Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why is Fantasy Romance so hard to find?

Posted by: Eleri Stone
I can never decide if the fantasy romance I want to read is incredibly rare or just really difficult to find. What I’m looking for is a secondary world fantasy + steamy adult romance. And because I stumble across some really great ones every once in awhile, I’m inclined to believe that it’s more a problem of finding them than that they just don’t exist at all.

Why are they so hard to find?

One problem is that fantasy romance is marketed in the same category as paranormal romance at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When you plug in fantasy romance into a booksellers search engine, you pull hundreds of pages of PNR. A cursory look at favorite fantasy romance lists on goodreads shows mostly PNR as well. I did find an Epic Fantasy Romance list (One!) that’s specifically non-pnr here. http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/36509.Epic_Fantasy_Romance
But that’s just one list. Fantasy Romance is such a small fish and when you put it in the same tank as a monster like PNR you’re just asking for it to be swallowed.

Since the search engines don't work, that leaves word of mouth which can also be problematic. There are a lot of fantasy blogs (who won’t touch romance), some PNR-friendly blogs (who will occasionally feature SFFR). There are several SFR blogs too. But I’m not aware of any sites that specifically review Fantasy Romance. If you've seen any, please let me know!

So what do I do?

I feel bad for saying this, but I often find the most satisfying fantasy romances by searching through the fantasy section. Fantasy has a long tradition of strong romantic subplots and you can find plenty of satisfying romances within the fantasy genre. It’s actually a lot easier to search for fantasy and then scan the lists for fantasy romance than it is to search specifically for fantasy romance and find it. It's not the best process, I know. I miss out on all the romance categorized books which are actually a lot closer to what I’m really looking for. They’re just such a bitch to find.

Do you read Fantasy Romance? If so, how do you find it?

9 comments:

  1. RT Book Reviews has the Fantasy Romance category that seems to pretty much nail the genre. Other than that, yes - word of mouth recommendations. Also, a lot of the blogs that review my fantasy romances frequently find others. I subscribe to those and get new leads that way, too.

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    1. Yes for RT! How did I forget them? For blogs, I think The Book Pushers do a really great mix of genres including fantasy romance. What other blogs do you like?

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    2. Book Pushers is great! Also http://twimom227.com/, http://bookaholicanon.com/, http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/, http://www.tyngasreviews.com/, http://www.whatsbeyondforks.com/, http://www.readingbetweenthewinesbookclub.com/,

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  2. I think, like you, I mostly find it in the fantasy section. (That's certainly where Jeffe's Twelve Kingdoms series is filed) Online searching is too frustrating due to the overlap with PNR.

    Have you tried Sharon Shinn? Loved her series starting with Mystic & Rider has a strong romance element.

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    1. I've read her Samaria books. Haven't tried any of her other series yet, but I like her:)

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  3. I know what you mean. I love fantasy romance. Has anyone read CL Wilson? The latest book The Winter King was awesome. Her Tairen Soul series is good too. I recently discovered Grace Draven's book too.

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  4. I liked The Winter King and I LOVE Draven's work. Wish there was more like it:) If you're okay with sexy, Janine Ashbless is also good. I found The King's Viper reminiscent of Draven.

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  5. Yes! I have had a bear of a time finding fantasy romance, especially in the pre-Internet days (did I just date myself?).

    I prowl the fantasy section at my library, but I also use Goodreads' recommendations. The more fantasy romance I add to my Want-To-Read or Read list, the more often it pops up in that little widget on the side. I also found a lot of good recommendations on a Goodreads bookshelf devoted to clean romance. Lists, like the one you mentioned, also help.

    The most oblique way I found a fantasy romance author was through her non-fiction blog. She gave a lot of advice about writing and publishing, so I decided to check her credentials, so to speak. I ended up finding one of my favorite fantasy romances that way (Completely Smitten by Kristine Grayson).

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    1. I haven't read that one! Thanks for the rec:)

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