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vampmoore's avatar

Know any good urban fantasy novels?

Asked by vampmoore (445points) August 26th, 2010

For the past couple of months I’ve been trying my hardest to find a good urban fantasy novel (they’re my favorite genre of books). I have been sadly disappointed most of the time. Its either the plot is off (or there’s no plot at all), the characters are stiff and not developed very well, world building is confusing and/or not interesting, or it just comes down to very bad writing.

In my experience, a good UF consisits of great characters, a strong plot, a little bit of mystery, great world building, and that special something that’ll make me say, “im definately getting the next book!”

So anybody know of anything like that? Suggestions would be very much appreciated.

NOT paranormal romance!!!! There is a difference and bookstores sometimes get these genres mixed up!

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19 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

What is urban fantasy?

Lightlyseared's avatar

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

KatawaGrey's avatar

Have you read the Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs? The novels are from the point of view of Mercy and center around her interactions with werewolves, vampires and the fae. There is a healthy dose of romance, but the books are more about Mercy continually solving magical and paranormal mysteries and fixing the resultant problems.

@mrentropy: Urban fantasy is fantasy that takes place in our world. The characters have to interact with regular humans and sometimes the magical aspects of the world are known to regular humans. It is an interesting genre and I enjoy it quite immensely. :)

mrentropy's avatar

@KatawaGrey Ah. Gotcha.

James P. Blaylock: Everything but the Balumnia series. I recommend The Last Coin.
Gene Wolfe: There Are Doors
Jim Butcher: The Dresden series, which is about a wizard in Chicago that solves crimes of a magical nature.

janbb's avatar

Jack Finney’s Time and Again is a time-travel fantasy about going back to NYC in the 1880s. A great, great read – one of my favorites.

You might also try Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell an oddball book about magicians set largely in London.

MacBean's avatar

Neverwhere and The Dresden Files, definitely.

mrentropy's avatar

Oh, and Winters Tale by Mark Helprin.

Rarebear's avatar

Eric Nylund is in the midst of a fantastic 5 book urban fantasy series. The first is Mortal Coils, and the second, just published, is All That Lives Must Die.

If you want far-out terrific gritty postmodern urban fantasy you can do no better than Perdido Street Station by China Mievielle.

vampmoore's avatar

@KatawaGrey I was given the Mercy Thompsin book as a gift. I didnt like it very much. there was nothing wrong with the writing, there was just, as you said, a lot of romance, too much for my taste. Have you tried the Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saincrow? One of my favorites, if not the favorite.

@MacBean Neverwhere was my next choice, thanks.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

The “Snake Agent” series of novels by Liz Williams. Their premise is that Heaven and Hell are tangible dimensions and that all sorts of beings can pass to and from them. In one of the books, a demon from Hell is assigned to a local police department to help solve a case. I believe there are four books in total (so far), and the first is called Snake Agent.

downtide's avatar

Seconds @Rarebear ‘s vote for Perdido Street Station.

The Greywalker series by Kat Richardson. Set in Seattle and kind of Dresden-Files-ish.

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by G W Dahlquist. More Steampunk than modern, but definitely an urban fantasy.

Jeruba's avatar

I strongly second Neverwhere, practically a textbook model of Jungian archetypes, and Winter’s Tale. The latter, although not a humorous work in general, has many light touches, and it is one of a very few books I’ve ever read that contain a passage that has reduced me to abject, helpless laughter. I don’t believe I could read aloud the scene of Boonya in the kitchen if my life depended on it.

jerv's avatar

The closest I get to “Urban Fantasy” is Cyberpunk, and most of that is set near enough in the future that people today can relate. I am more of a sci-fi guy and generally couldn’t care less about most fantasy.

The sole exception to that is The Dresden Files, which I find to have a rich world, well-developed characters (though you have to read a few books to notice; it is a series) and I admire Butcher’s writing style.

The Shadowrun novels are also a possibility since the game just celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, so the world is definitely developed. SR is cyberpunk, but with elves, dragons, and magic alongside the technology and near-future dystopia. The novels are a little uneven, depending on who wrote a particular book, but you might find something there so I felt it worth mentioning.

Jeruba's avatar

Let’s not forget Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

jerv's avatar

@Jeruba Like Neal’s other works, I regard that as more sci-fi than fantasy.

3or4monsters's avatar

Pretty much anything by Charles de Lint.

Rarebear's avatar

@Jeruba I wouldn’t really consider Snow Crash an urban fantasy, though. That’s more cyberpunk. I do agree, however, that it is a great book.

daydreamer's avatar

so many wonderful series and so little time so lets start, Stacia kanes downside series is awesome the fist book is unholy ghost,and Diana Rowland -Kara Gillian demon summoner series and Karen Marie Monings fever series,laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake vampire hunter series,oh and another one is Nicole peeler’s Jane true series and a new one i started reading and also like is chicagoland vampire series by chloe Neill ,Kim Harrison’s Rachel morgan series and i must not forget Jeaniene frost’s Night huntress series, is one of the best!! there is much more but i dont have time to name them all i hope i have helped.

daydreamer's avatar

oh i forgot to mention Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series!!!!!! DEFIANTLY A MUST BUY.

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