A little while ago I posted a discussion about the pros and cons of fairytale retellings, because while I love the subgenre that doesn’t mean there aren’t some people who avoid those books, and it also doesn’t mean I’m blind to the cons. Someone mentioned in the comments that I could do a pros and cons post for all genres, after all there are certainly enough of them out there.
Rest assured I’m not going to do a pros and cons post for every genre. Some, like fantasy and contemporary, are too large and comprehensive to work in my mind; but after I posted my fairytale retelling post I got to think about another genre I love, another genre I want to see more of but one that does have some cons.
The Pros and Cons of Magical Realism
Magical realism is a relatively new genre, at least it is in my opinion. I discovered it a couple of years ago when I picked up Bone Gap and immediately fell in love, both with the story and the genre itself. Ever since then I have been picking up every magical realism book I can get my hands on and there’s yet to be one I’ve read haven’t loved.
It’s Magic in the Real World
While I love reading fantasy books there’s something about the world and the magic there that feels untouchable. I’m never going to be able to go to Hogwarts or travel to Red London, but the magical realism books I’ve read make me believe it could be possible for me to encounter magic in real life; be it though a girl with flowers growing from her wrists, or a boy with feathers growing where his hair should be.
They’re Primarily Standalones
There are a lot of benefits to books that are part of a series, but when it comes to magical realism I’ve found standalones work better. This also means there is never going to be an agonising wait for the next book to be released.
I’m not actually aware of any magical realism books that are part of a series, unless you count The Raven Cycle books as magical realism. I never used to, but the more I think on it the more I agree that Stiefvater’s series does fit within the genre.
They’re Some of the Most Beautifully Written Books I’ve Read
All the magical realism books I’ve read have been written like poetry, they’re beautiful stories full of important messages that really do stay with you for a long time.
The Lack of World-Building
One thing I’ve noticed in all the magical realism books I’ve read is that there isn’t a lot of world building. It’s something that works well don’t get me wrong, nothing is fully explained which only adds to the magic in the story but it can make things really confusing. Vassa in the Night was a magical realism book I enjoyed for the most part, however for most of the story I had no clue what was happening, and the lack of world building only meant I never got any satisfactory answers as to what Vassa was going through.
There’s Not a Lot of Choice
Like I said earlier magical realism is still a relatively new genre, and as such there aren’t that many books within it that you can read if you discover and fall in love with the genre the way I did.
Magical realism is a new genre, but it’s growing. There are two incredible books still to be released this year, by my favourite magical realism authors no less, I can’t wait to get my hands on. Also it seems like I’m also discovering old books I read and marked as ‘Contemporary’ or ‘Fantasy’ or ‘Paranormal’ actually fit better in the ‘Magical Realism’ genre than any of the others.
However I’m aware that there are plenty of people who are not fans of the magical realism genre, and I can kind of understand that. After all if you’re used to fantasy books where the world building is expansive and comprehensive then magical realism books, where the magic is never fully explained, can be hard to wrap your head around. It’s hard for me at times.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Do you enjoy magical realism books, or do you find yourself avoiding them more often than not? Why?
What pros and cons do you think there are when it comes to the genre? Do you agree with the ones I’ve discovered or not?
What is the best magical realism book you’ve picked up, also what would you say was the worst?
Let me know in the comments below.