Love in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance


May 31, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue

Source: Writers Write on Pinterest

This image showed up on my Facebook wall today, courtesy of Writers Write. I was trying to think of which of these I see most often in the genres I typically read; Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

Which of these categories dominates UF and PNR?

Oh, hey, that’s easy: Mania. Although Eros comes in a close second.

I suppose that makes sense to some degree. Vampires and werewolves are easy candidates for Mania love because we can blame their feral instincts for their obsessive behavior. And both Mania and Eros make for some serious sexual tension, volcanic lovemaking, and volatile relationships that leave you on the edge of your seat waiting to see how the characters are going to work through their relationship issues.

In PNR, I almost just expect relationships based on Mania or Eros. I mean the romance is the primary point of the book, so make it as steamy as possible, right?

Source: Google Images

The logical side of my brain is perplexed by this, though. How the heck do all these volatile relationships end up with Happily Ever Afters? In real life, these types of relationships tend to either detonate and fracture into zillions of tiny pieces of shredded heart tissue or consume all the available emotional fuel and burn themselves out.

It’s just harmless fantasy, though, right?

Sure! I love a good volcanic romance. But there’s just so danged many of them out there that they all blur together. They become unremarkable.

real love

Source: Google Images

I think this is an important consideration for those of us writing stories where romance is a secondary or side-plot of the story. Not that there’s anything wrong with giving your character a Category 5 hurricane of a relationship. But, you might ask yourself if you’re only doing it because it’s such an easy way to add tension and conflict and could you give your characters more meaningful relationships.

What do you think?

Side note: I think Kim Harrison does a phenomenal job with realistic feeling relationships. In her Rachel Morgan series, Rachel is faced with several different kinds of relationships and it’s interesting to see very realistic and emotional breakups and loss. All the while, Rachel is growing as a person and learning about what she really wants out of a romantic relationship. Harrison very deftly weaves all of this into her Urban Fantasy series on top of many different friendships. I really think this is a must-read series for any Urban Fantasy lover, errr fan! Urban Fantasy fan.




11 thoughts on “Love in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

  1. tracycembor says:

    We must really be on the same wavelength. I was just thinking about YA and the different types of love there are, and how few of them are actually shown in YA. There’s passionate love, obsessive love, and occasionally friend love that grows into something else, but it is very much in the beginning stages of love.

    While I don’t mind reading about things that aren’t real, I do feel that because of the prevalence of this in YA, I just want to mention right here, right now, that love in your dating life might be a wee bit different than the YA PNR series you’ve been devouring for the last few weeks. So when the guy next door turns out to be just an average (but very special on the inside) dude, don’t be disappointed.

    That’s my public service message for the week. 😉

  2. Another thought-provoking post! I don’t read YA so I don’t really know if there’s a disproportionate representation of these types. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s only Eros and Mania, because—I don’t want to judge, but then maybe I will—most teens don’t know better. I think Harry Potter covers everything. I don’t know about Twilight. I know The Hunger Games doesn’t.

    Maybe writing too much of Agape could get boring, I dunno. And maybe unrealistic? I mean, where do you find real-life models for that? I may be cynical and pessimistic here, but hey, people are usually selfish, right? And in order to make our characters real, maybe it’s better to leave out Agape altogether—unless you’re writing about the Dalai Lama or ideal mothers (even moms have ego, though, so be careful) or Buddhist monks (even some of these have a tendency toward violent attitudes and behaviors; cf. Myanmar; be careful).

    And that is my public service message for the week. (I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I was seriously thinking of writing “That’s how Daniel C’s it” instead.) 🙂

    • I don’t read much YA either, so I can’t speak for it. I agree on Agape for most genres I can think of.

      I’m totally on board for your new comment tagline! Feel free to use it here at KLB anytime 🙂

  3. L. Marie says:

    “How the heck do all these volatile relationships end up with Happily Ever Afters?” I wondered the same thing myself. Excellent point. I read YA and have had some volatile relationships that haven’t ended with an HEA. I don’t mind the fantasy in books, but I do appreciate a realistic look at them (like Patricia Briggs usually shows).

    • Exactly. I just realized that using fantasy and realistic in the same post may have seemed a bit silly. I think you and I both mean realistic character interactions within the fantasy story.

      • L. Marie says:

        I understood what you meant. And I also think about this in my middle grade book: how much “realism” to include in a fantasy book. 🙂 I might have dragons, but I wanted the romance to seem “real.”

  4. hopecook says:

    I think my favourite kind of relationships in stories are the one that start with an undeniable physical attraction component (very eros) but that have a lot of obstacles to overcome (either internal personal struggles or external stuff that gets in the way) that allow for tension and the chance for the characters to get to know one another on a deeper level. I think Pride and Prejudice is a great example of this, especially the way the Kira Knightly film portrays the chemistry. They are both struck by each other instantly, but spend most of the time pissing each other off. Love it.

  5. Diana says:

    I like books like I like books like Forever Girl by Rebekka Hamilton and FEVER SERIES by Karen Marie Moning. Not enough romance to call it paranormal romance but not quite urban fantasy either. It’s a mix. Finding more authors who write like this lately and happy about that!

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