Monster hunters may not seem like they fit into the fantasy genre, but they actually add a very interesting element to the genre. Monster hunter fantasy is a unique genre that features mythical creatures, magic, and wars, alongside people hunting monsters. It can be a genre that gets quite dark. But it can also be a genre full of humor and romance. Keep reading to find out more about this fascinating genre, and get some recommendations for novels and series within the genre.
What is a Monster Hunter?
Before we discuss this genre of fantasy, we must first understand what a monster hunter is. Monster hunters are fairly simple to understand. They are simply people who hunt monsters.
The motivations for monster hunters are various, and they could differ from time to time even between the same person. Some of these motivations could include things like capturing and killing monsters, performing tests on them, or using them for other purposes. Regardless of what their intentions are, monster hunters are seeking to hunt monsters.
These “monsters” could be a variety of creatures or beings. They could be monsters like we picture in our closets as children, or they could be things like bigfoot. Depending on the author, monster hunters could be hunting creatures such as dragons, vampires, or elves. They do not have to be monsters in the traditional sense. Monster is a blanket term to describe any non-human creature that usually has malintent.
Demon Hunters vs Monster Hunters
Demon hunter fantasy is another genre of fantasy that is quite similar to monster hunter fantasy. Demon hunters are also monster hunters, they are just more specific in the type of monster they are hunting. Demons are, in a sense, monsters.
Demon hunters go after demons, of course. And their motivations are often just as various and sometimes vague as monster hunters. They could be trying to eradicate demons, or they could be trying to capture them for their own benefits. Demon hunters fall under the umbrella of monster hunters. So demon hunters in a novel could classify the novel as monster hunter fantasy, as well as demon hunter fantasy.
Monster Hunter Fantasy
Now that we have an understanding of what a monster hunter is and what they do, we can discuss monster hunter fantasy. Monster hunter fantasy features monster hunters who use some kind of magic or supernatural ability to hunt monsters. How an author chooses to depict this magic can vary, but there is always some element of magic.
As we know, monster hunters have varying motivations, and this remains true in a monster hunter fantasy. They could be hunting monsters in order to protect their community. Or, they could be doing it for their own personal gain. There are no rules as to what this motivation is, so this is where the genre gets interesting.
There are also no rules as to what creatures are “monsters”. It could be Sasquatch, zombies, ghosts, or anything in between. The term “monster” is fairly loose, so authors have a lot of room for interpretation. Virtually any non-human creature can be a monster, so it makes the genre a very interesting one to dive into.
Examples of Monster Hunter Fantasy
Monster hunter fantasy is an interesting genre with a wide range of stories, monsters, and magic to discover. The series and novels below each interpret monsters as something unique and different, so each one has a very distinct feeling to it. If you are looking for an entrance into monster hunter fantasy, look no further than the novels below.
The Witcher is a series of novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, of which there are five in the main cannon of the series. There are also three short stories and one standalone novel that also fit into the series and take place in the same universe. This series is generally classified as dark fantasy. It contains many mature themes and ideas, so it is suited best for adults. Young adults and children should steer clear of this series.
In this series, “witchers” are a group of humans who have supernatural abilities to hunt monsters. These humans rule the world in which the story takes place. All of the other depicted races including dwarves, elves, dryads, and vampires, are second-class citizens. The witchers are assassins and they take their monster hunting very seriously.
This series contains many wars, a lot of violence, and plenty of dark and depressing scenes. It is a very hopeless book. Alongside the dark and depressing vibe of this series, the author has built an incredible world along with an intricate magic system used to hunt monsters. For adult readers looking for a great dark fantasy series that includes plenty of monster hunting, this is the series to pick up. It is not a light or quick read, but it is one you won’t soon forget.
The Band is a series of novels by Nicholas Eames. This series will likely be a trilogy, with the third installment coming in 2022. Eames also has several short stories and spin-off novels in the works to compliment the main trilogy. You can read any of the novels in this series as standalone novels, but they work better as a series. Each novel follows a different band of monster hunters and the adventures that they get into on their journeys.
Kings of the Wyld is the first novel in the series and by far the most popular. It follows Clay Cooper as he reunites with his old band to save a bandmate’s captured daughter. They face many different beasts on their mission to rescue her, and they demonstrate that though they may be old and retired, they can still hunt monsters with the best of them.
The Band is a great entrance into monster hunter fantasy. It is a short series that requires low commitment. Even if you only choose to read one of the novels in this series, you will still get a complete story full of action, adventure, and monster hunting. As long as you don’t mind waiting for the finale novel, The Band is a good series to try out.
The Sharing Knife is a series by Lois McMaster Bujold that was originally one novel but has since been split into two volumes. She then wrote a sequel which was also divided into two volumes. There has since been another installment in the series published, bringing the total number of books in the series to five. For readers looking for a great romance alongside monster hunting and historical fantasy, this is a great series to try.
This series takes place in a parallel United States that has witnessed the collapse of a magical culture. There is a large amount of lore and fictional creatures to be aware of throughout this series, but the main premise is that clans of Lakewalkers patrol the area and kill monsters before they are able to gain strength and power. The Lakewalkers are held in low regard by the neighboring farmers, though they are all humans.
The Sharing Knife is a series that covers many genres. Monster hunter fantasy, historical fantasy, and romance are just a few of the genres that exist in the pages of this unique series. For those looking for monster hunting and who do not like to read horror, this is a great choice. Though the monsters in this series may be evil, there is not a sense of fear or horror as in many other novels in this genre. It is much lighter in that sense.
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.
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