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UF BOOK CHAT > Likes/Dislikes in Urban Fantasy

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message 1: by Meg (new)

Meg (fictiontheory) | 10 comments There is a discussion going on over in the livejournal of agent Jennifer Jackson, and she's asking people what they're tired of in books in general, or what they want more of. The link is here: http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/18906...

A lot of people said they're tired of Urban Fantasy, and whatnot, and listed a lot of things about Urban Fantasy and current trends that they are tired of. Notably, there seems to be weariness with the "kickass Buffy clone" type of heroine in stories, and cover art showing the backside of leather clad babes with tramp stamps.

So I was wondering, what do people in this group think of the current trends in the genre?

What things in Urban Fantasy are you tired of seeing over and over again, and what things do you wish writers would write more about? What things do you want to see more of?

For myself, I'd like to see much more diversity. I'd like to see more people of color as leads and main protagonists, I'd like to see more LGBT folks represented, as well as maybe people with disabilities, people of size, things like that.

I mean, what if you were one of those destined-to-slay vampires type folks but you were confined to a wheelchair? What if a sexy vampire hero started trying to seduce you only to find out that you're a lesbian who doesn't do men, much less undead men?

I'd also really like it if being a vampire or werewolf was explored not just from a viewpoint of "isn't being undead/a werewolf really sexy?" - but what are the downsides. And I don't just mean having some vamp/were brood over being immortal - but maybe little details that people don't think of as being downers.

I mean, wouldn't the enhanced sense of smell really be a downer the night before trash pick up? Wouldn't going to the mall be almost too much to handle, if you've got super hearing? I have just regular hearing and smelling, and going to places like that overwhelms me sometimes.

Also, as much as I do love me a good vampire or werewolf, I'd like to see other bits of magic and myth and ideas mixed in. I'd like to see a widening of the genre, so that it encompasses a lot of things. I'd like to see a lot of world mythology explored, not just Western myths.

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 02, 2009 08:22PM) (new)

I sure agree with the comment about "cover art showing the backside of leather clad babes with tramp stamps." It's hilarious when all the cover art starts to look alike! Hilarious and boring.

message 3: by new_user (new)

new_user Oh, good points, Fictiontheory. I completely agree, I'd love to see a greater diversity in characters. I think that would be awesome. *points to Nalini Singh*

I'd also love to see a greater diversity in the paranormal that's incorporated into the story. It would certainly be nice to see more legends and myths, or even a greater variety of creatures based on the current myths. (Weres are still only, what, 90% wolves? LOL) I was impressed when an author included a Japanese fox shifter, and even succubi and selkies, etc. are uncommon, though they're decidedly Western.

And more in-depth world-building. :)

message 4: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 18 comments I personally would love to see more historical romance, more thriller's like Shafi Doldi. I like books on the order of Sugar. While I do read urban well written mysteries are my meat and potatoes.We have a few Vampire novels but where are our ghost and witches.I read any and everything my one requirement is as that it be good. I would also enjoy reading about characters with disabilities that are not beaten down and bitter.One more point I feel that sex is being used instead of writing a interesting story.Well that's my input

message 5: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments Funny you mention this and I think that is why I am so drawn to the Kitty series because as readers we watch her learn self defense and we watch her learn how to shoot a gun.

I would like more diversity especially with LGBT and age. I have often wondered how a story would read if a vamp started dating grandma. You know it would seem that they would have more in common. I also thought it was interesting inSmitten and Bitten where a vamp is 300 years old and broke.

message 6: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 18 comments Kristopher wrote: "new_user wrote: "I'd love to see a greater diversity in characters. I think that would be awesome. *points to Nalini Singh*"

I haven't been here very long and maybe you all have already covered it..."

I think that you would enjoy Shafi Doldi it's about a black kgb agent. I don't usually go for this type of book but I loved the originality of this book.

I wish more authors would try something new and different, they just might start a new trend.

message 7: by Kristen (new)

Kristen (areadinglady) I, too, agree with the diversity aspect. I get pretty tired of the same Barbie and Ken model-types being the main characters. In the growing global community, I think it is somewhat irresponsible for authors not to branch out more. There should definitely be more LGBT, minorities, aged, not model material characters. I think there are a lot of interesting things that could be done from a religious aspect in the genre as well. Like what if someone was raised that XYZ was completely false and evil, only to have their beliefs totally blown up by evidence? I don't know. It could be interesting.

message 8: by Theresa (new)

Theresa  (tsorrels) Marjorie Liu's books have very diverse characters. All different nationalities and backgrounds. She's more on the Paranormal Romance end of the spectrum, but her stories are usually fun (except for a few duds, in my opinion).

message 9: by Theresa (new)

Theresa  (tsorrels) I read The Icarus Girl awhile back and enjoyed it. Good story.

message 10: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Collins (jamie_goodreads) | 4 comments I highly recommend Tanya Huff's Blood series. The books are not sexually explicit, and while they do focus on his relationship with a woman, her very sexy vampire Henry Fitzroy is casually bisexual. Huff is a terrific writer, and her fiction is liberally sprinkled with gay and bisexual characters.

message 11: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 169 comments My only complaint about Huff's Blood series, was that I enjoyed Henry and found him more interesting than Vicki who was supposed to be the main character. lol

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I read Huff's Blood series too, and I agree with you, Jessica.

message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael (ramaloke) | 18 comments I grow tired of the Kick Ass Ball Bustin' female lead (Im a dude, I want some representation! Jim Butcher is like, the only author Ive found who has a good Urban Fantasy series based around a dude!).

Im getting tired of "Metaphysical Sex", but I love vampires so I guess Ive made my bed and now I have to sleep in it.

Im also starting to dislike the "Halfsies" characters. "Im a Half Demon/Vampire/Blah/Bleh/Whatev" and that makes me "Different and Special". How about the "average" vampire? Differ your characters by personality and actions not blood.

message 14: by Melissa (new)

Melissa I'm getting kind of sick of the halfsies too! I'm glad you mentioned it first! There aren't enough "cons" to being a vampire or werewolf or demon? Is it really necessary to add a human weakness? Is it to make them more believable or for the reader to connect to more? Cause really, if it's got vamps and demons and such, I'm pretty much reading it for entertainment not to get some life lesson from it.

I agree the kick ass female lead is becoming over done. I like the guy/girl team up to fight the big, bad and ugly. I'd like to see more of that!

message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael (ramaloke) | 18 comments Another thing that I never really noticed is the mass of "underdog" characters out there. I guess it just made sense that the protagonist would have the world against him/her. One series that really broke that mold well is the Marla Mason series.

She's a Kick Ass Ball Bustin' sorceress, but one of the things that makes her so unique is that she is the "Chief Sorcerer" in the City of Felport (sort of like being a Queen), she has resources she can pull upon to get her job done. Its a *nice* change. I really like it.

message 16: by Cathy (new)

Cathy  (cathygreytfriend) | 55 comments I just like the stories with more complex characters and stories. Wrestling with the concepts of good and evil, selfishness versus generosity, love and like and hate and desire, etc. Life is messy, the decisions we need to make are usually difficult, and I like it when the story reflects that.

message 17: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments I don't mind the female lead but I hate that the women are born ready to kick a$$ which is one of the reasons I like the Kitty series she has to at least learn how to fight. I do agree that I like the male lead hence the Jim Butcher series and Felix Castor.
Oh and while I love my vampires I would prefer them to be whole without their mate - I grow tire d of the I am dark and she is my light or the I have wandered 300 years alone feeling nothing until I met the 25 year old petite woman with creamy skin UGGGG. Really can we get a new line

In my series however I like my protagonist to grow a little more in each book and I like when they have to wrestle within themselves. And my last comment is I enjoy when writers research the world or theory that their world thrives in. For example Kat Richardson uses the law of physics to explain shape-shifting. I also like when they use Native American tales or ancient legends I feel like I learn a little something as well.

message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael (ramaloke) | 18 comments Yeah I really like the Kitty Norville series. I liked for instance, that the world starts off closed, weres and vamps etc are secrets and then the world opens up. Thats certainly a new take. Every other series has the world wide open already.

Its interesting to see it happen.

message 19: by new_user (new)

new_user That kind of reminds me of the Mercy series by Patricia Briggs, Michael. The events in her books take place just after the paranormal creatures have "come out" to the world.

And I agree with you all, the same tired old heroine and halfsies (seriously, flesh out the actual species first before you move on to variations).

Go partners! And totally agree with having complex characters. It's a little annoying to find black and white characters or conflicts. I would love more developed worlds and species too. I think some authors are getting lazy relying on pop culture to fill in the gaps. And yeah, I think we've had enough of the "I've been dead until you came along" guys.

message 20: by Anton Strout (new)

Anton Strout | 21 comments If only there were other male protagonist driven urban fantasy books that weren't ball busting, kick assers all the time.. if only! I wonder where someoneone could find something like that...

*cough cough*

message 21: by Jessica (new)

Jessica | 169 comments *grin* I love Simon!

message 22: by Anton Strout (new)

Anton Strout | 21 comments Jessica wrote: "*grin* I love Simon!"
Simon loves you too. He just can't touch your stuff!

message 23: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitaw) | 19 comments As far as "coming out of the closet" goes for supes, there's also the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris (basis for Tru Blood).

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) Pretty sure the vampires had already come out at the beginning of that series, though.

message 25: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments They were out at the beginning but now she is bringing out the were population

message 26: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments I still like it when a vamp that could potentially eat your friends - I think the ones in the Greywalker series could potentially do that.

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) Oh, gotcha.

I made it through about 3/4 of the first book before I gave up on that series, so I didn't know that... I'll shut up now. :)

message 28: by Dawn (last edited Feb 27, 2009 02:45PM) (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments No worries Nichole - so you did not like Sookie Stackhouse?

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) No, I really didn't. I actually just posted my review today. I had tried reading it and couldn't get into it, so I tried the audibook and I got further with that, but eventually got to a point where I was thinking about pushing play and I got that "ugh" feeling, and so I thought, why am I forcing myself to finish something I just don't like?

I think as soon as Sookie and Bill actually hooked up is when it really started going downhill for me. I had liked Bill at the beginning, but by that point I started to think he was more creepy than anything. Their relationship gave me the willies.

message 30: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments Yeah I agree I could never get the whole I love Bill and Sookie relationship I always thought he was a bit of a selfish bastard. So I was really happy when she ditched him LOL I am sorry you disliked it though

message 31: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 28, 2009 11:28AM) (new)

I've read all the Sookie books so far, and I almost quit reading them after about the 3rd or 4th book. But I didn't and I'm glad. I think I was just in a different frame of mind back when I started the series, and it just wasn't clicking for me. Now I love it.
Oh, and Bill SUCKS (and not in a good way) Don't worry, their relationship doesn't last long. Sookie gives him the boot, and her life is much more interesting without him. Trust me.

Dawn, I loved what you said: I grow tire d of the I am dark and she is my light or the I have wandered 300 years alone feeling nothing until I met the 25 year old petite woman with creamy skin UGGGG. Really can we get a new line
That made me laugh out loud!

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) It is good to know that Sookie gives Bill the boot. I get the impression from you guys that he turns out not to be such a good guy? That's a relief. I kept getting that icky vibe from him but then thinking he was supposed to be a viable love interest. It really turned me off.

message 33: by Shanon (new)

Shanon (boban) That "icky vibe" ends up being well deserved! If that's the only reason you quit reading then I'd consider picking it up again.

message 34: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn (kathry) I second Shanon's opinion! I would recommend starting the series again, it gets better.

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) The icky Bill vibe was definitely one of the reasons that I stopped reading/listening (I was doing the audiobook.) It wasn't the only reason, though. I didn't particularly like any of the other characters either (though none of them bugged me), and I realized after awhile that I just really didn't care how it ended. I didn't care who had killed Maudette and Dawn, and it just wasn't doing much for me.

But yes, the primary reason was that Bill and Sookie's relationship was creeptastic. And your guys's comments are reassuring, so maybe one day I'll get back to it...

DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 113 comments I bought the series boxset when it was released last year on the heels of True Blood, having heard nothing but great things. I read the first one and thought it was just okay. However, I've been assured that it's the weakest of the series and things will get much better. I will have to go back and read more.

message 37: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments It is funny because when I first read Dead Until Dark I think I liked it, but yet I never read it again. I think I have reread all of the other books at least two or three times but the first one I only read once.

message 38: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments Christopher Golden has a trilogy called the Veil, beginning with Ygr Myth Hunters that brings legends from all cultures into play. I found myself constantly google-ing the characters to find out their origins. i was impressed at how many different mythologies he brought together in one world.

message 39: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments Or, rather, THE Myth Hunters.

Posting from a blackberry often leads to unfortunate typos.

I think that a lot of authors are allowing themselves to fall into the dire condition of adhering to "the formula." It would be great to find more writers who either break new ground, or at least find a way to put a lot of punch into their world-building.

I also agree with the comments re: cover art. I find it very off-putting that the majority of books out there rely on the stock art tramp stamp to pull you in. I appreciate authors/publishers who don't care about fitting in with all the other kids on the playground. I know she's more PNR, but I was so irked when I saw that the last Queen Betsy book had switched from whimsical, highly identifiable drawings to a close up of yet another chick. Bah. Don't these people understand that they're hurting themselves even in the simple area of branding? Charlaine Harris on the other hand? You can identify her books from a mile away.

More diversity would be great, but I think that's part and parcel with the world-building issues. In a well-crafted, realistic universe, diversity would be par for the course.

message 40: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jen421) | 32 comments I hate it when they reissue a book with a different cover, especially if it's a movie or TV show tie in cover. Argh!!!

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) True, Charlaine Harris's books are easily identifiable, though they look like something my mom would hang by the door at Halloween... from her vast assortment of things she purchased at the Quilted Bear.

message 42: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn (kathry) Reissues of covers bother me too. I try not to judge a book by its cover :), but there have been many times when I either passed up or picked a book based on its cover. I'm sorry to say that I passed up Harris's books because I originally did not like the art but now I can appreciate it.

message 43: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments Nichole wrote: "True, Charlaine Harris's books are easily identifiable, though they look like something my mom would hang by the door at Halloween... from her vast assortment of things she purchased at the Quilted..."




message 44: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments I don't care for the Charlaine Harris new cover for Dead Until Dark with the red lips. It makes the book look like it is erotic and Mrs Harris maybe man things but erotic is not one.

message 45: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 05, 2009 04:44PM) (new)

I so agree with you, Dawn! I don't like the new cover of Dead Until Dark, and find it to be very misleading.

I really like the newer Dresden Files covers, but am annoyed because I'm one of those silly people who likes my cover art to match. Now half my Dresden books have one style of cover art, and the others are different. Grrr.

message 46: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jen421) | 32 comments It's because the new cover art for Dead Until Dark is a TV show tie in for True Blood. Bah!

message 47: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments Jennifer, amen on the bitchy female protagonist! Drives me nuts! In some cases, I think it's acceptable at the start of the series, but to still have the female character whining and bitching when by book 2 or 3 she's established firm friendships/relationships...sigh. It becomes very cliché and exhausting. Quitcher bitchin' already and grow as a character! Recently, I read Urban Shaman by CE Murphy and the first in the "in Death" series by Robb and I found both female protagonists very real. Kick ass while being nothing more than a little wise ass at times, like Mercy. It was a refreshing change.

Nichole (DirrtyH) (dirtyh) Totally agree with you guys about Mercy. That's probably why I love the series so much - Mercy is just a normal girl that I can relate to. She's not ditzy, she's not overly impulsive, she doesn't run out doing crazy stupid things all the time, and she doesn't get her feathers ruffled over tiny stuff. She'll have an initial reaction, but then realize why she's being irrational and bite her tongue before she goes off on someone. She's reasonable, where most UF heroines are super quick to get their dander up.

message 49: by The Flooze (new)

The Flooze (the_flooze) | 179 comments Oh, Anita Blake and her "cold killing place" in her head. 16 books later and the bitch still wants to kill EVERYONE. But I'll still read the next one...

But I digress, since she's not fully this genre anymore.

message 50: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (dawnv) | 367 comments honestly there are not a lot of female protagonist out there they still tend to be some dudes side kick.

I like it when the protagonist male or female know their limits. Like Mercy, Sookie, Kitty or Dresdin

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