Article: What is Urban Fantasy?

There are two closely related genres that very often get confused with one another. They are Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. My personal preference of the two is Urban Fantasy, although I do read both. It all depends on my mood and whether or not I feel impatient and want instant gratification, or a slower, ultimately more satisfying, burn.

What do I mean by that? Well, I'll tell you.

Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1)First we need to establish what exactly Urban Fantasy is, and the difference between it and Paranormal Romance. You'll probably get a different answer to that question for every person you ask; Wikipedia certainly has its own view on it (and they are never wrong), but for me it comes down to this: Both have paranormal and/or fantasy elements in them such as supernatural or mythical creatures (vampires, werewolves, witches, pixies, elves, etc.). The main differences are that Urban Fantasy has to be set in the real world; usually in a city (hence the "urban" part), and so is essentially a "what would it be like if such creatures really did exist in our world today?" kind of deal. Urban Fantasy books do not have to have any romance in them whatsoever, although a lot of them do, for which I am very glad, but often those romances can be slow to develop, usually taking several books for a relationship to form. (Prime example: The Mercedes Thompson series).

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)Paranormal Romances on the other hand, being essentially a sub-genre of the almighty Romance category, do have to have a romance plot-line that ends in a HEA (Happily Ever After), and the romance storyline has to fill a certain portion of the book and usually constitutes the main plot with the world-building and any paranormal elements, secondary to it. Also, if it's a series, it will be a new couple each book. (Prime example: The Blackdagger Brotherhood series)

Knowing the difference can be very helpful when selecting you're next read. For example: If you know you hate it when the romance is too in-your-face, or when couples get together too soon (insta-love, anyone?), then you'll much prefer Urban Fantasy, like my good self. Whereas, if you've been known to get to the end of a book and be totally outraged that the romantic relationship (as well as many other subplots) wasn't resolved, and you have to read the next book (the horror!) to see if they get together or not, well, then Paranormal Romance all the way for you.


So, there you go. I hope that helps clear up any lingering confusion you may have had. Clear as mud, that's me!

Until next time...

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