PARANORMAL WITH A GROWL
I hate to say it…but romance books weren’t my first loves. Fantasy books were. I remember pilfering J.R.R Tolkien, David Eddings, Tad Williams and George R.R. Martin from my dad’s book case when I was a teenager and diving into brand new worlds. A little bit later on I was introduced to urban fantasy. Which, is a fantasy only set in the modern world rather than a completely fictional one. It also doesn’t necessarily have to have a romance, although quite a few do, and the level of romance depends on the author.
For me, I like an urban fantasy to have a romance running through it, but not be the focus of it. I don’t want it to take precedence over the world building or the story. Which, brings me to Anne Bishop and her The Others series. Bishop introduces us to a world where humans are no longer at the top of the food chain, instead the Others allow us to live on their land. Piss the Others off too much…and they may decide to just wipe humanity out. Then we meet Meg, a seer who has been locked away and abused but finds shelter with the Others. From there we see her develop relationships with them and together both the Others and Meg discover how to work together and how to work with humans.
It’s not necessarily an action packed urban fantasy with a kick ass heroine in black leather. Instead we get to explore this new world Bishop has created and fall in love with characters fundamentally different from ourselves. I loved it.
And, if you love it, you are bound to love this…
There are only two books out in this series and although it is a paranormal romance rather than an urban fantasy they have a lot of things in common. I’m talking about The Legend of All Wolves series by Maria Vale. Although this is a paranormal romance, the romance isn’t what is strongest about the series. Like Bishop, Vale excels at building up her world. And, in her world her characters are distinctly not human.
In Vale’s series she gives us a twist on what we think of as werewolves. Rather than being humans that turn into wolves, they are more wolves that can turn into human. It’s fascinating. Her characters may look human, but they think completely differently and that is what sets this series apart from other books in the genre. It feels wild and has a dark edge to it, that even when the romance doesn’t feature too prominently keeps me hooked to the page.
So, if you are in the mood for something that has characters on the wild side and some fantastic world building, but is light on romance, these are the series to try!
P.S. All the fantasy authors I mentioned at the beginning of the post I highly recommend. Apart from maybe Martin, I have serious doubts his Song of Ice and Fire aka Games of Thrones series will ever end.
The Others by Anne Bishop
The Legend of All Wolves by Maria Vale
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Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?