Is Magic Taking Over Fantasy?

Ahhh. Magic. Sweet old magic. Something that’s taken over TV, and more recently – YA literature!

It’s awesome, right? Seeing an author create an entire magic system is mind-boggling and I give them props. It requires so much intricacy and outlining because you have the freedom to make anything happen. And that’s really awesome, right? I think so! But something I’ve realized more recently is that in a majority of YA fantasy, magic is a key component of the book! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s awesome and I love seeing how creative authors can get…but is it possible that magic is taking over fantasy?

Here are just a few fantasy books that include a magic system:

  1. The Wrath and the Dawn // The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
  2. The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
  3. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  4. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
  6. Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor
  7. A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy by V. E. Schwab
  8. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
  9. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  10. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

And honestly, the list goes on. But what about the list of fantasy books without a magic system? Admittedly, the list isn’t as long. Here are a few fantasy books that don’t feature magic:

  1. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  2. His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers
  3. The Broken Crown by Amryn Cross


So my question to you guys is…

Is magic taking over fantasy? Is it possible to just enjoy fantasy without an elaborate magical system with people fighting with crazy powers? What are your favorite fantasy books without magic? (Also! Huge thanks to my friends on Twitter for helping me with this post!)


10 thoughts on “Is Magic Taking Over Fantasy?

  1. iloveheartlandx says:

    Personally. I’m a big magic lover, the more the better, but I definitely see what you mean, I can’t think of many fantasy books that don’t have magic in them. I reckon it’s possible to enjoy fantasy without magic, but magic just makes it even more fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. otakutwins1 says:

    Wow…I’ve never thought about that o.o to me fantasy includes just magic. But now that I think of it it doesn’t HAVE to have magic, it could have mermaids or something…that’s so weird! Why haven’t I thought of that? XD

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Carlisa says:

    To me, magic is really what makes fantasy fantasy. But, I mean, the books you listed as examples *don’t* have a magic system, so I guess it is possible without it. But for the most part, I think some type of magic or at least magical creatures are necessary for a fantasy book because those are the elements that distinguish fantasy from real life. I feel like I need to think about this more…But good discussion, Mariam! Super thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    I’ve always kind of thought of magic and fantasy as not necessarily the same thing, but as something that went hand in hand. I guess I hadn’t really realized that you could have fantasy without having magic haha It seems kind of silly now that I think about it, but maybe that’s because the vast majority of fantasy books involve magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Claire Wells says:

    I love magic, but I do think that magic has taken over fantasy. I think that a “classic” fantasy has more magic in it. It is original and people will like it if it has an original base, whereas fantasy that strays has possibly less of a chance of being sold. Great post!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Martin says:

    I think there is a big difference between explicit magic, where spells and spell casting, i.e. wizards and witches etc. are the main componants of the book and implicit magic, where magic exists as part of the world system but is not the main focus. In LOTR there is magic but it is rarely explicit.


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