The other day, Loretta from Between the Pages was working on a project where she had to discuss YA Paranormal Romance and she was gathering opinions on what counts as a "YA Paranormal Romance". This simple question sparked a rather elaborate scientific discussion. It got me thinking:
How do we classify genres?
I've come to realize that classifying genres are like opinions: varied and subjective. We've all been readers and bloggers long enough to come up with our own set of criteria. Here are mine:
YA Paranormal: The main character(s) are adolescent, have some supernatural element(s) and the plot essentially revolves around saving the world. (Eg: Descended by Blood by Angeline Kace and Exiled by M.R. Merrick)
YA Paranormal Romance: The main character(s) are adolescent, have some supernatural element(s) and fight to be together (sometimes while trying to save the world) and ultimately end up together. (Eg: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead)
Adult Paranormal Romance: The main character(s) are adults, have some supernatural element(s) and fight all sorts of obstacles to be together (sometimes while trying to save the world) and ultimately end up together. (Eg: Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward and Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter).
Urban Fantasy: To me, it's the adult equivalent of 'Paranormal'. The main character(s) are adults, live in an urban/city setting, have some supernatural element(s) and kick monster ass to save the world. Oftentimes, there's a romance involved by it doesn't affect the main plot and you don't always get a HEA. (Eg: Downside Ghosts Series by Stacia Kane and The Fever Series by KMM)
Here's one thing that's been bugging me: Barnes & Noble (not sure about other stores) has filed The Fever Series by KMM as Paranormal Romance and this is NOT correct. Fever is not about Mac and Barrons. In fact, there isn't even a Mac and Barrons until book 4 and even then the and part is a loose interpretation of their relationship!
Steampunk: Sort of like an Urban Fastasy (located in the 'Fantasy' section) except that instead of an urban setting, the main character(s) are in a historical setting and they use neat gadgets to save the world. There may be a romance involved by it doesn't affect the main plot and you don't always get a HEA. (Eg: Soulless by Gail Carriger and Phoenix Rising by Philippa Ballantine)
Horror: The main character(s) are adults, involve monsters (vampires that you DON'T want to sleep with), zombies (because you never want to sleep w/ those *eww*) and they eat people. Little or no romantic elements are present. (Eg: Dracula by Bram Stoker)
Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic: Ok, here's where I get all confuzzled because in my mind dystopian WAS post-apocalyptic but I'm starting to realize that maybe that's not exactly true. I consider The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater to be dystopian but it's not post-apocalytic. However, Hunger Games and Divergent are also dystopian, but are they also post-apocalyptic? Oh vey!
Tell me, do you guys agree or disagree with my assessment of these genres? Do you have your own sets of criteria? Maybe even have your own special genre categories on Goodreads?