The Reality of Romance

When it comes to reading, one can take many different approaches. Books are split up into a few categories, fiction, realistic fiction, nonfiction, and fantasy, to name a few. For this article, we will speak about romance and its use within fantasy.

Fantasy romance is any work of fiction with fantastical, magical, or non-human elements (not set in space, and not with a technology focus, as this would be classified as sci-fi), where there’s a significant romantic element. Many new readers love fantasy fiction because it allows them to escape from the real world and read about an entirely made-up, magical land where anything is possible.

Realistic fiction is a genre that is more closely related to the real world, as it takes many aspects of reality and twists them into a different, made-up story. One is not better; they are simply different writing styles with other plots, characters, abilities, and themes.

When one considers romance, there are different approaches that an author can take. Fantasy novels typically involve some sensual, magically-gifted male character to entice the reader solely because he has power. In the case of the book “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J Maas, all of the male love interests for the main character are fae, meaning that they possess magical gifts that allow them to wield power, unlike any other being. The main character and the novel’s readers are equally enticed and seduced by the pure power that radiates from the male character. Pennridge freshman Julia Kuhns remarks that the main love interest of ACOTAR was “dark and mysterious,” and his demeanor ultimately drew her in. In the case of fantasy, it might appear more accessible to create lovable love interests because other elements can compensate for the lack of looks. Instead of relying solely on looks and charm, the character has a little room, and their powers or gifts can draw a reader in.

People often consider romance fantasy and romance to be the same regarding the plotline, whereas they are very different. Romance Fantasy is when there is a romance subplot within the storyline. At the same time, Romanatasy is when the romance subplot in the novel is larger than the conflict occurring in the novel’s plot. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” was a great example of a romance subplot that doesn’t go past the actual conflict occurring in the story. Therefore, it is considered a fantasy romance.

In realistic fiction romance, there is no magic, as the book is based on the real world. This means that characters have less originality. If authors want to make them memorable, they must have an impeccable personality to be considered charming and exciting. When interviewed, Julia Kuhns provided insight on this subtle detail, saying “Yes,” it was harder to fall in love with realistic fiction male characters moreso than fictional ones “just because they make the fiction love interests seem so perfect.”

That is not to say that one is more enjoyable to read than the other; they are merely different types of fiction. Realistic fiction allows for a more relatable read, sets acceptable and practical standards for love interests, and can better help prepare young readers for their relationships. In contrast, it isn’t accessible if you expect your partner to wield magic from their fingertips.