While at Bookshop Santa Cruz I ran the Science Fiction/ Fantasy section where I expounded on the merits of titles like The Unkindness of Ghosts, A Darker Shade of Magic, and The Fifth Season. However, the area where I really cut my teeth on the genre, was urban fantasy. We don’t see it as much anymore. I don’t know if it’s because UF had a habit of upping its hero’s skills to unbelievable levels or just because publishing is cylindrical and it’s time was done, but while there are some series that live on, on the whole UF is a thing of the past. One of the series that lives on, is Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series (as well as her Incryptid series). I decided since for the time being I don’t have to live by Pub Dates and Indie Next submission deadlines, I’d revisit Toby and the gang. Then I thought about it. Why not spend this summer going back to the books that made me fall in love with SFF?
October Daye is a changeling in San Francisco who is a Knight errant and all around badass. Snark and violence at its finest. And at 13 books in, we have quite the world building to traverse through. The first few books run a little slow, but by book 4 she hits her stride and it’s a fun journey. The series starts with Rosemary and Rue (did I mention all the titles are Shakespeare references?). Toby has some great growth as a character and it’s amazing.
Also on the list is going to be Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Kelley is still writing, but her books are closer to the mystery genre these days. The Women of the Otherworld swaps narrators is very few books which I completely enjoyed. We start off in Bitten with Elena, who is the only female werewolf, then there’s Paige, a witch learning about being a parent to an orphaned witch while navigating the world of magic, as well as a cast of other powerful ladies. PSA: Warlock Lucas is totes my book boyfriend.
At the same time that TWotO was a hit, there was also The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. Starting with Dead Witch Walking we are following a witch bounty hunter slash detective named Rachel through magical Cincinnati with her pals, a bisexual living vampire named Ivy and a foul mouthed pixie named Jinks. Rachel is a hot mess of a character which I wholly appreciated because it’s boring when the main character knows all the answers.
Remember that snark and violence I mentioned? One of the best examples is Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. In Hounded Atticus is the last known Druid who is in hiding from a very angry Celtic god in Arizona. Oh did I mention that Atticus, while appearing 21, is actually 21 centuries. So you know. Like you do. You will love his pal, a talking Irish Wolfhound named Oberon.
Last but not least, is Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires. The first book is Some Girls Bite where we meet Merit who is changed to a vampire without her consent. I love Merit. I love her best friend Mallory. Spanning 13 books (which seems to be the magic number in ending UF series) we see her kick ass, take names and eat all the junk food. And good news, there’s a spin-off called Heirs of Chicagoland so the fun continues.
There are tons of Urban Fantasy series out there and everyone has their favorites. These were just a few that I really enjoyed and plan on revisiting. Do you have a favorite UF series? Tell me about it in the comments or on social media!