Monday, November 7, 2011

Let's talk about the use of archetypal characters in urban fantasy. This is on my mind because of Already Dead, but you can see it in Dead Witch Walking and Street Magic and so on. It feels like there is a sort of set, a template, of main characters for urban fantasies: the snarky, charming-yet-clumsy lead female; the gruff, sexually-appealing-but-mysterious lead male, the seductive-yet-untrustworthy vampire love interest, etc. This is because these characters work, especially as most urban fantasy tends to involve some kind of mystery solving and therefore the snarky lead female and the noir-esque lead male lend themselves to an enjoyable, if slightly predictable, ride.

However, I find myself a bit tired of characters who feel right out of *insert dozens of other urban fantasy novels here*. I want authors to try a little harder to give their characters more identity, more quirks that I couldn't guess they'd have just by reading the first few pages about them. I think Rachel Morgan is an excellent lead character because, at first, she does fulfill an archetype. However, as you continue throughout the series, her character becomes more filled out, more morally ambiguous, and she avoids the long-lasting romantic entanglements that are so predictable in these kinds of books.

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