Has Contemporary Beaten Fantasy As My Favourite Genre?? + Recent Favourites

I’ve been meaning to write this post for almost the entirety of 2018 but,, you know,,

  

And who knows if I’ll even finish writing it now and actually get it up sometime this week! Maybe I’ll continue to procrastinate until the end of 2018 *fingers crossed you’ll be reading this at the end of August and not December*

Throughout the year I started to realise more and more that maybe my favourite genre has changed. To be honest, I already noticed last year that most of my favourite reads were uhhh *whispers* not fantasy

me @ me

But this year? I’ve barely even read any fantasy books and the majority of them I didn’t even like.

So far I’ve read 89 books (of which 43 are comics/manga if I counted correctly) of which 8 are fantasy, which is not a lot considering this used to be my favourite genre. Now, not all of the others are contemporary; there are a few historical books and one sci-fi, but other than that… It’s mostly contemporary. So you might be wondering what happened.

It’s not just that I disliked or felt neutral towards most of the fantasy books I read, I barely picked them up in the first place. There are several reasons for that:

💛 Contemporary is simply more diverse than fantasy

Fantasy is getting there and catching up, but a lot of fantasy is just… not that diverse, nor does it cover any important topics. Of course it’s fantasy so the latter it doesn’t have to do but personally I’ve really become more interested in books that cover important topics, which often leads me to contemporary books. Plus I just want more diversity in my books, which is found more in contemporary than fantasy

💛 The blurbs of new fantasy books often don’t excite me

Obviously there are exceptions (and if there was more marketing for the diverse fantasy that ARE out there/being published I’m sure this would change) but often I read a blurb and I just go ‘eh’. I don’t think that my love for fantasy has faded, because I still absolutely love fantasy, but a lot of the times I just don’t find the blurbs that special? Either this is a marketing problem or a lot of YA fantasy books are too alike. Again, obviously there are exceptions and maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, because contemporary has kind of stolen my heart?

💛 They’re so much easier to get into?

This may also be because I’ve been reading so much contemporary. I’ve certainly gotten used to contemporary’s pace which can make it difficult to get back into fantasy. It took me ages getting into Ace of Shades despite loving it and being incredibly excited for it, but oh my goodness my brain was so used to the pace of contemporary books that it kept going ‘WHEN WILL THE STORY START ALREADY’

These are probably the biggest reasons why contemporary has kind of beaten fantasy as my favourite genre. I say probably because hey, maybe there are other reasons I’m unaware of. Contemporary was already my second favourite genre, though if I look back it was already competing with fantasy. It’s just that because as a kid I mostly read fantasy, I always looked at it as my favourite genre, but if I’m honest I think it hasn’t really been that for quite some time now.

This has also snuck into my own writing. I always wrote fantasy, but my current WIP (which is also the one I consider the most important one to be honest) is a contemporary, which I never saw myself writing a couple of years ago. That said, I’m still writing and planning on writing more fantasy.

So now let’s talk about some of my recent favourites! I would love to share ALL of my favourite contemporary books I read this year, but then this post would be way too long. Let’s start with fantasy because there are only two sdgknjh

Fantasy

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead

This trilogy is one of my favourite series as it has so many of my favourite things:

💛 Norse mythology: as a kid I was obsessed and I really mean obsessed. I knew so much by heart and read everything I could get my hands on. I even held a presentation on it in sixth grade that lasted like an hour and a half adkgjshd (yeah I was that kid) So when Rick Riordan announced he was going to do a series on Norse mythology? Well, you can imagine my excitement

💛 Soft protagonist who’s not that good at fighting but is a healer instead and loves his friends with all his heart!!

💛 A pansexual protagonist, a brown genderfluid love interest who’s absolutely badass, a Muslim Valkyrie, a blind elf and a black dwarf (plus a bunch of other cool supporting characters)

💛 The cutest romance with great banter

💛 Fun adventures like only Rick Riordan can write them

💛 Friendship!!

Basically read it

Ace of Shades

As I said before, I struggled getting into this one but that was not its fault. I absolutely loved Ace of Shades. It’s being compared to Six of Crows, which makes sense because it definitely has the same vibes, but I would advice to not think about that/compare it to SoC when you pick this up because Six of Crows is very hyped and Ace of Shades might not live up to your expectations then. I loved the worldbuilding of this one: there’s a lot to explain, but I never felt lost and there were no info-dumps either. Both protagonists were amazing: a black bi boy who’s the leader of a gang but really isn’t that ruthless and a seemingly nice and naive girl who learns how to survive in a town riddled with crime. I really wouldn’t consider this your typical fantasy, as it’s a lot more unique than that. There are also great friendships (between boys, girls and boys and girls) and it’s just a lot of fun.

Honourable mention: Over Raging Tides, a fun story about female pirates! Read my review here. Also I do expect Children of Blood and Bone to join this small list once I read it

Contemporary

Sadie

My most recent read and oh my did this blow me away. It’s powerful, heartbreaking and very intense, but also very worth it. Sadie follows Sadie as she looks for her sister’s killer, but at the same time it also follows West McCray, a radio show host who’s doing a podcast on Sadie, as in the present time she has gone missing herself. Following both of them, we try to fill in the blanks ourselves to figure out what exactly happened to both Sadie and Mattie, and what lead up to those events. It’s incredibly well-written and hard to put down, even though at the same time it’s also hard to read, as it shows how ugly the world can be. You can read my review here.

The Brightsiders

Another masterpiece by Jen Wilde. I was a bit nervous starting this one as Queens of Geek means so much to me, and how would this be able to live up to that? Well, it had no problem living up to it. I honestly don’t know whether I love this one or Queens of Geek more, but who says I have to choose right? The Brightsiders deals with so many important topics, while still being so much fun to read. It’s super queer, it’s empowering and I’d recommend it within a heartbeat. Full review to come soon (I hope help me I have so many reviews to write)

Alex Approximately

I’ve already talked about this one in my mid-year book freak out tag as well, but hey it’s a recent favourite so let me shout about it again okay? When I started this I thought it’d be a cute story with the enemies to lovers and mistaken identities tropes, but it’s so much more than that. Both protagonists are dealing with their own trauma, which is not resolved by their romance. Instead they confide in each other and learn how to live with it. This made it a beautiful and meaningful story, whereas it was also really fun and cute. Read my review here.

I Was Born For This

My first Alice Oseman book and certainly not the last. I still haven’t reviewed this one because?? How?? I have no words. It’s very difficult to put how this book made me feel into words. I feel like everything I can say about it will feel so… superficial? Alice Oseman’s writing is profound and it wouldn’t surprise me if one day her work is studied in school (which it really should be). Maybe one day I’ll be able to actually review this, but in the meantime I’ll just shout at you: READ IT PLEASE

Anger is a Gift

If you thought I wasn’t going to shout about this book for the millionth time then THINK AGAIN. I don’t think I’ll ever stop shouting about Anger is a Gift, unless it suddenly gets the attention it deserves which so far it really doesn’t so… READ ANGER IS A GIFT. It’s an incredibly powerful story about police brutality, the corruption of the police and politicans, and racism. It’s also incredibly queer as the main character is gay and many of his friends are too. Do be careful though, as the violence is very graphic (more so than in The Hate U Give) and it only gets worse throughout the book, so stay safe.

I stuck to five favourites because I have way too many and this post was getting way too long, which again proves that contemporary has really become my favourite genre instead of fantasy. It feels strange to say contemporary is my favourite genre, as I’m used to saying it’s fantasy, but you won’t see me complaining.

Has your favourite genre(s) changed over the years? Do you prefer contemporary or fantasy? Which contemporary and fantasy books are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

56 thoughts on “Has Contemporary Beaten Fantasy As My Favourite Genre?? + Recent Favourites

  1. Fantasy is ABSOLUTELY my favorite genre, but YA fantasy bores me. You’re absolutely right, it is completely un-diverse. And I’m not necessarily talking about representation. It just seems like all the YA fantasies are the same. Strong female lead, the chosen one, training sequence, some method to “sort” characters, love triangle, blah blah blah.

    • Yeah exactly! Of course there are some exceptions and I do feel like nowadays there are finally some more diverse ones coming out, both in terms of rep and plot-wise, but still so many sound exactly the same? I know tropes are tropes for a reason, but you can use those tropes without it feeling like a copy of pretty much every other ya fantasy out there. Do you have any fantasy recs? I really want to branch out more but the problem is I don’t like books that are too graphic, both when it comes to violence and sex so I’m always scared to pick up adult books haha

      • I’m right there with you, I don’t like graphic sex and violence either! I might have some recommendations!

        Let’s see… My all time favorite is LOTR, but definitely start with The Hobbit if you haven’t read it, just to see if it’s for you. I ADORED The Goblin Emperor this year, just the best. Completely unique. If you like dragons, His Majesty’s Dragon is my favorite. I’ve also enjoyed A Natural History of Dragons. Both are very Victorian and don’t focus too much on the fantasy elements. If you liked Dread Nation, I would suggest Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer from the adult world. Except ALVS is 1000000% better. Not too gory. And all of those books are G-rated, PG at worst. Also, with the exception with The Goblin Emperor (which is very high fantasy) they’re all great for intros to adult fantasy. None of them are too “hard” or whatever.

  2. Okay, here’s a stupid (and irrelevant) question looking at these gorgeous aesthetic collages ( I got your tutorial book-marked): Is it legal/copyright-friendly to download images from Pinterest?

    I’m pretty new to Pinterest, so don’t know all the nooks and crannies. :(

    • Oh no not stupid and irrelevant at all! I’m not an expert by any means, but I think that as long as you’re not claiming the pictures are yours, it’s okay. But again, I’m not an expert! You could always put a little disclaimer somewhere saying you found the pictures on Pinterest and that they’re not yours, if you want to be safe

  3. I see this happen to so many people!!! It scares me, because I look at fantasy and how much I adore it and I’m tempted to just not read as many contemporary novels because I just want my fav to be my fav. (Particularly contemporary romance and not necessarily any other brand of contemporary) I read all genres anyway, but my bookworm heart needs fantasy.

    • Yeah I’ve seen this happen to a lot of people as well! I think it mostly has to do with the fact that contemporary books are just more diverse in general, but there are more and more diverse fantasy books coming out!
      What’s your favourite fantasy book? :)

  4. YOUR AESTHETIC FOR I WAS BORN FOR THIS IS PERFECTION AHHHHHHHH.
    Sorry for screaming, I just… AHHHHH I love it so, very much <3
    I've always been a contemporary lover and I have to agree that they are so much easier to get into than fantasy books – fantasy always take me a bit of time. I also really love how they are getting more and more diverse and tackling so many important issues. Contemporaries are the best and I am so happy you're more and more into them ahhhh. <3

    • THANK YOU MARIE DON’T APOLOGISE FOR SCREAMING ❤
      Yeah exactly! Even if I know I will love a book/end up loving it later, it’s often very difficult to get into, with a few exceptions here and there (like I never have problems getting into Rick Riordan’s books) and it can be a challenging to keep on reading.
      Yes! I really hope fantasy and other genres will follow in their example! I know there are already some books that do this as well, but it’s not really a given. Me too Marie ❤

  5. I’m actually experience the opposite thing right now: I used to be just into contemps, but now I find myself more drawn to fantasy. I think this is partially because I’ve read a ton of contemporaries so I’m not as interested in them anymore, but I’ve also been rediscovering a lot of fantasies that came out a few years ago that I never read because I was getting into contemporaries. Unfortunately, you’re definitely right that fantasy still isn’t that diverse, so when I do read contemporaries I’ve been reading pretty much only diverse ones.

  6. I think The Brightsiders is the best title I’ve heard in a really long time, which means I definitely have to pick it up! I feel like I’m kind of the opposite way, I used to ONLY read contemporary, but now I’m starting to get more into fantasy. So contemporary fantasy (like the Raven Boys or even magical realism like Bone Gap) is definitely the best genre for me. :)

    • Ohhhh you definitely do I loved it so so much. Oh that’s interesting! The Raven Boys is definitely perfect then. I haven’t read Bone Gap, but I’ll look into it :) I’m trying to think of similar books to recommend, but my mind is drawing a blank haha

  7. Ahh I can relate to this so much!! Fantasy used to be my favorite genre as well, but now I love reading contemporary so much more. 😂🙈💗 I love all of your aesthetics!! They’re all so amazing. 😍 I love the Magnus Chase series and I Was Born for This too! And I’ve heard so many great things about Sadie.

    • I haven’t read that much magical realism! Tbh I think I’ve only read one?? Two once I’ve finished Wild Beauty which I started reading this week. Any books you’d recommend? 😊

      Thank you!! ❤️

      • I’m not that far yet, but so far I like it! Haven’t had that much time to read it, as I’m quite busy and when I do have time to read I have to focus on some ARCs now because their release dates kinda snuck up on me 😅 Ohhh yeah that one’s on my tbr! Glad to hear you recommend it because that one sounds really good! :D

  8. I always think it’s interesting when you observe yourself and notice how your tastes have changed. I’ve definitely read less and less fantasy as well, but then I never could put my finger on what my favourite genre was to begin with. It’s all very much a mood thing. Do I want confrontation with reality or escapism, which fantasy just sort of provides more for me than contemporary, because I can see too much of my life or the lives around me in it.

    • It’s so strange, because fantasy has been my favourite since I was a little kid haha. It makes sense that your tastes change, but it still feels odd :P
      Ohh I get that! Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for certain books :)

  9. I’m still more of a fantasy fan than I am contemporary, but I agree that contemp books are SO important, and they’re usually really easy to read and get into. ♥ It really depends on my mood, but objectively speaking, I still think I’m a huge fantasy fan. ;) AND I’M GLAD YOU LOVED SADIE!!! I JUST FINISHED IT AND… WOW. Also, I am in love with your aesthetics. They make me want to read all. the. books. ♥

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always

  10. Pingback: Mystery Blogger Award – The Thoughtful Voice

  11. Oh this is actually a really cool discussion topic! I like that you talked about how reading preferences can change and included your favorites for both genres :) (SO many books I loved as well like Ace of Shades, The Brightsiders, Magnus Chase and I Was Born for This 💗💕❤)

  12. *crawls away after seeing your aesthetics and knowing I’ll never be as good at them as you are* (HOW)

    Anyways, I really feel you on this! Fantasy was my first love, and it will always be my favorite, but I really wasn’t into contemporary at first and now I’ve come to love it! I do think that there are a lot more diverse contemporaries than fantasies, but I put a really big focus on reading diversely so there’s really no problem there for me haha. I do agree that contemporaries are a lot easier to get into, though! I’ve been in a contemporary mood lately and I have all these fantasy ARCs I have to slog through… However, while I love contemporary, writing it is way too hard for me (I have to create a plot from every day life with no made-up elements??) lmao

    • also YES I just read The Ship of the Dead and while I wasn’t in love with the trilogy at first (if I went back and reread book 1 I would DEFINITELY like it more now), I wholeheartedly LOVE the series and I’m so sad it’s over!! and I just got Anger is a Gift and I am so so excited to read it!

      • Yes same here! While I enjoyed the first one I was a bit underwhelmed, but now?? I MISS MY CHILDREN
        Ahhhhh May I hope you’ll love/loved (I’m late at replying to comments so maybe you’ve already read it by now) Anger is a Gift!! It’s so so so good

    • NO MAY CRAWL BACK YOU’RE GREAT AT AESTHETICS

      Yeah I wasn’t really into contemporary either! I honestly don’t know why haha.
      The thing is that most of the diverse fantasy books out there aren’t that popular, making them really hard to find them here in The Netherlands, so that makes it feel like there are even more diverse contemporaries. There are soooo many diverse fantasy books that I would love to read but then I’d have to get them from overseas and yeah nope that’s too expensive for me. Plus I’d have to use a credit card which I don’t have

      Oh no May that’s the worst. Hopefully you’ll still enjoy them though!

      Haha I used to be the same way! As a kid I wrote a ‘contemporary’ but one of the main characters still had ‘visions’ of the past or something 😂

  13. Fantasy is my favorite genre, but I haven’t been reading as much YA fantasy in recent years. It’s so lackluster. The plots all sound the same and the stories are very predictable. Thankfully Brandon Sanderson is always around to save fantasy for me.

    • Yes exactly! There are some that stand out of course, but a lot of the time when I read a blurb I just go ‘again?’ It’s ridiculous, because it’s fantasy – you can come up with ANYTHING and yet
      I’ve heard a lot about Brandon Sanderson! Should look into his work at some point :)

  14. I am a 100% a fantasy reader because I like to avoid real life and contemporary is real life and my poor heart can’t. But yes the last Magnus Chase was excellence. I surprisingly liked First & Then, a contemporary, that I read earlier this year.

  15. Pingback: The Lady Janies Book Tag // Most Anticipated Release, Favorite Characters, + More – Purely Olivia

  16. Ahhh I’m the same, I was so captivated by fantasy when I was a kid and I always felt like I had to love it, ya know? But recently I’ve been getting into contemporary too! I think authors have been doing a good job with them lately.

    I love Magnus Chase! I have all three books on my shelf though only read the first one, when it first came out, and still haven’t got round to finishing the series… I will this year though! (hopefully)

    Simi ~ simizat.wordpress.com

  17. I have an earc of Anger is a Gift and I’ve had it for bloody ages because I’m trash and just abandoned my arcs for months and months and months but I neeeeeeed to get to them soon and this makes me so look forward to it knowing that at least one of them is truly *a gift*.

    • Also saaaaaaaame with the wandering from fantasy. I’ve read sooooo many contemporaries this year and they’ve been so bloody good! I’ve been trying to read more diverse books this year and so I think that explains it mostly but also my attention span has been rotten and contemporaries are nice and small and not so daunting!

      • Yes exactly! I too am having concentration problems lately so fantasy books are just,, not a great fit right now since they usually start off really slow. Plus I have to remember all the worldbuilding and stuff and when I’m tired I can’t do that haha. Contemporaries are so much easier to get into!

  18. Pingback: Six of My All Time Favourite YA Couples Ft. Aesthetics!! | The Writing Hufflepuff

  19. Pingback: Another Five of My Favorite Book Bloggers - The Literary Phoenix

Send an owl

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.