Monday, December 21, 2009

Urban Fantasy Favorites, part 1

A recent post at MsM's Moonlight to Twilight blog got me thinking about all the wonderful urban fantasy I'd been reading before m/m sort of took over my life. I started to comment on her post, but realized I was blathering on for so long that I might take over her site.  Not wanting to be so rude (hey, I can be nice) I moved my blather to my own blog, where I can refer to it cause I like hearing myself talk.  Er...reading myself write.  Oh, never mind!

Urban Fantasy I have known and loved --

Author: Ilona Andrews.  Series: Kate Daniels.  Urban Setting: Atlanta.  First book: Magic Bites.  The authors are a husband/wife team and are amazing.  The world building is absolutely thorough and believable.  The world fluctuates between magic and technology.  Kate is a mercenary strong in magic, and finds herself dealing with vampires (not the warm fuzzy kind) and shifters and so on.  She is unapologetically kick-ass. There is not a strong romance per se, but the tension is there and draws you in. (A recent book "On the Edge" is the start of a new series.  The Edge is a place that exists between the mundane world and the magical one.  Rose is the heroine who has to fight the bad guys.  Nice budding romance with the requisite tension also.)

Author: Patricia Briggs.  Series: Mercy Thompson.  Urban Setting: Tri-cities in the Pacific Northwest.  First Book: Moon Called.  Mercy is a mechanic with her own shop.  She's also a shifter who gets caught up in some bad goings on involving werewolves. And then vampires, sorcerers, and fae.  She has a couple of love-interests, and it is fun watching that develop over the series.  She's interesting in that she didn't plan on being a hero, kick-ass or otherwise.  She has to use her brains and the talents that come with being a coyote.   (Another series in the same universe: Alpha and Omega, with Charles and Anna as a werewolf couple dealing with their own set of mysteries)

Author: Jim Butcher.  Series: The Dresden Files.  Urban Setting: Chicago.  First Book: Storm Front.  The protag Harry Dresden is male, but there are some kick-ass female characters.  More importantly, the writing is captivating, with dry wit and laugh-out-loud humor used generously to balance out the sometimes serious, sometimes scary elements.  Harry is a wizard, who works as a private investigator of the weird and magical in a city that doesn't know they exist. I am eagerly awaiting book 12, due in April.  I never get tired of these books.

Author: Kim Harrison.  Series: The Hollows (sometimes called Rachel Morgan). Urban Setting: Cincinnati.  First Book: Dead Witch Walking.   Rachel is a witch in a world where magic was revealed and accepted only after humans started dying after eating some bad tomatoes. She is best friends and partners in a sort of private investigator agency with a born vampire and a pixie. Lots of interesting world-building, with magical lands, boundaries, ley lines etc.  The plots get very complicated and Rachel seldom tackles anything completely on her own (successfully anyway).  I absolutely loved the early books in this series, but the recent couple have left me with a sense of melancholy.  I haven't given up, though.

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon. Series: Dark Hunter. Urban Setting: New Orleans, mostly, but anywhere around the world is game.  First Book: Night Pleasures (Fantasy Lover came before this, but while it's in this world, the hero isn't a hunter).   This is one of those series that has gone on and on and I haven't got the excitement for them I once did.  At the beginning, I just couldn't get enough of these tough, tortured guys and the women they love. Lots of action, hot sex as well. The hunters are a riff on vampires, as are their enemies.  Ancient Greek deities get involved, as the first hunter, Acheron, is tied to them and to the gods of Atlantis. There are also Dream Hunters and Were Hunters.  The plots usually reflect the battle between good paranormals and bad ones, and often include a battle royale with several heroes coming together for a kick-ass finale.

Author: Tanya Huff.  Series: The Blood Books.  Urban Setting: Toronto.  First Book: Blood Price.  There are five books in this series and I'm pretty sure it's finished.  Vicki Nelson was a police detective but had to leave the force due to a generative eye disease.  Now she's a private investigator.  She gets called in to cases that have paranormal element.  She has an on/off love interest in police detective Mike Celluci, and meets vampire Henry Fitzroy, a vampire who writes romance novels. He complicates things. I love Vicki for her toughness and her fight to be strong despite eyes that betray her.  Her journey into the paranormal, demonic world around her is fascinating and scary.  Huff include enough humor to balance that.  Another series: The Smoke Trilogy.  Includes characters from the Blood Books, now in Vancouver. Not as terrific, but still good.

Author: Julie Kenner.  Series: Kate Connor, Demon Hunter.  Urban Setting: San Diablo, CA.  First Book: Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom.  Kate is a suburban housewife with a second husband, teenage daughter, toddler son and lots of secrets (some she doesn't even know she has). There are times these books made me laugh out loud and times they made me cry.  Kate is a little bit like a grown up Buffy.  She battles demons and those possessed by them, trying to keep the world safe a little longer.  At the same time she has to get the kids to school, bake cookies, and entertain the politicos her husband must court for his run at county attorney.

Whew!! And that's just a few.  RL is calling.  I'll add more in another post later.  In the meantime, please do share your favorite Urban Fantasy books or series, and I'll add them to the list!


  1. What a great post! I wrote it all down-lol!
    Thanks for all the info.



  2. Good list. I might've talked a little trash about you in MsM's comments because you "took" some of my recs. ;)

    Hey, let me know at via my blog email (in sidebar of blog, or by leaving me a comment there) (please not via this sacrificial gmail email) if you'd be interested in donating a copy of Ice Cream on the Side for a giveaway on my blog. I'm trying to promote some not-yet-known authors I've enjoyed. If interested, check out the contest that I ran for Mia Watts.


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