Top Ten Tuesday–Urban Fantasy Favorites

August 13, 2013 2013, Top Ten Tuesday 0

I don’t always participate in Top Ten Tuesday (usually run out of time or can’t think of an answer to the question), but I enjoy the topics. This week the Top Ten Tuesday meme which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog lets each of us choose the ten favorite books with whatever type of setting we choose. I chose the Urban Fantasy setting.

According to Wikipedia–Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods, as well as fictional settings. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.

My personal definition is similar…an urban setting, one main character (not a paranormal romance with a couple; romance elements may be present, but they aren’t the main point of the story) and there are supernatural elements in a world of humans who may or may not be aware of the supernatural. Most of the books have a mystery of some sort to solve and often the main character is a detective. I feel they should be set in a contemporary setting which is my biggest divergence from the Wikipedia definition.

The following books are almost all part of a series. And I only came up with nine books! These are not in any particular order.

Summer Knight

  • by Jim Butcher
  • Harry Dresden series, book 4
  • Setting: Chicago
  • Harry is a private detective and a wizard. A very good series. In this book vampires are trying to kill Harry and have started a war with the wizards because of Harry’s past actions. However, this book is mostly about the fae. I like both the characters and the world building Jim Butcher does in these books.

An Artificial Night

  • by Seanan McGuire
  • October Daye series, book 3
  • Setting: San Francisco
  • October (Toby) is a changeling (half human/half fae), a knight for a duke and is often asked to by her duke or others to solve problems happening to the fae in San Francisco. In this book a number of children are missing and Toby has to find them. Very good book.

Magic Bites

  • by Ilona Andrews
  • Kate Daniels series, book 1
  • Setting: Atlanta
  • Kate is a mercenary in this first book and helps solve magical problems. Magic is in ascendency in Atlanta, but tech and magic come in unpredictable waves. During times when tech arrives cars and phones still work; during magic times people walk, use a horse or have a car powered by magic. Weres and vampires as well as other supernatural creatures are often seen in this series. I like Kate’s first encounter with Curran in this book!

Iron Kissed

  • by Patricia Briggs
  • Mercy Thompson series, book 3
  • Setting: Spokane, Washington
  • Mercy is a car mechanic, but also a coyote shifter. She’s closely allied with the local werewolf pack and gets involved with their problems as well as vampire and fae problems and politics. In this book there’s some romance (a love triangle) and Mercy finally makes her choice between the two. This book also prominently features the fae…and they’re quite fascinating in this series.

War for the Oaks

  • by Emma Bull
  • Series? No
  • Setting: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • One of my all-time favorite books, published in 1987 and is now seen as one of the first urban fantasy books. This book isn’t quite like the urban fantasy published today, but it’s excellent. I love the use of music and the way the fae are shown.

Dark Fever

  • by Karen Marie Moning
  • Fever series, book 1
  • Setting; Dublin
  • I’m still reading this series and enjoying it so much. MacKayla Lane comes to Dublin to try to find out who murdered her sister. She soon discovers she is one of the few humans who can see fae. Her life completely changes after this as she discovers fae are increasingly coming to Dublin and humans are unaware they are often targeted and killed by the fae. A very good, but dark urban fantasy.


  • by Cassie Alexander
  • Edie Spence series, book 1
  • Setting: County Hospital in a large city (I don’t remember the books saying the name of the city)
  • I enjoy these books which start with Edie Spence, a nurse on a floor below the regular county hospital where supernatural characters are treated.

Dead Until Dark

  • by Charlaine Harris
  • Sookie Stackhouse series, book 1
  • Setting: Bon Tomps, Louisiana
  • The Sookie Stackhouse series is a series of books which I started about 15 years ago…one of my first urban fantasies. I like this first book which introduces Bill the Vampire and Sookie the waitress in a bar. In this series vampires have come out to human society because they have bottled blood available and supposedly no longer feed on humans.

Guilty Pleasures

  • by Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Anita Blake series, book 1
  • Setting: St. Louis
  • I loved this first book about Anita Blake and the introduction of Jean Claude the Vampire Master in St. Louis. This was one of the first urban fantasy books I read in the late 1990’s.

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What about you? Do you have favorite urban fantasies I didn’t list here? If you participated in Top Ten Tuesday what was your topic? Leave a comment and I will respond as well as visit your blog. Thanks!

No Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday–Urban Fantasy Favorites”

  1. ChrissiReads

    I haven’t read any of these books, but I love how much information you’ve given about each book. I like the sound of Nightshifted.

  2. Susan (Bloggin' 'bout Books)

    I don’t read much urban fantasy, which explains why I haven’t read ANY of the books on your list. I’ve heard lots about them, though, so I should probably try them one of these days, right? Happy TTT!

    • Jan

      I’m always amazed when I read other people’s lists and I haven’t heard of any of the books…lol. I hope you have a great week!

  3. caitlinstern

    I have read and adored seven of your choices–I should have picked urban fantasy, too. My decision to go for sci-fi non-earth settings was a lot more difficult than I anticipated.

    I’ll have to check out Nightshifted and War for the Oaks to see if they belong on my TBR list. 🙂

    • Jan

      Wow! That’s great that we have a number of good books in common! Let me know if you try Nightshifted or War for the Oaks and tell me what you think of them.

  4. Rita (My Home of Books)

    I don’t read much UF, but I do make an exception for Patricia Briggs, the Mercy series. Occasionally I read one or another UF book, but don’t usually go past first one in series. Enjoy your books. From the buzz I hear, you have good taste in authors 🙂

    • Jan

      Oh, I love the Mercy series. This has been my year for reading urban fantasy. I’ve been reading them for years, but this year the majority of my reading is urban fantasy or other fantasy and science fiction. Thank you for your kind words and for coming by my blog!

  5. Jaime

    The first three books on your list are my favorite urban fantasy series ever. I also enjoyed Guilty Pleasures back in the day but kind of dropped the series after Blue Moon 🙂 Wonderful list!

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      Those are some of my very favorite, too! And I haven’t read any of the Anita Blake series for a number of years, but it was one of the first urban fantasies I read. Thanks for coming by!

  6. nath

    Ha, my definition of urban fantasy is different. For me, urban fantasy is when you have vampires, werewolves and fae as opposed to mages and sword fights LOL. But with the current market, it almost works 😛 You don’t see many fantasy sets in small town LOL.

    I really need to give the October Daye series another try.

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      After I read that definition of urban fantasy and then put up mine it did make me stop and think and I think my definition might be a little broader, too.

      I do like October Daye! I’ve been catching up on the older books and a new book comes out in September…yay