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Fantasy Subgenres


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Fantastic Romance

What is Fantastic Romance?

No, it's not a list of "fantastically great romance reads" but a legitimate fantasy subgenre.

We've all fallen for someone who's all wrong for us—too rich, too spoiled, too selfish. The heroines in these novels show a more disturbing lack of judgment by accepting the courtship of vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the occult

Oh, that's not to say things won't work out. They're just asking for all kinds of problems that weren't really necessary, like the probability they will have to kill their beloved before the story can end happily. If only she hadn't used up all the garlic for that special dish!

But seriously, the romance form has two requirements: the love story is the center point of the tale, and the ending must be emotionally satisfying. This is pretty easy to accomplish when vampires or other beasties are known to be masters of disguise and usually pretty well-spoken; and dispatching such a duplicitous creature is satisfying on so many levels!

Not all blushing brides of Frankenstein will be unaware of their beloved's true identity, and some may even succumb to the temptation of everlasting life by becoming sort of undead. If done right, just about any ending can fulfill the requirements of romance. And these might provide more interesting moral considerations that make the story more than a light read.

Quite often, Fantastic Romance takes place in a comptemporary urban setting, incorporating quite a few elements of the Paranormal Fantasy genre with creatures such as vampires, werewolves, and other such myths.

Fantastic Romance is often a major element of the Fantastic Romance sugenre of the Romance Genre itself (see our sister site's recommendations for the Best Paranormal Romance Books).

Fantastic Romance versus Romantic Fantasy

Fantastic Romance could be categorized under Romance Fantasy, but enough distinctions remain that you could categorize it as something else.

Fantastic Romance tends to exaggerate events in some way – the saucy heroine moves through the plot, but the point of the plot is simply a means of facilitating the romance. Fantastic romance often doesn't take itself too seriously -- the quest may be more personal than world changing (i.e. the heroine is trying to find a guy, not stop a dark lord from destroying the universe). As such, if you want light reading, then Fantastic Romance takes the cake.

Romantic Fantasy tends to have a very strong romance aspect to it (just like Fantastic Romance), but the precedent of the story is on the events and plot, not necessarily only the romance. Romantic Fantasy may have more more epic plots, ones in which the choices faced by the hero/heroine may save or end the world.


Fantastic Romance Characteristics

  • Level of Magic

    This varies from work to work, depending on the characters, but there's usually not much new here.

  • Level of Characterization

    The love story being the focus of the work, there are fewer characters than in most fantasy sub-genres. Sometimes the main characters are drawn with a surprisingly amount of complexity.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Pretty low, and about what you'd expect from a romance.

  • Level of Violence

    Both sex and violence rate high here, but they are usually portrayed pretty innocuously.

Related Fantasy Subgenres



Fantastic Fantasy Isn’t For You If...

The occult doesn't interest you, or if you prefer traditional fantasy. These are fairly simple stories, for the most part, so if you crave more complex works you might find more satisfaction elsewhere. Also, sex will probably figure prominently, so if you're not interesting in how vampires do it, you might not like finding out.

Popular Fantastic Romance Books