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.
WHICH ONE IS IT?!
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.
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
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 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)
WHICH ONE IS IT?!
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.
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
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 :)