Slave fantasy: these are probably two words you never thought you would hear together. However, This is a popular genre of fantasy novels, and it is only getting more popular. While it is still quite a new genre, there are still a large number of books in the genre indicating it appeals to many types of readers.
This is a genre that can get quite dark. Many of the novels within the genre are meant for adults, but that does not mean that there are not great novels within the slave fantasy genre. If slave fantasy sounds like something that interests you, keep reading to find out more about the genre and get a few recommendations for novels and series within the genre.
What is Slave Fantasy?
The genre of fantasy is so incredible because there is such a vast array of stories to tell. “Magic” is such a general term that authors can do just about anything with it. The only limits in this genre are an author’s imagination. There is nothing too far-fetched that it cannot be included in a fantasy novel.
Slave fantasy is just a small sub-genre of fantasy. There are few limits as to what can or cannot be part of the story. As long as there are elements of slavery throughout the novel and some sort of supernatural or magical element to it, it is a slave fantasy. These elements do not have to be part of the main storyline, but they should play a sizable role. Just a passing mention of a slave would not necessarily make a novel a slave fantasy.
Important Aspects of Slave Fantasy
Slavery is a dark topic. There is so much darkness surrounding this topic that you can expect a slave fantasy to be rather dark, as well. And it is not a topic to take lightly. Slavery is still a problem across the world and throughout history, so it is important for authors to deal with it in a respectful manner.
A slave fantasy will, of course, also have an element of fantasy in it. This could take many different forms depending on the author’s objective. Of course, magic is very common in slave fantasies. Supernatural elements and mythical creatures are also common in the genre. There are no rules as to what magic has to exist in a slave fantasy, but it does need to exist to make it a fantasy novel. In many of the novels and series below, you will see wars and rebellions as a common theme too.
It is common for slave fantasies to be for adults, but there are novels in the genre that are for young adults and even children. Because of the heavy subject matter of the genre, however, it is most common for these to be adult novels.
Examples of Slave Fantasy
While slave fantasy is not the most popular sub-genre of fantasy, there are still many novels and series to enjoy within the genre. In the examples below, you will find a wide variety of how authors present slavery in their books. Slaves may be part of the main storyline or they may be a smaller aspect. In each of these novels, however, you will find compelling and often heartbreaking characters and storylines, as well as intricate magic systems and fantastic worlds. If you are looking for an entrance into slave fantasy, the novels below will give you a starting point.
Transformation is the first novel in the Rai-Kirah series by Carol Berg. This series follows a man named Seyonne, who has been a slave for 16 years. Each novel has elements of slave fantasy, but it is definitely most prominent in the first novel, Transformation. Throughout this novel, Seyonne deals with all of the hardships that come with being a slave. When a war against demons erupts, he is forced to make some difficult decisions.
This novel is quite dark in tone, as are many slave fantasies. It deals with demons, evil princes, and an abundance of hardships and death. Alongside all of these dark elements, the reader will also find compelling characters, intricate storylines, and a beautiful, albeit depressing, world. This novel is a great entrance into slave fantasy, and as you progress through the series you will be exposed to elements of many additional genres of fantasy as well.
The Mechanical is the first novel in a series by Ian Tregillis. Similar to the above novel, this novel has a great deal of slave fantasy, but the slave element lessens as the series progresses. This series follows a man named Jax who is on a mission to free himself from his human masters. Magic, wars, and slavery are paramount in this novel.
This novel is much less dark than the novel above. It has its moments of darkness, it is a slave fantasy after all, but the tone is a bit lighter and not quite as depressing. That said, if you are looking for a feel-good novel you certainly won’t find it in this genre.
The Liveship Traders Trilogy is a series of novels by Robin Hobb. It is quite different from the above novels, but it still falls within the slave fantasy genre. The slavery elements of this series are the main focus and they bring a massive amount of drama, mystery, and action along with them. This series follows Althea, a young girl who is faced with pirates, dragons, and a slave rebellion throughout her life.
Though this is a slave fantasy, it has a much more fantastic and light tone than the other novels I’ve mentioned in this article. It reads much more like a high fantasy series, or even nautical fantasy. Much of the series takes place on ships in the open ocean, so it is a unique take on fantasy in general, and definitely a unique take on slave fantasy. For readers looking for a grand adventure while also diving into slave fantasy, the Liveship Traders Trilogy is a great series to pick up.
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!