I Came: A Gamelit Fantasy Romance Novel, an Emerging Genre
An emerging genre, of gamelit fantasy romance novel has a unique blend of magic, human and nonhuman characters, and love. I Came, a fantasy romance story by Joanne Reid, offers an excellent example that defines this new genre perfectly. Here’s more on the genre and this enchanting tale.
What Is a Fantasy Romance Novel?
A fantasy romance novel has elements of both fantasy stories and romance novels. Authors have written many different types of fantasy books, including low fantasy, which typically takes place on earth. By contrast, high fantasy usually takes place in a fantastical world.
High fantasy books usually have nonhuman characters like elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, and orcs. These also exist in Reid’s fantasy world, along with Krelli, Octopods, and Gaunts. In addition, you will encounter human characters who have found themselves transformed into nonhumans. Although I Came has an interesting technology-driven backstory, the main story falls neatly into this category of fantasy called high fantasy.
A fantasy romance novel also has the romantic aspect that appeals to so many of today’s readers. Thus, in any book in this genre, you can expect people to fall in love and become couples. While I Came has a very light romantic touch, it lights the match, set to become a flame later in The Jaralii Chronicles.
Setting the Stage in a Fantasy World
For the fantasy aspect, the author must engage in world-building, which includes defining and describing the world in which the story happens. This type of setting has physical locations, buildings, nature, types of beings, and any magic systems they use.
In I Came, at the start of the tale, the main character finds himself suddenly transported to a different world. The rest of the trilogy’s first book takes place there, on the planet Trahe, on the continent of Jaralii. The Kingdom of Umbeqjaralii plays a central role in the story. Significantly, the defense of this kingdom helps drive the story forward.
Like most high fantasy stories, this novel has fauna and flora unknown on earth. Also familiar in fantasy books, its setting resembles earth’s medieval period, with castles, kings, and guilds. With a unique brand of magic all its own, I Came sets itself apart from other fantasy novels.
Elements of Romance in Fantasy
Of course, you can’t have a fantasy romance novel without romance. Furthermore, you need characters who could fall in love. In today’s romance stories, people usually prefer the female character to be strong and independent. The male must have desirable qualities and often has power or wealth.
I Came offers a unique twist on these characters. As Reid describes him, a “pudgy, grey-haired, middle-aged man” transforms into a beautiful female elf at the story’s beginning. This elf, now Princess Gilraën Gulámae of the Elves of the Green Mountain-Maidstone Forest, slowly adjusts to her femininity through this first book of the trilogy.
The male in this romantic duo goes by the name of Prince William. William, a handsome man with a deep baritone voice, makes the ideal love interest for Lady Gilraën.
Establishing an Independent Character
Romance novels, particularly fantasy romance novels, need to have strong characters to fall in love. As soon as Gilraën comes to Trahe, her training begins. From wrestling to sorcery, the elf finds herself at the top of every class. She also shows intellect and humor, along with the leadership of the Giraen’s Ghillies, the brand-new cavalry she creates for the kingdom. In short, she has all the characteristics of a strong, independent woman.
Meanwhile, Prince William has strength, wealth, power, and a fascinating appearance. This intelligent and attractive man makes a suitable match for Lady Gilraën.
Crafting the Element of Surprise in a Fantasy Romance Novel
Any romance does well to include an element of surprise. You might see an even greater potential for unpredictable love relationships in fantasy romances. After all, you learn the rules of a fantasy story’s world and its magic system only as you read. That makes it hard to guess who will end up with whom.
In I Came, Reid creates the element of surprise wonderfully. An unexpected pairing gives the love story an air of suspense and intrigue. In this fantasy romance novel, Lady Gilraën is not pursuing Prince William – far from it. Indeed, the fact that she must adapt to being female makes Prince William’s advances even more surprising to her and the reader.
Initiating the Spark
In romances, a time comes when the main character and her love interest notice each other. They may react with fascination, excitement, or irritation at that moment. In any case, they recognize immediately that this other person will be significant in their lives.
The same is true in the fantasy romance novel I Came. At first, William gets angry that a female elf had come when he expected a male human. However, his frustration soon turns to interest as he sees that Lady Gilraën reminds him of the wife he lost long ago.
As for Lady Gilraën, the sparks nearly fly over her head. Having come from planet earth, where her world was all about VR gaming and technology, she considers her goal to play and win a game. Yet, she finds herself in a world that seems more real than she ever expected.
Still getting used to her femininity, she hesitatingly but willingly accepts William’s advances. The sparks begin to catch, and the story expands to include the element of romance.
Developing the Connection
Once the romance has sparked, a romance story must follow through by developing a deeper connection between the protagonist and the love interest. Fantasy authors can accomplish this task in many ways, but the two must spend time together, engage in activities, or work together towards some common goal.
I Came begins building this relationship not long after Lady Gilraën and Prince William meet. The prince always invites Gilraën to sit with him during feasts. Later, they work together to plan the defense of the kingdom. Near the end of this first book of Gilraën and the Prophecy, the two sit on a balcony, a couple in love, contemplating what could happen next.
Promises of Things to Come
By the end of a fantasy romance novel, you can expect to see a HEA (happily ever after) or HEN (happy for now) ending. Finding out which one might come in I Came may keep you reading for days on end. In a fantasy world, anything can happen. However, whatever occurs, you can expect fascinating, exciting, and romantic events as The Jaralii Chronicles continues into its second book.
The next book in the series: