Design a Training Montage and Get a Sci-Fi or Fantasy Recommendation

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R. Nassor

Senior Contributor

R. Nassor may spend more time with books, tea, and ceramic mugs than recommended by professionals but it hasn’t failed her so far. Nassor has a MA in English Literature from Georgetown University, where she looked at the way medieval and early modern literature reappear in fantasy books today. She’s been writing about romance, fantasy, science fiction, and pop culture for quite a while, starting at Book Riot in 2020. She’s also written for Tor.com. You can follow her on Tiktok and contact her through her website.

Are you ready to design a training montage and get a science fiction or fantasy recommendation? Well, I am here to help. The best science fiction and fantasy books involve characters coming into their power, either literally or metaphorically. I want to see things exploding and people running badly with small performance gains jump-cut together. Then all I need is that final success before I know my characters are ready to go. A training montage is the best and fastest way to get your characters up to the task of fighting the big bad, saving the universe, and surviving to see the end result. 

The concept of the movie montage is not new, but a recent uptick in science fiction and fantasy films has expanded ideas of the training montage. Sure, Rocky running up those steps to get his stamina up to fight was cool, but not sci-fi/fantasy epic. Now we have an extensive catalog of superheroes learning how to walk up walls or fly or control their potentially world-destroying powers.

I am taking a bit of inspiration from both 1980s and modern science fiction and fantasy films in my “design a training montage” endeavor. What you listen to, what you are wearing, and what is driving you are all aspects of the training montage. Potential results include but are not limited to science fiction and fantasy books in both young adult and adult imprints. Scroll down past the quiz to see all the results! And with that, I leave you with the ability to design a training montage of your own. Ready…Set…Go!

Design a Training Montage: Here Are Your Results

A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske Cover

A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske

In the wake of his parents’ deaths, Robin just wants a boring English government job that would make enough money to support him and his sister. What he gets instead is a job mediating the magic parts of English society with the mundane. Plus, the magical liaison, Edwin, is standoffish at best. When a dangerous mystery from the magical world curses him, Robin has to trust Edwin and follow his lead if he wants his freedom.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller Cover

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Alessandra wants to rule a kingdom, and she will murder the Shadow King to do so. To overcome his reported imperviousness, she just has to get close enough to kill him. Who is closer than a man’s wife? However, her clear plan to kill another one of her lovers is waylaid by the king’s likability. Will she be able to relinquish total control for an equitable partnership?

Burning Roses by S.L. Huang Cover

Burning Roses by S.L. Huang

This fantasy novella follows Rosa and the archer Hou Yi as they protect the people even as they age out of the hero and assassin they once were. These queer women will travel into strange, dangerous lands to hunt down monsters from eastern and western folklore and get to the root of their past regrets while they do so. Who says fighting never solved anything?

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh Cover

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Celine flees her Parisian life and lands in 1872 New Orleans. She will need to be as sharp as her sewing needles if she wants to make her way. Something dark is feeding on people of the city and their deaths continue to link back to the young dressmaker. Celine will need to make a place for herself in the dangerous underworld — and with the man who runs it — if she wants to survive.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots Cover

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Nothing is scarier than a freelancing hench with time to burn and revenge on the brain. Anna cleans spreadsheets for villains, but when a “Hero” injures her during a gig, she is fired. No-job, limited-mobility Anna has enough time to crunch the numbers on heroism’s financial cost to society. A major villain sees her blog, gives her a job, and together they might just save the world.

The Disasters by M.K. England Cover

The Disasters by M.K. England

Nax hits a new level of failure when he’s kicked out of piloting school in less than a day. But when a terrorist group attacks the Academy, it is up to him and three other flunkies to get the message out before they go down for a crime they didn’t commit.

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis Cover

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

First Sister serves the ship’s captain in silence out of duty. So, when her captain leaves her behind, she is left friendless, powerless, and in the hands of a new captain, Saito, someone who might be more than she lets on. Lito is an elite soldier whose partner disappeared after fighting Saito. Their stories will collide as Lito attempts to find his partner and First Sister begins to take on a larger role in the ship.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao Cover

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Everyone knows great men need servile women to properly pilot the mechas that protect humanity from aliens. Honorable young women often die in the process, but it’s what must be done. Zetian begs to differ. When her sister is killed in the process, she enrolls in the program to kill the pilot. She succeeds, becoming a feared pilot-killer, an Iron Widow. Someone the government can’t afford to kill. Even if they want to.

The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley Cover

The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

A Victorian London circus is a strange place. Even for Iris, a death-defying African tightrope dancer. Desperate to discover the source of her invulnerability and any past memory, she stumbles into a tournament where the winner’s sponsor will lead everyone through the oncoming apocalypse. If she fights for Adam, he will let her know the truth, but even someone who cannot die might not win a competition where everyone has their own magical talents.

The Finished Design

Welcome to the finish line. You have now designed a training montage and received a science fiction or fantasy recommendation. With the endless potential for magic systems and future technology, creative training montages in science fiction and fantasy books are bound to keep coming our way. Oftentimes training is difficult and results do not come right away, but when you look back, you realize how far you’ve come. The training montage just puts the start and finish a bit closer together.