Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This week’s theme is Halloween Freebie, and what better way to celebrate Halloween than highlighting my favorite Urban Fantasy books?
Back in the early 00s, Urban Fantasy was my jam. I read everything I could get my hands on, in any combination. I loved anything werewolf, witch, vampire or paranormal related. Until I stopped loving it as much and the subgenre kinda became a little oversaturated. But that’s another story.
My fascination with urban fantasy began in the 90s when I picked up a copy of Blood Moon: The Curse by Connie Laux from a random bookstore somewhere in Washington (or Oregon?) during a road trip with my family. We stopped at that same bookstore the following year and I found the other two books in the series and devoured them. I haven’t been able to find those books anywhere else, and thankfully I still have a copy because damn they are good.
But before I digress into my favorites, lemme just state the hill that I will die on: urban fantasy was created by women and made famous and popular by women.
This list might bend the definition of urban quite a bit, but um, yeah. These books do fit my definition of urban fantasy.
Top 10 Urban Fantasy Reads
The Grand Dames of the 00s
Hah, yep I know: no Ann Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Faith Hunter or CE Murphy? Read them, didn’t particularly care for them…although some I loved reading at the time but fell out of love with (*cough, Anita Blake *cough cough*).
Anywho, the Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson series are hands down two of my absolute favorites in any list that’s mentioned, and I loved the books about Elena (less about the witches…they were boring) in the Otherworld series, and I loved the first five or so books in the Hollows series. And Sunshine is one of my favorite vampire books of all time—it’s not for everyone due to mass amounts of exposition, but I just love it.
Again, let’s notice who’s missing: Jim Butler and Ben Aaronovitch. What? No wizards with skulls? I’ll be honest—I hated Storm Front (I’m pretty sure it was a DNF since I don’t have it marked as read on Goodreads) and everything else I’ve read about the casual sexism in the series has made me happy I haven’t pushed harder. Plus, when I say I love urban fantasy to men and the fact that they exclusively only mention Dresden and poo poo the people who built the subgenre? Yeah. Hard pass.
Of course, I’m sitting here with a list that includes one of the biggest douche canoe writers in the history of writing—he of the Sad Puppies Fiasco and rabid 2nd Amendment nut himself, Larry Correia. I love the Monster Hunter International series (minus the heavy gun masturbatory descriptions—I just skip over those), but I do recognize its flaws (it has the “look I wrote a strong female character so I can’t be sexist” trope) and the assholerly of the writer.
However, The Hum and the Shiver bends the definition of urban fantasy a little, what with its hillbilly fairies, and I absolutely love the entire series. It’s one of the unsung urban fantasies out there. And Charming is well, charming. I enjoyed it and the rest of the books quite a bit.
I’m still reading Ninth House, but overall I’m enjoying it (even if I’m not enjoying it as much as I thought I would because it’s not quite what I thought it was?), and it is very much urban fantasy.
Trail of Lightning stretches the definition of urban fantasy, being more post-apocalyptic, but it has many of the traits that I consider urban fantasy (a strong heroine, magic, a mystery at the center, and coexistence/conflict between humans and otherworldly characters). It’s also a book about an American Indian written by an American Indian (*cough cough* unlike 99% of urban fantasy books—it was a big trend). Book 1 is a little…uneven, but book 2 is OMG amazing and I can’t wait for the third book, whenever that releases.
And of course the biggest name in urban fantasy (well, IMO) right now is VE/Victoria Schwab. Between her adult, YA and MG books, she’s established herself as The name in urban fantasy and has been reinvigorating (and to some extent redefining) the subgenre (and also in fantasy too). Aaaand here I go with my unpopular opinion: I’m not her biggest fan. I loved Vicious, but Vengeful was a miss, and I just wasn’t feeling the second or third (I DNF’d A Conjuring of Light) books of the Shades of Magic trilogy. But I loved Vicious, and so there she stays on my list.
What are your favorite Urban Fantasy Reads?
Do you agree or disagree with anything on my list?