is so important to me, but then sometimes I want to exercise artistic license and I’M SO SCARED OF GETTING THINGS WRONG. Kind of desperately need relevant betas once my draft is done, haha 😄

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    • Even if you get things wrong, as long as you learn from them in the future it is absolutely NO ISSUES. There are plenty of published bestselling authors who inadvertently misappropriate all the time! I am sure you will be super amazing though, Alyssa, just judging from all of your eloquence and insight on your own blog!

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  26. I totally agree. I want a well though out, systematic and well crafted world building when it comes to my fantasy reads. I am a bit of a hard critic, so I immediately find loopholes in a fantasy setting. I am a bit a of perfectionist in that case, I guess.

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    • There’s nothing wrong with reading critically! I actually struggle to do so myself so I admire people that can! I usually don’t spot anything wrong until people start pointing them out, oops, but that’s why bloggers like me need bloggers like you haha. Thanks Mishma for sharing ❤

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  27. I’m all for COPIOUS amounts of creative license! I like rules though, particularly for magic systems. I LOVE GREY AREAS. I love characters who aren’t safe. I love development and action scenes and magic and fjaslkd I JUST LOVE FANTASY OKAY?!? I also love when things aren’t set in Western worlds, and tbh, someone is always going to be offended if you rewrite, say, India, and are not an Indian. SO YEAH. That’s awkward. I think you have to follow the inspiration, try and be respectful, research to the best of your ability, and let creative license do the rest. x)

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    • YES, I want to authors to be able to run wild with their plot bunnies and ideas, by all means NEVER HOLD BACK on the magical content of your brain people. And yes, cultural misappropriation is such a touchy issue these days that you are bound to upset SOMEONE (like tourists in Japan getting called racist for dressing up in Kimonos, even though it’s the Japanese shop keepers that are renting them out? IDGI. I don’t do it because I just want to look pretty – that’s only a part of it, it’s cos I also want to experience the culture AND support all those native shopkeepers?). Follow your heart young Cait, you know I’ll buy whatever you publish in the future 😉

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  28. One of my (apparently from many!) pet peeves in writing is forcing me to swallow “deal with it its fantasy” logic. I can deal with mythical creatures and powers but limitless, bland, mary sue characters – or even aspects – can turn my taste for the book as sour as bad milk. If it messes up the flow in my reading with “what the heck did I read” with no explanation, it definitely makes it less fun, very quickly. You know, except if you’re Lewis writing Alice in Wonderland.

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    • Alice in Wonderland was made to break all rules, it can do anything and I will still love it! I have so many book peeves as well, I need to do a post on it all one day haha. I actually love my mythical creatures as long as there are a point to them being there. I can’t handle books that throw like a million different supernatural creatures at me *cough The Mortal Instrument*, my brain can’t do it 😄

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  29. I absolutely agree with your thoughts, Aentee! I love the fantasy genre as well. When the world building, characters, and writing is perfect but then I find some loopholes… it kind of turns me off with the book/series. Though I appreciate authors’ works and their attempt to delve into the fantasy realm with their imaginations, I want it to be thorough! And is it weird, that I notice this (the grey areas) happens a lot in the later/last book(s) in a series? (I can name a good many on the top of my head.) Maybe the author gets creatively lazy? Or they’re happy with the page count and don’t want to make it a lengthier?

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    • I completely agree Summer, the asspull definitely happens in the last book of the series a lot. It’s like many books write themselves into a corner with the constant one upping between the heroes and the villains, that it ultimately ends up in an awful cop-out move.

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  30. Wow this is such a fantastic well written post Aentee! I completely agree, in so many YA books fantasy is just an excuse for the world building – it really annoys me when sometimes there isn’t any world building at all and we’re just given the excuse that there’s vampires or whatever! Just no. It doesn’t engage the reader much.

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    • Oh my goodness, I could write a post about the wasted potential of SOOOO many YA fantasy or scifi premise. Actually I should write a post on it sometimes this week. It’s a pet peeve of mine to have so much to potentially develop, only for the author to backtrack. IT PAINS ME JEANN. IT PAINS ME.

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  31. When I read fantasy books, I don’t just go “Yeah, I guess, that could happen.” It has to be backed up with some semblance of reality, not alien logic, like you said. And I have to agree that not because he/she is the Chosen One, doesn’t mean everyone would be in love with them at first sight. This is a really good discussion 🙂

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    • Yes, I really dislike how the protagonist always manage to inspire either undying love or ridiculously devoted friendship/lackeys without any explanation. To be honest, if I am gonna put my life on the line for someone, it has better be a good reason beyond and above ‘they’re the chosen one’ lol.

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  32. I absolutely agree with this! I’m very, very critical of fantasy, actually. I love the genre and all, but the very reason I love it is because they are usually composed of whole new worlds that are as immersive and complex and deep as ours. Like, I’m in awe of authors who can create something new and make it something so interesting and intriguing, giving it a life of its own. By doing that, the magic systems have to make sense, have rules, and not be “overpowered”, for the lack of a better term… the society and the norms must be laid out, the culture well written. That’s why I HAAAATE half-baked fantasies. There has to be a history, too! Maybe I’m being very ridiculous with this, but that’s honestly my personal preference. So far, the author who has all of these checked is Brandon Sanderson 😉 YOU MUST READ HIS BOOKS!!!!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    • Half baked fantasy physically pains me, it’s like the fantasy is just a backdrop for some protagonist to frolick and instalove all over a new setting? Like if you’re gonna just do the same shit, please don’t get my hopes up and write up such an interesting setting and then pull back on the worldbuilding. I’d rather you wrote a book I had NO INTEREST in to begin with. I am already on the Sanderson train full time, Faye! I adore him!!

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  33. I’ve never been a fantasy reader and although I do enjoy SOME fantasy, most high fantasy goes over my head with it’s magic and fantastical worlds. I think being a new reader where fantasy is concerned, I almost feel as though I don’t have the right to dissect it when reviewing just due to that inexperience with the genre. But I really struggle with most fantasy reads. I find that they either have great world building, or awesome characters, but hardly ever both. Even the world building is vivid, but sometimes a little TOO fussy at times. I don’t need to know what the spines of a book feels like as a character runs her fingers along a bookshelf. I find it unnecessarily descriptive and I think that’s my biggest issue with it. Absolutely fascinating discussion Aentee, loving reading the responses as well ❤

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  34. I agree with you completely! This is why fantasy and I have had troubles in the past (and still do from time to time!) because I am not simply going to believe a world building because someone slaps a fantasy label on it. My mind doesn’t work that way! I can get completely absorbed in a fantasy world.. if it is done right, done believably. But I do hate when the “rules” of the world make no sense- I agree that it does seem lazy somehow. I think this is why I either LOVE a fantasy book or hate it- I rarely fall in the middle, because if a world works, it really works. If it doesn’t… well, that book and I are NOT going to get along! I love this discussion!

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  35. Fantastic discussion post Aentee! I don’t read a lot of fantasy myself, but when I do I do need some realism to keep it grounded and believable. I suppose there is a balance to be kept with providing a world where we as readers can escape to while still making it relatable on some fronts. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  36. […] Ashley introduces her new design ~ Aentee asks: “How much realism should we expect from Fantasy Fiction?” ~ Emily asks: “Can You Give Too Many Five Star Ratings?” ~ Nikki asks how we feel about […]

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  37. I’m so late to the party, but I’ve had this post waiting marked in my reader so that I would remember to come back! I so agree with everything you said though I can imagine it is a really hard balance to include enough interesting fantastical things and the right logic to make it fit together without over explaining. Internal logic is the most important though I think, if I find a flaw with how powers work, for example, I get sooooo annoyed I might dnf!

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