- takes place in a big town such as Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Chicago, etc.
- includes demons and angels
- the creatures live among humans undetected (example: vampire or werewolf); they must hide their existence (masquerade).
- located in the real world
- is mainly set in contemporary times
- main heroes can have paranormal abilities
- talk about urban problems
- good versus evil
- a world needs saving
- may or may not have a romantic element. The romance would be in the back drop and does not need to have a happily ever after as in romance. The hero might not be the heroine's lifetime partner.
- tend to be written in first person POV
- supernatural creatures tend to be fierce and dangerous, ominous
- fast-paced action
- graphic and gritty violence that may qualify the novel as horror novel
Author Jeannie Holmes describes the differences between urban fantasy and paranormal romance:
“The two share 90% of their genre DNA. However, the main differences are this: Urban fantasy focuses on an issue outside of a romantic relationship between two characters. Paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship between two characters and how outside forces affect that relationship. The best litmus test to determine if a story is urban fantasy or paranormal romance is to ask the following question: 'If the romance between Character A and Character B were removed, would the plot still stand as a viable storyline?' If the answer is 'yes,' chances are good it's urban fantasy. If the answer is 'no,' it's most likely paranormal romance."
Rampant, by Diana Peterfreund (teens train to fight unicorns)
The HOUSE OF NIGHT series, by P. C. and Kristin Cast (vampires are disciplined)
EVERNIGHT by Claudia Gray (conflict between vampires and a hunter)
Fallen, by Lauren Kate (fallen angel)
NEED by Carrie Jones (mysterious paranormal events in town with pixies and werewolves)
Fire Spirits by Samantea Young (stalking Jinn)
MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series by Cassandra Clare ()
WICKED LOVELY series by Melissa Marr.
The Good Fairies of new York by Martin Millar
"Bedknobs and Broomsticks"
Holmes, Jeannie. “Writing Urban Fantasy, Part1.” Jeannieholmes.com. December 21, 2010 <http://www.jeannieholmes.com/index.php/2010/12/21/writing-urban-fantasy-part-1-oh-yeah-says-who/>
"Urban Fantasy." TV Tropes. <http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UrbanFantasy>