Urban Fantasy is my favourite book genre and has been since I was 13 when I picked up a copy of the first Night World novel as a magazine freebie. Since I have devoured as much as I can and continue to do so. I’m still catching up with a lot of urban fantasy novels, although there are several now that I’m up-to-date with or close to completing. The great thing about older series is that you can usually binge read a lot of them as there are several books published already or available at your local library.
This is by no means the full list of urban fantasy series I am currently reading. These are the ones I love and think other people should try. I’ve also tried to keep the list to books and authors I probably haven’t mentioned previously (like in a Fandom 5 prompt).
Cainsville series by Kelley Armstrong
I’ve mentioned Kelley Armstrong’s other series, Women of the Otherworld, multiple times but not this series. Cainsville is more Thriller/Mystery with urban fantasy thrown in on top, and it has me completely hooked. Here’s the synopsis for book one, Omens:
Twenty-four-year-old Olivia Taylor Jones has the perfect life. The only daughter of a wealthy, prominent Chicago family, she has an Ivy League education, pursues volunteerism and philanthropy, and is engaged to a handsome young tech firm CEO with political ambitions.
But Olivia’s world is shattered when she learns that she’s adopted. Her real parents? Todd and Pamela Larsen, notorious serial killers serving a life sentence. When the news brings a maelstrom of unwanted publicity to her adopted family and fiancé, Olivia decides to find out the truth about the Larsens.
Olivia ends up in the small town of Cainsville, Illinois, an old and cloistered community that takes a particular interest in both Olivia and her efforts to uncover her birth parents’ past.
Aided by her mother’s former lawyer, Gabriel Walsh, Olivia focuses on the Larsens’ last crime, the one her birth mother swears will prove their innocence. But as she and Gabriel start investigating the case, Olivia finds herself drawing on abilities that have remained hidden since her childhood, gifts that make her both a valuable addition to Cainsville and deeply vulnerable to unknown enemies. Because there are darker secrets behind her new home and powers lurking in the shadows that have their own plans for her.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
I originally saw the TV series before picking up the books, and even then it took me a while to get to them. When I did, I devoured 15 in two weeks and have fallen in love with the quirky bonkers wizard. Harry is one of those protagonists who will have you laughing, crying, and face-palming and yet you still love him. Some of the most ingenious scenes I’ve ever read have come from this series, it is seriously a must-read. Here’s a sneak peek at the first book, Storm Front.
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.
Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
I know I’ve mentioned this series before, and I couldn’t resist sneaking it into this list because it is so god damn awesome. This is seriously one of those books I picked up and realised I’d hit the jackpot. Atticus is the only druid left alive, he’s several thousand years old and he’s hiding out from mythological creatures (such as gods) who want to get their hands on his magical sword (no, not a pun, he has an actual sword). There are three things that make this series super amazing; the portrayal of the different pantheons, they’re unique and so funny; Oberon, Atticus’ dog who he can communicate with and discusses bacon conspiracies; and finally, the geeky comments thrown in throughout every book. Kevin Hearne is a geek and it shows, and it’s not cheesy, it’s like you’re talking to your geeky best buds. Check out the synopsis of book one, Hounded;
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.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.
Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn
Another series that took me ages to get to, and one I fell in love with immediately. Kitty is a werewolf. Yep, a werewolf called Kitty. To top it off she’s also a radio DJ. What I like about this series is that Kitty doesn’t start off as a badass, or someone with a reputation, she starts at the bottom. It also plays out what would happen if the world found out what goes bump in the night. Here’s a look at the first book in the series, Kitty and the Midnight Hour.
Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station – and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it’s Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?
Merry Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
I had heard about this series for a long time, and it had been recommended by several friends. I can say that they were correct; it is fantastic. I also love the spin-off series Alpha and Omega. Mercy isn’t a werewolf, she’s able to turn into a coyote. There’s wolves, vampires, fey and so much more in this series. Highly recommended, and to get you started here’s the summary for Moon Called;
Mercedes “Mercy” Thompson 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…
Riley Jensen: Guardian series by Keri Arthur
This series seems to be set in a near-future where the supernatural is exposed and live and work alongside humans. There’s a bunch of futuristic tech, without seeming too sci-fi and the characters and world-building are great. I’ve finished the initial series, and there’s a follow on series set in the future that I’ve still to read. Read on for more about the first book, Full Moon Rising.
In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.
A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…
Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.
In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.
Spellcrackers.com series by Suzanne McLeod
One of the things that drew me to this series is that it is based in the UK and written by a British author – both very rare occurrences in this genre. Thankfully it is an amazing series so I have kept reading it, enjoying the view of an alternate London (my home town). In this world magic and the fey exist, and are ‘out’ to humans. London is filled with people seeking magic and spells from witches, and vampire tourist attractions. Magic is an everyday occurrence, and the author has done a great job of thinking of useful everyday spells. Genny works for Spellcrackers.com, a company that ‘cracks’ (aka breaks/subdues) spells, and this combined with a whole load of mythology, politics, and mystery make this series a must-read. Here’s the introduction for book one, The Sweet Scent of Blood.
‘My name is Genny Taylor. I work for Spellcrackers.com. It’s a great job, pays the rent, lets me do the thing I’m good at – finding magic and cracking it – and the bonus is it’s run by witches, which stops the vamps from taking a bite out of me.
Not that vampires are the big bad any more, not since they launched a slick PR campaign – oh, and they brought the goblins on board. Now the vamps are sought-after celebrities, and Getting Fanged and taking the Gift are the new height of all things cool.
But only if you’re human.
And I’m not.
I’m Sidhe fae.
And I know firsthand just how deadly a vampire can be.’
When Mr October, a sexy calendar pin-up vamp, is accused of murdering his girlfriend, an old debt is called in and Genny is forced to help prove his innocence, risking her job and the protection it offers – and threatening to expose her own dark secrets. Searching for the killer plunges Genny deep into the hidden heart of vampire society. It’s not long before she realises that she and Mr October are both unwitting pawns in a centuries-old power struggle between London’s non-human communities . . . and it’s not just her own neck that’s at stake, but the lives of all London’s supernaturals.
Shifters series by Rachel Vincent
There are so many werewolf novels out there that it is refreshing to have something different, and this series delivers it. Faythe is a female werecat (a tabby) which makes her very rare indeed. As a tabby, she’s in high demand, and often restrictive by the idea that tabbies exist to keep the species alive. There is a lot of action in this series, and so much happens as it progresses. I’ve not yet finished it and so much has happened. Here’s the synopsis for the first book Stray;
There are only eight breeding female werecats left…
And I’m one of them.
I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.
I’d been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back… for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I’m no meek kitty. I’ll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — ’cause I got claws, and I’m not afraid to use them…
Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead
And last but not least is this series by Richelle Mead, best known for her Vampire Academy YA series. There’s nothing YA about this series; Georgina is a succubus, she steals souls through sex for hell. The whole network of heaven and hell is very intriguing, and as the series progresses it really does get more interesting. If you enjoyed Vampire Academy and like adult urban fantasy then you’ll enjoy this. Richelle delivers again with more twists, turns and heart-wrenching dilemmas. And here’s the summary for the first book, Succubus Blues;
When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?
But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore–free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.
But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny. . .
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