Sunday, January 16, 2011

Myth-Based Fantasy

One of my favorite subgenres of literature is myth-based fantasy. This subgenre is typically urban fantasy that blends in elements from mythology. The most well known series in this subgenre is the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan which combines Greek mythology with urban fantasy. In the Kane Chronicles series, Riordan mixes Egyptian mythology with urban fantasy (and there is a hint in The Red Pyramid that this series takes place in the same world as the Percy Jackson series). In both series, the basic premise is that the mythologies of Greece and Egypt are real and those gods and goddesses are still interacting with humanity.

Another series in this subgenre is The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. In this urban fantasy, Scott the mythologies of the world are based on the actions of Immortals, Elders, and Next Generations. These beings are able to control their auras and in doing so are able to perform magic. What’s great about this series is Scott’s melding of mythological figures with an entirely new ancient history and a battle for the future of the world.

A third series in this subgenre, and one that isn’t a children’s/teen’s series, is the Calliope Reaper-Jones series by Amber Benson. In this series the title character is the daughter of Death and thus an immortal and part of the supernatural world. Benson has done a wonderful job in combining the different mythologies and religions of the world into a supernatural system that makes sense.

I would also include the show Supernatural in this subgenre but not series like The Spiderwick Chronicles or Fablehaven (they are what I would call folklore-based fantasy). I’m sure that there are other series/books out there in the myth-based subgenre that I did not mention but these are the ones that I know and are currently being produced. If anyone has any suggestions for other similar books/series, I’d love to hear them because this is quickly becoming my favorite type of book to read.

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