Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Four Book Genre's you've Probably been Confusing

It seems to me that there are a lot more book genres these days than there used to be. Self-publishing has allowed for more niche genre's to develop and grow and because of that labeling a book has gotten a little more complicated.

Sometimes figuring out what a book is about based on its genre isn't that hard. For example anything labeled as a "Romance" whether it's "Contemporary Romance," or "Romantic Horror" will have romance as a key part of the plot. Others however aren't as easy to distinguish. For example, what's the difference between "Paranormal Romance" and "Urban Fantasy"?

So, I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the new genre's that have emerged and what I think they mean.

Paranormal Romance (PNR) - A story with paranormal elements that has romance as the central plot. Note this may sometimes get confused with "Romantic Suspense" however, there are no paranormal elements in Romantic Suspense, even though there may be suspense in a Paranormal Romance. In a PNR the overarching theme is "Love conquers all."
-EXAMPLES: Twilight Series, Warm Bodies

Urban Fantasy (UF) - A story often set in modern times, in a city or urban environment that has fantasy or supernatural elements. Note the word "romance" is not in the title. Many Urban Fantasies have romantic subplots, but romance is not a driving force of the story. In a UF the overarching theme is "Good vs Evil."
EXAMPLES: Morganville Vampires Series, Mercy Thompson Series

For more clarification between PNR and UF check out this website.

Urban Fantasy Romance (UFR) - A story set in an urban setting with romance as a central theme and fantasy elements. While romance is a key element in these books, they tend to focus on the action more than a PNR story would.
EXAMPLES: Night Huntress Series, Mortal Instruments Series

Dark Fantasy (DF) - A fantasy novel with elements of horror. Also sometimes known as "Supernatural Horror." Sometimes these books will have a hero/heroine that may come across as more antagonistic.
EXAMPLES: The Darkest Part of the Forest, Red Queen

Along with genre there's also been more emphasis placed on point of view. Check out this blog post that take about what it means for a book to be labeled YA or NA.

What are some of your favorite books in these categories? Or, what books have you mistaken their genre. Share your thoughts below.


  1. Well,I read three by one Lauryn April which are favourites, but I wasn't sure how to categorize them according to this...Lucinda here, STILL haven't got that wrodpress glitch sorted out....

    1. Hi, it's good to hear from you! I think my first two books would be Paranormal Romance. A Different Kind, I often call SciFi Romance because there are aliens in it and that feels more science fiction than paranormal. Though I suppose it would fit under PNR as well.

  2. Replies
    1. Glad to hear! I'd been confusing them myself for the longest time.


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