My Top Ten Urban Fantasy Series
Was thinking yesterday about all the great Urban Fantasy series there are out there, and decided to make a list of my very favorites. I tried to list them in order, and then realized that they tend to shift up and down the list a bit, based on the latest book, or a current favorite plot twist, perhaps. All except one. I’m sure it’s no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog for a while. My number one all time favorite Urban Fantasy series has never changed. Why? Because none of the rest appeal to me quite as much, in spite of the fact that I love some of them like crazy. Here they are, in order from first to…everything else. 🙂
1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: The best characters, good and bad, best plot lines, best adventures, best…and longest drawn out…love affair)
2. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz: Yes, he’s a master of horror, but while the Odd Thomas books can be scary, they are so much more than that…funny, endearing, hopeful, and poised on the edge of redemption, since I haven’t read the last one yet. Been saving it for just the right moment.
3. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: Toby Daye’s world of the fae is filled with all the Celtic legends a person could imagine: selkies, kelpies, mermaids and mermen, The Luidaeg or sea hag, barghests, trolls, and all the high Queens and Kings of the Fae, complete with their courts and the attendant political intrigue and discord. There are banshees and barrow wights, kitsunes and Tylwyth Teg, and best of all for a cat lover, the Cait Sidhe, led by Tybalt, King of Cats. And all set in San Francisco! *sigh* It’s a world like no other!
4. The Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill: Talk about political intrigue…those obsessive, control freaks, the vampires, pretty much outdo every other supernatural being when it comes to mind games and power plays. I love how well it’s done in these books, but most of all, I love the liege of Cadogan House, 400-year-old vampire, Ethan Sullivan. Best. Vampire. EVER. He and his house Sentinel, Merit, are a couple to be reckoned with, though it took them a few books to get to that point. A solidly entertaining and satisfying series.
5. The Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs: This one is a spin-off of the popular Mercy Thompson series, mostly about shifters and skinwalkers, though a few other creatures pop in now and then for good measure. While I very much enjoy the Mercy books, I think the Alpha & Omega books are even better. I’m very partial to Charles and Anna, largely because angsty, somewhat frightening men are interesting (as long as they aren’t actually hurting innocent people or battering their women around, of course), and this was the first series to introduce me to the concept of an Omega wolf. It’s extremely well done and never fails to hold my interest to the last word.
6. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews: This one has it all, too. Shifters and magic, horrible, totally non-sparkly OR sexy vampires, and all sorts of complex shenanigans going on. But mostly, it has Kate and her love, Curran, who just happens to be a lion when the mood strikes him. There’s a healthy dose of humor, which I love, and which Kate uses to keep; “his furriness” in line. I’ve enjoyed every single book in this series, and am always looking for the next one.
7. The Weather Wardens by Rachel Caine: This one wrapped up a couple of years ago, but it was one of the most original concepts I’ve come across. The weather wardens keep the earth safe and spinning smoothly, controlling rain, storms, floods, fire, earthquakes, etc, to the best of their ability. They can’t eliminate these things, but they can shape them, soften them, steer them a bit, and otherwise try to blunt the trauma wrought by Mother Nature, who is always trying to scrape humanity off the surface of the planet. And did I mention there are djinn? Oh, I love djinn. Especially David, who is the love interest in this series. It’s a fun, action-packed romp, and the 4-book spinoff series, The Outcast Season, is equally entertaining.
8. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: This is a YA series that is profoundly moving and beautiful. Stiefvater’s writing is second to none to my mind. Lyrical, strong, and often heart-wrenching, without being maudlin, it will suck you in and wring you out! I’ve read the first two books, and have the third lying right next to the final Odd Thomas book. I’m torturing myself with them, daily, but soooooon. Sooooooon, my precious! I WILL read them, and mourn them when I’m done. If you’ve never read Maggie Stiefvater, I recommend starting with The Scorpio Races, a book so beautiful and dark, it will speak to your heart in shivery whispers you won’t soon forget.
9. The World of the Lupi series: Eileen Wilks: Shifters with intriguing pack politics, power struggles, and romance, all done better than most, by far. Interesting secondary characters, and complex plotting make this series a solid standout, book after book.
10. Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs: Mentioned above, this is a solid series featuring Mercy, who is a coyote skin-walker, and a host of other interesting characters, including the occasional vampire and troll. Some Native American lore here and there, and enough drama to make it all very interesting, and all of it, very well done.
Ooops…did I say TEN? Surely I meant FIFTEEN? And since they are ALL tied for second place after The Dresden Files, it doesn’t matter too much, anyway.
11. The Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison: This one is at the top of most lists, and I admit that I enjoyed it very much, and looked forward to each book, but I can’t put it at the top of mine because there were some things…and some characters…I just didn’t like. Don’t get me wrong…the series was still worth reading every single book, but I can’t quite rate it as highly as I have some others. I’ve reviewed enough of these books that some of you already know the things that annoyed me, so I’m not going into that here. But suffice it to say, no self-respecting list of good Urban Fantasy would be without these books. And Trent Kalamack will always be a favorite character of mine, as will the demon Algaliarept, and the obnoxiously funny pixie, Jenks.
12. The Leandros Brothers by Rob Thurmon: I’m adding a caveat to this series. It was one of my very top favorites…until it wasn’t. Things happened, and I found I wasn’t enjoying the new direction the books seemed to take. So I was hesitant to mention it in this list. However, if I’m honest, I got enough enjoyment, shivers, AND snarky laughs out of the first 7 or 8 books to warrant including it, even if I won’t be reading any more. Cal Leandros was a character I truly adored for a long time, and I won’t forget the books I loved, though I’ll try to forget the ones I didn’t.
13. Tales from the Nightside series by Simon R. Green: These quirky, off-the-wall, sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying books are like nothing elses out there. Noir meets Poe meets King, perhaps. Just bizarre, and filled with wonderful characters like John Taylor, Private Eye…who actually HAS a private…EYE. And Dead Boy, and Suzie Shooter. Oh, there’s no way to describe all of them. You’ll just have to visit the Nightside yourself…that world beneath London, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, the hour of the wolf, when most people die, and most babies are born. You want shivers? Head to the Nightside.
14. The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine: Another YA series, but one with such a well-done cast of characters, and entertaining plot lines, I just couldn’t leave it out. I devoured every single book, because…hello? Town run by vampires. You can get in, but you can’t get out. And yet, the good guys never give up, and their way of making it all work is totally believable. Assuming you’re the kind who can believe in vampires at all for the duration of a book. Solid writing, unexpected twists, and a very satisfying ending to the series.
15. Monster Hunters International by Larry Correia: Non-stop action from page one right through the series. This is serious, kick-butt and take no names stuff. A manly kinda supernatural series, with plenty of things that go bang and boom and give off a lot of smoke. Manly, yes, but I like it, too! 😉 Fun. That’s it in a nutshell.
And there you have it, folks. Fifteen terrific Urban Fantasy series, with something to please just about everyone. Hope there are one or two in the list you haven’t yet tried. Check ’em out! Tell ’em Marcia sent ya!