What makes a fantasy novel good for you?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what qualities I love to see in a fantasy novel. What makes a fantasy novel a hit for me, what makes it a miss? As someone who reads a lot of fantasy I’ve noticed the more great ones I find the pickier I become. All of this led to me thinking about how we all have such different opinions when it comes to the books we love and the books we don’t (which is something I love about the book community). Qualities that lead to me loving a fantasy novel could be the qualities that lead to someone else hating the same novel and vice versa. We can all agree that the two things that make or break a fantasy novel are the characters and the world building but beyond that the waters get a bit murky. Which brings into play what I want to discuss –

What makes a fantasy novel good for you?

I’m going to share three qualities that I like to see in fantasy and three qualities that I don’t.

Qualities I Like

Complex World Building

I know I said that world building was a given, and it definitely is, but with complex world building I mean something more along the lines of a brand new world that consist of several worlds with all of its own workings and a unique, never before encountered magic system (i.e. A Darker Shade of Magic) or another brand new world that is mixture of paranormal and dystopia that has a ton of slang words to learn, with all of these clairvoyant orders, different communities, creatures from a mysterious world between worlds, all wrapped up in corrupt government that might just be puppets on a string (i.e. The Bone Season). By complex world building, I mean the really heavy stuff. The stuff that can sometimes slow down the pacing. It’s usually a quality that causes a reader to love or hate a book with no in between. I actively search out books with heavy world building because it completely pulls me in. However, there are exceptions because it doesn’t always work out – I’ll bring up why in the qualities I don’t like.

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Imperfect Characters – Not the hero or the villain or Not a special snowflake.

The Bone Season, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Six of Crows, and A Darker Shade of Magic. These four have solidified the fact that one of my favorite qualities to find in a fantasy novel is imperfect characters. Six of Crows, in particular, always brings to mind the saying about how the hero is always the villain of someone else’s story. I mean I think we can all agree that Kaz is an incredible character but definitely less hero, more anti-hero, and most certainly the villain of someone else’s story. Characters with faults seem so human in a fictional world where inhuman things are possible and I connect with characters like that. As for not being the special snowflake – Paige from The Bone Season has yet to solidly master her voyance. There’s a realness in that aspect of her that I love. It bothers me when a character, without practice, is suddenly this almighty powerful being. (No examples for ACOTAR or ADSOM because spoilers for one and the other I haven’t finished.)

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The romance is there but at the same time it isn’t, slow burn romances.

I won’t even lie and say that I don’t look forward to a little romance in my fantasy novels. I don’t mind if they don’t have any romance (in fact sometimes I prefer it) but I’m shamelessly a shipper and a lot of the time I need a ship. Given that, I have to say that when it comes to romance in fantasy novels I always prefer it to be a slow burn one. Those types of romances don’t actively take over the plot and give room for growth in the characters. I don’t have a detailed example for this that wouldn’t spoil something but I just think there’s something beautiful about romances that build over longer periods of time. Even if the one’s I love the most have broken my heart a time or two (yeah, I’m looking at you Warden and Paige).

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Qualities I Don’t Like

Info Dumping – Too much of a good thing at one time is never a good thing.

I’m a big time supporter of the show don’t tell motto when it comes to fantasy. However, sometimes we can only be told information and not shown. This goes back to how I was saying that I adore complex world building. A downside to the heaviness of that is the possibility for info dumping. When there is so much to introduce about a new fantasy world a lot of the time in can cross the line into telling too much at one time which can not only become boring but also cause a giant pause in the plot. Thing’s don’t move with all of that info dumping going on and can become repetitive. That being said, I prefer it when the information we’re receiving is ingrained into the plot so that it’s revealed seamlessly over time. Not only does that keep me guessing but it keeps the information from overpowering anything.

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Series enders that are too open, most of my questions were not answers.

I’m terribly picky with how a beloved fantasy series ends. That pickiness more often than not causes me to be disappointed or a little let down by series endings. But when a fantasy series ends way too open and leaves me with a lot of questions then I’m beyond disappointed. What about that secondary character who was such a big part of the series? What about that friend that just suddenly disappeared that the MC thinks about a lot? What happened to them? What about that one thing that kept being mentioned? You get what I mean. I need a resolute(ish) ending. I don’t mind when the ending is a little open and gives room for our imagination but I’ve run into quite a few that were just a bit too open.

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Insta love – Don’t let the romance overpower the plot.

I think a lot of you guys are going to agree when I say that insta-love and fantasy together are terrible. More often than not when there is this instantaneous love between the MC and their love interest it completely overpowers the plot and becomes the focus of the book rather than the plot. We don’t get to see either character grow separate from their feelings for each other, we don’t get to enjoy the introduction of the plot because everything suddenly becomes about the romance. Or at least most insta-love I’ve run into while reading fantasy has been that way. I read fantasy to discover and be immersed in new fictional worlds so when that’s overpowered by the romance it takes the enjoyment out of that. Plus, character development being sacrificed for romance is a big no no. 

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That brings me to the end of this extremely long post and onto discussing it with all of you.

Like I asked above-

What makes a fantasy novel good for you?

What qualities do you love or hate in fantasy? Do we have any in common?


regsig

 

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82 thoughts on “What makes a fantasy novel good for you?

  1. Fantastic post, Melissa! I do agree with you on a lot of points here. I was not a huge reader of fantasy before I started blogging, but I’m loving it more and more as days pass by. I love how the world is built and complex and makes me so curious about everything – it’s crazy how far some writer’s imagination can go, I think 😀 And I also hate when series had an open ending, ugghhhh this annoys me so, so much ahah, I feel a bit betrayed because I have been waiting so long for this, and I always feel let down when I don’t get the answers I need.
    Great post once again, and your GIF choice is PERFECT.

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    • Thanks so much, Marie!! It’s awesome that blogging got you a bit more into fantasy. That’s like me a trying out thrillers, I love that blogging can get us to try genres we might not have been as into before. 😊
      Right? Sometimes I’m so in awe over how some authors can come up with everything they do. And even beyond their own imagination the amount of research they must do for certain aspects. It’s incredible.
      Same! I definitely feel a bit betrayed when an ending is too open, especially for a series ender I’ve been waiting a long time for. It’s like “How could you?” 😣 lol.
      Thanks so much! I spent so long searching for gifs. 😂

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      • I love that too – I found myself falling in love with so many books I thought I wouldn’t like before, and I’m so happy about it 🙂
        You’re welcome! And I’m so glad you said that – I spend HOURS searching for one single GIF at times…it makes me so mad hahaha.

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  2. I totally agree with your points! One of my favorite aspects of The Starbound Trilogy or the Harry Potter series is their intricate world building. I also think that sometimes in fantasy novels the romance is better than it is in romance novels because it is such a slow burn! the characters really get to know each other and there isn’t all that mushy cheesy moments.

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    • I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Starbound Trilogy and the fact that it has intricate world building. I am so going to have to move it up my TBR!
      I completely agree about romance sometimes being better in fantasy than romance novels. Slow burn ones are always great! And I think that’s exactly why I usually love when fantasy novels I read have some romance. 😊

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  3. You basically think exactly like me. I love large, unique and luscious worlds but I don’t want all the details dumped at me at once. I get overwhelmed and frustrated when that happens. Instalove — RAWR. It’s the one thing that can seriously ruin a book for me. Sometimes I wonder if an author just doesn’t want to take the time to build a concrete relationship between two characters.

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    • Same! Aside from being frustrating and overwhelming it’s also a concentration thing for me. Info dumping can completely pull me out of a book and then I end up getting distracted by another book just to have something more interesting to read. 🙈
      I wonder that too! Or if they just want some extra tension thrown in. It’s much better when there’s time and effort put into developing the characters before throwing a love interest their way.

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  4. Great post Melissa, (also I love how many times you mentioned The Bone Season in this post, if anyone still can’t tell that’s a favourite series of yours well I don’t know what else you could do to convince them!) 😀
    For me world building is a major part of what makes a fantasy novel good for me, and you mentioned not only two of my favourite series but two of my favourite worlds in this section as well. I agree with you about all the other points as well but I have knocked stars off a books rating before simply because the world building was lacking in some way. 🙂 Also yes to the imperfect characters. I’ve read books where they have ‘chosen ones’ and honestly it feels a little too close to cliche now and I’m bored of it already. Give us characters who aren’t special but just determined to get the job done. That’s what I’d love to see more in fantasy books. 😀 ❤

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    • Thanks so much, Beth!! ♥ And I know right? The second I thought of this I knew I wouldn’t be able to help mentioning TBS a lot. 😂
      World building is definitely a major part for me as well. I’ve had books I’ve walked away from in the past because of world building just not working, mainly because of info dumping. But there have been times where I’ve knocked off stars for it too when it’s lacking. Also, I so couldn’t not mention ADSOM for the world building. I am in awe of that world building!
      I agree. The ‘chosen one’ trope is getting so boring. The more books with imperfect characters the more I don’t want flawless ones. Definitely something I want to see more in fantasy too. 😊💕

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      • That’s all right, 😀 and yeah I’d be surprised if, especially for this topic, you didn’t mention TBS series at least once! 😀
        I’ve never walked away from a book before but I’ve always been disappointed when world-building isn’t as good as I maybe hoped. Magonia is a definite case in point here.
        It’s good. It’s one of the reasons I don’t mind the slow start to the plot or anything, simply because the world building is that amazing!
        We definitely need more books without chosen ones. There have got to be better ways to write a story than resorting to old tropes. 🙂

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      • Yeah, I remember you talking about how the world building was lacking in your review for Magonia. It always sucks when the world building isn’t as good as you hoped. Especially in fantasy where it’s such a big deal.
        I didn’t even noticed the slow start, which I’m surprised about it because I was worried for a second that it would bother me. The world building was so good that I was just completely immersed in it.
        Definitely! Times are changing and all of that, we need more than old tropes. 😊

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      • It was a major source of disappointment for me, especially because it was such a unique idea and with a little more detail could have been an amazing world to explore.
        Yes, and that’s how you write books which maybe have a slow start and that don’t drop you right into the action, you spend that time building up the world and it doesn’t feel like you’re missing anything! 😀

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      • Whenever a book disappoints me like that part of me always wishes that one of the authors who I know can build a fantasy world flawlessly would have had the idea. 🙈
        Exactly! Not to mention when you take the building of the world and use it to build up the plot as well. It always works so well. 😊

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  5. I absolutely love twists and counter-twists in plots that make slow reveal and surprises constantly present. I don’t mind romance so much but it shouldn’t be the cheesy thing that completely overtakes the storyline.

    Note: there is a typo here I think: “…fantasy world a lot of the time in can cross the line into telling too much at one time which…”

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    • Plot twists completely slipped my mind. That’s definitely something else I love seeing in fantasy too. Especially when I think I know what’s going to happen and I’m completely wrong. But, yeah, I completely agree with you on the romance. 😊

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  6. Oh my god I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. And I agree with pretty much everything you said – you’ve practically written out the recipe to my perfect fantasy, haha. I’d totally read a book if it has unique magic – that too me is the most special part of a fantasy novel, when an author can think of magic rules like no other. It’s probably why I’m disappointed by magic systems like in Caraval – it’s magic that “is”, with no real rules behind it.

    And don’t get me started about slow-burn romances! It’s part of why I love the Shades of Magic series sooo much – it’s all timed perfectly.

    Speaking of fantasy novels, have you read anything by Brandon Sanderson? He’s not the best at writing characters, but his magic systems are so, so inventive I’m in awe every time. He’s practically unrivalled in that area, imo.

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    • Thanks so much, Reg! ♥
      Same. I’m always in awe when an author can come up with their own unique magic system. That’s probably been my favorite thing about ADSOM actually. That and the world building! I haven’t read Caraval yet but that sounds confusing. I don’t think I’ve come across a magic system that didn’t have any real rules behind it.
      Slow burn romances are the best! And that’s good to hear about Shades of Magic. I actually finished ADSOM today and am on the shipping train because it doesn’t take much for me to ship characters apparently. 😂😂
      I haven’t but I will definitely have to look him up on Goodreads. 😊

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      • Yeees, exactly! With fantasy books I actually think of world-building as all-encompassing: the actual setting, the magic system, the societal, cultural rules, etc.

        I suspect Caraval does have rules but it’s more the kind that’s like “magic is magical and unpredictable!”… at least that’s how I feel. You might think differently once you’ve read it! Are you planning to?

        YES PLEASE. Brandon Sanderson is hands-down my favourite fantasy writer, haha. His characters aren’t as amazing/complex as Schwab’s, but he is THE BEST in plotting and magic-building. #totalfangirl

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      • True, the world building in a fantasy definitely does encompass a lot of different aspects. I find it amazing how much effort an author can put into building a fictional world. I actually want to write fantasy but it seems so daunting. 😂
        Yep! I’m planning on reading Caraval at some point this year. Mainly because I’ve heard such great things about the writing.
        Funny enough when I was looking through his Goodreads I realized I have his book Steelheart on my TBR already. I don’t remember adding it but it sounds so interesting! And I also added Elantris and The Final Empire to my TBR. 😊

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      • Definitely daunting! I’ve tried TIME AND TIME AGAIN to create a fantasy world but I feel like I just relied on the cliches too much, haha. It’s sooo hard, and I’m really envious of people who are able to. 😛

        Oh yay! I hope you give Sanderson’s books a chance eventually. I finished Mistborn (The Final Empire’s series) a couple of months back and I’m still in awe at how all that unfolded.

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      • Same! Once I planned this whole dystopia/fantasy world and even drew a map only to realize it reminded me too much of other book worlds and didn’t feel original. And with my current idea I have no solid plot. It’s always something 😂. I’m envious of people that are able to do it too.
        I’ll definitely have to pick up one of his books eventually. 😊

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      • Same! I don’t get it either.
        Yesterday I participated in this GR Q&A Samantha Shannon did and she talked about how she has lists of these little details and how figuring out how to connect certain things and where to put plot twists is tough. And I’m over here thinking “Teach me your ways!” because it sounded so complicated. In theory fantasy seems fun to write and then in reality so complicated. 😶

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  7. Let me first say that this is a great idea for a post, Melissa!! Next, I wanna say that I agree with literally everything you said. I mean, everything. I love brand new world building, imperfect characters, slow burning romance instead of insta-love… and I definitely don’t like to be left hanging with questions unanswered. Sounds like you and I have the same idea of a great fantasy book/series!

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  8. Love, love, love, LOVE this post Melissa!! 😍❤ Absolutely perfectly expressed and I agree to all of it. I ADORE fantasy novels with complex world-building, it’s something that I didn’t pay as much attention to in the past but is now something I actively look for! I hate info-dumps though, because not only are they quite boring, I never retain any of the information?? So that defeats the whole purpose?? I feel like the Shades of Magic series is such a great example of world-building done right though; it’s so imaginative and developed, without large amounts of info-dumping. I love that series so much haha.
    I dislike insta-love in general in most books, as it robs me of my character development and the slow-burn I love in romance–and it’s definitely no exception in fantasy aha. In fantasy especially though, I really require a slow burn romance instead of insta-love, because I love seeing that development between the characters. And speaking of characters, I also adore imperfect characters! Six of Crows (Kazzzz), A Darker Shade of Magic, did such a great job of this. I can connect with these characters a lot more than ‘perfect’ or special snowflakes, and it impacts my reading experience so much!!
    Loved this post so so so much!! ❤❤

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    • Thanks so much, Analee!! 😁♥
      I used to not pay attention when it came to complex world building either but now it’s like I need it in my fantasy books. It’s just so amazing when an author can build a completely new world in a really intricate way! And I can relate on forgetting most of the information with info dumping. My mind tends to wander off to something else and sometimes I’ll even walk away from a book if there’s too much info dumping. I actually just finished the first Shades of Magic book today and am honestly in awe of it. The world building for it was definitely incredible.
      I think slow burn romances are always the way to go! Plus, beyond the development of the characters I feel like it creates the perfect amount of tension. It keeps me reading and then the little moments between the characters are that much better. And imperfect characters over perfect ones definitely makes for a much better reading experiences for me too. 😊

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  9. OHMIGOSH Melissa! we have such similar taste in Fantasy that I just found myself agreeing to each point you made. Also, I couldn’t help but think to myself “Melissa would love Tea from The Bone Witch” she’s helllla flawed lol. At the same time that’s a Fantasy that would meet your 1st few favorite requirements but may fall a bit on the side of info dumping as it is the 1st novel in a high fantasy. “That being said, I prefer it when the information we’re receiving is ingrained into the plot so that it’s revealed seamlessly over time.”—————>Now this it does do! it’s a complex world but the info is skillfully ingrained in the text which I also found helpful to keep track of all the new characters & such. I dunno how this turned into me pushing The Bone Witch but I went with it LMAOOOO! GREAT POST MELISSA! ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • Thanks so much, Lilly!! ♥ And I love how your comment turned into you recommending me The Bone Witch 😂😂. I remember reading your review for it and now I actually want to read the book even more. It so sounds like exactly what I love in fantasy! It’s always great when an author can create a complex world and reveal all of the information skillfully like that. And now I’m really curious about this Tea character lol. Thanks for the rec! 😁

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  10. This is a really great, comprehensive post and I agree with EVERYTHING you’ve said, particularly the imperfect-characters part. I’ve come to realize that most of the books that really stand out to me are books that have a shaded character leading it – Six of Crows is obviously a wonderful example since Kaz Brekker really cannot be called a hero or a villain, but something in between. Similar with ADSOM. I think you might enjoy The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima – it checks all those boxes, and the main character is one of the greatest MCs I’ve EVER read. 🙂 x

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    • Thanks so much! ♥
      I’ve realized the same thing, when a character in a book is flawed I always end up enjoying it more and it becomes a more memorable read. And I am officially curious about The Seven Realms series. I’ll definitely have to look it up on Goodreads. Thanks so much for the rec! 😊

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  11. I think you almost nailed it for. Complex worlds and characters that are flawed and grow are a must. I need constantly development. I also need a very solid but not overly complex magic system 🙂

    And as you mentioned with series.. for the love of all that is good, wrap it up at some point! Do not draw out a perfectly good series to the point of exhaustion. That is happening too often.

    Great post Melissa!

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    • Thanks so much, Danielle! 😊
      I need constant development as well. If there isn’t it feels like it stalls and when it’s not moving I get kind of bored.
      YES! I so forgot about that quality. I can’t stand when a series draws out too much. I think there’s been one or two exceptions to that for me but I know of this one series I read when I was 11 and it’s still on going. I dropped it because it was never ending and just needed to end lol.

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  12. Wonderful post Melissa!! I agree with everything you said. 😀
    I adore world building in fantasy books. It’s one of the most important aspects when it comes to fantasy, as it basically makes it what it is. I love it when books have amazing world building. Info dumping on the other hand is seriously the worst, I just get sooo bored when that starts happening.
    I adore morally-grey characters, they are my favourite to read about. Definitely agree with loving the characters from Six of Crows and A Darker Shade of Magic. Both series are amazing for morally-gray characters! 😀 Imperfect characters are seriously the best.
    Insta-love is the worst thing, well along with love trilogies. I would love if books just didn’t have them. I love also fantasy books where there is no romance, but that’s just me not really caring about most romances. Sooo I could do without them.
    Once again, wonderful post, I loved reading it! ❤

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    • Thanks so much, Anna!! 😊♥
      World building is definitely one of the most important aspects when it comes to fantasy. Another reason why fantasy that lacks in the world building just doesn’t work out. But, yeah, info dumping can be extremely boring! I usually end up putting down a book if it goes into too much info dumping. I almost always forget half the information when it happens too lol.
      And morally-grey characters are definitely the best.
      I was actually debating about doing insta-love or love triangles for this and then went with insta-love since I did a previous discussion about the other. I would love it if books didn’t have either too. I honestly feel like they’re used just to rack up the drama and tension. There’s so many better ways to do that. Throw the characters in a life or death situation or something lol.

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  13. YOU KNOW WHAT? I planned to write a post like this hahahaha though mine was mostly about fantasy tropes 😭😭 anyway, this is a really great, relatable post! I found myself agreeing with everything you said hahaha so first, world building is a must. I think ADSOM is the best world building ever exists haha because it’s so complex yet very clear and vivid. Vassa in the Night probably had the worst world building I’ve ever read because there was so many info dumping and just plainly illogical 😦 also yes to imperfect characters! I think you’re gonna love Schwab’s Vicious because the characters are all morally gray and they’re all villains… even the main protagonists hahaha also, also, yes to romance taking the back seat! I don’t like it if they overpower the plot but then again I can’t without romance 😭 great post Melissa! ❤

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    • Are you still going to write it? I’d love to see a post about fantasy tropes. Funny enough I almost did this a tropes but ended up changing it lol. ADSOM definitely has some of the best world building I’ve ever seen (I finished it yesterday!!! Now I need to read AGOS and ACOL!) and I haven’t read Vassa but I’ve heard a lot of the same about the world building being confusing. I’m going to have to check out Vicious at some point this year, I love the sound of a book full of villains.
      Same! I don’t want the romance to take over but at the same time I need there to be romance. 😂
      Thanks so much, Puput!! 💕

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      • I think I am but I don’t know when hahaha 😛 OMG I’m so glad! Can’t wait to read your review ahaha AGOS and ACOL had to come in pairs because AGOS ends in a cruel cliffhanger hahaha don’t bother, Vassa was such a mess and it was one of the most painful read for me 😂 but yes to Vicious, it’s really amazing hahaha no worries!

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  14. Hey! Of all your above mentioned points, the one about romance overpowering the plot stands out the most for me because that is what made me leave a series – and a famous one at that – when I was halfway through it. The Mortal Instruments was interesting enough until the third book but it focused a lot on Clary and Jace. They kept on thinking a lot about each other, rather dreaming and pining for each other which was a bit ridiculous.
    The other factor which drastically kills any plot for me is the death of a major powerful villian midway through the series. After Valentine’s death, there was nothing to motivate me to read further on. This happened also when I was reading the Inkheart series after Capricorn died on the first book itself. However this was also advantageous because a new villain who was introduced in the second book was quite powerful and ruthless and since he got two books for himself, we get familiar with him. Also, the death of Capricorn allowed us to comsider Inkheart as a stand-alone book though it is open ended.

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  15. EXCELLENT post Melissa! I kind of mention this all the time with Beth in our convos: Complex world-building is definitely one of my favorite aspects of a fantasy novel. I love to be transported to a world that is incredibly different from the world I live in. I really appreciate it when authors build a world, a universe even, with different languages, politics, economy, and societal rules. There’s something so freeing in being introduced to a setting, to a reality, that is so wholly different from our own. Of course, sometimes authors give us data dumps to achieve this, but thankfully I’ve been reading some great books whose world-building is spread out across the pages.

    And a fantasy novel is made even more dynamic when the protagonists lack perfection. There’s something so relatable to a character that makes mistakes and has to live with them. It just adds an extra level of humanity to them that I find much more intriguing that an invincible snowflake who is everything good and more. And I hear you on the slow-burn romance (Inej and Kaz, where you at?). Insta-love is on my sh*t list right about now. I can do without those for a time.

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this post. I like and dislike everything you mentioned! 😀 ❤

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    • Thanks so much, Azia! 💕😊
      That’s exactly why I love complex world building so much, it’s amazing when a book can transport you to a world that is completely different. I’m in awe when an author can create a fictional world so intricately because the fact that aside from the obvious things they had to research it’s completely come from their own imagination. And I feel like you can tell when an author has really put effort into their world building and it makes the reading experience that much better.
      It seems like everyone agrees on imperfect characters. That definitely shows the fact that we want less special snowflakes and more characters with flaws! They really are that much more human and relatable. And YES to Inej and Kaz! I was actually going to use them as a slow burn example until I realized that would be a spoiler for some lol.

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      • It’s amazing what the imagination can do, isn’t it? I aspire to be the kind of writer who can just build an entirely new world with new laws and cultures, and do it properly, without including large bouts of data dumping, like Schwab or Meyer.
        Anti-heroes are the best *she says as she proudly wears her Deadpool shirt around the house* LOL.
        Oops! You’re right. Didn’t think of that haha. Well, it’s kind of implied there’s something between them in the first book and it’s semi-confirmed in the second book, so I think you’re okay to reveal a few spoilers. Or I’m just a bad influence. Don’t listen to me LOL XD ❤

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      • It really is and same! I actually want to write fantasy so bad but find it a bit daunting. I’ve had this one idea with some characters in my head for years and have yet to figure out where I want to go with it.
        Yes! 😂
        True it is kind of implied but I know how some can be with their spoilers. Don’t want to make anyone mad and all of that LOL.

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      • I love writing fantasy! My book is fantasy and all I can say is if you have an idea and some characters, just start writing out scenes or images in your head, maybe try out an outline, and before you know it, you have a skeleton of your story/book!
        True true. I guess it’s better to be on the safe side 😉

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      • I’ve actually written out some of my ideas a long with a few short scenes between two of my characters that I love but I haven’t figured out the full plot. What happens and where the idea will go, you know? But, yeah, I probably really do need to outline a lot and I know I need to do a bit of research for certain aspects.
        Yep lol. 😊

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  16. This is a lovely post, Melissa 💕
    I’m sort of a Fantasy newbie. I don’t read as much Fantasy as I’d like to, but when I do I really end up enjoying it! I definitely agree about the world building, I love a new world that we know nothing about and I love that we get to explore this fantastical new place, but I’m also not a fan of info dumping! Then I really love romances, but like you’ve mentioned the slow burn kind is way better 😊 I’m definitely looking forward to trying some books you’ve mentiond including Six of Crows and The Darker Shades of Magic trilogy 😊

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    • Thanks so much, Michelle!! 💕
      Same, honestly I think world building is my top favorite thing about fantasy. It’s always fun to get to explore a new fictional world and figure out all of its workings. Though my list of fictional worlds I wish I could visit is getting a bit long. 😂
      I hope you end up enjoying Six of Crows and ADSOM! Both are great and definitely have some fantastic world building. 😊

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  17. Totally agree with everything you said here! I still struggle quite a bit with High/Epic Fantasy, but there definitely needs to be good world building or I get even more confused haha. I’m especially all for morally ambiguous characters that are done right (like Six of Crows)! Like I can’t deal when it’s just a male character being awful and getting away with it because he’s “hot”. Also can’t deal when romance overpowers everything like the world is falling apart but there’s more time dedicated to a love triangle? No thanks 😂

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    • I struggle some with High/Epic Fantasy too. Sometimes it works out for me and then sometimes it doesn’t. Beyond the size of the world building the books can be quite lengthy at times.
      I completely agree! That’s something I can’t stand either, a male character being terrible but getting away with it because they’re attractive. Another big no no.
      Right? Sometimes that much focus on romance when things are going south is a bit out there even for a fictional world. Definitely not needed. 😂

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  18. This is the most awesome post Melissa! Exactly what I like too hahaha… and I might have a credit in forcing you to contemplate about what you like in a fantasy book because of my disappointment in Long May She Reign review I posted recently. We discuss in the comment section of my post about why I was disappointed in the fantasy aspect of the book. It’s not fantasy if it’s mentioned of a myth people believe in and some unknown location with a king as a ruler. What are your examples of Complex World building fantasies that you liked so far? I think The Winner’s Series, Lunar Chronicles, Harry Potter fit in this category. The Glittering Court fit in this category too I believe, but it’s not a 5 stars read for me because the last 30% of the book was not so interesting for me. Have you read it yet? 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Jasmine! And funny enough it was in part talking about fantasy on your review and then considering different bloggers opinions through a conversation about book shaming that really gave me the inspiration for this. That and how back when I read RoseBlood there were so many mixed reviews which just goes to show how we all have those little things in fantasy than can make us love a book or not. 😁
      I adore The Winner’s Trilogy’s would building and of course HP is on my list too. Beyond those the top ones have been The Bone Season, ACOTAR, and ADSOM. Especially TBS and ADSOM because so much has been put into both worlds, they’ve both left me in awe. And I haven’t read The Glittering Court yet. I really enjoyed Richelle’s other two series Vampire Academy and Bloodlines but I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about that one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well you wrote a great discussion piece. And I absolutely love the slow burning romance too haha.. I don’t like the insta-love or the love prior to the start of the book. Like they had some history crushes for each other already and then the book start and they wonder if the other still like them or not. I rather they meet each other, hate each other even, before discover that when far apart, they realized they actually miss each other.. 🙂

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      • Thanks so much! And I’m with you for the most part on not liking love prior to the start of the book. With contemporaries I usually enjoy that because second chance romances are my favorite but with fantasy I’ve never had it work out. I guess because fantasies are more of this giant adventure so having two characters that already know each other and then form a romance is kind of boring lol. 😊

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      • The fantasy in question would be Ever the Hunted. The sequel Ever the Brave is coming out at the end of this year. The two characters had crushes when they were younger and then he moved away and then they questions about romance after his returns. Yeah, I didn’t rate the book 1 high..

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  19. I freaking hate instalove in fantasy. It just doesn’t suit it at all. Slow burn loves are perfect. Also info dumps are the worst, but I remember when trying to write a fantasy novel they were super hard to avoid. Huge respect to anyone who gets around them.

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  20. I would have to say I love a slow burn. Instalove is annoying and not believable. You cant possibly love someone you dont even know. Thats more like infatuation and its not real. I have a hard time finding many books that have that slow burn lately.

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  21. I completely agree with everything you said. My god, I hate insta love. I’ve read so many books over the years with it, it’s just ridiculously lazy. I saw you mentioned the Bone Season’s romance above, I love that book! Good slow build relationship and a great read even though it does suffer from a little bit of info dumping 😛
    Every book you mentioned under your imperfect character heading is one I’ve adored and for exactly the same reason. Layered and complex characters are great characters. Just regular people who happen to make mistakes on occasion, especially when they come up against fantastical obstacles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like all of us can agree on hating insta love. It just doesn’t work out. Especially in fantasy where romance can too often take center stage whenever it shouldn’t. I’ve come across way too many with insta love too, sadly. I’d rather a really slow build that lets the character develop than insta love any day. Or even no romance at all.
      YAY about TBS! It’s always nice to find another TBS fan. It never felt info dumpy to me but I could definitely see where it could be that way for some. The first book is heavy on the world building. TMO are TSR are way better in that department in my opinion. Especially TSR as it’s way more action packed. 😁
      Glad you agree about the characters. Complex characters are always the best. And I love that you said they’re just regular people who happen to make mistakes whenever they’re against fantastical obstacles. YES! That’s exactly how I see it too. 😁

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      • Definitely a fan of the slow burn and subplot rather than centre stage. I think I’m too cynical nowadays for anything too in your face romance wise. Haha.
        Yes, TMO was definitely better in terms of the world building because we’d already been given so much info in TBS. I haven’t read TSR yet. It’s on my shelf but I think I may need to do some re-reads of the first two before I do it – I’ve forgotten so much of the info! Good to know it’s nice and action packed though.

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  22. Do you read A Song of Ice and Fire? Those are pretty complex, world-building books. But the information does get a little daunting at times. I’m currently writing an epic fantasy novel that’s well over 1,000 pages. It’s about a boy sold to a traveling circus who goes through different adventures/experiences from town to town. It’s a coming-of-age story as well. I think what I like about the fantasy genre is anything that involves adventures/not just explaining the world, but actually showing it to your readers. Any “stranger goes on a journey” type of thing, minus the whole “chosen one” prophecy. Big worlds are cool, but I don’t like fantasy stories that are stagnant in them.

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  23. I have only just recently discovered the wonderful worlds of fantasy novels and one of the things I love about the genre is the worldbuilding. Right now I am reading Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and the world N.K. Jemisin has created is complex, original, and very detailed. It’s amazing.

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  24. When people ask me people ask me what makes a great book, I tell them that if they want to impress critics and professors, they need great prose, if they want to sell lots of books, they need a great plot, and if they want to be the sort of authors whose books people love, they need great characters.

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