Vigilante Fantasy: A Simple Guide (2024 Edition)

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If you’re curious about vigilante fantasy, you’ve come to the right post!

Fans of fantasy literature know that just about everything can become a fantasy. Add in vampires, magic, or elves, and you have successfully turned any story into something much more fantastic. Because of this, the fantasy genre just continues to grow larger every year. It has become a genre so vast that it can be helpful to cut down into smaller subgenres. Each of these subgenres gets more specific and niche the further down you go. 

These fantasy subgenres each have different aspects that may attract readers. For instance, some people want to read about epic quests across sweeping landscapes. Others may want to lose themselves in a love story between two werewolves. No matter what your interests are, there is almost certainly a fantasy story (and an entire subgenre) for you. 

One such small yet exciting subgenre of fantasy is vigilante fantasy. These stories are great for those who want adventure and crime-fighting from someone without legal authority. If that sounds like something that interests you, keep reading to find out more about vigilante fantasy. 

What is a Vigilante?

Before you go seeking out vigilante fantasy novels, let’s clarify what a vigilante is exactly. This clarification may help you determine if this genre is something that would spark your interest before you even pick up a vigilante fantasy book. The generally accepted definition of a vigilante is someone without legal authority who undertakes law enforcement. In these stories, the main reason a vigilante takes on this role is usually that law enforcement agencies are inadequate. 

A vigilante could be someone who works as part of a group, or it could be an individual working alone. Generally, vigilantes are considered “good,” as they help rid the community of crime when legal agencies are not doing a sufficient job. However, in these stories, not everyone considers the existence of vigilantes a good thing. Usually, these stories contain at least a few characters who think vigilantes undermine law enforcement. 

Some well-known fictional vigilantes you probably know of are Robin Hood and many superheroes with Batman as the most prominent. There are vigilantes in real life, too. Some of the most famous groups of vigilantes are the Guardian Angels, the Lavender Panthers, and the Alaskan Avenger. Just keep in mind that vigilantes are not professional crime fighters. They are citizens who are typically trying to help make their communities safer. 

Vigilante Fantasy

vigilante fantasy fanart

Now that we’ve discussed what a vigilante is, you can probably piece together the parts that make up a vigilante fantasy. We know that fantasy novels require some element of magic or the supernatural.

And for a story to be vigilante fantasy, it must have some element of vigilantism involved too. It could be the main character fighting crime, or it could just be someone that the protagonist interacts with. Generally, these vigilantes are trying to do good for their communities, though it may not always seem that way. Think of the examples of fictional vigilantes discussed above. Robin Hood fits the bill for being a vigilante because he does good for his community. He steals from the rich to give to the poor. In theory, this seems like a great thing to do. But that’s certainly not how everyone in the story views it. Some only see Robin Hood as a thief. 

There is a lot of grey area when it comes to being a vigilante. The vigilante may be trying to do good for their community, but sometimes it hurts other people along the way. Vigilante fantasies keep readers interested by playing to this fact. The protagonist is not always a straightforward “good guy.” This keeps the stories fresh, interesting, and different from some other subgenres of fantasy literature. 

Examples of Vigilante Fantasy 

Though it may seem like an interesting and exciting genre, vigilante fantasy is not the most popular. There are certainly some great vigilante fantasy novels out there, but they might be somewhat tricky to track down. If vigilante fantasy is something you would like to read, check out the recommendations below. 

The Thorn of Dentonhill 

The Thorn of Dentonhill is the first novel in a series by author Marshall Ryan Maresca. This novel blends several different fantasy genres together, so it is a great choice for many different readers. In this novel, the main character, Veranix, is a university student studying magic. He struggles through school by day, but at night he takes on his role as a vigilante. Veranix’s father was killed by a drug lord, so Veranix decides he wants to take this drug lord down. 

If high fantasy, vigilante fantasy, or gangster fantasy interest you, check out this series! There are currently three novels in this series, so you can follow Veranix on his journey through hundreds of pages of vigilante fantasy. 

The Facefaker’s Game 

The Facefaker’s Game by Chandler Birch is another great vigilante fantasy that also blends many different subgenres of fantasy together. It is an excellent starting point for someone who has an interest in vigilante fantasy but perhaps doesn’t want vigilantism to be the main focus of the story. 

In this novel, the main character, Ashes, is hoping to get out of his hometown as it is overrun with crime. He meets a man who teaches him magic in the hopes that it will help him escape. Meanwhile, a citizen vigilante is taking down a slum lord in the bad part of town. Many of the characters in this novel are living double lives. Each character in this story is only looking out for themselves. There is hardly any sense of loyalty or camaraderie between anyone making it a dramatic and suspenseful story that may appeal to many different types of readers. 


I hope this article has clarified what this genre is all about!

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

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