Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Addicts discussion

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General Discussion > Is it PNR or UF?

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message 1: by GinBee, Founder & Mod (new)

GinBee (jennymbee) | 4468 comments Mod
It took me a while to realise PNR and UF are actually different *bows head for being dim* but I thought I was getting it now, PNR has a focus in the romanic relationships towards a HEA and UF is more about world building, the individual with maybe a bit of sex. But now the lines are being blurred.

Have a look at this which talks PNR v UF and the blurring of lines and let me know what you think! http://www.dirtysexybooks.com/Dirty_Sexy_Books/Home/Entries/2010/4/20_Books_That_Blur_The_Line__Part_One.html

Do you mind if a book is UF v PNR?

Do you broadly read UF rather than PNR? (or viva virca?)


message 2: by Mariya (new)

Mariya (cr6zym0nkeyiz) i rather read PNR than UF b/c i love the HEA. i love the romance in PNR. but i dont mind reading UF.


message 3: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca I guess I'm a stickler for separating them. But then, I don't agree with the definitions they gave in that blog:

Paranormal Romance
1. The focus of the story is on the couple
2. There is a high degree of sensuality, almost always expressed in multiple sex scenes
3. The couple is united in a ‘happily ever after’ ending

Urban Fantasy
1. The focus of the story is on the individual
2. There is often romantic tension, but sex scenes are seldom depicted in any detail
3. There is no guarantee of a ‘happily ever after’ ending, and most often relationships are left in an unresolved state


I think #2 in both "definitions" is wrong. I think the amount of sexuality or sex scenes is independent of "urban fantasy vs paranormal romance". In fact, my defining "urban fantasy" series has a great deal of sexuality and on screen sex.

For me, urban fantasy is a sf/fantasy book involving paranormal creatures in a contemporary "urban" setting. Paranormal romance is a romance novel, where one or more of the characters happen to be vamps or weres or the like.

Total perspective switch. One is fantasy, world building, and a continuing story. The other is largely independent books that just happen to exist in the same world.

I expect more depth to urban fantasy series. And, in most cases, I've found that to be true.

I much prefer urban fantasy and it annoys me when people call urban fantasy series paranormal romance. That sets up other readers to blame a series when they don't get their magic HEA.

As for blends, as long as there is a new couple in every book - like the Dark-Hunter series or the Black Dagger Brotherhood series - I still call them paranormal romance, even if there is a greater sense of a continuing series.

As for Kelley Armstrong, I still call her books urban fantasy. Eileen Wilks would be the same. In both series, even though most of the couples do hook up and stay together, there is more of a sense of a continuing series.

LOL. Sorry for such a tl;dr rant of a first post. This is a pet peeve of mine.


message 4: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) I definitely prefer UF. I enjoy PNR, but it gets boring to me if I read too much of it.


message 5: by Literary Ames (new)

Literary Ames (amyorames) | 276 comments mlady, I totally agree with you on everything you've said. My local book store had UF under PNR but not for long, the shelves were renamed Dark Fantasy which is much better. In magazines and online articles they almost always lump UF with PNR, it annoys the hell out of me.

Usually it's fairly obvious to me the difference between UF and PNR books, even without reading them. The cover is typically a dead giveaway - PNR tends to have a couple or a hot guy on the cover, UF either of a woman or no human image at all. Young adult books are a little harder to categorise based on covers because many of them revolve around a HEA but have no human image, I blame Twilight for that. I've noticed YA have the most enticing covers at the moment.

Regina, it's the same for me. Generally I only read PNR when I want a guaranteed happy ending, or if I haven't read some in a while.


message 6: by GinBee, Founder & Mod (new)

GinBee (jennymbee) | 4468 comments Mod
Mlady and Amy, I agree when you say the definitions used in that blog are not what I would have used either - that's why I started this thread, I wanted to know if I was the only one who thought that.

It has taken a while but I'm getting the difference between PNR and UF. Although they are different they do have things in common like the vampires, witches, shifters and so on - that's what this group is all about, books with supernatural/otherworldy things in them, be they PNR, UF, adult, YA, mystery, erotica etc. I've got a taste for them!

Personally I like to have an idea which they are so I know what to expect when reading! Amy you make a good point about usually being able to tell from the cover, the more I am reading etc the more I am finding this too. Anything to do with the UK covers do you think?

Good point about when they are mixed together people may be disapointed not to get an HEA in UF, that is setting them up not to be liked by certain groups of readers. Not really fair to the books or the readers. But the media likes to generalise don't they!!

It's interesting that some people really don't care if somethings PNR or UF and others are passionate about the difference!! Thank you mlady for showing passion and helping me get a better grip on UF.

I started off reading mainly PNR but I am now also reading UF as well as I like some elements of these books better, there are loads of both on my TBR!! Depends on my mood really!


message 7: by Sally (new)

Sally (sjanec) | 22 comments PNR has a focus in the romanic relationships towards a HEA and UF is mo..."

Sorry I am new to this I know what UF is but what is HEA


Shera (Book Whispers) (sherabookwhispers) | 2569 comments I love UF, I've just barely started to get into PNR.

Personally UF is more world building, more plot, and the characters build "real" relationships before they jump each other. So more sexual tension, which I appreciate.

PNR has plot, but I feel it's more about the sex factor. The few PNR books I've read I've loved though!

I don't think either are separated by series length, that's just silly. The covers are definitely a dead give away.


message 9: by Literary Ames (new)

Literary Ames (amyorames) | 276 comments Sally wrote: "Sorry I am new to this I know what UF is but what is HEA"

HEA = Happy Ever After
UF = Urban Fantasy
PNR = Paranormal Romance


message 10: by chucklesthescot (new)

chucklesthescot Prefer UF.I like some PNR but I'm not into the piles of sex in every chapter type of book.The lines between the two are definitely blurring.


Shera (Book Whispers) (sherabookwhispers) | 2569 comments Blurring a lot in some cases.


message 12: by Bianca (new)

Bianca | 117 comments I started out mostly reading PNR, though I didnt really know there was a difference between UF and PNR. But I must say that it does tend to get a bit boring only reading PNR.
Lately Ive been reading more and more UF and I love it, I love the fact that the world has more depth, though sometimes I miss the hot and steamy :P Then I know its time to read some PNR again!


message 13: by GinBee, Founder & Mod (last edited Apr 27, 2010 03:02PM) (new)

GinBee (jennymbee) | 4468 comments Mod
What about series which start out as one then seem to move towards the other? The one which comes to mind is BDB. Was definitly PNR in the early books and later ones seems more towards UF. A few people have made this point and Yz the Whyz started a discussion on this in the BDB group. Do you mind?


message 14: by Bianca (new)

Bianca | 117 comments Well I guess it depends on how the shift occurs. If it fits then I think its ok. It shouldnt be such a sudden shift that the characters become unbelievable, or the world changes because of it.
I think the writer can give the characters more depth by shifting, which is a good thing imo!
The other way around from UF to more PNR can be fun to read as well, as long as it doesnt just happen overnight.

In the end I think it depends on the series, if it fits then its ok.


message 15: by Mariya (new)

Mariya (cr6zym0nkeyiz) now that ive read more of both PNR and UF. i find that i like more of the UF book series i have read than the PNR ones. i like in some that the heroine and hero dont get together in the book rite away to build on the relationship. i love the world building. i only like a few PNR series. i like PNR but i do knoe knoe if i read too many PNR books in a row it will become boring. i love UF


Shera (Book Whispers) (sherabookwhispers) | 2569 comments I agree. I feel that UF tend to have the best sexaul tension.


message 17: by Mariya (new)

Mariya (cr6zym0nkeyiz) yea. i find that i dont like when the hero and herione get thrown together in the first book. well, night huntress it works. i like the sexual tension the books though. its the best.


message 18: by Desperado (new)

Desperado (lethallovely) I enjoy UF & PNR equally, for different reasons. I love the chemistry & romance in PNR but I also love the action & kick-ass protagonists in UF. One of my biggest pet peeves is a TSTL hero/heroine, & while a UF protagonist may be stubborn, pig headed and/or annoying from time to time, I rarely feel the urge to push him or her down a well.

I also love that the UF genre today is filled with female protagonists. While I absolutely love an alpha male hero, it's nice to see a woman kicking ass & taking names for a change.


Shera (Book Whispers) (sherabookwhispers) | 2569 comments That's one of my favorite things about UF, woman can kick ass and do it well.

It always seems like in PNR that eventauly any strong femal lead is going to turn into a damsel and need rescuing. Strong woman arent't done as well.


message 20: by Desperado (new)

Desperado (lethallovely) I completely agree, Shera. Look at the BDB series for instance. I know I'm gonna get some crap for this but every single woman heroine in that series has little to no backbone & the one woman who DOES take care of her business is portrayed as masculine to the extreme. I like the series but I hate the message it seems to be giving that you can't be a strong, independant woman & still keep your femininity.


message 21: by Regina (new)

Regina (reginar) Tayla in Pleasure Unbound in the Demonica series is an exception to that - a welcome exception. So is the heroine in Magnus Pack by Laurentsen and Elena in Women of the Underworld. I have only read the first few of these three series so I am not sure if this trend continues in these PNR series. I do prefer UF but a well written PNR series is a nice break.


Shera (Book Whispers) (sherabookwhispers) | 2569 comments Yep. I know! Sometimes a cringe when I find myself excited about a PNR release just because of that.

I agree with you on BDB, I'm a huge fan too.


message 23: by Shera (Book Whispers) (last edited Sep 12, 2010 08:44PM) (new)

Shera (Book Whispers) (sherabookwhispers) | 2569 comments Regina wrote: "Tayla in Pleasure Unbound in the Demonica series is an exception to that - a welcome exception. So is the heroine in Magnus Pack by Laurentsen and Elena in Women of the Underworld. I have only rea..."

That's true she was pretty tough the whole time.

The Women of the Otherworld series is considered UF. Though the first book, Bitten, read like a pnr to me.


message 24: by S.L.J. (new)

S.L.J. (sammyslj) | 66 comments I've always thought it was based more on the location than anything else. Mortal Instruments is called UF because a lot of it is based in New York while Harry Potter is simply fantasy because it rarely includes the outside world. Twilight, Shiver, Nightshade and so on are PNR because they focus mainly on romance but not in an urban enviroment.

I might be wrong of course. There are some books that constantly shift locations from the back side of nowhere to the big city simply based on the story. I just call those Supernatural stories.


message 25: by R. Scott (new)

R. Scott VanKirk (svankirk) | 9 comments OK, anyone have an idea of the difference between Paranormal and Urban Fantasy is?


message 27: by R. Scott (new)

R. Scott VanKirk (svankirk) | 9 comments Sammy wrote: "Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance"


I'm wondering about Paranormal without the romance :)


message 28: by S.L.J. (new)

S.L.J. (sammyslj) | 66 comments R.Scott wrote: "Sammy wrote: "Urban Fantasy

Paranormal Romance"

I'm wondering about Paranormal without the romance :)"


Fiction that involves ghosts, magic, vamps, werewolves, zombies, shifters etc. Anything that goes beyond the realm of 'real life' in a non-scientific way (which is sci-fi).

If it's all set in real life about a real person it's non-fiction.
If it's all set in real life but is about imaginary characters, it's fiction.
If it's set in the real world but has supernatural elements, it's paranormal.
If it's set in an entirely make-belief world it's fantasy.
Etc, Etc...


message 29: by R. Scott (new)

R. Scott VanKirk (svankirk) | 9 comments Sammy wrote:

Fiction that involves ghosts, magic, vamps, werewolves, zombies, shi..."


And what is the defining difference between urban fantasy and paranormal?


message 30: by S.L.J. (new)

S.L.J. (sammyslj) | 66 comments Cityscapes and time periods.


message 31: by Marie (new)

Marie Ventris (marieventris) | 3 comments I'm still scratching my head about all the genres and subgenres. I had to figure out which categories my book fits into and I'm honestly still not quite sure... UF vs. Paranormal. I feel rather stupid for not knowing what my own book is, but it seems like these are still being defined so maybe it's not just me.


message 32: by R. Scott (new)

R. Scott VanKirk (svankirk) | 9 comments Marie wrote: "I'm still scratching my head about all the genres and subgenres. I had to figure out which categories my book fits into and I'm honestly still not quite sure... UF vs. Paranormal. I feel rather stu..."

Same here. The only difference I have sensed in the two is that paranormal deals more with ghosts and god. But I don't know that is real.


message 33: by Mel (new)

Mel (soireb) | 67 comments I think that the main difference is that for a book to be Urban Fantasy, it has to be set in a city in modern times. Whereas in Paranormal the story can take place in the middle ages, deep within a forest or a fortress and it will be called paranormal-whatever-sub-genre.

The stories can have the same elements, the setting is what says whether is UF or Paranormal.

Another thing:
PNR - Paranormal Romance is known to end with a HEA.
UF - does not needs a HEA at the end.


message 34: by Ally (new)

Ally (allisond1) | 8 comments I prefer UF because if it's done right, you have a great mixture of action, world building, characters, romance, sex, horror and a HEA but with a nice unpredictable twist.

I find PNR too predictable and a lot of the characters just come off as being the same type of character you read in almost every kind of PNR book.

I'm starting to see that in UF too which is disappointing. And it makes it hard to find books that are really unique.

To me, D.N. Simmons is a perfect example of UF done right.

and Jeanine frost is a perfect example of PNR done right.


message 35: by Abby (new)

Abby  | 126 comments I Find that most of the books I read tend to be an overlapping of both so it's really hard to distinguish what books are UF and what are PNR... Especially when they're classified as Both... The ones I know for sure that are UF are the alex craft series and the Charley Davidson series... Other then that I can`t really distinguish between the two... Am I the only one that has this problem?


message 36: by Cmkage (new)

Cmkage | 46 comments Some series are easier to categorize than others, that's for sure. But I like both UF and PNR, so I don't care which category a book falls in or if it incorporates elements of both.

I started out reading uf (Sookie Stackhouse, Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson), but I came across pnr books pretty quickly and now I like both. It kind of depends on my mood.

The way I see it, uf and pnr are all subgenres of paranormal anyway.


message 37: by Abby (new)

Abby  | 126 comments That's true... I started out reading PNR (Feehan's Dark Series) and then I found Jeaniene Frost's Cat and Bones books... I've just recently found more UF books but most of the books I read tend to have elements of both in them...


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