Urban fantasy has gained an insane amount of popularity over the recent years. With over 50,000 books in the ‘Popular Urban Fantasy’ section on Goodreads, it’s clear this genre is booming. I wanted to share my thoughts on why I think this genre has become so popular. Also, what makes urban fantasy so appealing in general?
Fantasy is known to be an immersive and engaging genre. What makes fantasy so immersive? One word: imagination. Fantasy explores the wonders of imagination in ways other genres can’t. The fact that you can create an entire world filled with fictional characters is amazing! Fantasy allows our imaginations to run wild. We can immerse ourselves into completely different worlds. Using nothing but our imagination, we can create an entire life for ourself within these worlds. The possibilities are just about endless.
The question of the hour is, what distinguishes fantasy and urban fantasy? While both do share the qualities listed above, urban fantasy has its own unique qualities. Urban fantasy has qualities that no other genre can touch upon. In this post, I will go over what separates urban fantasy from the rest.
Urban Fantasy Takes Place In The Real World
A fantasy novel takes place in a completely fictitious world. What makes urban fantasy so interesting is the fact that it takes place in real locations around the world. The action happens in your city, street, or local library. You can walk around your city with the sense that your favorite character once walked on the spot you’re standing on. It almost feels like they are there with you.
Villains roamed the streets you roam. Ghosts hide in your favorite restaurant. You hear the clanking of epic sword fights happening right under you. A story is much more relatable with familiar elements such as streets, buildings, and signs. Seeing these familiar elements brings you closer to the action, story, and characters.
“Hey, that’s my street!”
“I love eating there! Can’t believe I’m seeing the place fall to pieces.”
“I never thought a parking garage could be so awesome!”
Has this ever been you? I know this has been me, and it never gets old!
Immersing Yourself Into The Story
Nothing is more immersive than seeing our world altered by mythical creatures and beings. We can all agree that seeing the real world transform and shatter is an entertaining experience. We see everyday people reacting to extraordinary events. We witness buildings crumble and explode. We see, flying through the sky, objects that nobody would even think to be there. Whatever may happen, it’s always interesting to see our own world from a different perspective.
Think about the movie Ghostbusters. Remember the Stay Puft marshmallow man stomping through New York City? You see residents panicking and running away. Buildings come crashing down. The classic explosion that leaves the city in ruins. All of these elements come to life right in New York.
The fact that all of the action takes place in a real location makes you wonder what it’d be like if a 100-foot marshmallow man actually came to life and started smashing everything. What would you do? How would you react? You can put yourself into the situation and see things from your own perspective. You get to work your imagination, which is never a bad thing!
We all like to escape to different worlds and imagine what our lives could be like. Sometimes we don’t want to escape to a different world, but see the one we’re living in now transform into something completely different. We all like to shake things up. Urban fantasy allows us to do just that using one tool: our imagination.
When real life and fantasy mix, the result is urban fantasy. It’s easy to imagine how such a genre became so popular. We all like to daydream about scenarios that are otherwise impossible. Some of us like to imagine life with psychic powers and abilities. Others would love to be able to communicate with the dead. People just want to immerse themselves into worlds completely thought up by the imagination. Everybody does this from time to time, even if they don’t like to admit it. Though, we can all admit that it’s lots of fun!
What makes urban fantasy special to you? Feel free to leave your comments below 🙂