Magic, myth and mystery

In my current work in progress, The Fair Queen, I have created a system of magic based on the elements.

As always, spoilers abound, so if you want to read my book (when it’s finished) without any hints then don’t read on.


Magic, myth & mystery


In the Fair Queen, there is another world within our own, called the Fair Realm, where magic exists and mythical creatures are real.

The Fair Realm and everything in it is based on British – mainly English – mythology and legends. The names of characters, towns, the creatures and their abilities – they’re all rooted in our history.

I read a few articles about creating magic systems, and there seem to be two distinct schools of thought. One prefers a very strict, rule-based magic system, and the other favours a looser, more ambiguous style. I have opted for the second one, as I think it lets the reader use their imagination more and allows a lot more flexibility for the writer.

I also think it gives the whole book a more mysterious feel, which is what I hope to do in The Fair Queen. Whilst some fantasy authors are looking to create a very fixed type of magic that readers can learn and understand, I think that fits in well in a book where the entire story takes place in a mythical land, so the two balance each other.

The Fair Queen is ultimately set in a rural town in England, and even though there is another realm within that, the majority of the elements in the story are very realistic. The only fantastical elements to the story are the magic and the mythical creatures that have come to exist as a result of it, so I felt that a loosely explained, mysterious magic system would be well anchored by the rest of the story world.

Does that make sense? I hope so!

Now that’s (somewhat) explained, I’ll tell you a bit about the actual magic…

The Fair are split into five kinds, each with a different elemental magic:

Gnome (Earth)

Sylph (Air)

Ondine (Water)

Salamander (Fire)

Celeste (Aether)

I won’t give too much away, but after a century of war, poverty and oppression, magic is actually very rare. That’s part of the mystery surrounding magic in the story, not many people even possess it. It’s become a sort of myth within itself.

There, now you know a little something about the magical people in The Fair Queen! Next time, I’ll introduce you to some of the mythical creatures that prowl the Fair Realm.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about magic systems in fantasy novels. Do you prefer your magic to have clear rules and restrictions, or do you like ambiguity so you can imagine your own limitations, if any?

Let’s chat in the comments.



Magic, myth and mystery Lyndsey's Book Blog

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