Tuesday, October 18, 2011


         The first Urban Fantasy book I ever read was Succubus Blues, and how can a hot-blooded, thinking creature NOT fall in love with Georgina Kincaid is beyond my comprehension.

       This genre is the older sister of YA literature, and you can actually follow the timeline of my life based on how my reading habits evolved from YA to UF. I still love YA, but as an adult you need more mature reading.
       I personally like my books with witty, smart, lovable characters and interesting plot lines with classy sex appeal, and UF has provided me with all those things and so much more. Anyone with even a tiny love for reading would agree with me that this genre is probably the one that requires the most imaginative and talented writers, because elements for a great book that addresses supernatural subjects and insert them in the adult world, so different from the fantasy and illusion that are inherent to teenagers, are hard to put together and have that “This could totally happen in real life” feeling.

      I have read a lot books  that fall in this category (I am a proclaimed Richelle Mead huge fan) and they make me believe that there might be some kind of magic at work in the world, even when I know that succubuses, vampires, fairies, werewolves and other magical creatures aren't real. It’s the magic that happens when you are reading something, and are picturing it in your head, and there’s this whole world in the pages you are reading, characters that feel so real that you fall in love with them, that make you suffer their misery and smile their joys, and you know that they are not real, but you are still feeling those things. That’s magic for me. That’s Urban Fantasy for me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What is it about vampires?

I've been going on and off with my obsession with vamps. I know. How lame.  When I was younger, I liked to watch Interview with the Vampire behind my parents' back because they freaked out about that kind of things. Considering I was four years old when the movie was made, their concern was only understandable. Who would want their four year old watching a guy sucking the life out of another guy? But I watched it anyway. Repeatedly. Not only that, I considered myself (cute four-year-old-me) a fan of the genre. I think I might have had an early crush on Brad Pitt, though, and that's why I like the movie. Let's face it: he looked GORGEOUS in that movie. Or that developed a little after. Whatever. The reason is irrelevant, what matters is that I've been in the wagon of vampire-crushing for a while. 

Years passed, and I settled with watching every rerun on the above-mentioned movie. Until that damn Stephanie Meyer came along. She bewitched me; I was helpless. I admit, the appeal to her really, really ridiculous version of the myth was short-lived. But it sure did things to me. 

I don't know if it happened to everybody, but I remembered the things I learned from Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst (now there's a phrase that you don't hear a lot) and I knew that SM's version was just wrong (once I got over the embarrassing liking for the thing) and I decided to look deeper for literature about vamps. And Hell broke loose. 

Did you know that there at least 323 different authors who have written about vampires?! And that's just on my hard drive. God only knows if there are more where those came from. I haven't read all of them (even I have boundaries) but the few that I have, like Richelle Meed's Vampire Academy series, L.A. Banks' Vampire Huntress Series, L.S. Smith's The Vampire Diaries series and Night World series (J'adore Ash Redfern), Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles (you can't make a list about vamp lit without those) and more recently P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast's House of Night series have left a mark in me, too. Let me point another thing in common they have: they are all  women. Girls, you have got to stop this! And also drop the tendency to write a story in a series of books! Do you have any idea what you're doing to me? You are driving me crazy! I can't rest until I'm done with the last book of your series! It's part of my nature. Infinite Thanks to Bram Stoker, for writing the masterpiece of the genre in only one book. And he HAD to be a dude. Really, girls, where does that leave us?

How many times has a story to be told? And in how many ways? I think we need more authors that create universes from scratch. That's one of the reasons I like Kami Garcia & Margaret Stoll's Caster Chronicles. They make their own rules. Also old school writers of the horror/paranormal genre like Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe and even Stephen King have successfully created not-vampire related stories that need to be lived up to. C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carrol, Diana Wynne Jones and so many more that prove that creating your own rules and your own universe may not turn out to be so horrible. Write about ghosts, fairies, werewolves (on their own, not linked to vamps... they need to bright solo), leprechauns, elves, witches, ogres, monsters made of several human parts sewed together... the possibilities are endless. Just saying.

But what is it about vampires that makes their stories so compelling? Yes, the sarcasm is noted. After extensive self-analysis, I still have no clue why I like them so much.  

I can, however, vow never to write about them. Seriously, I enjoy them so much, and like to believe that every version has its charm, but they are not leaving me reading room for anything else. 

** I've read this post again after almost a year and something became quickly apparent to me. One-and-something year ago, I didn't have a clue about what "hot" books were out there. I haven't discovered at the time Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Laini Taylor, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Ally Carter, Julie Kagawa, Meg Cabbot, Melissa Marr, Karen Marie Moning, Lauren Oliver, Veronica Roth, Wendi Higgins, Becca Fitzpatrick, Gayle Foreman, Rick Riordan or Kiersten White... I could go on. My point is that, having been away from the blogosphere for a while, I forgot how very little I actually knew about books a year ago (or how much I've learned in as much time). 

I was going to delete this post due to its innacuracy to my current opinion in the matter, but decided against it for a few reasons. I feel like it's a nice view of how my 20-year-old mind worked. Can't say I'm very proud of that, but... the point is that I did feel those things at some point. Maybe it was that discomfort towards the vampire genre that made me discover so many new and awesome books or maybe it was just a natural evolution of my reading cravings. Whatever the reasons, I'm proud of my broader tastes in genres. Maybe by reading it, and disagreeing with me, you can introduce me to some other masterpieces in YA or UF genre whose existance has been a mistery to me. And viceversa :D