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According to Wikipedia, “Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy, such as the discovery of earthbound mythological creatures, coexistence or conflict between humans and paranormal beings, and other changes to city life. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the genre may also take place in futuristic and historical settings, real or imagined. “

It is taking something unbelievable and shoving it into a real-life scenario. This can lead to quite a lot of interpretation, and as the genre develops, many subgenres are evolving. Paranormal romance is quite famous, being the main one. Some people might take Umbridge with me, calling paranormal romance a subgenre, but mostly paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship or, in the case of Sookie Stackhouse, relationships. It still is urban fantasy. Something fantastical takes place in an urban setting. Book geeks can argue over semantics for days.

This is also not an exhaustive list; it is far from it. It is a scattering of incredible series that could “wet your appetitive.” For instance, if you enjoy some supervillains in your urban fantasy, I suggest the C.T. Phipps Supervillany series. Or, if you would like a taste of Druids set in the Midwest with great LGBTQIA representation, David Slayton’s Adam Binder Novels are a sure thing. And we cannot forget ghosts and R.R. Virdi’s Grave Report. And because it is my favorite, Dyrk Ashton’s Paternus series.

Check out this list, see if something strikes your fancy, and dive in. The water is nice and full of great stories. The characters don’t bite….much. 

Kate Daniels

By Ilona Andrews

Excellent series from a writing team under the pseudonym Ilona Andrews.

What is it About?

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

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Iron Druid Chronicles

By Kevin Hearne

The lead character is a magic-wielding badass, who has a snarky dog he speaks to telepathically. It sounds so trite and silly, but damn is this a fun romp.

What is it About?

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Novel – Ink & Sigil by Kevin Hearne

Interview with Author Kevin Hearne

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Dresden Files

By Jim Butcher

This is the grand-master of Urban Fiction. When people talk about stuff in this genre, they usually suffer by comparison to him.

What is it About?

HARRY DRESDEN — WIZARD

Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get interesting.

Magic – it can get a guy killed.

Review – Battle Ground by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #17)

The Law by Jim Butcher

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Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London Series

This is a cool series where the protagonist is not fantastical in any way, just a regular British bloke. However, he is thrown into situation after situation involving the unimaginable.

What is it About?

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

Read Our Interview With Ben Aaronovich

Mercy Thompson

Patricia Briggs

I adore strong female leads where the woman doesn’t need saving. You would not believe how rare a thing that actually is. Mercy is a shifter/car mechanic who basically just wants to go about her life but keeps getting interrupted. There is a romantic element, but again it is not the end all be all of the novels. Her relationships, both platonic and romantic are more of a foundation in her life that allows her to be who she is.

What is it About?

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

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Newsflesh

Mira Grant

A story that I come back over and over to. Every time I read it I gain something new, a new insight. It is a story of zombies, family, society, a critique of the news media and so much more. It is well worth. checking out. 

What is it About?

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected.

The truth will get out, even if it kills them.

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October Daye

Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire is an author that is an insta-read for me. Her storytelling ability is boundless and she is incredibly prolific. She has three pseudonyms she actively writes under, all slightly different and all wonderful.

What is it About?

October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.

Review- A Killing Frost (October Daye #14) by Seanan Mcguire

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Edinburgh Nights

By T.L. Huchu

When ghosts talk, she will listen…

This is an exciting ghost urban fantasy that is currently on book 3. Ropa speaks to the dead and occasionally helps them and discovers an occult library in the process.

What is it About?

When a child goes missing in Edinburgh’s darkest streets, young Ropa investigates. She’ll need to call on Zimbabwean magic as well as her Scottish pragmatism to hunt down clues. But as shadows lengthen, will the hunter become the hunted?

When ghosts talk, she will listen…

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker. Now she speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children–leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honor-bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

She’ll dice with death (not part of her life plan…), discovering an occult library and a taste for hidden magic. She’ll also experience dark times. For Edinburgh hides a wealth of secrets, and Ropa’s gonna hunt them all down.

Review -The Library of the Dead by T.L. Henchu

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Weather Warden

Rachel Caine

I love that premise of this series, but it really is a love it or hate it type series. I am in the latter camp. There are very few books that have a X-men Storm like vibe, which makes this a refreshing urban fantasy. Give it a try.

What is it About?

RIDER ON THE STORM

The Wardens Association has been around pretty much forever. Some Wardens control fire, others control earth, water, or wind–and the most powerful can control more than one element. Without Wardens, Mother Nature would wipe humanity off the face of the earth….

Joanne Baldwin is a Weather Warden. Usually, all it takes is a wave of her hand to tame the most violent weather. But now Joanne is trying to outrun another kind of storm: accusations of corruption and murder. So she’s resorting to the very human tactic of running for her life….

Her only hope is Lewis, the most powerful Warden. Unfortunately, he’s also on the run from the World Council. It seems he’s stolen not one but three bottles of Djinn–making him the most wanted man on earth. And without Lewis, Joanne’s chances of surviving are as good as a snowball in–well, a place she may be headed. So she and her classic Mustang are racing hard to find him because there’s some bad weather closing in fast….

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Jane Zombie Chronicles

Gayle Katz

The Blair Witch Project meets The Walking Dead in this hair-raising apocalyptic tale seen through the eyes of a feisty female heroine.”

What is it About?

Flesh-eating zombies on campus. A virus gone wild. Do I stand a chance against the undead?

My name is Jane, and tonight is my first night on the air.

I’m looking forward to my isolated night shifts at the school radio station. It’s the only place I can escape the bullies and quiet my anxiety. When rumors spread of a viral epidemic ripping through the wintery campus, I’m happy to be safe in the snug studio. But after communications go down and the infected break into the station, my peace turns into panic.

Fearing for my life, my only path of escape runs through the dark, snow-covered campus. But it may be too late to escape the gaping jaws of the walking dead. Will I be able to fight off the zombies and outrun the apocalypse, or will flesh-eating terrors teach me a deadly final lesson?

Buy Closed Campus to crush the zombie exam today!

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The Shadow Sorcerous

Belinda Sheehan

“Darkness can’t always be beaten by the light. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.”

What is it About?

Amber Morgan is a rookie in The Elite, an organisation tasked with the elimination of rogue preternatural beings in King City. But she has a secret. She’s a witch and only joined The Elite to settle a personal score.

Her first case is supposed to be the routine investigation of a rogue vampire but it soon becomes clear that dark forces are at work, darker than anything the team has dealt with in the past.

When an irritatingly sexy Hunter offers to help, Amber wants to say hell no! The last thing she needs is another distraction even if he is sin personified. But with the fate of a missing child at stake and a possible connection between the case and her past, how can she refuse?

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Dungeon Crawler Carl

By Matt Dinniman

LITrpg at it’s very finest

What is it About?

It’s the most-watched game show in the galaxy!

In a flash, every human-erected construction on Earth–from Buckingham Palace to the tiniest of sheds to all the trucks and cars–collapses in a heap, sinking into the ground.

The buildings and all the people inside, they’ve all been atomized and transformed into the dungeon: an 18-level labyrinth filled with traps, monsters, and loot. A dungeon so enormous, it circles the entire globe.

Only a few dare venture inside. But once you’re in, you can’t get out. And what’s worse, each level has a time limit. You have but days to find a staircase to the next level down, or it’s game over. In this game, it’s not about your strength or your dexterity. It’s about your views and your followers. It’s about building an audience and killing those goblins with style.

You can’t just survive here. You gotta survive big.

You gotta fight with vigor, with excitement. You gotta make them stand up and cheer. And if you do have that “it” factor, you may just find yourself with a following. That’s the only way to truly survive in this game, with the help of the loot boxes dropped upon you by the generous benefactors watching from across the galaxy.

They call it Dungeon Crawler World. But for Carl, it’s anything but a game.

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Gunnie Rose

Charlaine Harris

What is it About?

In the southwestern country now known as Texoma, this is a world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico, gunslinger Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards.

She may be young, but Gunnie Rose has acquired a fearsome reputation and the wizards are at a desperate crossroads, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching frantically to locate the only man whose blood they believe can save their tsar’s life.

A powerful enemy sends enemies who want their mission to fail. The trio are set upon by a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

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The Unorthodox Chronicles

James J. Butcher

James Butcher is a chip off the old urban fantasy block. But don’t get it twisted, both James and Jim are different writers stylistically.  James has an edginess that Jim’s work is smoothed over. Both are super enjoyable. 

What is it About?

In the tradition of his renowned father, James J. Butcher’s debut novel is a brilliant urban fantasy about a young man who must throw out the magical rule book to solve the murder of his former mentor.

On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is…not one of those witches.

After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as “not Department material,” Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can’t help hoping he’ll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors’ number one suspect.

Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive .

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The Nsibidi Scripts

Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems.”

What is it About?

Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

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The Cowboy and the Vampire

By Clark Hays, and Kathleen McFall

“Saddle up for a hilarious, existential gallop through the dying American west with an army of ancient bloodsuckers in hot pursuit.”

What is it About?

Welcome to LonePine, Wyoming, population 438, where the best of the west faces off against the rise of the undead. It’s a love story for the ages. Worlds collide in The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Very Unusual Romance, when a broke cowboy and a glamorous big city reporter fall lipstick over boot heels in love. But she carries a 2000-year-old secret in her veins that will test their unusual romance. Can her big city smarts combined with his western courage keep an undead love alive? This is the first book of The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection.

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The Convergence Saga

Cadwell Turnbull

Monsters, Monsters, Monsters

What is it About?

One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother has been shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.

At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?

The world will soon find out.

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All Souls Quadrilogy

Deborah Harkness

“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.”

What is it About?

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

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Junkyard druid

M.D. Massey

“How many times do I have to tell you fae, I’m not a druid? I’m a rígfénnid, damn it.”

What is it About?

MEET COLIN MCCOOL.

Reluctant druid, and sole apprentice of the last living master druid on earth. Heir to Fionn MacCumhaill’s legacy. Hunted and feared by the Fae, and cursed with Cú Chulainn’s ríastrad. All he wants is to live in his junkyard in peace… but the gods have other plans for the young druid apprentice!

JUNKYARD DRUID #1

When a reluctant druid gets blackmailed into working for an evil faery queen, he’ll walk through fire to complete one last job⁠—come hell or high magic!

GRAVEYARD DRUID #2

When the local vampire coven hires him to stop an undead outbreak at the city graveyard, it sounds like money in the bank to everyone’s favorite down on his luck druid, Colin McCool. But when you’re cursed by an ancient Fae sorceress with a score to settle, nothing is ever as it seems…

MOONLIGHT DRUID #3

When a Fae child goes missing, Colin is hired to bring him back. Now he has to crack the case, all while learning to control his shifter abilities under the watchful eye of the local werewolf alpha. But with half the pack against him and enemies at every turn, will his next misstep be his last?

UNDERGROUND DRUID #4

Colin is hellbent on bringing vengeance to the doorstep of the Fae. To do so, he’ll have to complete an impossible task to earn passage into the mystical realm of Underhill. Will he outwit the Fae and survive this deadly undertaking? Or, will he be trapped in Underhill… forever?

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Debt Collection

Andrew Givler

Got to get the soul back…

What is it About?

Matthew Carver has a terrible life. Seriously – it’s awful. It is so bad that Dan the Demon is shocked when Matt turns down his infernal offer: ten years of a blissful life in exchange for his soul.

But Dan is a salesman behind on his quota and his demonic managers are running out of patience. He forges Matt’s signature on the dotted line, stealing his soul and thrusting him into a supernatural world he never knew existed.

Now Matt must figure out how to get his soul back and stop a war before it is too late…

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6 Comments

  • terriwelch says:

    Good urban fantasy with female protagonist that’s not by Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Ilona, or Anne Bishop or mentioned above. Go!

    • Beth Tabler says:

      Easy peasy lemon squeezy. For young adult or near to: The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. It is fluffy, but most of the female characters are well written and it is entertaining. Halfway to the Grave by Jeanine Frost (fun fluffy vampire fun.) Jennifer Estep’s “Elemental Assassin” series, Early Laurell K Hamiliton (her later stuff is stupid and ridiculous), Jane Yellowrock “skinwalker” series, black dagger brotherhood (more romance, less urban fantasy. Still pretty good.) Kelley Armstrong’s “Women of the underworld”. (very strong female characters, and interesting.) Absolutely hands down, totally fantastic, and I can’t believe I didn’t add it to the original list is Anne Bishop’s The Others. Most of these are really to the preference of the reader. Some have more sex/romance and nudge slightly towards romance, but are still very solid urban fantasy and worth a look. Anne Bishop’s series’ both “The Others,” and her Jewels series are top notch. I can come up with more recommendations if you don’t like these 🙂 I love me some urban fantasy. Happy Reading!

      • Beth Tabler says:

        Well crap. I just caught the Anne Bishop on the end of your original post. How about some Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series. Which currently has the added bonus of being 2.99 on amazon at the moment. Cheers!

  • What a stunning list of books to choose from, thank you Beth!

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