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March 03, 2012

Reading Update: Tired of Urban Fantasy?

Raven Cursed Faith Hunter
A Perfect Blood Kim Harrison
Sins of the Demon Diana Rowland

All of these are the latest installments of urban fantasy series I've been devouring since last year. I love the combination of mystery, horror, fantasy, and romance in the genre -- not too much of any one of these genres, each of which -- except for mystery -- is largely a turn-off for me. And I really dig that the wish-fulfillment in these series can only be fulfilled by that particular combo of elements. Because it's not something simple like needing the perfect man, or needing to be vindicated by solving a crime, or needing to cleanse the Earth of an evil, or needing to find a MacGuffin. It's all of those together, plus the complicated need of a not-super-young, urban, professional woman for self-actualization ... whatever that means.

Guilty pleasures though they be, good books in this genre manage a real socio-cultural balancing act in pushing so many buttons at once, but not pushing them too hard; and in moving the character arc forward book-by-book, without either resolving too much, or repeating the central conflict over and over.

However. I'm starting to get tired of the genre. None of these latest installments really got me excited. Maybe it's because I read the series that each of them belongs to all at once, and then had to wait for the next book and kind of forgot the last book in the meantime. But I also think I've sucked the genre dry, and am sated. Pun intended.

Also! I'm tired of Kim Harrison using mixed-white-Asian features as an attention-getter, without any culture backing it up. And duuuuude, Diana Rowland actually wrote "oriental" in reference to her mixed-white-Asian character's featurs at the end of Sins of the Demon. That is SO not okay. Dude, hasn't she read Said?

I'm feeling a need for nonfiction right now. I've got a couple of ideas lined up. Stay tuned.


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Your knowledge of the Urban Fantasy market is impressive! In fact, as I was reading your lament about having "sucked the genre dry," it occurred to me that you, yourself, may be nurturing the secret desire to write Fantasy novels. As a reader, I remember the experience of that particular feeling. In fact, I finally yielded to it one day, because I couldn't find enough of what I wanted to read, and voila! I became a published author. I'm willing to bet that there are lots of readers out there who became fiction writers for that same reason. It might be interesting to poll your blog readers to see just how many of them are trying to write fiction because they are frustrated with the variety - or lack of variety - in their favorite fiction genre. (And if you do conduct a poll, definitely keep me posted!) Thanks for the informative and insightful blog!

Adrienne deWolfe
Book Writing Coach
Award-Winning Author

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