I've been thinking about Paranormal Romance (PNR) vis-a-vis Urban Fantasy (UF) lately. I like both subgenres though I lean a bit toward Urban Fantasy. Maybe this is because I cut my teeth on H.P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, William Tenn, Thomas Burnett Swann, tales of King Arthur, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
. I did not read much romance at all. So I came to PNR via the PN part. Please note that the simple distinctions that I draw are mine. Others have and will continue to define PNR and UF differently than I do.
For the most part I read Paranormal Romance because of the paranormal elements not because of the Happily Ever After (HEA). The endings are not really meant to surprise. I know that there is going to be an HEA. It's how the main characters get there that can make PNR interesting and enjoyable. It's the romance that's important in PNR. The trials and tribulations of the couple-to-be is what drives the story.
In Urban Fantasy events and the world in which the characters exist, rather than romance, drive the story. There can be romance and relationships, but the building to an HEA is not the point of the story. In general UFs tend to be more gritty than PNRs. If you want to strictly define "Urban" Fantasy it should be set in an urban landscape, of course.
This is not to say that there has not been a lot of blurring of the imaginary lines between PNR and UF. Some paranormal romances are very close to urban fantasies and vice versa. What
: Either The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2
or Mean Streets
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: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery if you prefer PNR or UF? Have you read any books that you would classify as both? How do your definitions differ than mine? Can someone tell my why so many UF heroines appear on their book covers bare-midriffed and tattooed?
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