I have a theory I've been working on for a few days. It's rough, so bear with me.
I've told a few people that I think UF is females' answer to the classic hero's journey. Instead of UF heroine's looking for love, they're searching for their destinies. That destiny may include love, but there's more to it than that.
Let's assume for a moment that my heroine's journey idea is valid (you may not agree but it's my blog post). Another genre explored this same idea. That's right, I'm talking about those pink books. Chick lit also explores a woman's journey. Generally the plots of these books revolved around women who wanted it all--the perfect career, great friends, and love.
So, here's my theory: Urban fantasy is the dark side's response to Chick Lit.
Both genres are predominately written in first person. While there are male protagonists (Hi, Anton and Jeremy) in UF, the genre is dominated by novels about female leads. But where chick lit is often lighter in tone, a lot of urban fantasy is downright gritty.
Instead of looking for the perfect pair of shoes or dealing with the boss from hell, UF heroines kick ass and are, in some cases, literally saddled with the boss of hell.
Another difference is how the genres deal with issues of family dysfuntion. In Bridget Jones, the mother is a little nutty. Alternately, my heroine's grandmother tries to kill her.
Need further proof? Our own Mark Henry's Happy Hour of the Damned is Sex and the City with zombies. He managed to pull off a convincing parody of Chick Lit, while infusing the novel with the darker elements UF is known for. Hell, he even has a pink cover for book two in the series. Satire, anyone?
Please understand that this theory is not in any way a condemnation of Chick Lit. I think the genre is unfairly maligned. Before New York decided to stop buying the genre, I read my fair share of them. But I do think Urban Fantasy speaks to the women who maybe felt chick lit was too pretty and neat. The ones more likely to relate to Buffy Summers than Carrie Bradshaw.
What do you think?