Top 25 Paranormal Romance Books
Bare chests and muscles. Tattoos and fangs. Bad boys and shapeshifters.
Paranormal romance is fantasy heavy petting lite. It's the genre millions of people turn to when they're looking for a mindless escape from life, literature and love. Because the characters in these books, even when facing the worst the supernatural world/Stephanie Meyer could throw at them, find romance. Often that means that they find acceptance in the most unusual places.
And that's what makes these book so popular: Even if its not an explicit theme, there's a sense that no matter who (or what) a person is, there is always someone willing to love (and grope, or bite) them.
A few things to be aware of: The older titles in the genre, like Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire haven't aged well. As long as you take these books for what they are, you'll enjoy them. This isn't a genre known for being written well, so when you do find an author with some skill, you appreciate them even more.
For a series to be considered a ‘good' paranormal romance, it has to blend elements of fantasy, horror, romance and humor. More importantly, it has to balance them so that one doesn't overwhelm the others. Because this is a romance genre, the focus is mostly on characters and their interactions.
You'll notice that Twilight isn't on this list. When we write a list about the top 25 Worst Books Of All Time In Any Universe Ever, we promise we'll consider it as a top contender.
Genres That Touch Paranormal Romance
Fantasy is not an inclusive genre. Indeed, many of the subgenres mix and mingle with each other. Paranormal Romance is such an example -- a subgenre of fantasy that takes elements of the romance novel and combines them with the fantasy genre. For example, you may have a romance novel, but the characters are witches or vampires. The truth is that paranormal romance is a very broad genre and one could make the argument that it's not just a subgenre of fantasy, but an entire genre on it's own.
For simplicity sake, we'll shove it under the 'fantasy genre' for now. Note that there's a strong connection between paranormal romance, paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy, fantastic romance, and quite often, young adult fantasy.
Paranormal Romance vs Paranormal Fantasy
Paranormal Romance is distinct from the Paranormal Fantasy genre, though the two are sometimes intermingled...or mangled depending on your view of the genre.
Paranormal fantasy is usually set in the city and includes a magical world hidden from the normal world -- a world that's often filled with vampires, werewolves, ghost, and ghouls. Paranormal fantasy and Urban Fantasy are often mixed together (paranormal fantasy often -- but not always -- takes place in an urban environment), while Urban Fantasy is more open ended (there are no limits to the story, era, or plot as long as it takes place in a city and there's fantastical elements involved).
And of course, the key difference is Paranormal Romance is a romance novel with paranormal elements while paranormal fantasy could be anything (i.e. no romantic elements).
Paranormal Romance vs Urban FantasyUrban fantasy is a setting -- any plot with 'magical' elements that takes place in an urban setting could be labelled as Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance is not limited to an urban setting and, as the name indicates, always involves a romantic plot. One could also make the case that Urban fantasy is an aesthetic movement (like steampunk) just as much as it is a setting.Paranormal Romance vs Fantastic RomanceThese two subgenres are often very similar: both may include fantasy elements, both often include similar fantasy elements such as vampires, witches, werewolves, and both strongly feature a romantic plot as a major part of the story -- in some cases, THE entire plot (resolving a romantic conflict).However, the fantastic romance genre often features more exaggerated elements (an over-the-top hero, a bizarre world, fantastical and larger than life events). Fantastic romance is often a more fast pace, move movement orientated plot and may involve plenty of non-romantic elements that drive the story forward; the romance may just be one of many driving forces to the story.Paranormal Romance, on the other hand, is all about the romance. The plot elements are ultimately designed to bring about a romantic resolution between the protagonist and the romantic interest/s.
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Jim Butcher, Heather Blake