fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsI’m taking a writing course next semester and was thumbing through the textbook when I saw the chapter on clichés. The clichés mentioned were not particularly Fantasy-related but it did get me thinking about all the typical clichés we see in Fantasy. Genre fiction seems to be particular prone to this writing faux pas, and I’m not exactly sure why.

Maybe writers of Fantasy get so wrapped up in building a fantastical world that they forget that a farm boy can only become king so many times. It could be that authors have spent so much time developing complex lineages that they fail to realize that there have been more than a few princesses who have learned the error of their ways.

I will also admit that seeing a clichéd story line doesn’t usually immediately turn me off (see my review of Alexey Pehov’s Shadow Prowler as a good example of my level of tolerance). I love a well-written peasant-finds-hidden-power-within-himself story, and I think many Fantasy fans feel the same way. That forgiving nature may be another reason why we see recycled story elements  so often. What clichés do you loathe to see in the stories you read? Which ones do you tolerate? Are Fantasy authors guiltier than other writers? Leave a comment below and we’ll pick one of you to choose a book from our Stacks.


  • Justin Blazier

    JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.