Friday, October 5, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 145: Urban Fantasy, or Horror?

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
Halloween Edition!!
This event is hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

It's getting close to Halloween.
If you HAD to read one of
these two genres, which would
you prefer -- urban fantasy,
or horror, and why?

(Submitted  by Maria @

I totally dislike the horror genre, so I have 
made some pretty negative statements
about it in this post. So read no further 
if you think you could find yourself getting 
upset by the opinions I express here.
You have been WARNED!!

My Answer

Here's the short and sweet answer: urban fantasy, hands down!! Lol.

Now, you didn't think I was going to leave it at that, did you? Of course not! I enjoy writing long (but not TOO long) posts for these BBH questions. Besides, I submitted this question myself, and for a very good reason: I totally DETEST the horror genre! 

Although I've written other posts about my dislike of this genre, I've never written one in which I compare it to urban fantasy. Actually, these two genres have some similarity to each other. There's one big difference between the two, though, and that's the degree of emphasis placed on fear and gruesome details. 

Horror writers have a field day describing the frightening events in their plots in all of their gross, hair-raising, disturbing, details. They also delight in describing the abject terror felt by their protagonists, who are usually helpless to deal with all the horrible, frightening villains.  As I have stated in other posts on this subject, I do not now, nor have I EVER, enjoyed being frightened out of my skin. Fear is NOT a pleasant emotion to me, nor will it ever be. I also dislike feeling disturbed in any way by the sheer impotence induced in the reader by a horror writer. Fear and helplessness is not an enjoyable combination. Some people do enjoy this combination. I am definitely NOT one of them!

Urban fantasy, on the other hand, may also include some frightening events in a plot, but the protagonists are usually not as helpless as those in a horror novel. Fear is hardly ever an overriding factor in an urban fantasy novel. Instead, the writer's focus is on how his/her protagonists solve the main problem presented in the plot. These writers might employ suspense, true, but it's not for the purpose of inducing an emotion of terror in the reader, and keeping that emotion predominant for most of the book. Instead, any terror in an urban fantasy plot is dealt with and overcome by the protagonists, with or without allies. 

Where these two genres might overlap is in the type of characters involved. In urban fantasy, there might be vampires, werewolves, and witches, just as in the horror genre. However, these characters are frequently the good guys. If any such creatures are the bad guys, they are usually classified as "rogues". This happens often with vampires, for example. The good vamps do not drink blood from humans, or, if they do, they only take enough to nourish themselves, and never kill these humans. Rogue vamps, on the other hand, DO kill humans, and relish doing so. Therefore, the good vamps are frequently involved in an ongoing war with the rogues, to prevent them from killing humans. 

This is one type of plot I have often come across in urban fantasy novels. However, the genre is in no way limited to dealing with the three types of characters listed above. These novels can also deal with such mythological characters as fairies (frequently known as "The Fae"), unicorns, angels, gods, demi-gods, dragons, magicians (also called "mages"), elves, goblins, trolls, etc. In other words, these novels can and do often include characters that one would expect to find in fantasy novels. The difference here, of course, is on the fact that urban fantasy usually has a modern urban setting, instead of the typical medieval setting most common in fantasy novels. 

If one takes into consideration all of the above differences between the horror and urban fantasy genres, it's immediately evident that the latter is much more interesting to read. Now, this is my own personal opinion. Of course, horror fans will not agree at all with me. And this is just fine! There are all sorts of reading tastes in the bookworm universe (and the book blogosphere), which means that anyone can agree or disagree with me. 

Bearing the above in mind, I maintain that an urban fantasy novel is far more interesting, fascinating, and a much more entertaining read than a horror novel, for several reasons. 

First of all, characterizations have to have more depth. I have not read that many horror novels, but I would imagine that characters in these novels lack depth, and that's because of the fear factor, which overrides everything else. Perhaps I'm wrong about this, and if so, my apologies to horror fans.  :)

Second, ever since I first began to read UF, I have found it VERY refreshing to see creatures that would totally inspire fear, if they were to appear in a horror novel, actually being depicted as good guys in an urban fantasy novel. Furthermore, in most UF novels, these creatures are depicted as being humane, caring, and even funny! 

Third, the world-building in UF novels can be utterly fascinating, and make the reader want to actually LIVE in one of these novels. Not so with horror novels! For example, I would NEVER want to live in The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty! To this day, I STILL don't know why I even read this book, but I learned my lesson: stay away from the horror genre!! Lol. 

Fourth, the plot resolution in UF novels often lends itself to more than one book, and the reader tends to fall in love with the good guys, thus creating the desire to see more of them in future sequels. I don't think this type of thing is common with horror novels. I mean, where can the author go with their characters, if these characters have come to an untimely end in one of these novels? Thus, from what I've noticed -- again, I might be wrong here -- horror novels usually tend to be stand-alones. Stephen King, for instance, does have a series -- The Dark Tower. He also has a couple of trilogies. But, for the most part, his books are stand-alones.

Fifth, quite a few UF novels are also in the category of PNR, or paranormal romance. And I definitely have a VERY soft spot for romance! It's especially exciting when supernatural creatures are involved, of course!

Bottom line: as Halloween approaches, I feel the need to read UF novels, and not horror novels. I want to read books that will take me out of this humdrum reality, but WITHOUT scaring me so much that I'll have nightmares! That's just the way it is with me. I mean, hey, take a look at my Halloween header. Does it look at all scary to you? LOL. And, look! The pumpkin is even grinning. It's enjoying the kitty's affection. Awwww........   :)  (When you come to the end of this post, you'll see another CUTE Halloween image.)

To clinch my case, let me recommend some GREAT UF (many are also PNR) titles, just PERFECT for this supernatural season, MINUS the heebie jeebies!

Young Adult Fiction
The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer
The Vampire Academy Series, by Richelle Mead
by Heather Brewer
The Abandon Series, by Meg Cabot
The Nightshade Series, by Andrea Cremer
The Shadow Falls Series, by C.C. Hunter
The Demon Trappers Series, by Jana Oliver
The Revenants Series, by Amy Plum

Adult Fiction
by Amanda Ashley
by Meredith Allard
by Christine Feehan
by Kendra Leigh Castle
by Suzanne Johnson
by Kristen Painter
by Kerrylyn Sparks
The Argeneau Series, by Lynsay Sands

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!  


  1. I agree with your assessment however not all horror novels are bad. I don't like the gross, violent nature and the offensive subjects either but I do like Joe Hills books because he writes a good story. That is what I appreciate regardless of the genre. Ok but The Heart shaped Box does touch on the subject of child molestation. It depends on how the book is written so I won't rule Horror out totally. Like what truly scares me are true stories like Helter Skelter.

    1. Hi, Jackie!

      Oh, I can't handle even the "milder" horror books! I just totally stay away from the genre. But I appreciate that you agree with my take on these books -- most of them DO tend to be terrifying and overly gruesome.

      I've just looked up Joe Hill on Goodreads. Nope! Can't handle his stuff, either! I'm just a BIG chicken!! Lol.

      Thanks for the insightful comment!! <3 :)

  2. Great post Maria. Though I have only read a limited number of them, I do like horror books. You are making me think, I am not sure if I ever read an urban fantasy book. Thanks for posting your list of titles, as I must really find a good one to read.

    You raise an interesting point about how urban fantasy turns the traditionally frightening character into the good - guy. I wonder if this had anything to do with peoples’ tendency to master fears by embracing them and familiarizing them. Like someone who is afraid of heights going to an amusement park to try all of the rollarcoaters.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks for the good word!! <3 <3

      I won't deny that the genre does contain some superb writing. That much I've gathered from the little of it I've read -- three Poe stories, "The Exorcist", by William Peter Blatty, and that one Stephen King story, as well as two YA novels, titled "The Forbidden Game", by L.J. Smith, and the more recent "Dread Nation", by Justina Ireland.

      Incredibly, "The Forbidden Game" held me spellbound, although it WAS terrifying in some parts of the narrative. And I actually fell in love with the villain, would you believe! That was because he wasn't a cardboard villain. He actually had some good in him. Smith writes exceedingly well! So I couldn't stop reading this book until I finished it!

      Ireland's "Dread Nation" is what I would call "horror lite". Yes, there were zombies in the plot, but this novel was more of a scathing condemnation of racism, as well as a portrayal of a fiery feminist, than anything else. It was also a satire. I LOVED it, and was hardly scared! Lol. So that's about all I've read in the genre. :)

      Yes, I think this is a definite plus for urban fantasy. The paranormal romance genre also does this. Male and female protagonists fall in love with traditionally fearsome creatures, who turn out not to be so fearsome, after all.

      Your point about mastering fears is an interesting one! I do wonder how this transformation came about. Vampires, for instance, used to be totally TERRIFYING. Well, traditionally. I have never read "Dracula", nor do I want to. But somewhere along the way, vamps turned into romantic heroes! I actually own a nonfiction book titled "The Vampire Defanged: How the Embodiment of Evil Became a Romantic Hero", by Susannah Clements, which deals with this topic. Of course, I need to read it! Lol.

      Right along with vamps, other previously fearsome creatures have become romantic heroes -- werewolves, for instance. This is mostly due to Stephenie Meyer. Jacob Black, her werewolf hero -- he actually turns into a real wolf, so it might be more accurate to call him a wolf shapeshifter -- is SO WONDERFULLY romantic!! He's also infuriating at times, with his insistence on courting Bella, when he knows very well that she's Edward's girl. But Bella does end up falling in love with Jacob, too....

      Anyway, I find it very interesting that this transformation has actually come about!

      There are UF books that have little to no romance in the plot, and I do want to broaden my horizons by reading those. I think I might add a list of some of these to the post.

      Thanks for the very interesting, insightful comment!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!! <3 :)

  3. You're definitely right that horror novels tend to be stand-alones. That's part of what I like about them. I know when I pick up a horror novel, it's not going to end up being some massive commitment to get through the whole series because it'll be over when I reach the last page. And when my horror novels end on a cliffhanger, well, that just ups the creep factor without leaving me desperately needing the next book in the series.

    But I also must admit that I haven't read many urban fantasy novels, so I might enjoy them just as well if I was more familiar with the genre.

    Hope you have a great weekend. - Katie

    1. Hi, Katie!

      I know that not everyone will agree with me regarding the horror genre, and that's perfectly all right. I know that I can't take it, though! Ironically, as I mentioned in my comment to Brian above, I have read and greatly enjoyed two YA horror novels -- "The Forbidden Game", by L.J. Smith, and "Dread Nation", by Justina Ireland. The first one featured a villain I actually fell in love with, while the second is actually what I would call "horror lite". Lol. Read my reply to Brian for further details.

      I've also read three Poe stories, which were required reading when I was high school. UGH. I have also read "The Exorcist", by Billiam Peter Blatty. This was a HUGE mistake, as I found it hard to go to sleep at night for about two weeks after finishing the novel. I had to leave the lights on! Lol. And then I read one TERRIFYING short story by Stephen King. That's all I've read in this genre, and do not intend to read any other such books! :)

      You know, I really should have included some UF books that have little to no paranormal romance in them. There are such books, and I would like to broaden my reading horizons by reading them.

      Thanks for the great comment!! Hope you're enjoying your Saturday!! <3 :)

  4. Yasss Maria! Urban fantasy all the way for me too. Although I don't read it as much as I used to. But I'm not much into horror either. I've read a few good ones but that's it. I do like horror movies more but only if someone watches with me. lol

    1. Hi, Steph!

      YAAAAAY!!! Another UF fan!! <3 <3

      To me, UF is MUCH more interesting than horror! There might be some fear involved in these novels, but it's not the MAIN thing driving the plot. And I have found that the protagonists and world-building are so much MORE fascinating!! Besides, as I pointed out in my post, characters are often those that were evil in previous years, and have been turned into good guys.

      Oh, I can't watch horror movies, either! I did, however, see Hitchcock's "The Birds" years ago, and was scared to pieces!! As far as I can remember, that's the ONLY horror movie I ever watched! Lol.

      Heck, I was even scared, as a kid, when my parents took me to the movies and I saw a cartoon dancing skeleton. I must have been about 4 at the time. I started crying. My parents had to calm me down and explain that it was not real. Lol.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 :)

  5. I LOVE your little kitten sweet.

    I don't read horror either.

    Another great post, Maria. I never knew those things about Urban Fantasy...thanks.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      Oh, THANK YOU!! Isn't that kitty ADORABLE? And I LOVE the silly grin on the pumpkin's face! He's enjoying the kitty's affection!! Lol.

      No, I can't stand horror at all.... There have been two notable exceptions -- two YA novels I read in the past. For more details, read my reply to Brian. No more horror for me, though!! Lol.

      I find UF to be so much MORE fascinating and interesting than horror! You're very welcome for the information!

      Thanks for the compliment!! You're so sweet!! <3 <3

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment!! HUGS!!!! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  6. A detailed post, as always! I used to read horror in my early teens, but it's not a genre I read much as an adult. Like you, I prefer UF.

    1. Hi, Nicki!

      Yes, I can't seem to write shorter posts! Lol. Also, I just LOVE to dis the horror genre!! LOL.

      Actually, I have read two YA horror novels hat I actually enjoyed! Can you believe it? I should have mentioned them in this post. Maybe I'll go back and put them in. But those are exceptions to the rule to stay away from the horror genre. Read my reply to Brian for more details.

      SO glad you prefer UF, as well! Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

  7. Horror novels aren't for everyone. Yes, there are some that are really gross in the gore department, but then there are others that are well-written with intriguing characters. My two favorite horror authors are Stephen King and John Saul.

    1. Hi, Billy!

      So true! They certainly aren't for me! Lol. I'm MUCH too squeamish to read them! :)

      I don't like this genre even if a particular novel isn't heavy on the gore. Just the intense feeling of FEAR is enough to discourage me from reading such a novel.

      Actually, there have been two exceptions to my general dislike for the horror genre -- "The Forbidden Game", by L.J. Smith (of "The Vampire Diaries" fame), and "Dread Nation", by Justina Ireland. Both of these books had other elements that caught my interest, and kept me reading. Check the comments above for more details.

      Sorry, but I DETEST Stephen King! He totally TERRIFIES me!! I read ONE short story of his a long time ago, and that was enough! As for John Saul, it sounds like he's just as scary as King, so he's out, too!

      It really doesn't matter to me whether a horror novel is well-written, with intriguing characters. The subject matter is TOO terrifying for me to be able to handle. I just can't.

      Of course, there are all kinds of reading tastes out there, and this is just my opinion. If you enjoy horror, then by all means, continue to do so. But I'm telling you, I NEVER will. The word "enjoyment" and "horror" just don't go together for me! Lol.

      I will ALWAYS prefer urban fantasy to horror.

      Thanks for commenting!! <3 :)

  8. I hadn’t realised you could like vampires while hating horror fiction! 🙂
    I guess that YA fiction does make them romantic - sort of “demon lovers” and Byronic heroes.

    1. Hi, Sue!

      It does sound crazy, doesn't it? Lol. But actually, yes, I do love to read about vamps, as well as werewolves! However, I only like the ones in urban fantasy novels.

      Of course, as you already know, I ADORE The Twilight Saga! But there are lovable vamps in adult fiction, too. Some of them are even FUNNY, believe it or not! Just check out the Argeneau series, by Lynsay Sands, or the Love At Stake series (catchy title, right?) by Kerrelyn Sparks.

      This coming Monday, the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop in which I'm participating, will be launched. I'm featuring some of these FUNNY paranormal romance and urban fantasy books as suggestions. NO gory, TERRIFYING horror novels! Of course, if the winner wants one of those, I'll gladly oblige. That's only fair. But my suggestions are ALL of the funny PNR and UF variety.

      As for "demon lovers", no, I don't like those! Even in UF, I avoid reading anything having demons in it, unless, of course, they're being hunted down. (Example, The Demon Trappers series, by Jana Oliver). Byronic heroes, yes, I'll take those! Lol.

      Thanks for commenting!! I'll be checking out your recent blog posts just as soon as I can!

      TGIF, and hope you have a GREAT weekend!! <3 :)


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