What is Paranormal Fantasy?

Posted by on August 22, 2012 in Paranormal Fantasy | 1 comment

Currently, Paranormal Fantasy isn’t really a recognized genre. You have Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, but sometimes a book doesn’t really fall into either category.

I know what some people say about all the genres out there. Some think there are too many and certainly no room for more. Others, however, understand why the genres exist and why we have more today than we did decades or centuries ago.

If we’re going to visit that for a moment before moving on, it’s this simple:

Let’s say we have 100 book titles to shelve and we can put 10 on each shelf. If we group them all together, for those who don’t care about genres, they would have to go through 100 shelves to see them all. So would the people who might only want to read a certain kind of book. Let’s say we split them into 10 genres, though. Well, the people who don’t care about certain genres would STILL have to go through 100 shelves to see all the books, but those who only care about certain genres could visit only 2 or 3 shelves if they so chose. In other words, it doesn’t make anyone’s life easier to limit genres, but it DOSE make some lives easier if the genres do exist and can narrow down browsing.

The next part of the argument is often about “people needing to read more variety”. I won’t say how I feel about this, though I will say I am a variety-reader myself. However, it’s not MY decision whether SOMEONE ELSE should read more of a variety. I’m just happy if people are reading and if people are easily finding the books they want. That is why I don’t mind when new genres pop up, such as paranormal fantasy.

So let’s talk about what paranormal fantasy IS and why some people might prefer this niche to other alternatives (hence liking the distinction being available to them). We’ll start by looking at the key points of similar genres.


Urban Fantasy:

-Takes place in an urban setting/city.

-Usually in contemporary times but sometimes in historical, modern, or futuristic periods.

-Contains supernatural elements.


Paranormal Romance:

-Focuses on romance

-includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation.

-Romantic relationship between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of fantastic or otherworldly nature.

What happens when your Urban Fantasy is missing the urban? Or your paranormal romance doesn’t focus on romance, or might have no romance at all? What if you can’t just call it “fantasy” because it still takes place in this world? That’s where Paranormal Fantasy comes in. This is how I would define the genre.


Paranormal Fantasy

-Takes place in any realistic, on-Earth location.

-Contains paranormal or supernatural elements, such as vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of fantastic or otherworldly nature.

-Can be set in historical, modern, or futuristic periods.

-Romance, if present, is not the plot.

So, it’s a lot like Urban Fantasy without the Urban. It may or may not have romance, but if it does, that is not what the story is focused on. The “tone” of the novel may be more like Paranormal Romance, but the plots may be more like Urban Fantasy. In a way, it’s a blend of the two, but it qualifies as neither.


Here are some books that I think are more Paranormal Fantasy than anything else (though they may be delegated to other genres currently).

The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton (hehehe)

The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

Magus of Stonewylde by Kit Berry

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts


What books would YOU classify as Paranormal Fantasy?

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Rebecca Hamilton is a USA Today bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author. Her bestselling Forever Girl Series is available at online retailers and has been optioned for film with Witten Pictures. The Hungarian edition has been published with IPC books and the German edition has been published with Darkiss, a Harlequin imprint.

1 Comment

  1. Discount Armageddon would be a paranormal fantasy some sellers were tagging this under science fiction and paranormal romance which was a lie lol. I read across genres I think alot of readers do but when your in a mood from something specific it would be nice for the books to actually fit their category.

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