U is for Uber Good Urban Fantasy!
If you’re like me, you know you like this sub-genre and can point out a few telling features, but you’ve never quite gotten around to a formal definition.
Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:
Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Urban fantasy exists on one side of a spectrum, opposite high fantasy, which is set in an entirely fictitious world. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary ttimes and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods, and the settings may include fictional elements. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.
Features: Often 1st Person Narrative, mythological beings, some romance, many times female protagonists in some form of law enforcement or vigilantism, men and women partnered, always city setting no matter the period.
One of the reasons I struggle is because of another sub-genre called Paranormal Romance, but the Wikipedia writer tackled that issue to:
Distinction from paranormal romance
In an online commentary, author Jeannie Holmes described differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance.
The two share 90% of their genre DNA. However, the main differences are this: Urban fantasy focuses on an issue outside of a romantic relationship between two characters. Paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship between two characters and how outside forces affect that relationship. The best litmus test to determine if a story is urban fantasy or paranormal romance is to ask the following question: ‘If the romance between Character A and Character B were removed, would the plot still stand as a viable storyline?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ chances are good it’s urban fantasy. If the answer is ‘no,’ it’s most likely paranormal romance.*
*Holmes, Jeannie (December 21, 2010). “Writing Urban Fantasy, Part 1”. jeannieholmes.com. Retrieved May 17, 2012.
My favorite Urban Fantasy Series
- Karen Chance’s Dorina Basarab
- Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson
- Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress
- Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson
- Linda Poitevin’s Grigori Legacy
- Karen Marie Moning’s Fever
- Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter
- Ilona Andrew’s Kate Daniels
- Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi
- Kevin Hearnes’ The Iron Druid
So Urban Fantasy…like it? Hate it? Never gave it a try? Got a favorite series or one you’ve got your eye on?
Notable U Words I Considered
Underwear – make them match and ready to be seen in case of accident or passionate encounter
Umbrella – I don’t know they’re useful and I’ve got some cute ones
Urges – Some should be heeded, but some should be ignored
Us – Sophia and I make a great team!
Under – a good position for either partner
What’s your U word of the day?
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