3 Reasons Why Fantasy Authors Love The Alluring Fae

Why have so many fantasy novels included the fae recently? Read on to learn more.

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The side profile of an elf with her eyes closed and surrounded by greenery.

Fae, fay, faerie, fair folk — there are many names for these supernatural, ethereal creatures. (Though faerie refers to a specific kind of fae.) They are present in various cultures worldwide and in many fantasy books. Within the last two decades or so, the fae have quickly risen in popularity in fantasy. But why? Why do so many fantasy authors make use of them? Read on to learn more, as well as get into a few books that feature the fae.

The Fae (At Least the Ones in This Article)

In many cultures, fae include a variety of creatures: elves, pixies, changelings, dryads, and so many more. The different kinds of fae are sometimes included in fantasy, more often than not, they’re basically just elves with magic — humanoid creatures with elongated ears, ethereal beauty, and long lifespans. Since these are the most popular, these are the ones that we will discuss.

They’re Trending

This is more of a recent thing, but the point still stands. Books with fae in them, particularly YA books, have been trending. It’s a tale as old as time. A book about something sells well, and the next thing you know, there are five other authors writing about the same thing. It’s like how Twilight really started the vampire craze; there were vampire books before, but they exploded after this series was published.

"A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas book cover showing a beast with an arrow in its throat.
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In A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Feyre kills a wolf she found in the woods, and a fae named Tamlin comes to drag her to their land as retribution. As she adapts to a land she only knew from legends, her feelings for Tamlin change from icy hate to a deep passion. But an old shadow is growing over the land, and unless Feyre can stop it, Tamlin and the Fae land are doomed.

People are Familiar with Them

Because the fae are popular, people are more familiar with them. Using a more obscure supernatural creature is perfectly fine, but people are less likely to know about them, which may make them less likely to pick up a book about them. Every author wants their books to sell well, so sometimes they incorporate trends like this one.

"The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black book cover showing a crown caught in tree branches.
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Jude from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black was a child when her parents were killed, and she and her twin sister were kidnapped and forced to stay in the High Court of Faerie. Now, ten years later, Jude desperately wants to fit in despite her mortality. But these fey hate humans, particularly Prince Cardan, who is the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To make her desires come true, she must defy him. But everything has a price, and Jude must pay hers.

They Add a Touch of Magic

Not all fae have magic, but adding magic to them makes the novel seem more fantastical. Fantasy is a great escapist method, but a touch of magic added to different creatures makes it even more so. Not to mention how including any type of magic system can change worldbuilding, history, lore, culture, and much more.

'The Iron King' by Julie Kagawa book cover showing green leaves, gold feathers. and a crown.
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In The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, Meghan Chase has always been a little off since her father disappeared when she was six years old. Now, at sixteen, her younger brother goes missing, and she learns the truth: she is the secret, half-faery daughter of a legendary faery king, as well as a pawn in a war. She will learn how far she is willing to go for a loved one, how to stop an evil no one else can, and how to find love with a prince who would rather she die than let her near his cold heart.

Novels with fae in them open up our worlds and make reading about them that much more exhilarating. We can only hope that fantasy authors will keep writing them.


For more on fae, click here.

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