Would I Rather ~ Fantasy Book Tropes

Who doesn’t like a nice little game of would you rather? But let’s make it bookish πŸ™‚

The other day I came across this game of would you rather but with fantasy worlds and tropes on Sophie’s blog, Me & Ink. It just seemed so exciting and fun, I couldn’t not try it out myself. I’ve been reading more and more fantasy these days and have been exposed to some amazing fantasy standalone and series thanks to the blogging community.

So feel free to ponder upon these questions and answer them along with me. Let the games begin!

Would I Rather ~ Fantasy Book Tropes

MAGICAL CREATURES: Brand new or old myths?

The first question already has me in a fix. I love to see the creative monsters and creatures that authors can come up with. They come with their own lore and mystery and finding out more about them is an excellent motivation to keep turning the pages. On the other hand it can be easier to have old, known creatures because you already know them to a certain extent and plus you get to see the author’s take on them. It’s easier in terms of picturing them and dealing with the description that often gets heavy-handed with new creatures. But I think I’d risk the intense descriptions and greater commitment to visualising the magical creatures and choose to read about brand new creatures.

PROTAGONIST: Warrior or scholar?

Give me a warrior any day. Listen, it’s not that I hate reading about scholars, I quite enjoy the intelligence and academic setting. However, I read books as a form of escapism from my exhausting academic life and seeing similar characters leading similar lives with the rules and claustrophobia of academic life can be… boring I guess. I want more action and adventure and the physical as well as developmental arc of warrior characters.

PROTAGONIST LEVEL: New-to-magic or well-accustomed?

If you asked me this question a few years ago I would have said that I prefer a protagonist new to magic. I love being there with the main character in terms of the lack of knowledge of how the magic in the world functions and seeing them progress from being inept to powerful and in control of their magic is a different adrenaline rush. But I feel many times this becomes a short-cut for writers and ends up in information dumps. Having an already established magic user means a confident protagonist who knows the rules of the world and it’s more fun to see them break the rules thereafter. Cause let’s face it, protagonists will be breaking rules left, right and centre. So yeah, I think these days I much prefer reading about protagonists well-accustomed to the magic system.

PLOT: Royal-centric or civilian focus?

Oooh this is a truly tough one. I think I have my moments. Some days I love reading about the royal lives and getting immersed in the wild lives and atmospheres of the rich and privileged characters. But then other days I’m just so done with them. Like ew, I don’t want to read about the troubles these privileged characters have. I’d much rather read about the day-to-day lives of civilians. I’m also picky in the sense I don’t particularly gravitate towards reading the struggles of civilians, at least stories that are centred around it. again, I read fantasy for escapism so sometimes it just makes me feel even more helpless. On other days I’m like yessss representation of civilian struggles!!! Sigh. You see what being a mood reader means? I think this is the only question I’ll stay undecided on.

MAGIC: Focus or background?

Again, such a hard choice! I love when magic is front and centre because we get to really dive deep into how it works and affects the worldbuilding and characters. I adore getting immersed in magic and reading vivid descriptions of it. At the same time I’m not fond of the intricacies of the magic system that sometimes takes too much space. There’s a difference between the magic and the explanation of the magic system. It also comes to a point where the focus shifts from characters to the plot and magic which I’m usually not okay with. Connecting with characters is a huge part of the reading experience for me so while I do love reading about magic, I’d say I prefer it to be in the background with the focus being on characters, their relationships and arcs.

GODS: Present or legend?

Legend, for sure. Here’s the deal, it’s hard for me to establish characters in my head as gods when they’re being built up from scratch. It’s rare that I can read about the power and influence of a present god and say, yeah, I am in awe of you as I should be. I’m more invested in the legends and gods from mythology. I love seeing writers take creative liberties and reform my idea of those gods, changing or showing different perspectives and overall making them seem more human.

HISTORY: Less or more dominant?

Always more dominant. Worldbuilding and history are everything in fantasy. I want to know the ins and out of the world, how things function on a daily basis, in order to believe in the world and get attached to it. It’s so frustrating when writers hold onto the lore or simply don’t develop it enough? That being said, reveal it slowly and carefully, without information dumps. It’s a tricky balance for sure but when someone gets it right it’s like striking gold.

VILLAINS: Close or afar?

I like my villains close where I can observe them and know their inner mechanisms. It’s so fun to learn about the pasts, current lives and motivations of the villains as well as see them play out. It truly makes you feel connected to them and brings us out of the boring and typical hero-enemy archetype. Plus, it keeps the hero on their toes and leads to more action and less complacency in my opinion. A far away villain is much more boring. You don’t get to see their side of the story and honestly, I often forget about them entirely.

LAND: Descriptive or briefly mentioned?

As someone who’s not a fan of overly descriptive worlds, settings, and long pages of poetry in the name of description I definitely prefer that the land be briefly mentioned. Give us a basic idea of the land and then just drop it. Let the readers use their imagination and focus those words on the plot and the characters.

SETTING: A journey or set locations?

Set locations over a journey. I like to immerse myself in the world and the fewer places there are the better. If the setting keeps shifting it’s hard for me to grasp every individual place and get a good sense of it. If it’s a series I don’t mind a different setting in each book because it gives us enough time to really get into the setting.

MAGIC: Elemental or supernatural creatures?

I’m an absolute sucker for elemental magic. Fire, water, wind – give me everything. I enjoy supernatural creatures as well but elemental magic takes precedence. It’s fascinating the ways in which elements can be manipulated and used in different worlds plus the tie-in with our actual world always makes me wistful. While my other answers might have had some explanation this one is purely the thrill and vibes and personal preference.

What do you think of my answers? I had great fun answering them but how many of these do you agree upon?

Do you prefer high fantasy or low fantasy?

Would you like to try your hand at these questions as well?

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11 thoughts on “Would I Rather ~ Fantasy Book Tropes

  1. This was fun to read and also make my own choices to the options. I love both elemental and supernatural, descriptive world, adventure on the journey and also set location but it’s also explored at the same time, warrior, villain-close, legend, background, royal centric, well accustomed to magic, and both mythical and new creatures…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh yes I do like the ides of encountering new creatures because then we are exposed to entirely new lore. I’m a big magic reader so for me I love for it to be in the forefront, just literally everywhere.
    For settings I don’t mind either – just that there’s a map included πŸ˜‚.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the kokomi gif my love!!! πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί I would have to say I agree with having a protagonist who already know the magic system. Again if you’d asked me that a few years ago, I’d have said new to magic. However there’s something so satisfying watching a character break the rules of a system, who knows it inside out and goes no…I think I will break it all to do xyz. Plus we don’t get info dumped then xD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely loved reading your answers for this game and thank you so much for the mention! πŸ₯° We definitely shared some similar answers, I am sooo glad you love elemental magic too. It is beautiful!
    The royals vs everyday can be tricky. I feel like as I don’t read fantasy all the time, I often lean towards royal drama but you are right that it can be a restricted, privileged POV which could quickly become boring. I think looking at specific jobs in fantasy landscapes can be interesting or even criminals!
    Thank you again for sharing your answers! πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

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