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Defining Genre

Our dark and reimagined world.

Typically set within the known world, paranormal (or dark) fantasy is a blend of fantasy and other realistic genre, such as romance.  Characters include supernatural beings (vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.) who possess the traits and skills expected.  The tone, however, is not always dark, nor are the supernatural beings necessarily evil. Well known examples include the Twilight Trilogy and the Shiver trilogy.  


In a 2019 piece titled The Difference Between Dark Fantasy And Horror (And Why It Matters) and published on the UPROXX popular media ezine, author and film maker, Jessica Toomer explains:

If horror is about people trying to escape monsters (both human and supernatural), dark fantasy is about people accepting that the monster may be within and deciding how to live in a world filled with wonder and peril despite that revelation.

This definition gets at the heart of what makes the relatively new genre dark (paranormal) fantasy different from the more establish genre of horror fiction. Authors like Marissa Meyer (Twilight), Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book), and Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver) :

  • borrow characters, tone, and other elements from horror, minus the macabre
  • introduce mainstays of fantasy, such as world-building, along with elements like romance and humor.

Paranormal Romance Series

  1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
  2. The Bone Witch Trilogy by Rin Chupeco
  3. The Twilight Series by Marissa Meyer
  4. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  5. The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater

Great YA Paranormals to Start With

  • Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
  • All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil
  • Children of BLood and Bone by tomi Adeyemi
  • The Cold in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Dead Girl Gone by Temple Mathews
  • Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
  • The Graces by Eve Laure
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Great and Terrible Beauty by Gemma Doyle
  • Odd & True by Cat Winters
  • The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters
  • The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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