Thoughtful Thursday: Fantasy by a whisker

Today we welcome Kit Berry, author of the STONEWYLDE series for young adults. I’m currently enjoying the first of the five STONEWYLDE books, Magus of Stonewylde. Kit didn’t originally think of her series as a fantasy until it was picked up by Gollancz. She’s here to talk about that and to find out what you think about books that barely fit into the fantasy genre. One commenter from the USA will win a copy of Magus of Stonewylde.

Kit BerryStonewylde, as far as I was concerned, did not fall into the Fantasy genre. Originally the first three books in the series were self-published in the UK, and had gained something of a cult following. The story is contemporary and set in the real world, but it strays into the realms of magical realism. A young girl, the victim of illness and bullying, visits a walled-off community in the middle of nowhere to find healing and respite. Rather like the isolation of an Amish settlement, things are done somewhat differently at Stonewylde and gradually the Outside World becomes irrelevant. But the apparent idyll is a façade, and slowly the darkness at the heart of Stonewylde is revealed in all its horror and cruelty. The girl overcomes her illness and falls in love – but what follows tests her to the limits of endurance.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsImagine my surprise when my literary agent took me along to Gollancz’s offices in the centre of London, and I was presented with “an offer I couldn’t refuse”! The famous publishers, renowned for sixty years of publishing the very best in science fiction and fantasy, wanted Stonewylde. They snapped up the worldwide rights to the three existing books and the final two that would complete the series. I protested that Stonewylde really wasn’t fantasy, but my new editor-to-be (whom I share with Joe Abercrombie, amongst others) assured me that it was. She was adamant; Stonewylde would be re-born as a sparkling new fantasy series, and would appeal to anyone who liked their characters dark, their story twisted, and their hearts broken.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsAll five Stonewylde books are now out there and I’m working on something new. It’s not fantasy, but it does contain dark elements of the supernatural. I guess I’m just not able to sit completely within a genre, but have to fidget about within several, trying to get comfortable. I would imagine that many readers are the same and don’t slavishly stick to one genre alone. So my Thoughtful Thursday question is this: what other books/series do you feel only just fit into the fantasy genre by a whisker? And does this matter?

One commenter from the USA will win a copy of Magus of Stonewylde.
You can learn more about Kit Berry at her website or Facebook.


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TERRY WEYNA, on our staff since December 2010, would rather be reading than doing almost anything else. She longs to be a full-time reviewer, critic, scholar and writer, but nonetheless continues to practice law as a civil litigator in California. Terry lives in Northern California with her husband, professor emeritus and writer Fred White, the imperious but aging Cordelia Louise Cat Weyna-White, and a forever-growing personal library that presently exceeds 15,000 volumes.

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8 comments

  1. April /

    The only time it matters is in placement – people who read mostly fantasy or standard literature may not see the book as it is usually only placed in one category physically say in a brick and mortar store. However, in this digital age, every book can be put in multiple categories and would be much easier for stumbling upon.

    As far as reading in one genre, I prefer not to limit myself. There are too many good stories out there to just want one flavor.

  2. I just picked up The Golem and the Jinni. The set-up reads like pure fantasy (note the title characters) but it is getting the full literary treatment.

  3. sandyg265 /

    I don’t care what genre a book fits in as long as it’s good since I read multiple genres. I actually picked up Diana Gabaldon’s books because they were shelved in the Sci-Fi & Fantasy section of the bookstore even though other then the time travel element I wouldn’t classify them as fantasy.

    • April /

      Well, there is the apothecary too – especially the scene in l’Hopital des Anges. But yes, could be considered only marginally fantasy/scifi.

  4. Leland Eaves /

    Looks good.

  5. RedEyedGhost /

    Bernard Cornwell’s The Warlord Chronicles barely fits into the fantasy genre, by the sliver of what could be considered coincidence. I don’t think it matters what genre into which a book falls, because good books are good books.

  6. I think the trilogy sounds wonderful, whether Fantasy or not. It reminds me of “The Village,” and I loved the premise of that. I’ll be on the lookout for these books. Wishing Kit huge success! :-)

  7. RedEyedGhost if you live in the USA, you win a copy of Magus of Stonewylde!
    Please contact me (Marion) with your US address and I’ll have the book sent right away. Happy reading!

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