Over the last decade, urban fantasy has EXPLODED as a genre. That’s great for fans like me, but how do you sift through the thousands of available books on Amazon? Where do you start and how do you know what’s good?
Recommendations are how most readers are finding new books these days. You can find some of my favorite books below. Have you read any of these? What did you think?
Click on the images to learn more or to purchase the books from Amazon.*
#5 Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
What’s a comic book doing on this list? Well, it’s urban fantasy and it’s a book. In my mind, that means it belongs here. It was a toss up between this one and Sandman Slim, which I thoroughly enjoyed (I love my anti-heroes) but I had to go with this one since it came first.
As a rule, I don’t read comic books, but when the TV show starring Matt Ryan ended, I needed my fix like this belligerent wizard needs his next cigarette. I picked up the first comic and had to change my mind. These are AMAZING and if you haven’t read them, you’re really missing out.
Dangerous Habits is the 5th graphic novel and tells the story of how conman and conjurer John Constantine cheats death when faced with terminal lung cancer. It’s the story arc the Keanu Reeves movie was based on too. I never thought I’d be crying over a comic book magician. I also probably threw the book across the room a few times too.
#4 Alpha & Omega by Patricia Briggs
I didn’t choose Mercy Thompson, despite being a HUGE fan, because I actually like her other series better. The way that Anna and Charles work together makes the whole thing worth reading. I would read about those two watching paint dry. They have SUCH strong personalities!
I chose book 2 in the series, Hunting Ground, because I feel it showcases those personalities best. Plus, it has the most beautiful cover art of the whole series. This book was so compelling, it inspired me to write Cold Spell. I read it until the paperback fell apart and then I had to go get the hard cover.
#3 Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
I avoided the Kate Daniels series for far too long because I thought it would be paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy. Boy was that a mistake. I knew I was going to love Kate from the moment the first vampire came into her home. They were creepy and undead…just the way vampires are supposed to be. (I’ve never liked sexy vampires.) While there is some romance in the series, there’s far more action. Kate and Curran are one of the most badass couples in the whole genre.
In this installment, Kate and pack leader Curran travel to Europe in search of medicine for their pack. I chose this one because of the uniqueness of its setting, and because here is where Hugh’s story really gets interesting. (Hugh is an antagonist I love to hate, and he got his own series so YESSSS!) Any book that kicks off a good villain redemption arc is going to get a fast track to being a favorite. I love my bad guys…
#2 Changes by Jim Butcher
It’d be impossible to talk about urban fantasy without mentioning the king of urban fantasy himself… Jim Butcher. His Dresden Files series is largely responsible for the explosion in the genre, and a huge inspiration to me personally.
It was hard to pick just one book in the series. I was torn between Changes, Turn Coat, and Dead Beat, which are my 3 favorite entries to the series. In the end had to pick the one that made me experience such a roller coaster of emotions I had to read it twice in a row.
If you haven’t read Dresden, he’s a wizard living in modern day Chicago. He battles vampires, werewolves, and monsters of all kinds while straining to maintain his own humanity as his powers increase. From the wicked winter queen to Navajo skinwalkers, Dresden faces all comers…and the consequences of his decisions.
#1: Grave Dealings by R.R. Virdi
Virdi has been nominated for two Dragon Awards and a Nebula Award, the highest award in the industry for science fiction and fantasy. After reading this acclaimed series, it’s no wonder.
On the surface, books in The Grave Report are heart-pounding supernatural thrillers featuring snarky soul without a body, Vincent Graves. He solves mysteries with help from a compelling cast of side characters. Delve deeper into these books and you’ll find they’re more than just an entertaining read, but also a treatise on life, humanity, and power dynamics. What does it mean to be human? Where does the human end and the monster begin? Why should we care? And why is there ectoplasm on my shoe? If you find any of these topics compelling, you’ll love The Grave Report. This third installment is the best so far, and I expect they’ll only get better as this young author gains more and more experience.
*Affiliate links were used in this post, which means if you click the link and make a purchase, I get a small kickback.*