Diving into Subgenres

Urban Fantasy vs Epic Fantasy | Diving Into Subgenres

A lot of the time WordPress tells me that I have unknown search terms. Which personally I find quite obnoxious. Like hello, here you have 40 searches, but all are unknown. Thanks, that is so helpful…

On occasion however I do see a search term. Often about spoiler reviews which, no, I rarely do. However at the start of May my eye caught on the search: ‘Urban Fantasy vs Epic Fantasy’.

During Wyrd and Wonder editions  I wrote a few subgenre comparisons. Recently I wrote about Magical Realism vs Fabulism. Apparently someone wondered if I did some more. After musing back and forth a little I decided to have a go at it. At least one person is curious about it so why not?

I am also planning on diving into each fantasy genre seperately and writing about them. But that is a bit of a way off. I am however now ging to call these Diving Into Subgenres as a subcategory for on the blog. Anyway, let us jump in.

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy is one of those subgenres that gets a lot of attention as some bigger and well kno

wn series have come from there. The subgenre is basically set in our world and set in a city or near a city. So an urban setting so the speak.

Examples are: Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews | The Others by Anne Biship

Epic Fantasy

Epic fantasy is often said in definition with high fantasy, and while they are similar, they are not quite the same. It is set in an invented or parralel world. Adding onto that is that epic fantasy is in a very grand scale. The world is big, the stakes are super high, the conflict of the story hits everyone who lives in that world. The Evil is the Super Evil basically. I am obviously exagerating here but you get what I mean. Epic Fantasy is big and epic.

Examples are: A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin | Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams


So what are the differences. First and foremost the setting. Urban fantasy takes place in our world, specificially in the city, while Epic Fantasy takes place in an invented or parralel world.

Secondly, while with Urban Fantasy the stakes can be super high as well it always will take place in the or a city. It is much more limited in setting. Of course authors of Urban Fantasy can play with a setting but at the core, the book has to be set in the city or a very urban setting for it to be considered Urban Fantasy. Where as Epic Fantasy can move all over the place the world is set in.

Previous Comparisons and SubGenre Divings

Urban Fantasy vs Contemporary Fantasy| Grimdark vs Dark Fantasy | Magical Realims vs Fabulism | Biopunk

8 thoughts on “Urban Fantasy vs Epic Fantasy | Diving Into Subgenres

  1. I really liked this post since I’ve always wondered about urban fantasies. But what will be the difference between epic fantasy and dystopian then? Considering that stakes are super high in epic fantasy and also the worlds are GOT types

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks.

      I think as a rule dystopians are set in our world and epic fantasies are never set in our world. They are a completely different world. Dystopians are often also created by a big event in our world. (This is just out of memory though, I’d have to dig a little deeper to do a good comparison)


      1. I think what makes something a dystopia isn’t the world in which it is set, but the kind of ‘Super Evil’ as you put it above or the way the society in question has gone wrong. So, I would think an epic or high fantasy dystopia novel could be written, but usually the Great Evil in epic fantasy isn’t a dystopia.


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