Friday, April 4, 2014

Quiz: Genre Conundrum

Okay, so admittedly, I'm not a complete expert on genres, so if you disagree with any of the things I say, then feel free to attack me in comments. Also, this isn't meant to offend in any way- I mean, I sometimes get these things mixed up as well :)

Anyway, this post is just something I thought up a few weeks back- I saw some people arguing about the genre of Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong. I personally think it's a high fantasy- it's set in another world- but some people argue that it's a paranormal. Regardless, that inspired me to write this post about some of the genres that get easily mixed up- my definitions for them and a quick quiz.

Dystopian vs Post-Apocalyptic
Post-Apocalyptic is exactly that. A book set after the apocalypse, i.e. some sort of disaster. A nuclear bomb exploding, an alien invasion, a virus that wiped out humanity, a zombie plague, whatever. But there must be some sort of disaster involved.

Dystopia definition: an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives
So I guess some post-apocalyptic novels may also sort of fall under the category of dystopian, but generally when people say "dystopian" for a book they mean a book where there are caste systems and some sort of corrupt power ruling over the people- and the journey to overthrow this power.

Well, the line does blur in some cases. Like in Partials by Dan Wells. Since that's after a virus that wiped out a good proportion of the population, it does fit the criteria of "post-apocalyptic". Personally though, I think of it as a dystopian because of the totalitarian nature of the ruling power e.g. all females aged 18 and over must have a baby to contribute to RM virus research.

Where there is some sort of apocalyptic event involved, Chantelle thinks of it like this:
Post-Apocalyptic- if the book is set just after the event
Dystopian- if the book is set some time after the event
which I think is actually quite a good way of thinking about it.

Quiz Time

Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian?
1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
4. Angelfall by Susan Ee
5. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
*Answers hidden under the spoiler tag at the bottom of the post*

High Fantasy vs Paranormal Fantasy
High Fantasy
Also referred to as Epic Fantasy. Books falling under the genre of high fantasy must be set in worlds other than our own. There must also, obviously, be a fantasy aspect to it. Mostly, this involves some sort of magic system.

Paranormal Fantasy
Paranormal Fantasy books are usually set in our world (e.g. except with ghosts or psychics or people with telekinesis), or in alternate worlds which mirror our own (e.g. except with vampires and werewolves). An example of the first kind would be Pivot Point by Kasie West, and an example of the second would be The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I sort of think of the second type overlapping with "urban fantasy". (On another note, I'd actually class The Bone Season as a dystopian as the overbranching genre, with elements of paranormal fantasy)

Well, in this case, it's pretty easy (generally...). You basically look at whether the world is the real world or not. If it's not the real world, high fantasy. If it is the real world, or if it's a world that's really similar to the real world, paranormal fantasy.

Quiz Time

Paranormal or High Fantasy?
1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
3. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Note: these answers are my opinion of what genre the books are, and as I said before, there may be people who disagree. If you can convince me that a book is another genre, that's cool too. Otherwise, we'll just have to agree to disagree :P

Click me to read answers

Dystopian vs Post-Apocalyptic
1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Post-apocalyptic all the way. Alien invasion definitely = apocalyptic event.

2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Definitely a dystopian. Look at the way they manage their society! Dividing people up into factions etc etc. Also, there's a definite lack of apocalyptic event (unless the book amnesia is kicking in again. My memory of this book is so terrible. Usually I can remember a lot of details if I've read the book more than once, but for some reason, Divergent always slips through the cracks even though I've read it three times.)

3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I'd say dystopian. Due to the military/totalitarian sort of ruling power.

4. Angelfall by Susan Ee My memory's a bit shaky, but I seem to recall that the angel invasion thing was fairly recent in the first book? Maybe?

5. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Well...this one's sort of both? I can't actually remember what the apocalyptic event is in this one, but I do remember thinking that it was a post-apocalyptic while reading, so there must have been something in there haha. But it's kind of a dystopian as well... Overall, though, if I had to choose one, I'd go for post-apocalyptic.

Paranormal vs High Fantasy
1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I would say paranormal fantasy because it's set in the "real world".

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Paranormal again, because most of the book is set in the "real world".

3. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Paranormal. Actually, lez be honest, non-fiction. Although then that would be sad because it would mean I'm a muggle. Oh, cruel world, why must I not be bestowed with magic?

4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
High Fantasy! There is a map. General rule: if there's a map it's likely to be high fantasy haha. Seriously though, it's set in an alternate fantasy land, so that qualifies for "high fantasy".

5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Another high fantasy. It's set in the fantasy world of Ardarlan.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that quiz. I do have some questions for you:
-Did you agree with all my answers?
-Are there any other books where you're confused about the genre? Ask away in comments, and I'm sure someone somewhere will be able to answer them :)