Urban Fantasy 101: A Fast Guide to the Freaking Fae Folk


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I’ve been reading about the fae in urban fantasy ever since I first got my grubby little hands on Holly Black’s Tithe way back when and I think that the fae get a weird rap in urban fantasy series.

Like with the other predatory species, they exist in this weird in-between space where they’re generally oppressing someone but oppressed by others. Fae hold a complicated space in urban fantasy because you never really know when you’re going to get an innovative fae-filled fairytale retelling or something that poorly handles tough themes like imperialism, abusive relationships, and slavery.

But the fae are fascinating even when I don’t exactly love the way they’re being written in an urban fantasy book. Like some of the supernatural species I’ve written about before, they can often hide in plain sight as they navigate a world that actively harms them – literally considering that many fae physically can’t interact with man-made materials and the pollution of the human world can kill some of them – but that’s not the only fascinating thing about them. Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: Vamping Out

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Vampires, in a Nutshell

If you’re familiar with my Urban Fantasy 101 series, you probably know that I’ve written about the way the genre thinks and writes about vampires on the regular. I’ve shot down the idea that there’s some kind of universal vampire-ness, that every culture that has a bloodsucker in its mythologies, has a vampire. I’ve talked about how difficult it is to empathize with vampires that used to (or still do) own people.

But let’s briefly talk about vampires as a whole.Read More »

Urban Fantasy 101: A Quick Guide to Shifter Romances

This is a new aspect to my Urban Fantasy 101 blog series that I hope y’all find useful! I read a lot of urban fantasy and paranormal romance and I wanted to make little primers for tropes, sub-genres, and whatnot in these overarching genres in order to help introduce new readers to things they might not be familiar with!

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What are shifters?

“Shifter” is short for “shape-shifter”.

Both terms can be used to encompass everything from the traditional fantasy novel fare like werewolves to mythological/folkloric beings like selkies and the lamia.

The most important thing that most shifters have in common across the genres they show up in is that they usually have at least two forms: a base human(oid) form and a full “animal” form. Some shifters have the ability to partially shift parts of their bodies or to inhabit a third full form between beast and human.
Read More »