So I've been reading a bit more fantasy stories lately, as I've been writing one (mine doesn't use elves or wizards or even spells really, it's more of a series of events that takes place in a made-up dimension.) However, I'm nowhere near an expert on the genre; I've just noticed a few things. It seems that lots of fantasy authors gravitate toward elves and faeries, and people's opinions on elves in books varies greatly. Some people are fine with absolutely anything, no matter how overused it seems, as long as it's well-written; others don't mind elves (or dwarves, goblins, faeries etc) as long as they're portrayed in a unique way and not just a 100 percent Tolkein ripoff, and others are hesitant upon reading the book jacket because they think it'll be cliche. So I'm just curious...what's your opinion on the usage of fantasy races and tropes that have already been used? How much reinventing of the wheel do you need to keep reading? What are some books that use a lot of the common pre-established fantasy races, but are able to make them feel completely original? What are some bad examples of ones that don't? And just to clarify, as noted above, I'm not asking this to run by anything I've written. My book right now doesn't involve any of the above things I've mentioned, but if I did want to use something elf-like in a future book, I'd make it completely my own. Likewise, if someone out there reading this is writing a story involving the races I've mentioned above, make your story unique and GO FOR IT, don't let anyone's personal preferences discourage you. This is just for discussion purposes only, not to imply anyone reading this has written a cliche story - because the only way to judge that would be to read it.