Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January TBR- High Fantasy

I don't know what it is about winter that makes me want to read fantasy book. Maybe it's because I want to escape into another world while mine is so uninviting. Maybe it's because winter is a time to curl up under a blanket with a hot beverage and spend all day reading which lends itself so perfectly to the frequently lengthy fantasy books. Or maybe I'm making this whole thing up. Either way this January my plan is to read books that are High Fantasy.

For those not very familiar with the subgenres of Fantasy, High Fantasy is a story set in a completely imaginary world that is unrelated to our own, often one where magic exists in some way, or by the epicness of the characters, themes, and plots (often both).

There are three ways to categorize it:
1.) A world totally independent of our world which doesn't exist, think Lord of the Rings
2.) An alternate world is entered through a portal, think Chronicles of Narnia
3.) An unknown world exists within our world, think Harry Potter.

I prefer the first two as in the last one the lines get a little blurry when it comes to high and low fantasy. So now that I have explained myself here are my picks for January.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
Goodreads Amazon
Synopsis: Book 4 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. This series fits in to category 1 of High Fantasy and is about the fictional land of Westeros and the power struggle to control it. This book looks mostly at the political intrigue aspect of the series.

A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
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Synopsis: Book 5 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. This book and the previous one were intended to be one book so I am marathoning them. This one is more about the magical elements in Westeros. A Storm of Swords (Book 3) was one of my favorites of 2013 and I hope these next two do not disappoint. 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
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Synospis: This also fits into category 1 of High Fantasy (I've heard some debate about this but I'll have no lip from you) and is book one in the Grisha trilogy. It is set in the fictional land of Ravka and tells the story of Alina who discovers a magical power withing her and joins the Grisha who are like magical soldiers.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
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Synopsis: Book 2 in the Grisha trilogy. I've heard great things about this series and I am really excited to read the first two books and finish the series later this year. I may also read the two novella that go with the series.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
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Synopsis: There has been some debate over which category this fits in but my assessment is the second. It is the story of a half-fairy boy who is completely lovesick and goes on a quest to find a fallen star in the magical realm. I've been wanting to read something by Neil Gaiman for awhile and I'm really excited that this will be my first one. I'm going to listen to the audiobook which is actually narrated by Mr. Gaiman

Depending how these go I may add a book or two that is not High Fantasy (I'm already a quarter of the way done with A Feast for Crows), probably one that comes out in January but for the time being, here's my list.

What are you reading in January? Leave me a comment and check back for my reviews!


  1. Great picks. I need to finish A Dance with Dragons this January.

  2. I know that this is a late reply but couldn't resist since I want to see what you will be reading. I am really confused with High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy you know. Some people think of them as synonymous while others do not. I guess I belong to the last category. For me, they're almost close but not they're really different sub genres.

    I consider ASOIAF, LOTR,His Dark Materials and the likes as EF meanwhile I consider HP as HF.

    Now I am really confused. I hope you'd be able to read all of these books, Cassi.

    Good luck!

    1. That's a really good point. I think of them as separate because I think of it as High Fantasy versus Low Fantasy. Like High Fantasy takes place in a separate world and Low Fantasy involves magically elements taking place in our world. What gets really confusing is the world within a world stuff like Harry Potter.

      Then I think of Epic Fantasy like a whole different class of subgenres like Dark Fantasy and Urban Fantasy.

      So I guess I think something can be both High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy, if that makes sense. But yeah, it's really confusing and often hard to categorize.