Urban fantasy

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Moo
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Urban fantasy

Postby Moo » Mon May 18, 2015 10:04 am UTC

Inspired by a conversation elsewhere on the fora, what are you urban fantasy favourites?

For me this genre is a bit of a guilty pleasure, but I enjoy the melding of fantasy worlds, strong female protagonists and a bit of sexy romance.

Here are some of my favourite series:

The Hollows by Kim Harrison
I love this series and its characters, and the world is well realised. Rachel Morgan is a witch living in a world where humans live in an uneasy peace with "interlanders" - witches, werewolves, vampires, pixies etc. She opens her own bounty hunter / investigator business with two partners and saves the world a few times (although I really loved this series, which is now complete, DON'T READ THE LAST CHAPTER. It's like the last Matrix film. It never happened).

McKay Tracking series by Kate Danley
Maggie McKay is a world walker, able to traverse between two neighbouring dimensions - ours, and the other side, where the supernatural beings lead everyday lives just like ours. She works as a bounty hunter, tracking down other siders who cross over to our side without the necessary migration papers. I really enjoy her relationship with the male lead, it's not the usual chic lit cliched fair. Series ongoing.

Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson also has her own PI business, made a little easier because she can see and communicate with the departed. There's more to it than that but I don't want to give too much away. The author takes the idea of the witty, sassy first person POV to the limit, sometimes over it, but for the most part I enjoy Charley. The romance arc is a bit different as well, and very central, but again I don't want to say too much. Series ongoing.

Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price
I like Alex Craft, she's not cut from the same slightly over-used mold as the other leads I've mentioned; a bit less sexy and sassy and more grounded, well rounded. She is a grave witch, who can call up the shade of a recently departed person to help the police solve their deaths.
Proverbs 9:7-8 wrote:Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you.
Hawknc wrote:FFT: I didn't realise Proverbs 9:7-8 was the first recorded instance of "haters gonna hate"

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PeteP
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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby PeteP » Mon May 18, 2015 12:10 pm UTC

Well I will skip stuff like harry dresden, nightwatch, or neverwhere that is relatively well known. Also I'm horrible at describing books in interesting ways without giving spoilers.
Alex Verus
The MC is a Seer, without offensive magic or even the shields most other mages in the setting have. But he doesn't just see big events he can see future possibilities quickly and detailed enough to use it in a fight and he can explore places by going through the futures where he explores it himself, stuff like that. So still quite powerful. Anyway I like him and the supporting cast that he gets over the books. Prediction as only power of the protagonist is a nice change of pace. And I like the stories well enough too. (Note: While it is among my favourite UF series I consider the first two books weaker than the ones afterwards.)

The Rook
The MC finds herself surrounded by bodies in a park and all her memories are gone. But her former self expected it and left her letters intended to either help her flee or to help her pretend she is still the same person. Her old self was a high ranking member of an agency dealing with the paranormal. Everyone relevant, including herself has powers and everybody has different ones, the variety is quite great. Anyway a good read and iirc I also enjoyed some of the humor. No romance in book 1 however if that is something you will miss.

Kate Daniels
Kate is quite badass the setting is interesting enough (magic is coming back but it still isn't quite back yet so the world oscillates between high magic where tech fails and tech periods where most magic becomes useless.) Also surprisingly it has a Alpha (lion)shifter love interest where I don't find him or the romance annoying.

Marla Mason The magic is quite varied (everyone has different specialisations) and I found Marla a interesting MC. Ruthless, not the most social person, very fond of the city she controls, very deadly in a fight, doesn't care about luxury. The resolution of the initial plot hook of book 1 surprised me a bit which is always nice. (The resolution makes sense I just don't expect books to take that option to resolve a conflict.)

A Madness of Angels (Matthew Swift, #1)
The Mc is a sorcerer who comes back from the dead with his mind fused with many non human minds. (Leading to weird shifts between I and we both in the narration as well as in the way he speaks.) Anyway the main plot of the first book is that wizards get killed one by one and the MC working with the resistance.

5 should be enough for now
Last edited by PeteP on Thu May 21, 2015 6:21 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Zohar
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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby Zohar » Mon May 18, 2015 1:25 pm UTC

I'll reformat this post later but I'm at work right now, so I'll just copy from that other thread:
I love Neil Gaiman (Neverwhere, American Gods), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse V, Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan...), Jonathan Carroll (take a look at Outside the Dog Museum, The Land of Laughs, The Marriage of Sticks...), Haruki Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood...), Maureen Johnson (The Shades of London Trilogy), Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy, might be less "urban" than you're thinking), Sergei Lukyanenko (The Night Watch series)...

I might add Scott Meyer's Wizardry 2.0 series (he's the guy who write Basic Instructions). It's not exactly urban... Essentially, modern-day computer nerd finds a file that lets him edit reality itself, he uses it to time travel to the middle ages, shenanigans ensue. It's pretty funny, if you're into dry humor. I'm sure he's a big fan of Pratchett and Douglas Adams.
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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby PAstrychef » Mon May 18, 2015 1:31 pm UTC

Ben Aaronovich's series set in London is great. Our hero is a policeman who gets sucked into the section of the department that deals with magic. He's mixed race, and the narration does a good job of showing both his Caribbean and his British backgrounds. I loved these as audiobooks. There is no romance central to the plot, but he does get quite friendly with some of the magical beings he meets. It was nice to see him being fond of his female partner without it becoming a romantic attraction.
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Moo
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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby Moo » Mon May 18, 2015 1:42 pm UTC

Oh man, there goes my amazon.co.uk account... I'm going to enjoy all these recommendations!
Proverbs 9:7-8 wrote:Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you.
Hawknc wrote:FFT: I didn't realise Proverbs 9:7-8 was the first recorded instance of "haters gonna hate"

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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby lurknessmonster » Mon May 18, 2015 8:37 pm UTC

I'm a big fan of Charles DeLint. Most of his books are set in the fictional Canadian city of Newford and feature various artists and musicians and fairies and creatures from Irish and Native American folklore. The books generally stand alone, though in a few cases you are probably better off reading them in chronological order. (Which I did not.)

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Moo
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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby Moo » Thu May 21, 2015 12:33 pm UTC

You know what, I take back my Charley Davidson recommendation (although I'm not sure it was entirely one). I was uncomfortable with the ending of book 6, and I'm not enjoying book 7 at all. It's around 50% descriptions of how hot the love interest's arms are... how sexily he's serving food... how attractive he is when he's sitting in a car... I can barely keep my lunch down, and the only reason I'll probably finish it is because I've paid for book 8 already :?
Proverbs 9:7-8 wrote:Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you.
Hawknc wrote:FFT: I didn't realise Proverbs 9:7-8 was the first recorded instance of "haters gonna hate"

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PeteP
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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby PeteP » Thu May 21, 2015 1:17 pm UTC

Moo wrote:You know what, I take back my Charley Davidson recommendation (although I'm not sure it was entirely one). I was uncomfortable with the ending of book 6, and I'm not enjoying book 7 at all. It's around 50% descriptions of how hot the love interest's arms are... how sexily he's serving food... how attractive he is when he's sitting in a car... I can barely keep my lunch down, and the only reason I'll probably finish it is because I've paid for book 8 already :?

Though I think it's possible to recommend earlier books sometimes even if it gets worse later on. For instance the first Anita Blake book is something I would be willing to recommend as a decent UB book, the series is known for devolving into a sex fest but you wouldn't know it from the first few books.

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Re: Urban fantasy

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 21, 2015 1:36 pm UTC

I read this years ago, and felt it had some cool world building and such, but was ultimately less than awesome. Entertaining but not exactly stupendous.
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