Cosy fantasy is a sub-genre within the overarching genre of fantasy. This means it shares some broad similarities with every book within the family of fantasy… but it also has various specific characteristics that make it stand out against other types of books within fantasy.
What are some of the specific characteristics of Cosy Fantasy?
1) Cosy Fantasy is light-hearted. It often has a sense of humour and warmth. This distinguishes it from dark fantasy for obvious reasons!
2) Cosy Fantasy will always have a happy/morally satisfying ending. It is the ultimate escapism. That doesn’t mean there may not be threads that need resolving later on in the series, however!
3) Cosy Fantasy tends to focus on developing characters and relationships as the major plot arcs. This is in contrast to epic fantasy where developing politics/war/big picture social change/big adventure quest tends to feature as the major plot arc.
4) Cosy Fantasy often features domestic settings. Think of writing a book based mainly in The Shire…
5) Cosy Fantasy doesn’t take itself super seriously. It may have deep and meaningful themes running throughout, but the main aim is to give the reader a good time. We aren’t writing epics or literary masterpieces… just good ol’ fashioned entertainment.
6) Cosy Fantasy can have suspense, adventure, and tragedy… but these elements are balanced with the humour and fun which dominate the vibe of the book.
7) Cosy Fantasy tends to be an easy read. You aren’t going to have to spend a hundred pages trying to get into the world and remember everyone’s names! The plots tend to be tightly structured and the language fairly simple. This means it is a perfect gentle genre for holiday reads/crashing out after work.
If you could recommend three top cosy fantasy books, what would they be?
* The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J.Klune
* The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
* Magical Midlife Madness by K.F.Breene.
Why do you love Cosy Fantasy so much?
One of the things I love about Cosy Fantasy is that it balances the imagination, inventiveness and adventurousness of the fantasy genre with the cosy, feel-good, escapism vibes of your ultimate comfort read. It’s as if Cosy Fantasy both holds my hand and also enables me to fly all at the same time.
Moreover, I love the fact that Cosy Fantasy often features underrepresented groups that rarely get centre-stage in mainstream publishing. For example, Magical Midlife Madness really highlights both the joys and challenges of a woman in midlife. Ultimately, midlife is presented as an exciting and positive identity. Or, put it another way, this book made me excited about the positives of becoming middle-aged! In a world where the term ‘middle-aged’ is often presented as something negative, I think this book is a fab example of how Cosy Fantasy as a genre often highlights and celebrates identities that can be frowned upon. The queer representation in The House in the Cerulean Sea is another great example of this.
Finally, I really love the fact that Cosy Fantasy often contains deep and meaningful commentary on society (as fantasy and myths have always done) but in a way that is so easy to digest you don’t ever feel preached at or deep-thinking. You can really enjoy a really easy read packed with humour and a fast-paced plot… but there are these deeper undertones which prevent the genre from becoming shallow. There’s often a depth there, a real investigation of what it means to be human and to live in a complex world. And at the same time, you can just wash along in the story and enjoy it.
Plus… who doesn’t like a bit of magical fun?!
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