Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why I love Urban Fantasy

Last weekend I went to a cousins wedding and got into a conversation with one of my brothers in law about the book I was reading at the time-Web of Lies by  Jennifer Estep, and after I got done explaining what the genre was (I explained as the tv show Supernatural in book form-he's a huge fan of the show.) I had a really hard time explaining why I loved the genre so much.

Then I realized-even though some things about this genre drive me nuts (like taking a whole book to world build instead of telling an actual story to set up for future books in the series and the girl never quite getting the guy) I realized that there were five things that really pulled me into loving this genre:

1. The Heroines-Urban Fantasy heroines  are sassy, witty, Tough as nails, and sometimes down right unlikable. They  don't pine over a guy. They know what they want and
aren't afraid to go and get their man. No "he comes from the wrong family, what will I do?" kind of thinking for them. If the guy gets in the way of their objective then  heaven help the guy getting back the girl.
Favorites: Gin Blanco, (Spiders Bite, Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep) Merit, Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill, Mac from the Fever series with Karen Marie Moning.

2. The Heroes-The Urban Fantasy heroes are almost always all alpha, and complete jerks. However,  they have their reasons for their jerkiness, and as soon as you think they can't be
any more of a jerk, they say or do something that makes you sigh, and you  know deep down they are good guys with a tough exterior. I do so love my tortured  UF heroes.
Favorites: Barrons (Fever series, Karen Marie Moning) Ethan (Chicagoland Vampire Series, Chloe Neill) Packard,  (Disillusionist Trilogy by Carolyn Crane) Noah and Zane from Jill Myles Succubi series.

3.  World Building- As much as this annoys me sometimes, it's one of the things that I've grown to really appreciate about the genre. Some writers like Carolyn Crane and Stacia Kane, do it so effortlessly that you don't even realize they are world building because you are immediately pulled into their world of storytelling and lost in the story.
Favorites:  Mind Games by Carolyn Crane,Disillusionist Trilogy, Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill)

4. Outside The Box Thinking - If you had told me before I started blogging that one of my favorite books would be about a heroine who did drugs (Downside Series--Stacia Kane) or about an assassin (Elemental Assassins, Jennifer Estep) or a hypochondriac (Disillusionist Trilogy, Carolyn Crane) I would have laughed at you.  The thing that makes this genre great is it's ability to make you go past your comfort zone and get enrapture  in worlds that would be inconceivable in other genres.           
Favorites: Stacia Kane-Downside Series, Jennifer Estep-Elemental Assassins) Carolyn Crane Disillusionist Trilogy

5. Cliff  Hangers-Ok, I admit it. As much as I love to hate them, I absolutely love the fact that there is no clear cut happily ever after sometimes in UF books. You never know what will be thrown at you. As soon as you think you know what the ending will be, whammy! Something is thrown at you that you as a reader didn't see coming.While I do like resolution in my books, I don't mind waiting for it. Especially when it has me shouting, yelling and throwing the book across the room. *cough*Dreamfever*cough* That's when you know that an author has done their job-when you are satisfied, but left wanting more, more, more!
Favorites: Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning, Chicagoland Vampire Series by Chloe Neill,  Succubi Series by Jill Myles

While Urban Fantasy books may confuse my local library (they don't know whether to classify them as romance, fantasy or fiction)  they've earned a keeper place on my bookshelf! I realize that I kept listing the same books over and over on my favorites lists, but those are the books that I just haven't been able to get out of my mind lately. I'm sure I'm forgetting some great books, and as I've only been reading it a year, there are so many authors I haven't gotten around to reading yet.  What UF books/authors are your favorite?