I love character driven stories—heroines and heroes with clear, strong goals. I like romantic elements but I want an engaging external plot as well as true love. I prefer historical, paranormal or fantastic settings. Adventures and quests are good. And there must be a happy ending.
Over the last year, though, more than anything I’ve wanted the cozy. Warm, feelgood stories with lightness, humor and no painful grimdark, written for adults.
I don’t think I’m the only one, because lately I’ve found a number of new-to-me fantasy authors who really hit the spot. I feel as though I’m on a great reading discovery streak and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. The only thing is—and I find this really weird—these stories have so much in common, but there seems to be no convenient category grouping for them. No accepted term. On Amazon—usually super-smart about these things—they’re mostly dotted around the sci-fi and fantasy sections.
If I search ‘low fantasy,’ I get mostly role-playing products. If I search “cozy fantasy” I get mysteries or magic series with smiley cartoon cats, witches, or haunted houses on the cover. They look fun, but they’re not what I’m after.
A few titles from my kindle that I’d say all share a niche are shelved on Amazon as follows:
T. Kingfisher, Paladin’s Grace: fantasy romance, romantic fantasy, fantasy & futuristic romance;
Gail Carriger, Soulless: steampunk fiction, steampunk science fiction, historical fantasy;
Olivia Atwater, Half a Soul: teen & young adult historical fantasy;
Charlotte E English, Wyrde and Wicked: Gaslamp fantasy;
Ilona Andrews, Innkeeper series: paranormal & urban fantasy;
AJ Lancaster, Stariel series: Gaslamp fantasy, fairy tales;
Kate Stradling, The Legendary Inge: Fairy Tale Fantasy, Mythology & folk tales;
I’m really happy to have so many fun reads to hand, but amazed that I have to scout around to find them. And no wonder I find it difficult to select a better description than “historical fantasy” for my own books.
How about you? Do you read in a specific niche or two? How easily can you track down the kind of book you prefer to read?