I'm a 21-year-old female, and I love reading fantasy books. My favorite color is pink, and I am a psychology major. You read that right... you can stop stereotyping fantasy readers now.
Over time, it seems that high fantasy novels (fantasy books that have their own unique world that is completely separate from our own) have gotten a reputation of appealing to middle-aged men that live with their parents and can't hold down a job... but that's bull crap.
High fantasy series such as Harry Potter and A Song of Ice and Fire (aka A Game of Thrones) have slowly started helping to break that stereotype. Harry Potter shows kids that fantasy is cool, and A Game of Thrones brings fantasy to the small screen and lures millions of viewers.
It's a great start, but there is still a lack in diversity of fantasy readers. So many people are deterred because of the length of fantasy novels (and series), the complicated worlds, or the weird names. Nonsense!
Length: Look at it this way -- if you are enjoying a book, don't you want more material to get to know the world and characters more?
Complicated worlds: Imagining new worlds can be difficult, but it's a lot of fun to see a world in your own unique way based on what the authors write. Also, how cool are authors for literally making worlds out of nothing? Super cool, that's what!
Weird names: Yeah, I honestly wonder if some authors just put random letters together and go with it. But sometimes the odd names actually have cool meanings to them. For instance, J.K. Rowling's names often come from Latin words or old names that correspond to who the characters are and their traits.
Basically, no matter who you are or what your normal reading tastes are, I think giving fantasy books a try is totally worth it! And if you think reading in general isn't your thing, maybe it's because you haven't tried the fantasy genre out yet.
Here are some recommendations based on personal experience and stellar reviews:
Brandon Sanderson is my personal favorite fantasy author, and I think this trilogy is the best place to start. Involving an eclectic crew trying to perform a heist to take over the Lord Ruler, this book has one of the best magic systems I've ever read, using the ingestion of metals to get powers.
THE. WRITING. If you're still weary of fantasy, I think this may be a good start. The poetic writing and characterization in this novel are some of the best I've seen throughout any genre.
A lot of people complain that fantasy novels are hard to understand, and I get that. That's why, if you've watched this show, I'd recommend reading it, too. You already know the world well, so you won't be as confused when you read about the set-up. Also, there's a lot more internal dialogue by the characters in the book, so get to know your faves better by reading the books!
This book series plays with alternative worlds and world jumping. I've never read this series, but I haven't heard any negative reviews about it!
In this book, we follow young thief Locke Lamora that has a questionable past and a gray mindset -- always a good set-up for a fantasy. Plus George R. R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss blurbed it, so there's that.
A lot of people complain that fantasy is written by old white men. Well, here's one that isn't! N.K. Jemisin is a fantastic female fantasy author with three Hugos, a Nebula Award, two Locus Awards, and a number of other honors under her belt! This one is high on my list of to-reads!