Adult Fiction, Behind the Books, Book reviews and recommendations, Young Adult 12-15, Young Adult 16+

Fantasy Series – A Closer Look at the Genre – Part 4

Low, Mundane, Magical Realism and Vampire Fantasy

By Elaine Patterson, Newbridge Headquarters.

Low Fantasy

Low Fantasy is the opposite of High Fantasy, and so has little emphasis on heroism and magic. The setting is more ordinary, such as the real world or a world very like the real world. Social commentary is often present, with the focus being on the characters and the plot. The level of violence in Low Hantasy is high, although this can depend on the age demographic the book is aimed at. 

Low Fantasy crosses over with High, Epic, Sword and Sorcery and Magical Realism. These books are examples of Low Fantasy.

Mundane Fantasy

This sub-genre is almost the opposite of High Fantasy, with the fantastical elements being presented logically or rationally. The story takes place in a recognisable world, where magic or the supernatural is intertwined with the real world or in a separate world.  Mundane Fantasy tends to have a contemporary style and magic is an important, if secret, part of the world. This means that the level of magic starts out low and then increases throughout the story or series.  Due to Mundane Fantasy’s contemporary style, issues such as politics, prejudice etc are often explored in this sub-genre. Character development and the level of violence tend to vary from author to author, while the plot tends to be reasonably well developed. Mundane Fantasy is related to Urban, Cross-worlds, Low and Young Adult Fantasy. These books below are examples of Mundane Fantasy.


Magic Realism Fantasy

In this sub-genre, magic is a part of everyday life with the magical and mundane co-existing side by side and magic being integrated into society. As a result of this the level of magic in this sub-genre tends to be low. Frequently, Magic Realism stories will explore a truth or some aspect of life. The plot is generally basic, while characters are well developed, and the level of violence varies from author to author.

Magic Realism is related to Slipstream, New Weird, Literary and Mythic and fantasy. 

The following are examples of this sub-genre.

Vampire Fantasy

Vampire Fantasy has strong supernatural elements and was originally based on myths, usually Romanian ones. During the 18th and 19th centuries vampires were normally depicted as evil until the 20th century onward when they became more like tragic heroes. Traditionally vampires were more supernatural than magical and it is only recently that vampires in fantasy and fiction have started to have magical powers. Depending on the story, social implications can be present. Also, depending on the story and the targeted audience, characters may or may not be three dimensional and the plot’s complexity will vary from a simple plot such as girl or boy meets vampire and falls in love, to a more complicated one such as in Dracula. Violence is central to this sub-genre and the level of violence will depend on the story, with some stories being more graphic than others. 

Vampire Fantasy most often crosses over with Horror, Romance, Young Adult, Urban, Historical and Paranorma Fiction. However, due to the sub-genre’s fluidity, elements and techniques from many other genres and sub-genres can be used, such as Crime and Comedy. These books below are examples of Vampire Fantasy.  

Check out all the examples above on BorrowBox or request them via our library catalogue.


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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