genre epic

listen don’t get me wrong i love epic fantasy and sci-fi but it is very very important to me that we get fantasy & sci-fi on a smaller scale as well. i’m tired of reading about the Special Person Who Will Save The World. that’s not relateable. i want to hear more stories about bit players on the world stage! a traveling theatre troupe of goblins struggling to write a new play, two rival families of smugglers living on the same space station transport hub, a rom-com about a young hedge witch, a coming-of-age story about a dryad

give me more weird clever small stories
11 Sci-Fi Books Every woman Should Read
There’s lots of great science fiction by and about women out there. Whether you’re looking for a fresh otherworldly take on gender, a sci-fi adventure with kickass women protagonists, or just a good woman-authored story of mind-exploding creativity, these are some of the sci-fi books that every woman (and really just every sci-fi fan) should definitely get her hands on.

Books by Ursula K. LeGuin, Nisi Shawl, N. K. Jemisin, Ann Leckie, and more!


Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

For more unique dystopian visions of the future, try these…

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess for a violent future Britain where the establishment seeks order by reforming dangerous youth.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow for a 1984-inspired YA thriller set in the near future that explores the dystopian effect of post 9/11 policy.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel for a literary love letter to humanity after a flu pandemic wipes out 99% of the population.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell for a genre-busting epic that starts in 1984 and ends in 2043.

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The signs as book genres
  • Aries: Adventure, Action, Epic
  • Taurus: Cooking and Recipes, Romance
  • Gemini: Books criticizing society, Satirical, Comics
  • Cancer: Romance, Drama, Biography
  • Leo: Drama, Novel, Classics
  • Virgo: Crime, Contemporary
  • Libra: Chick-lit, Art, Mythology
  • Scorpio: Mystery, Crime, Paranormal, Thriller
  • Sagittarius: Adventure, Spiritual, Travel
  • Capricorn: Historical, Economics, Politics (opinion books)
  • Aquarius: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Futuristic
  • Pisces: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Poetry
The Zodiac Signs as Literary Genres
  • Aries: Epic Fantasy
  • Taurus: Paranormal Romance
  • Gemini: Dystopian Fiction
  • Cancer: Southern Gothic
  • Leo: Steampunk
  • Virgo: Fantastic Noir (Occult Detective)
  • Libra: Alternate History (Gaslamp)
  • Scorpio: Post Apocalypse
  • Sagittarius: Horror Fantasy
  • Capricorn: Weird Western Fiction
  • Aquarius: Science Fiction
  • Pisces: Urban Fantasy
Jane Austen Did Not Write Epics
by Maeve Maddox

In popular usage, epic is often used to denote extraordinary length or size. For example, someone might try to ask a long-winded companion to get to the point by saying: Just give me the facts. I don’t need an epic. Used to denote size, epic is almost always accompanied by proportions. Indeed, so clichéd is the expression epic proportions that there’s a play with that title.

Since the longest Jane Austen novel comes to only about 300 pages, the writer quoted above cannot have meant to use epic in the sense of size or length.

When speaking of novels or poems, the word epic has to do with certain aspects of the story and its treatment. The baseline epics are Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, stories of larger-than-life national heroes like Achilles and Odysseus engaged in struggles involving the fate of nations or entire races. In the classic sense, epics employ high-flown language. They have lengthy casts of characters, and they often take place over the course of many years.

Some well-known novel and film epics are Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, DeMille’s Ten Commandments, Griffith’s Birth of A Nation, Gibson’s Braveheart, and Tolkien/Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The romantic misunderstandings of Miss Bennett and Mr. Darcy, played out in elegant 18th century drawing rooms, belong to a type of novel called the novel of manners.

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Book review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

A thrilling, fast-paced heist story unlike anything I’ve ever read before - and I read a lot of YA, so it’s not often that a novel takes me by surprise. It takes something incredibly new and original to surprise me as many times as Six of Crows did.  By the end of the novel, I’d lost count of how many plot twists I didn’t see coming.

While I liked Bardugo’s debut series, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the worldbuilding, which felt sparse and at times appropriative.  Six of Crows is set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy, but this time around, it feels entirely different; Bardugo has expanded on her world, turning one of my least favourite epic fantasy settings into one of the most imaginative and atmospheric fantasy worlds I’ve read in a long time.

What really makes Six of Crows special though, is the characters.  I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite - just when I thought I’d decided which of the Dregs crew I liked the most, another character’s backstory was revealed, and I’d fall head over heels in love with them.  I love books with large ensemble casts, but they so often fall short of my expectations by only delivering one or two characters who feel fleshed out enough to really be considered a protagonist.  Bardugo’s characters never fell into that trap.  Each narrator added their own unique voice and perspective, and all six members of the crew felt absolutely essential to the story.

Six of Crows has everything I look for in YA fantasy series - high stakes, a diverse and likeable ensemble cast, a well-realised fantasy backdrop, and - most importantly - a fantastically original, well-written story.  I can’t recommend it enough, and I’m counting down the days until Crooked Kingdom hits the shelves!

Publisher: Indigo
Rating: 5 stars | ★★★★★
Review cross-posted to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon: US | UK Calls for Novella-Length Fantasy Stories for Imprint - Pays an Advance, plus Royalties

Leading sci-fi site (est. 2008) has finally re-opened to receive unsolicited manuscript submissions from both emerging and experienced authors of fantasy stories for its The Imprint novella program.

During this three month reading period, Sr. Editor Lee Harris and Asst. Editor Carl Engle-Laird are reviewing original, unpublished novellas. They want to review novel-length fantasy stories with mainstream interest that also capitalize on the specific strengths of the novella format.

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Book review: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

Three Dark Crowns is a dark and intriguing novel.  In a Game of Thrones-esque approach to high fantasy, Blake uses her setting to explore human relationships and the complex political machinations at work on an island divided by three factions of magic workers, each vying for power.  Mirabella, Katharine and Arsinoe, the three sister queens, are fascinating characters.  Their friends and advisors were less interesting to me - it’s a very large cast of supporting characters, and some have very similar names (like Luke/Luca). I found it hard to keep track of who was loyal to who.  Nevertheless, Blake’s gorgeous prose and the three girls at the heart of the story kept me reading.

My main criticism of Three Dark Crowns is that it feels incomplete.  It has a lot of potential as a series, but the first book doesn’t really deliver any of the action promised in its synopsis. Unlike many series starters, this book can’t stand on it’s own.  It’s an intriguing start, but it feels very much like half a story.  There’s no climax, no closure - just lots of build-up and then a cliffhanger on the last page.  Blake has created an interesting fantasy society and filled it with interesting characters, but we’ve yet to see them do much of anything.

I know I’ll definitely be reading the sequel, because I’m invested in the sisters’ lives and their conflict.  I hope it’ll deliver on some of the promise of Three Dark Crowns’ synopsis.

Many thanks to HarperTeen for providing a copy of Three Dark Crowns. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 3 stars | ★★★✰✰
Review cross-posted to Goodreads

Buy on Amazon: US | UK