let's talk about ya fantasy // why i'm tired of it

Saturday, May 13, 2017

hello again my bookworm frens!

you may or may not have noticed that in my last couple posts i've mentioned my 2017-Fantasy-Hiatus. i have not really explained this, and that's going to be the basis of my post today. 

in some of my posts from a few months ago, a mentioned that fantasy is my most favorite genre of all time. i do love fantasy as a genre, but recently it just hasn't been doing it for me. i've been more enjoying magical realism, paranormal, and *gasp* even contemporary. i think that i will be enjoying fantasy again just as much as i used to at some point, but until then i'll just keep discovering genres and authors that i don't normally read.

well, here are the reasons that i'm tired of ya fantasy.

01. anticipation and disappointment

ever since i've read most of V.E. Schwab's and Leigh Bardugo's books, i've just been disappointed with every fantasy book i've read. i know it's likely that i won't end up finding any books as good as theirs, but it's hard for me to accept this.

i am such a sucker for hyped books, and recently, the extremely hyped books have not been doing it for me (Caraval i'm looking at you) . this disappointment just makes the fantasy genre as a whole unappealing, and therefore, i don't end up reading it. 

02. the characters

my biggest issue with fantasy books right now (heck, maybe even books in general) is the fact that the protagonists and other characters are all similar versions of each other. even worse, they are usually insensible and sometimes annoying. i hate the fact that these characters are rebellious for the sake of being rebellious.

i'm tired of seeing the same characters that make bad choices and don't think about the consequences of these decisions over and over again. i feel that ya authors need to step up their character development game, and give me some characters that are more realistic even if they are morally grey and not as heroic.

we need more sensibles beans like Blue Sargent in ya fantasy.

03. tropes tropes tropes

i don't know if this is just me, but i have noticed so many constants across the fantasy genre recently. to name just a few:

- girl who doesn't think she's pretty, but everyone else does
- special snowflakes
- love triangles (despite all the dislike from the book community. recently, there has been a shift towards love squares which IS NOT BETTER PEOPLE)
- the dark love interest guy that is changed for the better by our protagonist

i don't know if these tropes appear in books because publishers think that they will sell well, but i know that many of us across the book community are sick and tired of these tropes and ready for something new.

04. diversity

hold up guys. let me explain.

it's not that i'm against #diversity, (heck, i'm all for it) but i feel that we have taken it too far. at this point, we are just adding diverse characters to our stories for the sake of checking off a list and maintaining political correctness. 

here's my main thought: diverse characters don't mean anything unless they have diverse personalities. like i said earlier, all the characters recently seem to have the exact same personality even if they are different races or sexualities.

one of my biggest problems with the high priority of diversity in ya is misrepresentation. what's the point of having diversity is these characters are incorrectly represented (by stereotypes, etc)? none whatsoever.

05. plots

all the fantasy books i've read recently seem simply to be variations of the same story. look, i know how The Hero's Journey works and all, but even with this, i feel that there should be more variation in the plots and character motivations.

the fact that every story feels the same as the next seems to be my biggest problem recently with reading fantasy. i'm hoping that i'll come across a unique story soon...

books that i hope will end my fantasy hiatus:

i'm sorry to be so negative / complainy today, but i needed to vent my feelings about this topic. on a happier note, almost all of the books i've been reading recently have been amazing even if they aren't fantasy. 
i know that my criticisms can apply to every single genre, but recently, i've noticed these things the most in the fantasy genre. 

are there any genres that you've been frustrated with recently? any tropes that you've noticed over and over again in books? please vent with me in the comments if you have!

xoxo, madeline


  1. DUDE. I saw this post title in my feed and was automatically like AMEN SISTER, HALLELUJAH, GOD BLESS. I haven't even read it yet, and I know I'm going to agree with it.

    Okay, I'm going to go read it.

    TROPES AND PLOTS AND SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES, I CRY. Blood Rose Rebellion and Red Queen and Stealing Snow and every other book feels exactly the same. The characters. The plot. Aghhhh. I think that since YA fantasy has recently become super popular, most authors try way too hard in writing it. They try too hard to have unique characters and intriguing plots and end up with generic snowflakes and cookie-cutter D&D templates. I hands down prefer middle-grade fantasy, such as Artemis Fowl, The Blackthorn Key, The Clockwork Three, Constable & Toop, and The Amulet of Samarkand (if you haven't read any of these, I'd recommend them as potential ways to get out of your fantasy slump). Middle-grade in general has always struck me as being so much more fun and unique than YA is. :/

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. ahh thank you! i sorta thought that i would be the odd one out here and there would be cricket sounds going on in the background!

      i agree that Blood Rose Rebellion was so tropey and YES i feel like ya authors have been trying way to hard to fit a very specific set of standards!

      i totally need to check those books out!

  2. DUDE YOU WILL LOVE THE ARCHIVED. It was just REALLY AWESOME and all the characters and feels and... *cries* Anyways, I TOTALLY agree. YA fantasy can get a little annoying/boring! It can definitely sound like the same story/plot/characters over and over again. I'm planning a fantasy novel right now, and it's really hard to try and make it different from other already-existing books.

    I also relate to diversity! For some reason, diversity is really hard to portray in fantasy??? When it shouldn't be. And when it IS represented, it's just there to "tick off a box". There shouldn't be diverse characters JUST for there to be diverse characters. Diverse characters should be diverse because you can't see them in any other way.

    Love this post! I hope you're able to get back into the good graces of fantasy again. ;) (Also, I'm super excited to read Wicked Like a Wildfire too!)

    May • Forever and Everly

    1. i know i will because it's ve schwab, but you talking about it also makes me want to read it so bad!

      yessss i totally agree-- i've also been plotting some fantasy recently and it is such a challenge to escape tropes!

      me too, i hope that i get back into fantasy soon :)

  3. Gah, I hate that all books seem basically the same right now...

  4. I absolutely loved Strange the Dreamer, mostly because it did feel so different from everything else I had been reading lately. I try to avoid overhyped books - they rarely meet my expectations after hearing everyone rave about how great they are.

    1. ARGHHH i need to read Strange the Dreamer so bad!! i've been hearing such great things! i hope that the hype doesn't ruin it for me!

  5. *crosses fingers that this comment will work*

    I just relate to this post SO MUCH. You're going on a Fantasy Hiatus? Total opposite for me! I'm like having some sort of fantasy feast because I'm reading ALL the fantasy books (ADSOM finally). Strange The Dreamer, ADSOM, The Hobbit,Paper and Fire, I've literally hoarded all these e-books to eat all these fantasies!
    Since blogging has just introduced to me this world of fantasy, I've only been reading the good one (e.g SIX OF CROWS, Crooked Kingdom, INK AND BONE --> you must read IAB, it's so GOOD, you'll love it)

    I could literally rant at how um-imaginative and SO NOT UNIQUE characters are these days. Constantly, I keep getting these same-old 'sassy' characters or someone who is a 'rebel'. Sure these are great qualities, but they're 'snark' is annoying and their 'hero/ine' acts just totally ruin the book for me because THINK LOGICALLY PEOPLE (like Kaz Brekker, or Inej!)
    Tropes are also really getting on my nerves. Can we please think of something new, some fantasy books have a great plot and then are just ruined by their romance or 'love triangle' and I just silently sob! I think they're needs to be more under-represented girls who aren't 'pretty' and relationships (LIKE JUST NORMAL LOVE PEEPS) or even a lack of romance or a 'chosen' one. I like characters that are GENUINELY AWESOME and not just 'special'.

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I 100% agree with your 'DIVERSE' POINT. literally, i feel like diversity is used as a marketing strategy now and the characters who are 'diverse' have no depth to them AT ALL. Like, these diverse characters ARE DULL and just added in for the sake of it. NO, I DON'T WANT THIS ANNOYING REP.

    1. i got your message on goodreads (it made my day!) and i'm glad your comment worked!! PLEASE READ ADSOM. PLEASE. (i'm very passionate about my love for ve schwab's books lol) on another note, i haven't actually heard of Ink and Bone but i'll have to check it out!

      I KNOW. nearly all the characters seem the same these days (that's why i've been reading so many books with antiheroes recently). i totally agree with you.

      i really want to see some more purely platonic relationships in books this year. so bad. i actually enjoy reading friendships better than romantic relationships! at this point, i just EXPECT the protagonist to fall in love with the other male/female character. YESSS PLEASE to genuinely awesome characters.

      and i'm totally in favor of diverse books, but i agree that it's a marketing strategy that takes over a book instead of complementing and adding to it.

  6. PREACH! I found this post from Ellie's blog, and I think you've read my mind exactly. So many characters are identical nowadays, and I hate to say it but I get so excited seeing a female protagonist (cause strong females kicking butt amirite) and then....nope. Out of the shadows emerges a generic, cardboard character with two 'love interests' that are usually goody-two-shoes and a 'rebel'. STOP THE REPTITION MY EYES ARE BURNING.

    Also, I wanna say that i'm sick to death of girls beig each other's competition in YA fantasy/books in general. Like, gimme some strong female friendships taking down a tyrant together, not some 'omg-look-t-her-outfit' catiness.


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