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

Fantasy Series – A Closer Look at the Genre – Part 8

Celtic, Mythic, Arthurian and Legend Retelling.

By Elaine Patterson, Newbridge Headquarters.

Celtic Fantasy 

This is fantasy that draws on Celtic legends and lore, usually Irish, Welsh or Scottish legends and mythology. Such fantasy is high in magic and magic influences most other story elements. Because characters and plot are vital to the development of Celtic fantasy stories, they are very well-developed.  Violence when present, is usually in the form of magic battles and knights wielding swords. 

A related fantasy sub-genre is historical fantasy.

 The following are examples:

Mythic Fantasy

Fantasy that puts a new spin on mythological stories and deals with the same themes as myths do. Elements of folklore and legend may be included in stories in this sub-genre. Magic has a very strong presence in these stories with almost every non-human character having a magical, supernatural or mystical aspect.  Both the level of characterisation and plot vary according to the story, although readers with a background knowledge of the myths are likely to enjoy the stories most. Violence is generally on a similar level to that of the mythic tales. 

Related fantasy sub-genres are fables, literary, Celtic, arthurian and cross-over fantasy and possibly dark and slipstream/new weird fantasy.

Examples are below:

 Athurian Fantasy

Fantasy that is inspired by the world of King Arthur, although King Arthur himself is not always the main character. Mythical creatures like dragons are regularly featured in Arthurian Fantasy and many heroes are knights. The level of magic and social implications varies from story to story while the level of violence tends to be either moderate or high depending on the story. Both characterisation and plot complexity are high, due to the strong base of knowledge about the characters such as Arthur and Merlin available and quests, adventures and prophecies being essential aspects of most Arthurian stories. 

Related fantasy sub-genres are celtic, historical and young adult.

Examples include the titles below:

Legend Re-telling Fantasy

Legend re-telling fantasy reinvents a timeless story. A re-telling of a legend pays homage to its source material while making the story new. Magic may or may be present in a re-telling of the original legend. Characterisation can be moderate if the characters will be familiar from the original story, but where it comes from a myth with little detail, more characterisation occurs. The level of violence will depend on the legend being told and which aspects of the legend the author chooses to focus on. Plot tend to be complex and issues such as human origins or morality explored. 

Related fantasy sub-genres include arthurian, mythic, celtic, and historical fantasy. The following examples can be borrowed both from Borrowbox and the library catalogue. 

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


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