Hello bookworms! As you may have noticed, I am participating in the Polarthon on twitter, a readathon focused on building up to a polar fantasy novel. For some participants, every book they are reading is polar fantasy but for others like myself I am going through the prompts with different options first.
Before joining this readathon I didn’t totally have a handle on what polar fantasy was. I knew I enjoyed books that had the influence of Northern folklore, and I liked themes like the Snow Queen retelling and the presence of wintry magic. I just didn’t realize there’s a whole genre built around books that feature these things!
So to answer the question in my title: polar fantasy is a genre of books in which the fantasy elements are influenced by icy magic, Northern folklore (typically Scandinavian, Russian, or Germanic), and the presence of arctic creatures such as polar bears. A well known example of this is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, in which much of the story concerns the magic around the Arctic circle of his world.
I am fascinated by this genre for multiple reasons, the first being that I have a love of the Scandinavian caused by my time living in Denmark and my husband’s Icelandic background. The second is that I love unique fantasy world building. Traditional high fantasy tends to get a bit boring and uniform, so throwing in some dark snowy nights and new magical creatures like talking polar bears can sometimes be just what a story needs to mix it up.
Unfortunately for my reading resources, a lot of the top recommended polar fantasy books aren’t available on Kindle Unlimited, and for those that my library has ebook copies of are so popular that I couldn’t imagine getting access before the end of the Polarthon. Nonetheless, I have placed a hold on East by Edith Pattou, am second in line, and holding on to hope that I’ll be able to get a copy by the 9th and whip through it in time!
Otherwise, I am definitely adding a lot of the polar fantasy recs I’m seeing to my TBR. There are several nicely made lists on GoodReads of polar fantasy books ranging from Middle Grade to YA to NA. Also, if that’s your sort of thing, there are a lot of paranormal romances involving polar bear shifters on Kindle Unlimited. A lot.
Do you read polar fantasy? If so, any recommendations? If like me you’re new to the genre, what do you think of it?