How much fantasy is too much fantasy?

May 10th, 2016 Kimberly Feature, Guest Post 66 Comments

10th May

The Caffeinated BEA Takeover continues and today I welcome Daniela from Daniela Ark’s Blog for Readers, Writers and Bloggers. Daniela has a passion for fantasy and she will be discussing how fantasy much is too much fantasy? Whether you read fantasy or bask in historical romance I think you will find her dilemma quite interesting. Grab a cup of joe and make Daniela feel welcome.



The urban fantasy reader’s dilemma:

How much fantasy is too much fantasy?

First, I want to thank my girl Kim for opening the doors of her fabulous blog for me.

Now close your eyes and imagine the cozier place you have ever seen. It is tastefully decorate in latte and red, smells like delicious freshly brewed coffee, there are floor-to-ceiling piles of books everywhere, an endless supply of awesome reviews, features, and events to help you decide which one to read, and everything is caffeinated so you can stay up for hours reading and chatting with all the supportive book bloggers that stop by regularly to share their bookish pearls of wisdom.


WELL IT IS! I want to live here FOREVER!

That’s the fantastic world Kimberly created. She should write fantasy!

So talking about fantasy…

Even though I just want to hang around here housesitting until Kim comes back from BEA, I’m really here to talk to you about… fantasy!

And I hope you let me know if I’m a lunatic or if there are some other strange creatures like me because…

I DO like fantasy but not TOO MUCH fantasy.

Does it make sense?

I’m an urban fantasy reader and that is my dilemma: How much fantasy is too much fantasy?

I see a book with a dragon on the cover and I cringe. Not so much because of the adorable dragon, but because of the entourage of otherworldly creatures that usually accompany them [elves, fairies, trolls, etc.] and the fantastic worlds where they usually live.

Or if I read a blurb where “Xeonette and Ador are the leaders of the Brahem and Candrexens armies, engaged in a millenary war for the dominion of the prosper Asphiedians lands in the Hertes planetary system”

Then… THAT’S IT. That’s when I shake my head, put the book back in the shelf and say “No thank you I don’t read THAT MUCH fantasy”

And sometimes people look at me like I have two heads and say…

“Huh??? Here we go again Daniela! Would you look up the word ‘consistency’ in the dictionary! You DO read fantasy! You loved Harry Potter right? I can see the books in your Goodreads account! You have read them all MANY times and gave them 5 stars!”

[and I also binge on the movies every Christmas!]

Or people may say “for god sake Daniela, your “About me” page has A CASTLE! And there you say you love fairytales”

Yup that’s why I think I’m strange [my polite way to call myself a weirdo]

For me it goes like this… there is fantasy and then there is fantasy right? There is urban fantasy, dark fantasy, high fantasy and all kind of subgenres and I think I can read most of them but NOT high fantasy.

I want to get lost in the pages of a book but not completely disappear into oblivion in a totally alien world. I loved watching Lord of the Rings and Games of Thrones. But reading them was exhausting for me. They were both DNFs for me. [“well that’s doesn’t mean much in your case Daniela!” yes… I know I know! :)]

If I had read the book I invented above, I’d have had to engage all my limited neurons in remembering names as Xeonette, Ador, Brahem, Candrexens, Asphiedians and Hertes. Were Brahem and Hertes the MCs? Or were they planets? Of was “Hertes” a biological weapon that triggered a nasty pandemic? [hehe Sorry I HAD to say it].

Then when, IF!, I manage to remember that Xeonette and Ador are the MCs I still have to imagine how they look like unless the author was kind enough to explain they are humans that colonized distant planets. I also have to either read through many pages of world building and descriptions or just imagine the fantastic settings. Are the clouds purple? Do they have three suns? How many moons then? [Does that even MATTER Daniela?? you may say. To me it does 🙂 ]


No offense to the very talented writers of high fantasy. You are awesomely creative and that’s why you have tons of readers. But not me. I’m not one of those. Little Daniela needs something familiar to hold on. I need something known to ground me.

Or I need a movie. One shot of the camera, one scene, 10 seconds of dialogue and PUFF! I know everything. I know name the of the characters, how they look like, how many suns are diving in the purple ocean, and how many moons will rise to govern their yellow 48-hours nights.

I don’t have to imagine it all or read about it for pages. It was shown to me and then I can fully enjoy it the story arc.

And it is the same for Science Fiction! If I’m going to let Pierce drag me around the solar system and throw me in the Red Rising‘s ultra-hierarchical society [and Pierce can do with me pretty much whatever he wants with me] then the dwellers need to be humans, I need to already know the names of the planets [like since elementary school!] and the society rules have to ring a bell, which they do because unfortunately our world does work like Red Rising‘s.

And if you are going to throw fantastic creatures at me then they have to be creepers I already know like wonderfully sexy but some how predictable bloodsuckers, even sexier werewolves, powerful witches and wizards, etc. and they need to be in walking a small town of Louisiana or the streets of London. 🙂

So my dear readers, writers and bloggers friends. What do you think?
I want the brutal truth! Am I really such an inconsistent weirdo as I feel sometimes?
Or do you relate to some of this? Is there a limit to how fantastic your books can be?
Or do you love to be sucked deep into a bottomless rabbit hole? The stranger the world the better?
Leave a comment! Kim, has tons of visitors, and I would love to hear from you!



Daniela ArkThank you Daniela. Daniela is the blogger/writer @ Daniela Ark’s Blog for Readers, Writers and Bloggers. Over on Daniel’s blog you will find reviews in many different genres, but she favors fantasy. (who would have guessed). She also offers great discussion posts for readers, writers and bloggers. Daniela is very active in the blogging community and can be seen comments on a plethora of blogs. She actively joins in the discussions and enjoys changing her blog theme on the daily. Be sure and check out her blogger interview feature. I have found some fabulous blogs and books thanks to this feature.

Be sure to follow Daniela Ark’s Blog for Readers, Writers and Bloggers on Bloglovin.

Stalk Daniela on Twitter  | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest  | Goodreads

How much fantasy is too much fantasy? Daniela discusses it during the Caffeinated BEA Takeover Click To Tweet

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw and Howler. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Find @kimbacaffeinate on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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66 Responses to “How much fantasy is too much fantasy?”


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  2. Daniela Ark

    That is what I love! that there is something for everyone. 🙂 even for people that like weird names 🙂

  3. Got My Book

    I do like both High Fantasy and complex Science Fiction, but that doesn’t make you a weirdo. The beautiful thing about the fact that are more books being published than anyone will ever be able to read is that there is something for everyone.

    And although I do like the stories of these types of books, I too wish authors would stick to easier names. Just this week I posted a review of The Goblin Emperor which is the epitome of what you’re complaining about. I rated it high because I loved the characters, but if I hadn’t been listening to it (the narrator won an award), I may have given up.

  4. Candace

    I like high fantasy but there are times that things are just a bit too much. Too overwhelming. Too hard to follow. So I guess it really just depends. I also like urban fantasy but I don’t usually like intergalactic scifi fantasy (usually- I do like it in YA sometimes). Great topic to discuss!

  5. Christy LoveOfBooks

    First of all, I’m sneaking some of Kim’s good alcohol while she’s away, so shhhh. 😉

    No, but I totally get what you mean. I’m the same way when I see the dragon too, but I did enjoy the one’s I have read. Sci-fi is a little different … I enjoy a lot of different type. Like speculative, space opera, post-apocalyptic, military, etc. It really just depends on my mood when it comes to both, though.

    • Daniela Ark

      I think I can manage more unrealistic attributes in Sci-fi as well. hummmm… maybe we should write another post about sci-fi 🙂 Thanks for visiting Christy 🙂

  6. Daniela Ark

    I’m glad I validated your feelings Lorna. You made me feel better too 🙂 Now off to review you review of Bite the Dust. Cynthia Eden writes great PNR. I’m curious how you liked this one 🙂

  7. Lorna

    I don’t read high fantasy and have no desire to do so. I love urban fantasy and PNR and that is as fantasy as I get. I didn’t read Harry Potter or Game of Thrones or even Lord of the Rings and have never had ANY desire to do so. Never watched them either! So I pretty much agree with everything you wrote with the exception of Harry Potter! Very interesting post-you validated my feelings, thank you!

    • Daniela Ark

      OMG I love it here Kim! Can I move in? LOL it is like a never ending party 🙂 I do have to take a break from partying and read your BEA post! I’m dying to know how it’s going 🙂

  8. Deborah

    I’m not a fantasy reader at all. Not even HP. Or werewolves or witches or magic or even sci fi.

    Weirdly though I LOVE watching a lot of sci fi type shows even though I don’t read it!

  9. ShootingStarsMag

    Interesting topic! I actually agree with you. I do love Harry Potter, but that doesn’t mean I’m a huge fantasy reader. I do like urban fantasy more than other types because it’s fantasy in MY world. High fantasy and other really intricate worlds tend to just confuse me. I’ve read and enjoyed The Hobbit, but I tried to read The Fellowship of the Ring and just couldn’t get into it. LOVED the films though!


    • Daniela Ark

      I like how you say it Lauren! ” MY world” Yes! I think it does feel better to stay in your turf. Some characters are scary enough to also have the home advantage of top of it 🙂

  10. Melanie Simmons

    I agree with you. I read mostly PNR and UF with some other fantasy and sci-fi thrown in. Also, some horror, but not as much as I would like, I really want to expand in that genre. I’m completely with you that fantasy must be realistic and not too much. I’ve not tried to read Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, but I could see them both as being too much for me, even though I love the movies.

    I’m also really big on fantasy worlds having rules that must be followed. I also don’t like when an author bends or changes the rules to suit their needs. I think there needs to be some restrictions. I love when magic has a price, so that the characters can’t just use it willy nilly to get out of every situation. Just like when shifting forms is painful or tiring. For me, that is more realistic. Great post.

    • Daniela Ark

      I’m glad you brought up horror Melanie! I forgot to mention it! for some reason I can actually handle a little more fantasy when it comes to horror. That “there needs to be some restrictions” is exactly how I feel sometimes. Like price for magic or pain for shifting. 🙂 Well said Mel! 🙂

  11. Sophia Rose

    I don’t think it’s weird to draw the line at High Fantasy. You want a bit with your realism not the whole thing. Personally, I like both, but I rarely read High Fantasy. Fun post, Daniela!

  12. Greg

    I like fantasy but I like it a little grittier and realistic (but not TOO realistic). Like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings- there is magic but people aren’t throwing fireballs around for the most part. You know? If it’s TOO magic-y it feels like D&D fan fiction to me. So I guess I like high fantasy grounded in reality but with some fantastical elements. And dragons are okay as long as they’re not like an air force- again less is more.

    As for urban fantasy I’m pretty new to it but I like the idea of paranormal creatures living here hidden away and portal fantasies where they come here or someone goes there. I want the creatures to be kinda rare though, not vampires or whatever all over the place- they need to be rare or uncommon and frightening, that kinda thing. So I’m picky I guess. 🙂

    • Daniela Ark

      I think that is a great way to describe it Greg :”high fantasy grounded in reality but with some fantastical elements” I can do some of that! I read 50% of GoT! *proud grin here* 🙂 I think asking for new creatures is not picky! brave maybe if you ask ME but not picky 🙂

  13. La La in the Library

    I love High Fantasy, but you are right about one thing, it does need to mixed up a little. The summer of 2014 I started reading four ARCs in a row where the beginings were all king’s warriors coming back from a battle! The descriptions of the horses hooves on the ground were almost exact, and: when the head knight/warrior got the the throne room everyone single one of therm basically said, ” Your Majesty, I bring you news from *fill in the blank*. That is when I started shying away from titles with the words: queen, king, or kingdom in them. I almost didn’t read The Serpent King because of the title until I found out it was issue related Contemporary, and not another royal court story. Ha ha! Wonderful guest post. 🙂

    • Daniela Ark

      haha I can imagine your expresion La La while reading those books 🙂 and you are so right!! that’s IS what it comes to my mind when I read “queen, king, or kingdom” and that is why I didn’t request the serpent King and almost didn’t read Red Queen 🙂

  14. Katherine

    I don’t read a huge amount of fantasy so I don’t have a set guideline for what I’m looking for. I do know that I want enough detail that I can really visualize it but not so much that it gets bogged down. I love the imagery you created in this post! I might come join you in Kimberly’s world!

    • Daniela Ark

      Thanks Katherine! I think we would have a blast here at Kim’s 🙂 Coffee, books, bloggers.. HEAVEN!

  15. Lola

    I am much the same, I like fantasy, but I am not a big fan of high fantasy. Although I think that’s mostly that in the high fantasy books I read as a kid there was all these epic battles and fantasy powers and such, but no focus on the characters. It felt a bit too epic to me. On the other hand give me shapeshifting dragons and I am all for it. Or a world where the fae invaded. But I also like some normal elements and interesting characters. Most blurbs with weird names and fantasy world usually have me think meh no thanks. I think I prefer the more subtle fantasy or paranormal elements as well.

    I never have read Lord fo the Rings (although I did watch the first movie and enjoyed it) or Gamer of Thrones (where I haven’t even watched the series), I just don’t think it’s for me. I also think this is partly because as a kid I went through this phase of reading only high fantasy, it was all I ever read and then one day I just had enough and wanted to read something differently.

    Concerning descriptions and such I think some authors can do this well, but it’s also easy to get confused and lost. I have a horrible time remembering character names. And I want descriptions to be well done that I can imagine what everything looks like, but not too much that it gets boring. And sometimes a movie just works that much better, same with sci-fi. Sometimes one screenshot can show something where you would need a whole page to describe it in a mood.

    And sometimes I think it also fully depends on the book and how it’s written. While I usually prefer paranormal romance or urban fantasy I also try books with more fantasy now and then if they really catch my attention. I recently requested a fantasy book with weird creatures and a fantasy world that sounded really good and had the most gorgeous artwork to help you along.

    So overall I would say i also prefer books with little to moderate amounts of fantasy, but still give books with more fantasy a try if they really manage to catch my attention. it’s just rarer that happens. Great post!

    • Daniela Ark

      You are so right Lola about some authors doing the descriptions very well. To me those are the authors that can describe the settings as the action is happening so it is not just a description. I’m also waiting for a book to review that is everything I described here I don’t like (aliens worlds and races, etc.) but I accepted it because of the beautiful art work. Maybe we are talking about the same? 🙂

  16. irena_bookdustmagic

    I don’t think there’s a limit how fantastic books can be, maybe there’s only limit of reader’s imagination.
    I remember myself when first started reading fantasy, there were so many creatures I had no idea what they were. I thank Google for knowing about them now.
    I love reading fantasy from time to time. My favorite creatures are faeries, I simply adore them and want to read every book about them (but I know that’s impossible)..
    However, I still never read an epic adult fantasy. I probably will at some point, but I don’t think I’m ready for it at time.

    • Daniela Ark

      I think I also find children and YA fantasy easier to read, Adult fantasy is what I have a harder time with. I usually prefer YA to adults books in general. Great point Irena 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

  17. Mary Kirkland

    I mostly read Paranormal Romance and with that I love Fantasy as well. I like the werewolves, dragons, elves, and whatever other creatures the author wants to throw at me.. I like aliens and alien worlds. As long as the story is great, the world building is good enough for me to be able to picture the surroundings while I’m reading and the characters are fun to read, I’m all over that.

    • Daniela Ark

      Some authors are great at folding the descriptions of the settings into the action so it is almost seamless. Those books are easy to follow. Glad you enjoy whatever creatures are thrown at you 🙂 Thanks Mary!

  18. Tanya

    I can handle Urban Fantasy. Once the names and places all start turning into words I cannot pronounce, I lose interest. I have that one level of fantasy, and anything else kind of goes into another direction and I just can’t follow the story. Those are really hard for me to read.

  19. sherry fundin

    I read almost anything and do love to get lost in the world created, but I do know what you mean. I guess for me it is all about the writing. No matter the world, the question is, can the author drag me into it. 🙂

    • Daniela Ark

      Yes, that is TRUE Sherry!!! good writing can make me read ANYTHING. I like getting lost but sometimes I have a hard time finding my way back to the story. That is not the case for everyone. Thanks Sherry 🙂

  20. Maggie K.

    Hi Daniela
    You aren’t entirely alone in your dilemma. I think the difference between some fantasy books is the complexity of the world the author builds (GOT – for example) and (J. K. Rowling – Harry Potter). If you take those two for example each are fantastic fantasy but each follows a certain level of complexity. While in GOT we follow so many stories & characters in Harry Potter we follow a boy whose life has been touched by many characters. BUT it is his story, not the story of many. Fantasy is a great and entertaining genre but it is also very overwhelming. I love/enjoy fantasy but I can’t read everything.

    • Daniela Ark

      Maggie I think that is a great way to explain it! the more complex the world is the harder it is for me to follow it. Thanks for chiming in 🙂

  21. AngelErin

    I can so relate!! I used to HATE fantasy and I avoided it. Then I got really into urban fantasy type stuff and my husband said you’re reading FANTASY! So I tried to be a bit more open to fantasy novels. Now fantasy is one of my favorite genres. I love the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones books, but there is a lot of high fantasy that just isn’t for me. I still have a hard time with some high fantasy when there is too many weird names and races and what not. That can be so hard to get through. I don’t read much high fantasy, but I do enjoy it. On occasion. Rarely. 🙂 Fantastic topic Daniela! 🙂

  22. kindlemom1

    I too love fantasy but I do want a touch of realism in it as well to make it believable. 😉 Great guest post, I couldn’t agree more!

  23. Aj

    I can relate to this. I don’t read a lot of fantasy because I don’t want to spend a bunch of time bogged down in the tiny details of a world and 1000 different characters. I want to read a story. With some types of fantasy, there is a ton of stuff you have to learn and remember before you can understand the story.

  24. Angela

    It’s rare that I read fantasy but when I do I don’t want an entire book stuffed full of every magical creature imaginable. Sometimes less is more.

  25. Daniela Ark

    Thanks a lot for having me on your blog Kim! I love it here! That’s why I’m always here 🙂 I’m having the BEST time chatting with your fans. Hope you are having fun at BEA! 🙂

  26. Stacy Renee

    I am pretty much the complete opposite. I LOVE fantasy that takes place in different worlds and has dragons and elves and magic. But Urban Fantasy? That makes me cringe. Covers with a shirtless shifter guy or a woman in leather with a NYC cityscape in the distance really turns me off. I honestly don’t want to read about your everyday real world person with some slight fantasy element like the ability to change into a were-whatever or turn on electric lights with her mind. When I need to escape, I need to escape this planet and solar system all together.
    But that’s the great thing about books. There’s something for everybody.and I love that there are so many fantasy sub-genres to peruse if I ever get tired of the full-on epic high fantasy.

    • Daniela Ark

      A woman in leather with a NYC cityscape in the distance?? you just described my dream cover Stacy 🙂 How funny we are the opposite. Haha I love the “were-whatever” 🙂 yes, I think it is fantastic that there are readers for everything. That keeps writers writing and we have more of those gems called books. Thanks for visiting!

  27. Lekeisha

    I totally understand what you’re asking. I love fantasy and all it’s subgenres. I guess it depends on my mood whenever I want to pick up a fantasy book. I love high and epic fantasy, but urban will always be the front runner for me. Simply put, its easy to navigate urban fantasy worlds, even with all the paranormal beings running around. There are lots of characters, but I always seem to remember every single one and their agendas. High/Epic fantasy to me is more complicated. You have all these political agendas to deal with and characters with their own story lines within the same book. But they all want the same thing! It gets a little distracting for me, but I will read one every now and then. I actually listened to GOT instead of reading it, and it was awesome. I still haven’t gotten the other books, but I plan to one day. Great post!

    • Daniela Ark

      Oh thanks Lekeisha! That makes me feel a little better. 😉
      I think I’m just too exhausted to read high fantasy. Maybe when my kids are older and I don’t have two jobs 😉 You are right! I totally forgot about the political agendas! It is HARD to keep up with that too. Great comment! 🙂 Thanks Lekeisha!

  28. cindy

    Great post! I do not read any fantasy- well if you count Harry Potter?:) then I read all of the books- but I loved your post!

  29. Sonia

    If you’re weird, then I’m right up there with you, because I’m the same. With a slight bad temper that threatens to arise every time I heard that Mercy Thompson or Kate Daniels are no longer Urban Fantasy and should be called Paranormal Romance. The What? *puts bad temper back on the containing box*. Anyway, I have the same issue. I can’t read high fantasy. I make a few exceptions, like Juliet Marillier’s fairytale retellings, and some lighter high fantasy, but not when the wordlbuilding is too complex, a proper language is spoken, or we need an app to keep track of the thousands of characters and their relationships – even when they are reduced to half on the next books.

    • Daniela Ark

      haha I love that you have a bad temper Sonia! I 🙂
      I JUST GOT MY FIRST Mercy Thompson book!!! This morning! [I know I crawling from under my rock and catching up with the world 🙂 ] I’m with you! Mercy Thompson is SO UF! Thanks for visiting!

  30. Nick

    What an interesting post. It seems to be that you’re more of a fan of lite-fantasy, which I love too. I can’t deny though how much I enjoy high fantasy with complex worlds and politics. In the hands of the right author, all the details can be magical. But I can definitely understand why you may feel like you are getting “lost” in a sense. For me really it depends how the author handles the complexities. If it feels like info dump then I’m out of there.

    • Daniela Ark

      Info dump can be dangerous for Dory [I mean Daniela!] keep swimming, keep swimming 🙂 Thanks for visiting Nick! 😉

  31. Priscilla

    I rarely read fantasy,unless it’s Neil Gaiman 😀 Daniela, your post reminded me of an anime called Wolf Children. There’s this scene when a woman goes to bed with a wolf man. It really weirded me out.

    • Daniela Ark

      Going to bed with a wolf man does sound freaky LOL [unless is a paranormal romance and then you know those hottie shifters are OK 😉 ] Neil Gaiman has FANTASTIC reviews! How come I haven’t read his books yet! Hummm Daniela.. keep up! 🙂 I just added the Sandman to GR. Thanks for sharing Priscilla!

  32. blodeuedd

    Lol, you are like the opposite of me. I get cranky when people call HP fantasy, and I am all it takes place in this world! It is so not fantasy. I can deal with portal fantasy where they touch our world for a few pages. But a real fantasy book should take place in a weird land with lots of dragons, mad gods, and war 😉

    • Daniela Ark

      I agree that HP is right there in the gray area. That’s why I was able to ready it all and LOVED IT :). I think it had one or two dragons only 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  33. melliane

    Ah fantasy… you know I’m a big fan of urban fantasy but other than that? Fantasy is a bit tricky for me. thanks for sharing!