Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance

They are different.

Really. I’m not kidding. Believe me, because it makes up most of my reading.

Jane‘s picked my brain clean, so I picked Heppi’s brain and this is what he said:

  • Fantasy vs Paranormal is like Magic vs Ghosts.
  • Urban fantasy can have no otherworldly elements and paranormal can have no magic.

Then there’s the feel thing. A paranormal romance reads different from an urban fantasy novel.

Paranormal romances includes Katie Macalister‘s Aisling Grey series and MaryJanice Davidson‘s Betsy series.

Urban fantasy is Lilith Saintcrow‘s Dante Valentine, Patricia Brigg‘s Mercy and Rachel Caine‘s Joanne Baldwin.

You can have an urban fantasy with a developing romance inside. Danny Valentine and Japhrimel, or Joanne Baldwin and David. It doesn’t make them a paranormal romance.

You can have a paranormal romance with an urban fantasy feel–see Jeanie London’s Retrieval. But the plot, IMHO, puts in more in paranormal romance.

I have no idea whether this makes any sense. Poor Jane got a looooooooong sermon. Betcha she regrets emailing me now.

Now, if I find something to say, I’ll write about erotica versus erotic romance on Saturday.

Tomorrow, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the author of the fabulous Golden, will have her interview posted.

Oh and since Jennifer writes YA… I see Golden as a paranormal, but Holly Black’s Valiant and Tithe as urban fantasy.

10 Responses to “Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance”

  1. 1 Danny
    January 11, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    I always wondered what the difference is.

  2. January 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Actually, I think that’s a pretty good explanation. I mean there will always be exceptions, but that covers a lot. 🙂

  3. January 11, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    What the heck happened to your blog!!! It’s so . . . conservative. I had to keep checking the title to make sure I was at the right place. I was so dumbstruck I couldn’t even remember my own name and email to post a comment. Kept getting them wrong. ROTFL!

    Okay, hope you filled her head with stuff. I’m worn out over this one. My brain is dead. Oh, maybe that’s why I couldn’t remember my email. Hehehe.

  4. January 12, 2007 at 2:06 am

    I think that paranormal romance and urban fantasy share some similarities, but I think that they’re definitely not the same. When I read something labeled as “paranormal romance” I want romance to be at least 50% of the book. But if it’s urban fantasy, then I’m okay with very little romantic subplots or no romance.

  5. January 12, 2007 at 3:59 am

    If anything really is going to drive me to drink, it’s this debate. I’m not referring to your blog (because these points are actually really nicely laid out, May) but the fact that in the last few days, I’ve run into people arguing about this everywhere: mailing lists, forums, blogs, etc. Can’t we all just get along? We need to put aside our differences and remember the real reason we all read paranormal romances and urban fantasies in the first place: hot, leather pants-wearing were-vampires with accents who dress well, ride motorcycles, and have enough stamina to last ten pages.

  6. January 12, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    Richelle: Only 10 pages?

    Okay, here’s my take on paranormal romances: it’s not about the HEA. It’s about the HEAL (the happily ever afterlife).

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  7. January 12, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Can I quote you both for my article on Tuesday? LOL!

  8. January 12, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Gads, Jane, I think that particular post is up to 186 comments…


  9. January 13, 2007 at 3:40 am

    I tend to consider Golden paranormal, too, though before I knew any of the labels, I just called it “contemporary supernatural.” There are a lot of freaky powers in both Golden and Platinum- ghosts, auras, visions, sirens, and a variety of other powers, but it doesn’t really have any of the standards of fantasy (ie magic). Tattoo is a much less clear case- with that one, I’d tend towards going with urban fantasy as a label, because rather than just being inborn (read: genetic) as in the case in Golden, the powers the girls have in Tattoo have origins in something more fantastical in nature.

    That said, I do think it’s possible to have something that is both paranormal and fantasy. I mean, the fact that magic exists doesn’t have to exclude the presence of the otherworld, does it? I mean, there are plenty of books that have both witches (and therefore magic) AND ghosts. How would you classify stuff like Kelly Armstrong? There you’ve got ghosts, people who can talk to the dead, a whole other realm of the dead, Powers That Be, werewolves, vampires, warlocks, and witches.

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