Children, Young Adult and Coming of Age and Anthropomorphic Fantasy
By Elaine Patterson, Newbridge Headquarters.
This is fantasy that is explicitly aimed at children, although adults will often enjoy some children’s series and books. Children’s fantasy tends to have younger but highly developed characters, a low level of violence, a variable level of magic and frequently teach a life lesson.
This sub-genre is related to the Coming of Age and Young Adult sub-genres. This is because children’s fantasy frequently has a coming-of-age story and the line between children and young adult fantasy is murky, since most other fantasy sub-genres can be made child-friendly.
Coming of Age Fantasy
This sub-genre focuses on a character’s journey of self-discovery and growth and there is a high level of magic and low level of violence. Many classic books such as Jane Eyre are examples of the coming-of-age formula. This sub-genre is more of a description than an actual genre since it can be a theme in any fantasy book.
The books below are examples of the Coming of Age fantasy. A review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is featured on our blog here.
Young Adult Fantasy
This subgenre is aimed at children and teenagers aged between 12 and 18 and has common themes such as coming of age and first experiences. Characters are usually teenagers and the level of violence and magic is variable, although characterisation is usually very good. It can crossover with pretty much every other fantasy sub-genre and may deal with more issues and be darker in tone than children’s fantasy, depending on the author.
This is fantasy that is humorous, where the main purpose is to amuse the reader. Consequently, this sub-genre tends to be the most light-hearted of all the fantasy genres. Frequently other works are parodied, and ridiculous elements are added. Magic if present and is exploited for its comedic value, characters are recognisable types, the plot is solid and there is usually little violence present.
Any type of fantasy can be subjected to the comic treatment, even the grimmer sub-genres. A few examples are below:
This sub-genre involves animals taking on human qualities, characteristics, languages, behaviours and motivations. The level of magic, plot complexity and violence vary from author to author and depend on what kind of story is being told. Such stories frequently explore an aspect of the human condition from friendship to the cost of building a nation. Characters are very well developed with relationships and internal lives and often face dilemmas and go on quests that test their limits.
Anthropomorphic Fantasy frequently crosses over with Children’s Fantasy, Quest Fantasy and Portal Fantasy. The following books are examples of this sub-genre.