High Fantasy / Epic Fantasy

What is High / Epic Fantasy?

A popular subgenre that's often used interchangebly with Epic Fantasy. We feel there is a distinction, however. High Fantasy tends to focus more on the setting and the change and choices made by the protaganist while epic fantasy tends to focus on the SCALE of conflict which affects the world at large. Epic fantasy features a large cast of characters while High Fantasy usually fewer.

Because these two genres can include elements of the other, it's easy enough to see why people call HIgh and Epic fantasy one and the same.

Click here if you want to read the differences between Epic and High fantasy.

The classic definition of “High Fantasy” often refers to the secondary or parallel world created for readers. The world we live in may be acknowledged, in the form of visitors, or exile, or some other oblique reference; but it is not the world in which the story’s action takes place. There, magic is a commonplace tool much in demand due to the power and cunning of evil characters attempting to thwart our heroes’’ attainment of their objectives (which tend to be grand and involve saving the world and all its good inhabitants).

Are you still confused about High Fantasy? Another way to think about High Fantasy is that it is usually about the journey of the hero through an exotic landscape where the journey and change upon the protagonist (and companions) is JUST as important as the ultimate quest or goal.

Other Features of High High Fantasy

Level of Magic

Magic figures strongly in this type, but it is not used willy-nilly. It is a commodity that must be used wisely to be effective. Typically, magic is very common in quest fantasy, epic fantasy, and high fantasy though it depends on the style of the author.

Level of Characterization

The level of characterization in High Fantasy tends to be high. The focus, afterall is often on the hero and his or her choices and the consequence on the world at large of those same choices.

Level of Plot Complexity

Usually complex. The end goal is usually to fulfill some quest -- either a personal quest or a quest on behalf of someone (or something) else.

Level of Violence

Variable, but usually not graphic enough to be offensive to most readers.

Related Types of Fantasy

Pretty much anything having an identifiable hero up against a capable thwarter can be considered related. The main elements—hero, quest, obstacles—are found to some degree in the Epic, Realistic, Coming-of-Age, Historic, Heroic, Political, and, to some extent, Romantic Fantasy subgenres.

High Fantasy Isn’t For You If

If all fantasy fiction seems the same to you, you probably don’t appreciate the subtle distinctions that make High Fantasy different from, say Political Fantasy. Which probably means that the alien-ness of this genre doesn’t appeal to you. If you generally don't like the standard fantasy with magic, strange races, and exotic settings, you probably won't find High Fantasy appealing.

Lesser Known Quest/High Fantasy Series Books in the Genre

If you like the story. Share it!



oow nice a book that i haven't read yet and is 4th... high fantasy aint as popular as it was 15 years ago but it still fires my nheart.. maybe cous it closely resembels alot of manga that i read. if authers would start reading manga we would have so much new and refreshing books


furies caulderon, was good read spend a week reading all 6 books. well/cleaverly writen, clearly diveded chapters, the humor could make me laugh.... not that i was laughing evry chapter or something. but the auther clearly intended his readers to laugh at some situations. The jokes are mostly ironic but they fit the warrior fighting the hard battle sphere that is in the book. characters were finely flashed out with a past and making the story only more engaging.. dunno if that was a good word for it.. but it was a good story, would give it a 8 out of 10.


Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta <3<3<3<3<3

Greg C.

Hello I'm looking for a fantasy book called "The Last Flight Home"...The author is from England who's mind was so great by creating a fantasy story from the underground world.The book has great profiles of picture of underground warriors and creatures...like the elfs geat warrioir,their weapons etc.. i like the book so much,,I have it before but somebody stole it from my car when I was steal in United States....Please e'mail me if someone has this kind of book, if some good heart is willing to share or give the book..I will be very happy to accept, thanks....grgcaballo@yahoo.com

Serina Lugov

Orson Scott Card's s Seventh Son series usually ends up in the Science Fiction category, because Card writes so much science fiction. But really, this particular series ought to be considered High Fantasyl.I especially recommend the first three volumes.