Fantasy Featuring Civil War: A Genre Guide (2024 Edition) 

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With so many sub-genres of fantasy out there, it can be helpful to break the genre down into sub-niches. This can help readers find novels that they are interested in.

Fantasy featuring civil war is a fairly common trope within the genre. Wars are incredibly common in fantasy, and civil wars definitely have their place, too. Fantasy featuring civil war is an exciting and interesting sub-genre of fantasy. Keep reading to find out more about this fascinating genre and decide if it’s one that interests you. 

Fantasy Featuring Civil War 

A civil war is defined as a conflict between two groups of people within the same country. In the fantasy genre, these groups of people are not necessarily part of the same country, and they are not always people either. Civil wars could take place between groups of giants, for example. Because it is fantasy, there are a lot of options for how these wars come to be and who is involved in them. In any case, it is a war between two groups who exist in the same community, country, island, and so on. 

There are many fantasy novels in the world that feature civil war. It is a fairly common aspect of the genre, and many authors use it in their stories. The way in which these stories incorporate civil war can vary greatly, making it an exciting and interesting genre. 

Civil wars in fantasy novels take many shapes. It may not always be a typical, physical war with battle scenes and epic heroes. It could be a civil war on a much smaller scale. Political wars are common, as are religious wars. Civil wars could erupt over possession of land or technology. They could happen due to a leader’s untimely death or the work of a supernatural being. No matter what the reason is or how the wars start, each fantasy featuring civil war is unique in its own way. 

Historical Fantasy 

Fantasy featuring civil war can be completely fictional, but it is also possible for it to fall into the historical fantasy genre. Take the American Civil War, for example. This is a historical event, but if an author chooses to use it as the backdrop for their novel, all they need to do is add in some magic to the elements of fantasy and suddenly it is a historical fantasy featuring civil war. 

There are quite a few novels in the world that use history as a premise for their fantasy featuring civil war, but it is more common for this genre to be completely fictional. 

Examples of Fantasy Featuring Civil War

fantasy civil war

Fantasy featuring civil war is quite a common theme. There are many fantasy novels that contain some element of a civil war, even if the war is not the main focus of the novel. Each of the novels or series below incorporates a civil war in a different way. There are various reasons for the wars and many different characters who come into play and who are important to both the wars and the stories as a whole. There is no one right or wrong way to incorporate civil war into a fantasy novel, and the authors below clearly show that. 

The Traitor Baru Cormorant 

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a 2015 novel by Seth Dickinson. It is the first novel in a trilogy. This novel follows Baru, a young girl who is brilliant and highly educated. After childhood tragedies, Baru vows to work her way to the top of the corrupt government on her island and eventually free her people. 

Throughout this novel, the reader journeys with Baru as she finishes her education, joins the empire, works her way up in the ranks, and leads an army. This novel is full of action and adventure. There are many things to enjoy about this novel, one of the most compelling being the sense of determination that Baru has. She is not a classic fantasy “hero,” she is much deeper than that. She may not always make the best decisions, but the reader cannot help but root for her. 

The civil war that takes place in this novel and the entire series is fascinating and complex. There are nuances and intricacies that are fascinating to read. This novel is full of surprises and unexpected twists at every corner. If you are looking for a great fantasy featuring civil war; The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a great place to start. 

Wars of Light and Shadow

The Wars of Light and Shadow series is a collection of 11 novels and several short stories by Janny Wurts. This series is packed full of magic, wars, and action and follows two half-brothers who have been raised as enemies. However, they must join forces when their country goes to war. The war they are fighting is against one of their own, so the brothers must deal with traitors as well as coming together to fight endless battles. 

This series is quite long, but each novel and short story gives new insight into the collection of characters and their world. The Wars of Light and Shadow is a great choice for a fantasy featuring civil war. 

Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne

The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne is a series of novels by Brian Staveley. There are five novels in the main cannon of this series, with several other spinoff novels and short stories that help fill out the world even more. This novel follows the story of Valyn who is the late Emperor’s son. After the emperor’s untimely death, the empire erupts in turmoil and wars. 

This novel contains many wars and battle scenes, magic, evil demons, and plenty of betrayal. The civil war that occurs in this novel is the main focus, but there are many other plot lines and stories that are also being told. It is a great look into fantasy featuring civil war, but it will also give the reader more than just a war. 


I hope this article has helped clarify what this genre is all about and given you some ideas of books to read in this subgenre.

And if you want to read more about unique fantasy subgenres on this blog, check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another fiction-literature-related topic!

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