I’ve noticed a blurry line in the genre labeling of urban fantasy and paranormal romance books. There’s many books being listed twice, showing up in both genres.For example the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris has been listed on PNR and UF lists. With both of these genres being so popular, I find it interesting that people divide upon which books to list where.
Looking into the genre war, I found that many authors agree upon the basic elements of these genres, yet there still seems to be a lot of confusion when it comes down to actually categorizing a book. And authors loving their work so much tend to break down the genres even further (i.e. paranormal romantic suspense). I suppose it’s because there are a lot of similarities in the genres that adds to the confusion, the most obvious being both genres deal with the supernatural.
Let’s break down some of the differences:
1.) Paranormal romance is a subgenre of romance (HEA included) and urban fantasy is happily tucked under fantasy.
2.) Relationships: In paranormal romance, it’s all about the love, whether it’s light or steamy. No matter what is going on, the relationship of the protagonist and his/her love interest is the main focus within a world that may include vamps, werewolves, fairies and other supernatural creatures.
Urban fantasy is different in that it has a modern, urban setting with the main focus on good against evil or saving the world (supernaturals included), many times including a kick ass hero and may or may not contain a romance subplot.
3.) It seems as if urban fantasy stories keep more of the traditional aspects of the supernatural such as vampires being dark, evil creatures instead of romantic heroes (here come the sparkles).
4.) Some say that paranormal romance tends to be written in third person POV (point of view), whereas urban fantasy is written in first person. I haven’t noticed a big difference in the POV. I find many books are written either way.
There is a lot of “cross over” potential for readers of these two genres. Meaning if you like one, you’ll probably like the other and many UF’s are listed on PNR lists and vice versa, making them easy to find. Personally, I love both PNR and UF and intend on writing more in both genres.
What is your take on the whole paranormal romance vs. urban fantasy debate and which one is your favorite?