June 26, 2013 by Kira Lyn Blue
Has Urban Fantasy gone stale?
“I’m over vampires/werewolves/angels/demons/fae. These types of characters are tired and overused and I wish writers would do something new and different.”
The above is not an actual quote, but the conglomeration of sentiments I’ve been seeing in reviews for Urban Fantasy books and even on some blogs.
I could spend pages of discussion invalidating this sentiment by saying things like: “Um, exactly what supernatural creatures do you want to see in UF, then?” or “It sounds like you need a new genre to read,” or “Maybe you just disliked that specific book and its portrayal of supernatural creatures and society.”
Based on my own experience as a reader, I can say that I can’t get enough of supernatural beings. If a vampire story is well written, it won’t matter to me that I’ve read hundreds of other books on vampires. I’m a fan of the genre and will devour just about everything published in it.
However, there are so very many books in this genre to choose from and I have been disappointed by novels more frequently than I’d like to admit. The more I read in the genre, the harder it is for me to be enchanted, bewitched, and swept away in sheer wonder. There are just so many similar elements used by UF authors that they do start to become boring, tired, and overused.
But, does that mean the genre is stale or is it the approaches to it that are being taken by the writers?
There are books I’ve read that have so many of the same elements and are still unique, fresh, and demand being read in one sitting because I just…can’t…stop until I see what happens. And plenty of these books have vampires/demons/werewolves/fae and all the usual trappings.
So, what is it that makes some books in Urban Fantasy feel fresh and unique and others feel stale and clichéd?
As a writer in the genre, this discussion intrigues me. I’ve got some specific discussion points planned for future posts, but I’d like to hear your ideas. And it doesn’t have to be UF specific.