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I used to think that all fantasies are alike. Until going through Goodreads, that is actually not the case. I started seeing that even in fantasy it has sub-genres within its genre. Not knowing which one is which. I decided to do research in the subject and found at least 5 different types in the fantasy genre and create a guide to separate the genres into definable categories. This is basic information on each sub-genre but enough to start knowing how to distinguish each one when you are reading a fantasy book.

When looking at book descriptions, you will see in the fantasy genre that a lot of sub-genres cross over one another. Sometimes it seems that one book would fall into different sub-genres.

Pencil Drawing with yellow balloon dog at the end

Dark Fantasy

Dark fantasy incorporates darker and frightening themes of fantasy that I personally tend to stay away from. Much of this sub-genre has horror or dark themes and some people say that it can be in relation to supernatural horror. It can also be defined in the story line where there is no happy ending or happy ending that is achieved at a great cost. The magic is being used for ill will against people. It takes on a darker tone in fantasy that you may not be familiar with, and evil will win over good. 


Buy Only A Monster on Amazon


Don’t forget the rule. No one can know what you are. What we are. You must never tell anyone about monsters.

Joan has just learned the truth: her family are monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers.

And the cute boy at work isn’t just a boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to destroy her family.

To save herself and her family, Joan will have to do what she fears most: embrace her own monstrousness. Because in this story…she is not the hero.

YA Fantasy

Wildly popular sub-genre, the market for this is basically. You guessed it. Young Adults. Basically this fantasy sun-genre has the main character that is slightly older than a teenager. A lot of these stories are set in school like settings and/or coming of age dilemmas.

The stories that you as an adult want to roll your eyes over.


Buy Blood Scion on Amazon


This is what they deserve.

They wanted me to be a monster.

I will be the worst monster they ever created.

Fifteen-year-old Sloane can incinerate an enemy at will—she is a Scion, a descendant of the ancient Orisha gods.

Under the Lucis’ brutal rule, her identity means her death if her powers are discovered. But when she is forcibly conscripted into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane sees a new opportunity: to overcome the bloody challenges of Lucis training and destroy them from within.

Epic/High Fantasy

In Epic/High fantasy, they are very similar and share the same similarities. The plot and story is based in a world that is not our own and this world tends to have magic. There is a strong good vs evil where the plot revolves around a hero dealing with a great evil that is threatening their world. Has a lot of black and white morality with the hero saving someone.


Buy Gallant on Amazon


Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for Girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home; it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile, or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.

Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.

Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?

Low Fantasy

Opposite of Epic/High Fantasy but with magic that happens in a normal world with realistic environments.



Harry Potter spent ten long years living with Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, an aunt and uncle whose outrageous favoritism of their perfectly awful son Dudley leads to some of the most inspired dark comedy since Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But fortunately for Harry, he’s about to be granted a scholarship to a unique boarding school called THE HOGWORTS SCHOOL OF WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY, where he will become a school hero at the game of Quidditch (a kind of aerial soccer played high above the ground on broomsticks), he will make some wonderful friends, and, unfortunately, a few terrible enemies. For although he seems to be getting your run-of-the-mill boarding school experience (well, ok, even that’s pretty darn out of the ordinary), Harry Potter has a destiny that he was born to fulfill. A destiny that others would kill to keep him from.

Urban Fantasy

Mainly focusing on the normal world that is set in the present day. Sometimes described as magical beings hiding in modern society. Lot of times there is a conflict between humans and other magical beings.


Buy City of Bones on Amazon


When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know… Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.

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