Friday, 14 February 2020

What Genre Do You Like The Most? (Reasons To Love Urban Fantasy)


It won't come as a surprise to anyone who follows this blog (or spends five minutes skimming through it) that I am a romance lover.
I love LOVE, people!
But what maybe a little more surprising is that the genre I love most is Urban Fantasy
Gasp! I know! But it's true!

Today, I want to discuss all the reasons that I love this genre the most and why it trumps all the others for me.

Reason Number One: It is pure escapism

With UF you have magical and sometimes monstrous creatures living in a world that is not too dissimilar to the world in which we live in. You can escape into it because it's familiar while being foreign. It's exciting learning about the new world - the world-building is amazing - and you can accept a lot of whacky and unlikely shit because the world is different when magic and magical beings exist.

Monsters are more often than not literal monsters so reading about the bad things they do is easier than reading, say, crime/thriller novels where the monsters are people just like like you.

As for comparing them to something like contemporary romance... Contemporary romances are set in the world we live in, just as it is. You know the rules, you know what people are like and therefore the opportunities to do something whacky without it jarring me out of the story are far less.
Some of the situations that present in contemporary romances are painfully unrealistic to the point where I spend a lot of mental energy actively reminding myself it doesn't need to be true to life.
This doesn't mean that I can't enjoy a contemporary romance - I love contemporary romances! - but it's one of the reasons that the genre isn't my favourite.


Reason Number Two: They're a little bit of everything!

The range of topics, styles, genres, within UF is unreal!

You love romance? (Hell yeah!) Paranormal Romance? (Yes, please!)
Then you can find plenty of rockin' UF series with a strong romantic couple to root for throughout five, six, seven, eight, twelve books!
The romance can be established in book one but more often than not it's a slow burn that develops beautifully over a few and I am here. For. It.

You like mysteries? Thrillers? Then look no further!
I don't think I've ever read a UF that doesn't have a crime or some other mystery to solve. I typically avoid crime, mystery, thrillers but when it's wrapped up in UF I love it!

You like action? You got it!
You want history? Mythology? Fantasy? It's all there!
No sex, a little sex, pure smut? You'll find something that caters to this too.

Urban Fantasy is a melting pot and it has no limits.

Oh, and if you hate romance in your books? (I don't know how to talk to you 😜) Then you can find UF that meets that criteria also!


Reason Number Three: Lots of kick-ass characters!

There are many UF that have a strong male leads but there are just as many (if not more) that have kick-ass women in the lead.

Whether our protagonist has extraordinary magical powers or not, they are rarely powerless.
They fight for what they perceive as right. They are brave. They grow into their abilities - or learn to adapt without them - and they learn to own their destiny.
They're often snarky, spunky and fierce but with a soft squishy side.

You're not going to find any damsels in distress in UF. The women in these novels handle their own business and don't need a big strong anyone to charge in and save them... (Except when they do and that is also fabulous.)

People can just be who they are in UF unless they are hiding some forbidden power or something... That's less true of other types of fiction set in the real world.


Reason Number Four: They are series!

You get a character you love and you get to watch them evolve over multiple books.
You are with them from start to finish. Good times, bad times and all the times in between.

Often, the characters start a low point and you get to watch them rise. To overcome their struggles and become the people they were born to be.

Each book has a plot that wraps up at the end but also contributes to an overarching plotline.
This system removes the requirement for cliffhangers but keeps you coming back for more!

With other genres, this happens less so.
With romance genres (aka the category I principally read in) the most you typically get is seeing the characters crop up again in interconnected standalones.
When you're a very character-driven reader (like moi), this is hard! I fall in love with people then have to live on scraps! UF in comparison is an all you can eat buffet.


🌻

You may have to kiss a few UF frogs before you find the series/author that works for you, and you may be unwilling to get up close and personal with something so strange, but I guarantee you that there IS a series that would work for you and you would love every second of the journey.

Now, fight me. 
Do you love UF? Why/Why not?



To view the linky list of this weeks Hop participants, please visit The Coffee Addicted Writer.

37 comments:

  1. I’ve been telling myself for ages that I want to try more UF. I read one series (The Others by Anne Bishop) and absolutely adored it and then listened to the first book of another series on audio (Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews) and didn’t like it at all. So I’m not willing to give up on the genre after one bad experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought the first in the Others series this week mostly down to you recommending it so highly! :)
      Burn For Me was an interesting one... I liked it Nevada and Rogan aren't the easiest.

      Delete
  2. Urban fantasy is such fun! My favourite author from that genre is Charles De Lint. Have you read any of his? I love that UF authors can make you feel like magic might just be real if you just knew where to look for it. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't but now I have a new name to check out! :)

      Delete
  3. All of this, yes! You are so right about urban fantasy being a little bit of everything. I think that's one of the reasons I love it so much too. Great response! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Hope you have a good weekend too.

      Delete
  4. I used to review books for Romantic Times magazine and I read a lot of Urban Fantasy. I really did love it. I just haven't focused on it in years, so I need to start checking more out. I do love that the fantasy is within our own world, and the mysteries are fun!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reading moods change. I'm sure you'll circle back around eventually and you'll have lots of good ones waiting for you. :)

      Delete
  5. It's funny you call UF a melting pot, because I feel it's a genre that is often misunderstood and books are often mislabeled UF. I do like the combination of real world and magic, though. It's fun to imagine that possibility in the world I live in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true. I think a lot of books get lumped into UF when they're actually intended to be something else.

      Delete
  6. Urban Fantasy used to be my favourite genre for the monsters, fun sidekicks, magic and action based plots. I was reading Jeaniene Frost, Kelley Armstrong, Jaye Wells, Patricia Briggs, RL Naquin, Sonya Bateman, Charlaine Harris etc. But the problem for me is that too many PNR books are now marketed as UF and the sex and romance overshadows a lot of the plots. I read and DNFed so many that I fell out of love with the genre. I still hope to get my love back by catching up with those favourite authors and series and I have quite a few new UF series to try so fingers crossed I like some of them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know that the PNR creeping into the UF couldn't bother me so much... Probably make me love it more! lol
      I can see why it'd leave you tired of the genre though when romance isn't your thing.

      Delete
  7. What a TERRIFIC post!!

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don’t read much UF because the ones I’ve read have all been very romance-focused. I have a hard time getting interested in romance. I do want to find more escapism books, though. I need to read more of those.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The romance focused ones are my favourite. I like them less when they're not, lol. However, there are a lot that have little to no romance. The problem is finding them...

      Delete
  9. Ah yes! Urban Fantasy was the genre I fell in love with when I ran out of Paranormal titles in the YA section. I have been reading a lot more fantasy reads lately, but as soon as I get through my review books I'm diving back into some UF titles in my TR pile!

    Thanks for visiting my BBH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love some PNR YA! I'm also reading a fair amount of fantasy at the moment. :)

      Delete
  10. I can read UF but it's not my go to genre. I like PNR much more. They just hold my attention more and I like reading them more than any other genre.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PNR used to be my absolute favourite of everything ever. I think the slide from PNR to UF began about 10 years ago for me and has just become more pronounced. I do need to catch up with some PNR series though.

      Delete
  11. Yes! UF is also my favorite genre just for the fact that it has EVERYTHING! You mentioned that you were reading Crown of Shards by Jennifer Estep, but have you read her Elemental Assassin series? It is AMAZING! It is one of my favorite UF series! And Gin Blanco is absolutely badass! Highly recommend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crown of Shards is my first anything by Estep but the Elemental Assassin series is on my list! Glad to know it's awesome! :)

      Delete
  12. Urban Fantasy is so much fun. I can't get enough of it. I love it for all the same reasons you do. Great post! :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a great post. I loved hearing all your reasons behind your choice of UF as a favourite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! :)

      Delete
  14. Well, there you go - not everyone likes the same thing. I never was interested in fantasy of any kind. I'm a literary fiction girl, with a penchant for historical, biographical, women's fiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true but the diversity of reading preferences keeps things interesting. :)

      Delete
  15. Oh yes - I love UF, though I tend to steer clear of the ones where the romance powers the narrative. I also like the fact there is often a lot of humour in the stories, too:)). Thoroughly enjoyed reading this lovely article, Nicci.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I LOVE this post!!
    This week's BBH question was an easy one for me to answer. Considering my blog is packed with reviews for paranormal romance and urban fantasy books, I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise that my 💜 favourite 💜 reading genre is adult PARANORMAL ROMANCE! 😘 You post has covered all the reasons why I LOVE it so much - thank you!
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, Nicci. Here's my BBH Post
    Flora x

    ReplyDelete
  17. UF is my jam, an absolute favorite for all the reasons you mention. It has all the things mystery, action, romance , etc but with really good plots and long story arcs. My favorite favorite series and authors are all UF. And all my Read-alongs have been UF (shocker).

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    ReplyDelete
  18. I really loved this post! Urban Fantasy is not my thing, but I love how passionate your are about the genre and what you love most about it. And when I need some of that escapism, you will be the first person I ask for a rec!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't read much UF, in fact all the books I have read I found out they were considered Urban Fantasy after the fact. I totally agree with your monsters sentiment. Horrible things are so much easier to take when the monster isn't human. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 👍✨

    ReplyDelete
  20. You do have to kiss a few frogs sometimes to get to the UF's that are amazing. I also love that you get a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, thrills. You have a few of my all-time favs listed here: Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels are my top two for sure! Great post here, Nicci! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I haven't read a whole lot of UF, partially because the series tend to be LONG and they scare me! Also, I think the ones I've read have been a bit more sex-centric than I prefer. I did read The Others Series and ADORED it, but it seemed to me that it almost had more of a fantasy feel than some other UF series I've read? I'd be curious to see what you think once you've read it.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete