As part of my author guest blog series I am proud to present another guest blog spot. Labaerak I am very excited andthe author of
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Why I Love Urban Fantasy
by Alex Jackson
I’m a huge lover of urban fantasy for several reasons, but my favourite is that it’s a mutual genre. By that I mean it’s not just us, the human race, being dropped into a world of dragons and magic and prophecies, but those fantastical creatures coming into contact with us. The stories are just as much about the fantastical learning to deal with us as they are us learning to deal with them, and that opens up doors for fun.
I think our world is more interesting than we give it credit for. It’s easy to forget just how interesting we can be, particularly if we’re surrounded by something and just accept it as part of the culture. The best example I can think of is travelling to a foreign country and being a bit taken aback by what the locals are doing, such as the Americans who travel to my native UK and are surprised to see us all down the pub drinking at one in the afternoon. Only when you take a step back and look with clean eyes do you realise just how fascinating we can be. I mean, how can any species that elects a reality show host to lead one of its nations not be at least somewhat interesting?
When I sat down to write Malkonar my original mentality was telling the story of my human protagonist, Peter Vaughan, but as the series went on I grew more and more towards the dragon characters and their lives; I think it shows in the books. It was fun to write of Peter exploring the dragon community, but it was just as fun writing scenes where dragons interact with our lifestyle: watching TV, baking biscuits, going on vacation. With urban fantasy comes a lot more focus on the fantastical, as they are the intruders in our domain rather than the other way around, and there’s a lot of fun to be had in learning how they cope with humanity and all its vices on their doorstep.
I naturally gravitated towards urban fantasy at a young age. I think part of the appeal is that I come from a pretty dull industrial town that I love regardless – why leave for someplace new when I can make where I am more interesting? The accessibility of urban fantasy is a big factor in my love for it, because it creates a world that we all recognise. Malkonar is set in the fictional city of Averton, but it’s an amalgamation of many real places I’ve been to. A caricature of a modern British city, if you will. Everything about it, from the appearance to the lifestyle, is recognisable and relatable to a modern audience. It gives us scope not only to tell fantasy stories, but human stories. One of the biggest themes in my books is loneliness and the destructive effect it has on people – not traditional fantasy fare, but one that blends in seamlessly to a fantasy world that treats humans and dragons as equally important. It’s not about the species, it’s about who they are as people.
Urban fantasy, in my view, gives you the best of both worlds: if you want to go down the route of more traditional fantasy stories you can, but it’s also adept at serving as a backdrop to other ideas. It can be both the picture and the canvas, the story itself or the setting for a different one, and as someone who’s more than happy to follow his imagination wherever it takes him that’s great to me.
That freedom is the beauty of the urban fantasy genre. There will be something fantastical to the story, but after that everything is up to you.
The end is coming for Peter Vaughan.
The Slavic Dragon colony has fallen to Kaos and Haerode’s puppet leadership, and they’re wasting no time in planning to take over the rest of the Dragon World. And where there’s Drassins there’s Malkonar, promising world domination of his own. A great, bloody power struggle is imminent, and humankind is next in line for the victor. It’s up to Peter to stop them once and for all, but there’s much to distract him along the way. Bad luck has dragged his sister into this mess, and her presence may just be forcing him and Septimus apart; Maria is back and she’s brought a dragon with her, and everyone is questioning his leadership more and more. The desire to succeed is forcing Peter to change his ways, but in such a volatile climate these changes may end up being the death of him.
WARNING: This book is not suitable for younger readers.