Today I decided rather than do something I needed to do, I would organise my Goodsreads account, and by organise my Goodreads account I mean delete all my previous lists and start from scratch. Not long winded or tedious at all.

My previous lists were a little all over the place, a lot of my books were on more than one list because they had elements of each of them, and it wasn’t generally helpful. So, I decided to clean them up. I started with 33 different lists and managed to whittled it down to 14 which I still need to allocate books to and build into awesome lists of both read books and books to read.

I bet you’re wondering why I am talking about my Goodreads lists when this article is about the fantasy genre. Well, my brilliant bookish friends, this is what led me down the genre rabbit hole. And by rabbit hole I mean a the massive swirling vortex of never ending sub genres.

After some research I came to the conclusion that there are way wayyyyy to many sub-genres, many of which overlap and just bloody exhaustive. I’m all for an easy life so I opted for less but slightly broader spectrum of sub-genres instead.


If it isn’t obvious by the ‘MY’ in the title these are my interpretations of the fantasy genre. There are so many different interpretations, for instance low fantasy can sometimes be considered more on the urban/paranormal side of fantasy or it can be thought of as high fantasy less a few of the typical setting elements, either way the below is my take on the genre.

I’m not actually going to give a description of these sub-genres, because as I have said, what you think defines one of them may be completely different to me. Instead I am going to show some books I attribute to said genre and other sub-genres that I think fall under it.


Here be some of the titles I attribute to High Fantasy..

  • The Faithful and the Fallen Series by John Gwynne
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • A Song of Ice and Fire Series by R. R. Martin
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini

Here be some of the other sub-genres that fall under my High Fantasy genre…

  • Epic Fantasy
  • Heroic Fantasy
  • Hard Fantasy
  • Portal Fantasy
  • Military Fantasy
  • Medieval Fantasy
  • Swashbuckling Fantasy


Here be some of the titles I attribute to Low Fantasy..

  • Conan Chronicles by Robert E. Howard
  • Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
  • Limbo by Thiago d’Evecque
  • The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids by Michael McClung

Here be some of the other sub-genres that fall under my Low Fantasy genre…

  • Alternate History Fantasy
  • Arthurian Fantasy
  • Assassin Fantasy
  • Military Fantasy
  • Medieval Fantasy
  • Quest Fantasy
  • Flintlock Fantasy


Here be some of the titles I attribute to Dark Fantasy..

  • The First Law Books by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Black Company by Glen Cook
  • The Night Angel Books by Brent Weeks
  • Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

Here be some of the other sub-genres that fall under my Dark Fantasy genre…

  • Grimdark Fantasy
  • Gritty Fantasy
  • Medieval Fantasy


Here be some of the titles I attribute to Urban Fantasy..

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Crescent City by Sarah J Maas
  • The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
  • Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward
  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  • Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Here be some of the other sub-genres that fall under my Urban Fantasy genre…

  • Dystopia Fantasy
  • Futuristic Fantasy
  • Portal Fantasy
  • Paranormal Fantasy
  • Series Fantasy
  • Super Hero Fantasy
  • Vampire/Werewolves Fantasy
  • Witch Fantasy


Here be some of the titles I attribute to Fairytale/Folklore/Mythological Fantasy..

  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Percy Jackson and the Olyians by Rick Riordan
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Here be some of the other sub-genres that fall under my Fairytale/Folklore/Mythological Fantasy genre…

  • Celtic Fantasy
  • Fables
  • Legend Retelling Fantasy
  • Mythic Fantasy
  • Fantasy Romance


Here be some of the titles I attribute to Young Adult Fantasy..

  • Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas
  • Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore
  • The Folk and Air Trilogy by Holly Black
  • Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard

Here be some of the other sub-genres that fall under my Young Adult Fantasy genre…

  • Coming-of-Age Fantasy
  • Court Intrigue Fantasy
  • Fantasy Romance

And that’s a little look at the way I categorise books in my mind. Genres and sub genres are so ambiguous and so many books definitely cross over into several other genres. Also, I think a lot of books start out as a low fantasy and then work there way up to being more epic in nature.

My Goodreads account should follow this feel for genre allocations, so if you do what I do and stalk other Goodreads friends who have similar tastes when you’re in a slump to find some goodies, hopefully mine won’t appear such a mess!


  1. Lecari

    I admire your dedication to sorting out your Goodreads account! I should do the same really, my “want to read” is a mess. I only have a couple of custom lists (books with dogs in and debut novels!) so I love the idea of sorting by genre!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Saturday Miscellany—7/4/20 – The Irresponsible Reader

  3. The Thirteenth Shelf

    Ugh, I’ve been meaning to do this since I started reading fiction again. I just have everything under ‘Fantasy,’ and that shelf is starting to bend under the pressure of its own weight… Sub-genres in speculative fiction make my head spin. But I’ll be using some of these ideas to organize my own GR, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Everything But Books #2 – First Line Reader

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s