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Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy?

I think I blogged about this some time ago but much is still discussed about the difference between these two genres. I was at a book discussion in SL last Thursday and the genre of the day was Paranormal Romance. Many urban fantasy books were brought up and the goal was still met to share some good book titles to add to everyone's already ginormous TBR piles. But as we all left, I can tell the definition was still muddled in everyone's mind.

To bad I didn't come across Ciara Stewart's blog earlier. (Thanks to a link at Marta's Vamp Wire blog) I came across Ciara's post link to author Keri Arthur's definition of both subgenres in a pretty straight forward fashion. (The full article is pretty informative also).

Paranormal Romance:

Usually written in the 3rd person. Main characters are Hero and Heroine and they MUST have a happily ever after together. This couple is exclusive. Love shall overcome is the theme. Each book in the series has a new hero/heroine pair, and these characters often show up as secondary characters in the other books in the series.

Examples: JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood (perhaps not now), Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changelings series, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk & Steele series, Meljean Brooks’ Guardian series, Lori Handeland’s Nightcreature series , Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breeds series, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, Alexis Morgan’s Paladins of Darkness series,

Urban Fantasy:

Usually written in the first person. Theme is horror, not love. A single protagonist often narrates the entire series. (Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld is a notable exception). The protagonist is often a cynical, fiercely independent, tough chick with commitment and trust issues. lol. (Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden is a notable exception.) There may be a love interest, but it is subtle and may build over the course of the series. Or maybe the more the merrier, a la Anita Blake.

Examples: Laurell K Hamilton’s Antia Blake series, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels’s series, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, Marjorie M. Liu’s Maxine Kiss series, Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen series, Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series, Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series

And there we go. :-)


Savannah Chase said…
for me, I like both, as long as the book is good and it is something that gets my atention I'm happy...I love reading paranormals but have discovered that there is something that appeals to me in both paranormal romance and urban fantasy
Rae L. said…
I agree! I'm finding myself more drawn to paranormal romance for some reason but urban fantasy usually has such awesome worldbuilding you can dive into. Either way I hope these genres continue to grow and expand with its author's imaginations. :-)

Thanks for stopping by Sav! :-D
Ruth said…
I much prefer paranormal romance over urban fantasy based on that definition. I just can't do horror, so something more along the lines of P.F. Kozak's Take Me There would be my ideal of a paranormal that I can get totally involved in.
N. Mahana said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
N. Mahana said…
Why are there such strict guidelines and rules to what writing should be? I mean, wouldn't literature be a lot more fun if people could mix genre's and create something new?

Why does everything have to be defined by these strict labels?
Rae L. said…
I think it's mostly for the convenience of bookstores and publishers. And for some readers to find their favorite type of books in the bookstores.

I agree about mixing genres because that makes for some real fun stories to write and read. I didn't notice much of the strict genre labels until I started studying the industry closely. And most casual readers don't really care as long as they know where their fave authors are in the stores. One thing is interesting, nowadays more genres are being mixed, switched and changed so much that publishers are getting confused and inventing new words to accomodate book trends lol (urban fantasy has been around since the 30s when it was mainly called contemporary fantasy), for instance, makes allowances for this by cross referencing their books in their catalogs and I think this may be a new system that'll catch more interest as technology becomes king in the industry.

Thanks for your thoughts, Noelani and Ruth (I'll have to check out P.F. Kozak's work :-)).

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