Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance

One question I've always asked while reading some of my favorite YA books was:

What is the difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance?

They seem almost inseparable, so I thought as I'm uploading my soon-to-be-released debut novel, Culture Shock, what genre would my novel fall under? I always thought it would be Urban Fantasy, but then again, I'm not so sure. It has elements of paranormal and romance.

So, I did a little research.
Here I've listed a few similarities and differences.....

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy is written for the Fantasy genre while Paranormal Romance is written for the Romance genre. Urban Fantasy is all about the paranormal embedded in a modern setting. The setting will be contemporary in an urban or sometimes rural setting. There might be romance, but the romance is not the primary focus and a happily-ever-after is never guaranteed. Almost always Urban Fantasy is told in first person by the heroine herself, which by far is my favorite part. I love having the story told through first person experience. That is how Culture Shock is written as well. Urban fantasy will have elements of the paranormal embedded like: vampires, werewolves, and fairies, but again the romance, if there is any, is not the focal point. Urban Fantasy invokes a new world; A typical setting, but with supernatural characters living within it and why they are there.The element of romance may or may not be involved.

Example of Urban Fantasy:

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy Series: though there is romance involved it is not the main focus of the story. The unique world of Moroi, Strigoi, and Dhampirs is the main focus. Rose and Dimitri's love story is just a perk, not the primary reason for the series.

Paranormal Romance

Paranormal Romance is the happily-ever-after. The main focus will always be on the love interest and relationship of the main characters and it will usually end with a happily-ever-after. Either one or both of the characters in love are of the supernatural (or paranormal) nature. While Urban Fantasy settings are contemporary, Paranormal Romance books can be either modern, historic, or futuristic. Paranormal Romance is almost always told in third person or from multiple points of view.

Example of Paranormal Romance:
J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series: Romance is definitely the main focal point. Plus, it's told from multiple points of view. There is eventually is a happily-ever-after for one of the brothers, etc.

So after careful consideration, I would still go with my original genre of Urban Fantasy. Though Culture Shock has romantic elements between the main characters it is in no way the main focus of the story. Often times, one bleeds into the other and it's hard to determine the difference, so I hope this was helpful.

Please feel free to comment below. I love hearing from y'all.


***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

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  1. This is a great blog post! Definitive and to the point. I've been trying to find a clear cut definition of the two. Thank you!

    1. I'm glad the post helped make the distinction between the two. It was always confusing to me that's why I decided to research it. I figured I'd help others out by posting it.