Tuesday, March 11, 2014

TTT - Top Ten Urban Fantasy Books

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

Today's topic is to list our top ten books from a particular genre. I dithered for a really long time about which genre I'd go with - some seemed far too broad (YA), and others were far too narrow (non-YA dystopian). In the end, I decided on urban fantasy.

Urban fantasy is kind of a tricky genre because it's really open to interpretation. I know people who class Terry Pratchett's Discworld books as urban fantasy because they're set in a city. I, on the other hand, would argue that to count as urban fantasy, a book has to be set in the world as we know it, but with slight differences. Like, you know, vampires. Or magic. Or witches. And obviously, it has to be set in an urban environment. 

So. I hereby present my ten favourite urban fantasy books:

1. Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews
I adore the Kate Daniels series. It's pretty much the dictionary definition of urban fantasy, albeit set in a semi-dystopian Atlanta. And Kate is sassy as hell while still kicking arse on a daily basis. It's occasionally gory and gross, but still insanely enjoyable and occasionally squee-worthy. And Magic Bites is the book that starts it all.

2. Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series was probably my introduction to urban fantasy. And while I love the book that first got me into the series - Dime Store Magic - I love the first book in the series just a little bit more. Unlike the others, it focuses exclusively on the werewolves and deals with Elena coming to terms with who and what she is. I've heard decidedly average things about the TV series currently airing in North America, but don't judge the book by the series. It's well worth the read.

3. Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
A somewhat dubious addition to an urban fantasy list, but whatever. It's hilarious and quirky from start to finish - as one would expect from its authors - and a decent chunk of it is based in urban England so I say it counts. 

4. Halfway to the Grave - Jeaniene Frost
This series - like so many other vampire series (I'm looking at you, Sookie Stackhouse) - became increasingly ridiculous and cheesy as time went on. But the first book in the series was pretty bloody fantastic, and a really quick, fun read.

5. Death Most Definite - Trent Jamieson
A slightly unusual one in that it doesn't involve witches or magic or werewolves or vampires or any of the usual paranormal stuff. Instead, Steve is basically a reaper, ferrying the dead into the afterlife. Probably not for the squeamish, given that there's a lot of blood sacrifice stuff involved, but a really fascinating and unusual concept.

6. Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovich
Published in the US as Midnight Riot (really?!?!?!), this is a really great magic-meets-crime novel set in London. There's plenty of fantasy elements and a cast of awesome characters, with some added historical awesomeness. 

7. The Man with the Golden Torc - Simon R. Green
I love the Secret Histories series. Eddie Drood is basically Tony Stark meets James Bond, except he's fighting magical beasties instead of aliens/insurgents/Russians/whatever. And he's helped by a sassy and extremely powerful witch. It's Simon R. Green, so it can get pretty gory, but the whole series is well worth reading.

8. The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong
It took me a while to warm up to Armstrong's YA series, The Darkest Powers. But the final book of the trilogy, where the kids are finally coming into their powers for real? Is absolutely phenomenal. 

9. Dead Witch Walking - Kim Harrison
Another series that I loved to begin with but was less taken with as the number of books increased. (It probably didn't help that I read them completely out of order, thanks to my local library) But the first one is still a great urban fantasy read.

10. Intangible - J. Meyers
A fun and fast paced story featuring a little bit of everything - suspense, action, romance, red herrings, and great dialogue. Another great YA book that falls firmly under the urban fantasy banner. Which is nice - a lot of YA books lean more towards paranormal romance! 

So there you have it. My ten favourite urban fantasy books. What are yours?

K xx


  1. The only one I know on that list is Rivers of London cause I read one of the books that comes after that. It was fun but a bit confusing as I had no clue as to what had happened before.

  2. I haven't read much urban fantasy at all! I really should try and attempt it at some point!

  3. I've been meaning to try Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. I've heard good stuff about it. Soon.. Hehe..

    Thanks for sharing. Here's my TTT picks :)

  4. I don't read a lot of urban fantasy, though I was introduced to it through the books of Charles de Lint (a Canadian author). Trader and Yarrow are a couple of my favourites in that genre.

  5. I haven't even read any of these. o.O MY BAD. I've heard of Bitten though. But I totally feel like adding them all to my TBR, because urban fantasy rocks. My favourite urban is probably...eh, I can't even decide. Does Man Made Boy count as urban? I really loved that.

  6. I'd start with Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series - it's still in the same world as Women of the Otherworld, but YA and effectively introduces you to the world all over again. Which, YAY.

  7. Oooh, I've not read those - I'll have to check them out!!

  8. I really really love them. Like, found-one-at-the-library-and-immediately-downloaded-the-next-three kind of love. So they're definitely worth the read!

  9. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I think it crosses over with enough other genres that you should be able to find something you're interested in reading! :)

  10. Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem!! Even I was confused a couple of times while reading the second book because there was a pretty big gap between reading the first and second!

  11. Forget reading these, I have never even heard of all of these books. Clearly, I fail at life. However, this gives me a reading list!

  12. Really late, but you MUST read Charles de Lint. He has so much beauty and love in his work it's astonishing. I think my favorite of the novels is Someplace to be Flying. Or you could start with Dreams Underfoot, which is short stories that introduce a lot of his characters. He's one of my favorite writers, and I re-read or dip into his work often.

    The only one on your list I have read is Good Omens, and we have discussed it before. So. Much. Love. I did pick up 3 Simon R. Green books at a sale last week on your recommendation but I haven't started them yet. The Man with the Golden Torc was one of them, so I'll start with it. I'll look for others in libraries. Thanks as always for giving me new stuff to read. :)


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