If you are wondering what the Aztec fantasy genre is, you have come to the right place. The fantasy genre itself is vast and diverse enough that breaking it down into smaller sub-genres can be really helpful. Having smaller genres can help readers define what they do and do not enjoy about a certain genre. And it can help readers find new genres to enjoy and learn from.
If Aztec fantasy is something that intrigues you, keep reading to learn more about the genre. And if you have never heard of the Aztec fantasy genre, that’s okay! You can learn all about it right here.
The Aztec people existed in central Mexico from about 1300-1521. The term “Aztec” in today’s language generally refers to people who lived in what is now Mexico City. The history of the Aztec people is fairly well-documented in both writing and pictorially.
The Aztec people are common in media including movies, TV, and books about them and their culture. Unfortunately, the Aztec population fell severely ill in 1521 when the colonization of the Americas began. The Spanish conquistadors used germ warfare on the Aztec people, and this is an element that is commonly seen in our media today.
An Aztec fantasy novel is any novel that combines elements of magic with elements of Aztec culture. This definition is pretty broad, so the influence of Aztec culture on a novel can look very different within the genre. Some Aztec fantasy novels take place during the post-classic period and are heavily influenced by the culture. Others may just reference the culture or have more subtle nods to the culture.
A novel can be an Aztec fantasy no matter how the Aztec culture or people are represented, just so long as they exist.
Many Aztec fantasy novels contain elements of the supernatural and not as much magic as many other fantasy genres. Common elements in an Aztec fantasy include communicating with the dead, worshipping various gods, and influencing the environment. Any element of the supernatural or magic will make the novel a fantasy. It does not have to be a key element to the story, it just has to be incorporated in some way.
Aztec fantasy is a great genre to dive into, at least once or twice, for many reasons. The supernatural elements of an Aztec fantasy differ greatly from those of a more “traditional” fantasy novel. There are often historical elements in the pages of an Aztec fantasy, which is often interesting and definitely different from most other fantasy novels. An Aztec fantasy will introduce you to a culture that you may not know anything about. Be prepared to learn a lot. And if you are already familiar with the Aztec culture, it is a great way to experience it from a new perspective and dive even further into the culture.
Examples of Aztec Fantasy
Aztec fantasy is not a very common genre, but it is an excellent one nonetheless. If, say, medieval fantasy is something you normally gravitate towards, Aztec fantasy could be a great change of pace. There are many similar elements between the two genres, but Aztec fantasy gives a new twist on the fantasy genre in general. You probably won’t find any wizards or dragons in an Aztec fantasy, but there are still mythical creatures and magic beings throughout the pages of many Aztec fantasy novels.
If Aztec fantasy is a genre that you are interested in, take a look at the novels recommended below. You may find something that will hold your interest as you venture into a (potentially) new genre.
The Craft Sequence series contains seven novels by author Max Gladstone. Though these novels take place in a fictional world, they are highly influenced and inspired by Aztec culture, mythology, and literature.
This series follows many different characters and their experiences with life after the God Wars. Each book can be read as a standalone, however, there are characters that cross over from book to book. Each book takes place in the same universe, but the exact location of each novel varies.
This series takes many different genres and ties them all together in a unique and interesting way. The two novels in the series that are most similar to Aztec fantasy are The Last First Snow and Two Serpents Rise. There is definitely a lot to enjoy within this series, and readers get a taste of many different genres throughout the series.
Obsidian and Blood
Obsidian and Blood is a series of novels by Aliette de Board. There are three novels in this series, each following Acatl, who is the High Priest for the Dead. This series takes place in pre-Columbian Mexico. Aztec culture plays a huge role in these novels and is a very prominent feature throughout.
The Obsidian and Blood series features a world that is on the brink of destruction. The lines between the worlds of the living and the dead are blurry. Acatl is the only person who can keep the end of the world at bay.
If Aztec fantasy, mystery, and the supernatural interest you, this is a great series to pick up. Each novel will leave you on the edge of your seat. This series is definitely a page-turner that will likely have you hooked from the very beginning.
The Rithmatist series is less of a cut and dry Aztec fantasy than the above series, but it is still worth mentioning. This series has a very Aztec feel to it, and it definitely contains a plethora of magic.
The Rithmatists are a group of warriors who defend humanity with their special set of skills and talents. This series follows the young warriors as they receive training at their academy.
Though this series may not technically be an Aztec fantasy, it has a very similar feeling to many Aztec fantasies. Fans of the genre will likely enjoy this series and perhaps find a new genre of fantasy to enjoy as well.
Aztec Fantasy: Conclusion
I hope this article has helped you better understand this unique genre!
And if you want to read more about fantasy subgenres on this blog, check out:
Lastly, if you have more questions about this or another fiction literature-related topic, feel free to leave a message in the comments below!