Birdwatching: Contemporary Fantasy

(Sidenote: I have NO IDEA what to call this feature now that I’m now longer Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog. Here There Be A List of Books doesn’t really flow, does it?)

I recently discovered a fantasy subgenre– okay, not discovered, really, because I’ve been reading it for years and years. But I’ve discovered what it’s CALLED: contemporary fantasy!

Contemporary fantasy

  • is set in the real world, one in which the reader can recognize and/or lives in!
  • is set in modern times, or at least the time concurrent to when the book was written
  • usually has magic and magical creatures, but they’re usually somewhere on the fringes or leaking over from an alternate world.
  • The magical aspects tend to remain secret from those outside the narrative, as well.

If it takes place in a city, it’s usually called urban fantasy.

If you’re not sure if it’s magic (or if someone wants to pretend it’s straight-up literary fiction because genre is uncool), it’s usually called magical realism.

Contemporary fantasy also overlaps with a lot of other genres. The Harry Potter series, for example, is a mix of contemporary and low fantasy!

Here are some of my favorite contemporary fantasy books:

Do you like contemporary fantasy? What’s your favorite contemp. fantasy book?

Personally, I’m looking for more adult contemp. fantasy books. Most of the ones I’m familiar with (and on my list of favorites) are children’s or YA. I’d love to read more in a different age bracket!

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2 Comments

  1. hm, I never really thought about this being its own separate sub-genre! You learn something new everyday.

  2. I love contemporary fantasy! American Gods is my all-time favorite. The Dresden Files is an amazing series too.

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