I would argue that this is not a subgenre, but apparently in some circles it is considered one, so here we are. I would say that the Quest is a plot point, not a subgenre, but I suppose it is one of the most common plots in fantasy, and you could lump all quest stories together.
(By the way, I apologize for how late this post is. I blame this excellent book I am reading.)
The Quest! A fantasy staple. Often, our Hero is just a normal person, minding their own business, when something happens that propels him/hero out on a journey, where there are puzzles to be solved, monsters to be slain, and, usually, love to be found and some evil to defeat. It is also often associated with the Hero’s Journey, though perhaps in a more literal way than some.
Quests tend to be literal journeys, requiring their protagonists to trump about the countryside in order to succeed in their goals. A lot of classical literature that has survived also tends to be quest-related, such as the Odyssey, or even the Bible’s Exodus.
Some well-known quest stories include The Lord of the Rings, the Percy Jackson series, the original Shannara trilogy, and Watership Down.
What’s your feeling on quest stories, Squiders? Rambling stories where it takes too long to get to the point, or excellent tales where the characters grow and learn more about their world? Any recommendations?