Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Genre Theme

The theme for the month of October is Paranormal and Urban Fantasy (I know, appropriate for Halloween, right?!). So what is paranormal and urban fantasy you ask?! Well, you have probably read it without realizing it. I have to admit prior to writing this I didn’t really understand the difference between the two genres (I am still not sure I fully understand the difference).

What is it that appeals so much to the reader about these genres? Is it the adventure type setting, where the heroine isn’t waiting at home for the man  to save her but is out kicking her portion of the bad guy? Is it the development of the characters, where they don’t always end in a happily ever after but more of a continuing journey? Or is it simply that it explains the unexplainable? Whatever it is, I have to admit I enjoy them and am looking forward to the reviews that will be posting this month.

Paranormal

Paranormal novels are any that include paranormal elements (duh, right?!). Basically anything supernatural such as werewolves, vampires, ghosts, demons or time travel, but even beyond that it can include psychic abilities and telekinesis.  Most blend elements of more than one into the same story.  Paranormal romance novels has its roots in the Gothic romance novel and is one of the fastest growing genres.  I think I can safely say that some of the first to blend elements of romance with gothic themes are Daphne De Maurier, Mary Shelley, Ann Radcliffe and Bram Stoker.

There are way more contemporary authors than I can name here but I thought I would mention some of the big ones I am aware of such as Diana Galbaldon, Sherilyn Kenyon,  Jayne Ann Krentz and Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. In addition to the popularity of the Paranormal Romance adult novels there has been an explosion of young adult novels in the genre, obviously I have to mention Stephanie Meyers, but beyond her we have Alyxandra Harvey, PC Cast, Richelle Mead and Cassandra Clare.

You read a great article by Paula Guran about the paranormal genre here.

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy involves elements of paranormal novels and is usually set in the city, dealing with problems that exist there.  Most urban fantasy novels are first person narrative and are about the main character’s journey.  The books I have read have characters who make mistakes and have to live with the consequences those mistakes.  The main characters are largely independent and can be partnered up equally with a male counterpart with whom they have a romantic relationship. The first series I think about under this genre is Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan novels, where she is a paranormal bounty hunter attempting to clean up the city and the agencies therein. The Jaz Parks series by the late Jennifer Rardin follows the main character and her vampire boss as they work as CIA operatives.  Urban fantasy does not guarantee the happily-ever-after that other romance genres do but they are fabulous nonetheless.

The Paranormal/Urban Fantasy genre is unique in the fact that so many of its fans are online blogging and talking about the novels.  Since starting Novel Reaction.com I have met numerous bloggers who cover this genre and I never cease to be amazed at the incredible content they provide as an online source.  There are sites with huge followings like Sci-fi Guy and Bitten by Books.

As we spend this spooktacular month looking at the genre make sure you stop by as we are visited by Angie Fox, author of The Accidental Demon Slayer, Bernita Harris author of Dark and Disorderly, Belinda Kroll author of Catching the Rose, and Terry Kate of Romance in the Backseat.com.

One Reply to “Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Genre Theme”

  1. Hi Jessica, Thanks for your smart explanation of the Paranormal & Urban Fantasy genres – something that people find confusing all the time – even long-in-the-tooth fantasy readers. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve linked this article to my latest Q&A Blog – about Dean Anderson, an aspiring urban fantasy author in Australia who mentions paranormal. Quite simply, your article was a great net link to explain “paranormal”. Thanks and kind regards, Cheryse 🙂

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