Werewolves and Demons and Fae, Oh My!
We talk about our favourite kinds of paranormal and urban fantasy heroes. What's your catnip? Vampire or werewolf? Demon or fallen angel? Merman or fae?
Anna J. Stewart - I Heart Alphas
What's my favorite type of paranormal/UF hero? Oh, please don't tell me I can only pick one! Whaaaa! Okay, time to suck it up and dive in I guess.
For me, I think the paranormal and UF genre really begs for an alpha hero. That's not to say a beta wouldn't work for me if he's done well, but for whatever reason, an alpha is what I expect. That take-charge, brick wall kind of man that will require even more work on the heroine's part to scale.
I also like heroes who are out of the norm or at least come with an unexpected twist. Vampires have been done to death (ha!) as have werewolves at this point. Unless there's some unique twist, they aren't books I gravitate toward very often anymore. If I'm going to fall for one of those heroes, there really has to be something about them that stands out. I think that's why I connected so deeply to J. R. Ward's early Black Dagger Brotherhood books. I mean, I'm not sure you can get more alpha than Wrath, Rhage, and my personal favorite Zsadist. The idea that these incredibly strong and powerful men are all but brought to their knees by their women triggers that story addict in me that has me re-reading those books over and over. That's also giving credit to her amazing world building, which is essential in establishing those unforgettable heroes.
Apparently I have a type because I've also read Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series multiple times (and am currently about 5 books behind). Those books still give me the tingles; that stomach-tightening, roller coaster of witnessing the heroine fall head over heels (OMG, Night Pleasures with Bride and Vane is to this day, one of my top five romances ever). Can I please live in her world?
I love a strong paranormal/UF hero who, while they are used to being in charge, having an equally strong woman challenging them leads to the character growth acceptance that it's a true partnership that will lead to success. None of us can do anything alone, at least nothing that really matters. I think what I want in my heroes is one who is open to transformation (and I don't just mean shapeshifting).
And yes, before you ask, there is definitely such a thing as being too alpha. For me, what makes a successful alpha hero is realizing he has to change if he's going to earn his HEA with the heroine. That goes for any romance genre, actually, but it's certainly what, for me, makes a P/UF hero incredibly appealing. It just shows that no matter what world they inhabit, but it the real world or magical, the power of sacrifice and transformation gives me the payoff I want from page one. .
Morgan Elektra - I Heart Boyfriends with Bite
Recently an online group for writers that I am a part of discussed Byronic heroes. That is, romantic heroes in the fashion of famous British poet Lord Byron--handsome, taciturn, and brooding. Though it’s been nearly 200 years since his death, the Byronic hero is still alive and well.
Or, undead, rather.
Vampire heroes who rue the loss of their humanity and feel cursed to walk in shadows until they are redeemed by the love of a good woman (or man) litter the supernatural landscape.
However, as much as I enjoy a good brood now and again, I always seem to find my affections bypassing these gloomy gentlemen in favor of their more irreverent counterparts.
Give me a Puckish, sarcastic sanguinist any day. A hero who hides a wounded soul behind a mask of snark and flashing fangs, who swaggers through the darkness with a smirk and shoves their way into the spotlight with a twinkle their eye is particularly irresistible.
When rockstar Lestat goes on tour, I want to sneak backstage. While Sookie pines over Bill, I would rather be in the corner of the maenad’s orgy with Eric Northman and Pam. If I was Rose Hathaway, I would have forgotten all about Dmitri the minute Adrian showed up. I could go on and on. Books, TV shows, and movies are all chock full of sexy, cocky bloodsuckers who make me swoon.
And while vampires in particular are my special brand of poison, I love any paranormal hero who embraces the world and their own place in it, however shady. Who greets every day (and night) with a sardonic grin and a smart-ass quip meant to disguise the walls they’ve built around their heart. They’re more dangerous to me than a sharp stake to the chest.
Debbie Herbert - I Heart Strength
My initial response to the question of choosing my favorite paranormal hero was, ‘Native American with superhuman strength.’ I know, I’m weird and have very specific preferences! Immortals ran a close second. Think of all that accumulated wisdom over the centuries!
On further reflection though, I decided my answer was actually based on a certain personality type that I prefer, and not a specific paranormal being like werewolves and vampires.
What I love are strong heroes who are passionate about honor and loyalty and justice. They don’t have to be typical alphas who dominate others or have aggressive natures. But they must possess a solid inner core that allows them to defend the vulnerable, no matter the personal cost. And for the lucky woman who wins their hearts, they aren’t afraid to show their affection and respect.
And on even further reflection, I realized this is the kind of hero I prefer in any romance, be it highlander warriors in historicals, military soldiers in contemporaries, maverick cowboys in Westerns, or spaceship captains in science fictions. I’d love to hear other romance readers opinions on this! What kind of paranormal hero lights up your soul?.
Trish Wylie - I Heart Fallen Angels
And I blame two people: Lauren Kate and Paul Bettany.
I'm a Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal/Superhero geek and have been been since an early age, so I'm always on the lookout for something new. Vampires didn't do it for me. Neither did shapeshifters. Then, one year, on my way back from RWA Nationals, I was talking to a friend in New York while standing in a Barnes & Noble (as book lovers do) and she asked if I'd read any fallen angels books. No, said I, before asking if she could recommend any. YA was the best place to find them, she said. And the next thing I know, I'm out a small fortune and have very little room left in my hand luggage on the flight home.
One I devoured during that flight was Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick but the books which really hooked me in were from Lauren Kate's Fallen series. Two lovers who met over and over and over again through time only to be parted when the heroine remembered her fallen angel boyfriend? What wasn't to love there?! Then I went looking for the paranormal equivalent and hunted down movies. Paul Bettany in Legion was a real eye-opener. An angel who went rogue and fell to earth to protect mankind from his winged brethren? Sign me up! And he was badass, even if the movie was more of a freakfest than I usually like. Now I'm so hooked on these good guys turned bad that I not only read and watch them whenever I can, I've even started writing a series of my own. That's why fallen angels get my vote!
Vote for your favourite paranormal or urban fanatasy hero below, and tell us about what you think we should have added to the #PinkHeartPoll in the comments.
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