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Paranormal Fantasy

What is Paranormal Fantasy?

This fantasy version of the classic adventure novel is currently very popular. It's contemporary, hip, snarky, funny...naturally, it already has hit television and movie offerings like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Shaun of the Dead. Paranormal fantasy includes paranormal romance books and is often part of the wider urban fantasy sungenre.

The traditional paranormal fiction adventure usually goes like this: city life offers all the cool things like great shopping and eating, fashion and style, bright lights and dimly-lit hotel bars perfect for an evening out. The heroes who live here enjoy life, their friends, their glamorous jobs, but they are sometimes distracted by the evil emanations of various monsters who share their urban space.

Luckily, in addition to having nice clothes and always knowing where the best parties are, the protagonists have magical powers that allow them to keep these evil forces at bay. These being adventure stories, there is generally an intense crisis which, once started, does not stop throwing paranormal challenges at the heroes until the threat is quelled and the story is resolved. However, they manage it all with aplomb and rarely miss an appointment.

That's the bulk of it, although there are offerings that highlight other members of the urban jungle: mid-level managers who were afraid nothing more exciting than the next memo would ever happen are drawn into a secret society of paper-pushing-wizards, for instance; or night watchmen who become familiar with ghosts helping link them to the secret underworld. There's actually a good deal of variety to be found, but, again, the hothothot thing right now is the with-it youngsters.

If you are into paranormal fantasy books, then you should check out (in addition to the recommendations at the bottom of this list) our Vampire Books section which contains a wide range of vampire-related recommendations, including best vampire books, best vampire books for adults, best vampire books for young adults, and best romance vampire books.


Other Features of Quest/Epic High Fantasy

  • Level of Magic

    Magic is understood to be another level of existence or reality underpinning the real world in this sub-genre, so it figures heavily. .

  • Level of Characterization

    Can range from cardboard cutout to complex, but at least some will reliably be contemporary, cynical, urban.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Not terribly complex plots, as the style is usually fun and almost pulp-fictiony.

  • Level of Violence

    Violence is usually present, but the degree of gore is variable. These are often dashing boys and independent girls in the city, so sex is most likely going to come up. If the story involves more mature characters, the likelihood goes down.

Related Fantasy Subgenres




    This is a real hybrid, combining elements of Dark FantasyFantastic Romance, and Romantic Fantasy.  Some Mythic andHeroic Fantasy may be thrown in for good measure.  And of course, you can throw in paranormal fantasy under the wide umbrella of urban fantasy in general.

  • As mentioned, the most common (or mainstream popular) type of paranormal fantasy would be the paranormal romance books, such as the Sookie Stackhouse novels or the Twilight series. Paranormal detective fiction (Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files) is also quite popular as well.

Paranormal Adventure Isn’t For You If...

You like your fantasy conventionally set in the distant past and without anybody saying “Awesome”.

Popular Paranormal Fantasy Books