Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Let's Talk About Urban Fantasy

Discount Armageddon (InCryptid, #1)

Let's talk about urban fantasy. I've wanted to branch out into UF for a while but finding the right book or series has been kinda tough. When I think of urban fantasy I think of a city at night, the moon shining down, and paranormal creatures on the prowl. Vampires versus werewolves in the heart of the city, a bar that (knowingly or unknowingly) caters to a shifter crowd, or a weakening of the barrier between our plane and the fae realms. There are so many possibilities and urban fantasy doesn't have to be all cities, right? I mean, portals to Faerie would be in the natural world and many mystical creatures would be found in wild places wouldn't they? 

 One thing about urban fantasy that appeals to me are the creatures. Brownies, banshees, shapechangers, merfolk- even will o' wisps, perhaps drawing someone to their doom in a lost swamp- the possibilities are endless. One of the reasons I want to try Seanan McGuire's Incryptids is because it looks like she has a lot of different creatures in them. What about vampire/ wizard hunters in the modern day or elementals (seriously, where are the elemental books?) Know any good ones?  

I've read a few books that kinda skirt the edge of urban fantasy, or share some similarities. Tides for example goes into selkie lore, and I've read some that have fae elements. But I don't think they're really UF per se. Most of these are YA books with UF elements. I've enjoyed all these to some extent, but I wonder if it's the romance element or the age group of the protagonists that distinguishes them from urban fantasy.  

TidesThe Clockwork Scarab (Stoker & Holmes, #1)Blythewood (Blythewood, #1)Siren (Siren, #1)Through the Door (The Thin Veil, #1)

So...tell me what YOU think. What are your favorite UF books, or your favorite thing about urban fantasy? 

 Here are a few have thought about. 

Night Broken (Mercy Thompson Book 8)Bitter Bite (Elemental Assassin, #14)Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires, #8)Half-Off Ragnarok (InCryptid, #3)

32 comments:

  1. Ya, know, I never put much thought into the genres I read. So, looking back, I don't think I read too much urban fantasy. Does The Mortal Instruments or The Infernal Devices count? I notice, too, that the few that I do read, I'm not super into. lol

    Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

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    1. I've read a few too that were hit or miss, which is my problem. I love the idea of it but just haven't found the right one yet. From what little I know of those two you mention I'm not sure but I think so? UF seems to be a pretty wide umbrella, or maybe it isn't. :)

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  2. I haven't read any UF but I've been wanting to start exploring it a little. Good luck finding the right book and I look forward to seeing what you think!

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    1. I've dabbled a bit! I keep thinking if I find the right series I'll be good because I do love the idea of urban fantasy but I guess I'm looking for a certain KIND of urban fantasy. LOL.

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  3. I love Urban Fantasy. I think there is a lot of crossover in the genre with other genres--like the romance, but there's a difference between a UF with romance elements and a romance with UF elements. It's a very fine line. I think my favorite UF series is Jim Butcher's Dresden Files. I just love Harry. Patricia Briggs is another one I really enjoy reading.I think Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniel's series falls under UF.

    It's hard to say what I love most about UF. I love the world building--the magical or supernatural beings, magic itself. I like the addition of myth and lore. The stakes are always higher in UF. There's an intensity to it at times. And it's fun to read. It's got one foot (or maybe just a toe) in reality and the other in fantasy. I like that balance.

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    1. I think so too. I've noticed that - is it UF or PNR? Sometimes I can't really tell. I think I'd gravitate towards UF with romance I can see where there'd be a difference. :) The Mercy thompson books are ones I've seriously thought about, the only thing holding me back is all the talk I see about pack leaders and swooniness LOL. Not sure if that'd be for me- but I'm sure there's more than that.

      I think I agree the world building and creatures are what attract me to it. The idea of magical creatures in the modern day- I like the idea of them being hidden rather than out in the open, and the myth and lore definitely.

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  4. I highly recommend The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. 1. Because it's awesome as hell.2. It's not all about romance and sex. 3. A male wrote it. Sorry, but that does make a difference in the writing style. There is a lot more to the plot than romance for example. 4. It's great for people who aren't that into UF or are just starting to read UF because it's more than just UF. (Detective, comedy, etc.) 5. Harry Dresden is a badass and hilarious character, definitely one of my favorites.

    I love UF and this is the series I recommend to start with.

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    1. You're the second person now to recommend those- and I've heard good things. :) #'s 2 and 3 are interesting- I don't mind romance I just want to read a UF not a PNR, if that makes sense? And I would think a male would write differently- that could be a whole other discussion post! Male vs female UF writers... hmm.

      Seriously though I appreciate your thoughts. #4 is good because I think UF with a detective touch could be cool- investigating paranormal crimes. Great idea. Thanks for the recommendation!

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    2. I'm not surprised that someone else recommend it as well. It's such a popular series. Ah that does make sense and this is definitely UF and not PNR. Haha that could be a good discussion post, or male writers vs female writers in general.

      I think it is really cool with the detective parts and seriously Harry is hilarious. He's one of those characters always messing things up a bit and causing a bit of chaos while trying to be good and being sarcastic and witty the whole time. You're welcome for the recommendation. I hope you find some good UF books to read!

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  5. I haven't read any of the ones you showcased here Greg but some of my favorite UF series include The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning and The Charley Davidson Series by Darynda Jones! I really want to read more from the genre though, including Briggs and Estep! Good luck with your UF experimenting!!

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    1. Thank you! I've seen the covers of the Fever books but don't know much about them. they have good covers though! I've only read a few UF and they weren't that good, but I don't think I picked well. LOL. The Mercy Thompson's have me curious...

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I do like UF that focuses on species that aren't that common, like banshees, selkies, and so on.

    Majanka @ I Heart Reading

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    1. Me too, I'd like to see more that focuses on the more uncommon creatures.

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  7. I just finished Discount Armageddon, really enjoyed, has a nice mix of all kinds of creatures plus a secret society that is trying to wipe them out. Some others I like that aren't listed are Jim Butcher's Dresden series and Lisa Shearin SPI files. I could probably keep going but will stop now...

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    1. I think I'm going to read Discount Armageddon, I like the sound of that one and had already been thinking about it. Seeing your positive thoughts helps, plus it just sounds fun. Thanks for the recs!

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  8. I love all the wild creatures too. I love the Mercy Thompson series. Someday I plan to try Jim Butcher's Dresden series. You might like the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. I also like the Monster Hunter series by Larry Correia - it is great fun.

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  9. I love this genre - some of my favorites include The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman, and The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne.

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  10. I love urban fantasys as well. I think it's the modern day setting that has all these mythical creatures just roaming around. I also like how they can be kind of gritty. Simon R. Green's Nightside series is pretty good. I haven't read a book from the series in a long time but if you're looking for something a little gritty those are great.

    I also really love Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series and Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series. I haven't tried Jim Butcher's Dresden series but I'm always hearing great things about that one as well.

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    1. I agree- the mixing of the modern day and the mythic creatures is what attracts me to the genre as well. I just need to find the right series for me. I will check out those recommendations, thank you! I do like a bit gritty but maybe not too much? Depends on the series I guess but I am looking forward to finding some good reads. :)

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  11. I've read quite some urban fantasy as you define it - though some of these look like they might be more paranormal? I always thought urban fantasy meant the grittier part of the spectre, something that's happening in a big city infested with whatever creatures and/or magic the author chooses, maybe also featuring some dystopian elements or alternative history. Worldbuilding is usually better in UF than in paranormals.

    I read the first book in the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, that was fun - I know it's immensely popular but it has something like 16 parts so far, which is a bit daunting.

    I can't recommend the Heartstrikers by Rachel Aaron enough, I know you saw my review, the story and characters and setting are all wonderful. I can't wait for book 3! It's also meant to be a trilogy, so it's much more manageable.

    If you'd like some more romance, Molly Harper is great - my favourite is her Naked Werewolf series. The covers and titles are atrocious but the writing is laugh-out-loud funny and pretty good romance (and I read A LOT of those so yeah).

    I'd like to read more fantasies (paranormal or UF) about different creatures, though it's kind of weird if the love interest is a troll, for example. :D I kind of find it hard to imagine trolls as sexy creatures, no?

    I hope you find some good titles and I'm looking forward to your reviews!

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    1. I think you might be right- as I look at these it does seem like a fine line between UF and PNR. And the city part- yeah that makes sense. I think some of the stuff I've read more in a natural setting are more YA- ish and not urban fantasy per se. Even if they share some similarities...

      I do remember your review of Heartstrikers, I had to go look it up and then I remembered. That one looked promising to me... plus dragons lol. I think different creatures is a draw too- I don't want to get TOO out there but I'd like to see some unusual creatures along w/ the urban stuff.

      And I agree- let's keep the love interests at least vaguely humanoid, yeah? :P

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  12. I think urban fantasy is really cool. I've read a few books with it being a heavy topic (check out Holly Black's work or Melissa Marr!) but I think most people put UF books in cities because... well urban is usually a term used for the city haha. I really just like the idea of the two worlds kind of meshing. I haven't read a lot of UF that's more in the adult fiction genre, but I still like it and I've been meaning to even write one for a while.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendations! I've seen some good ones- and yeah you have a point there, urban is kind of a no brainer lol. I agree, the two worlds (modern and weird) meshing is the big draw I think. Plus it's grittier than high fantasy which I think a lot of people like?

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  13. I know it has the word urban in it, but I don't feel like it actually has to involve a city either. I don't know exactly how you classify it (why do genres gotta be so vague and confusing?), but to me the definition of urban fantasy is fantasy that takes place in our world. I've never felt like a romance element makes something less urban fantasy, but maybe I just have a really broad definition. Though there are some books that just feel more stereotypical UF than others, like Trailer Park Fae (well, the writing style not so much, but the characters and plot) or Soul Breaker. The Steel & Stone series is also pretty urban if you want a YA series.

    But the creatures are the thing I love most about it too. Except I like when the creatures are actually characters in the story rather than being hunted by the main character, though I do read both!

    (And I also really want to read Discount Armageddon and Deadly Curiosities!)

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    1. Thank you! I've felt for a long time that urban fantasy doesn't have to be all cities, even though I like the idea of creatures roaming a city at night. :) But I like your definition- fantasy in the our world. I think that's what I'm looking for!

      And yes the definitions can be so vague. The creatures are definitely the thing- I'm sick of high fantasy and while I love other worlds, the idea of paranormal creatures here is fascinating. I like the idea of them hiding more than them being outed, but I also would like to read about creatures as actual characters.

      I want to read both of those too. :P

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  14. Urban Fantasy is THE genre for me :)! I would say End of Days, by Susan Ee; the Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski and Marked by Sarah FIne are my favorite :)

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  15. http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/04/03/urban-fantasy/
    Interesting link I found about what Urban Fantasy is.

    "Urban fantasy describes a work that is set primarily in the real world and contains aspects of fantasy". -- Wikipedia

    I am like you. I WANT to like UF. I'd prefer not PNR, though if it has some romance in it, that's okay. I like Patricia Briggs' writing, alot (!), but I just don't mesh with werewolves, just me. I'm looking more for a human who is not just human who gets into trouble or mysteries and comes out on top :) Anyone have suggestions?

    I've heard great things about Seanan McGuire's books. Just didn't know which, if any, of her series would appeal to me. I think you should just dive in, Greg, and try some titles from NG or the library, so it doesn't cost you anything while you experiment. And... let us know the results of your experimentation. If I come up with some good titles for you, I'll share!

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  16. The few UF I've read, I really like! My favorites are the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill (above), THe Others series by Anne Bishop (my favorite right now!), and the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I want to start the Kate Daniels series because I've heard that one is fantastic and I just saw Charlaine Harris recommend that InCryptid series so I may check that one, too!

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  17. I read a little Urban Fantasy, not much but a little. One I enjoyed was by a debut author Maria Lewis. Who's Afraid. First one in a series. I liked it although I am not big into werewolves.

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  18. I read a lot of urban fantasy. I love Patricia Briggs, C.E. Murphy, Kevin Hearne, and Kalayna Price (just to name a few). I'm not a big fan of the Chicagoland Vampires series by Chloe Neill, but I really loved The Veil by her.

    Books That Hook

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  19. The Others series by Anne Bishop is amazing - best urban fantasy I've ever read, but it borders on being just plain fantasy, I think. Still - shapeshifters, vampires, even elementals!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  20. The Others. Patricia Briggs. Kelley Armstrong. Kim Harrison. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is amazing.

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