Fantasy is a large genre that covers everything from straight old fashion prince charming saves the princess from the dragon to more urban settings that have some stakes in reality. I want to focus on two stories that lean more towards the latter, with two titles that have become popular throughout the years. My goal is to compare and contrast the two heroines and give my opinion as to what makes these two popular even though they are worlds apart.
First, a familiar title that isn’t very old and still in the public consciousness, Twilight. Rooted in modern America with everyday life tropes, this more urban fantasy deals with a young girl named Bella Swan, a teenager who has gotten herself mixed up in the mostly secret world of vampires and werewolves. As the heroine of the books, the story delves into her struggle to unite a family and stop a war while being stuck in a love triangle that ultimately ends with her marrying into the vampire family.
On the other hand, Anita Blake is the main character of the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series. She is a vampire huntress who also lives in an urban fantasy environment, except monsters, are very real and somewhat accepted as their races. Vampire club owners exist in this strange and changing landscape, which make her struggles between killing and loving vampires and other creatures more soap opera than outright fantasy.
The main reason I wanted to look at these two is that I never really got into either one of them, so from an outside view researching the characters and plots I feel I have a more unbiased opinion. As far as the heroines themselves, I have to say I prefer Anita Blake. Anita is shown to be a strong yet uncertain young woman of 25 at the beginning of the series, an already established vampire huntress that has abilities and the firepower to take down a small army. She investigates murders and deals with unusual situations that are considered normal in her world.
By contrast, we meet Bella in high school, a young girl who sees this mysterious boy and instantly falls for him. Through her story, she is caught up in the family squabbles and on whether or not she should be with her vampire beau as he wants to protect her by pushing her away. Although I can understand the appeal, I have enjoyed my fair share of anime set in high school with similar results, Bella isn’t that interesting to me as a standalone character.
To be fair, I am comparing a long established book series currently about to release book 25 with a series that has four books that were written by a first-time author. I want to compare them for the simple reason to show my preference for a third party view who doesn’t have much experience on either side and what I would be interested to read if given the chance.
Just picking up the books and looking at them objectively, I choose Anita. With a strong character from the get go that seems relate-able, Bella doesn’t quite catch my eye. Grisly murders, a love triangle, and lives on the line, the excitement factor alone wins out over Twilight for me.