Friday, July 08, 2016

Escaping Into Fantasy

I was never really into fantasy books.

Sure, I'd love for a sparkly vampire to crawl through my window and sweep me off my feet, but that's like saying you like spicy food when really you just like pepper. Vampires are practically mainstream now.

But in the past couple of years, I've found myself drawn to the fantasy aisles of the bookstore more. My love for contemporary novels has cooled just a bit and I'm now craving things a bit less real. A bit less like real life.

I think I started reading more YA years ago because I related more to the less jaded, unmarried, childless characters than those in so many adult fiction books. I didn't want to read about women who were getting divorced or dealing with preschool applications. Or school. Or work...or any of the mundane things I actually do deal with in my life. And I think that's why, lately, I've been reading way more fantasy than contemporary. I need a better escape.

Last night, I made the fairly long 4.5 hour drive home from the beach and listened to HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas the entire way. It's the third in the THRONE OF GLASS series and it's incredibly epic and about [fill in fantasy word I can't use because it's a spoiler]. I was lost in that world the entire drive, enjoying the wonderful storytelling as I made my way home. And then, once home and inside, I looked at twitter and saw that something terrible was going on in the world: more people were being shot and killed.

I kind of wanted to get back in the car and drive some more. Instead, I got off Twitter and read more fantasy before going to sleep. Even if I'm reading for escapism, it doesn't mean my heart doesn't hurt for so many people at the same time.

A war is on the horizon in the book I'm reading. One that involves magic and fae and swords and ancient stones and good vs evil and it's intense! But it's the escape I want and need right now. It's a story that can translate thematically to the real world, but it's different enough that I can let myself get lost in the fantasy.

I like that for 300+ pages of a book I can think about things that aren't real: fae wars, ancient curses, immortal kings, shapeshifters, magic, and yes, even vampires sometimes.

I used to only want to read about characters who were real, people who could exist in our world...but now, I'm gravitating toward worlds that aren't too like ours because I can read about our problems all I want just by checking out Twitter or turning on the news, and sometimes, I need to get away from it. Away from our world. So, thank you, writers, for sharing your imagination and creating these amazing worlds for me to escape to. Thank you for writing fantasy.

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