Top Ten Tuesday: Genre Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week is a Genre Freebie, so I thought I’d do a top ten of my favourite Urban Fantasy books. I love Urban Fantasy – it’s such a wide subgenre and can encompass so much, and there’s some really great stuff out there!

Top Ten Urban Fantasy Books

The Man With No Shadow by Bonnie Quinn


This is not the first and it won’t be the last time I’ve mentioned this book here, because it honestly is truly really good and a lot of fun. It’s kind of rural urban fantasy, if that makes sense – it’s got a lot of Urban Fantasy tropes in it, and it does fit in the genre, but it’s set in a campground, which gives it something a bit different. I really do recommend picking this one up.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris

I read this not long before the TV series came out, and at a friend’s encouragement reread the first book and continued with the series as True Blood came to an end. The books – the first handful – are enjoyable, fun reads, though if you’re looking for True Blood in book form…well, the show is very different, but the core remains the same. I really like Sookie as a character, and she really gets some great development throughout this.

Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss


Read for BBNYA, I really enjoyed this Superhero Urban Fantasy – it’s dark at points, but not too much, and Doctor Fid is an absolutely compelling character.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman

I’m kind of slipping this one in – it’s not technically Urban Fantasy, but it maybeveryslightlyis in the sense it shares some tropes with the genre. UF does tend to be more present-day, closely tied to our world, while Anno Dracula is Historical Fantasy with a steampunk feel, it still’s a book I think of when I think of Urban Fantasy, largely due to its London setting and the type of characters within it’s pages. I loved this book when I read it, and if you like Urban Fantasy but want something a bit different, this one is worth it.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

London might be a little overrepresented on this list – it is one of the most famous cities in the world, and with its history – not to mention the accessibility of that history when you go there – it’s no wonder it attracts writers considering where to set their Urban Fantasy novels. There’s also layers to London – you’ve got the underground, miles and miles and miles of tunnels running beneath the city, but as well as that you have places where the land dips and you find yourself suddenly standing in front of a Roman wall, an office block towering above you. London is amazing and Gaiman does an excellent job portraying it here.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab 

This falls into that notquitebutkindofis catagory of Urban Fantasy like Anno Dracula. And it’s London. Again. But a different version of London than Neverwhere, and more similar (occasionally) to the Anno Dracula one. I love Schwab’s writing, and this series is no exception. Through Shades of Magic, we see three different versions of London, each as different as the last, with their own touches, yet overlayed with that sense of the city.

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

Reviews: Volume 1 / Volume 2 / Volume 3

Of course there was going to be at least one graphic novel on this list. Fables does Urban Fantasy really well, blending fairy tale and folklore characters in with modern-day New York, the backdrop of the city offering a playground for these characters as they deal with their problems while trying to keep themselves hidden. Three volumes in and I’m still really enjoying it.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

And back to London! This is definitely a series I need to pick back up again – I read the first two and really enjoyed them! Another great use of London’s unique features, it feels spiritually linked to Neverwhere but still fairly different, and has that Urban Fantasy ‘investigative protagonist’ sense to the series. It’s definitely the kind of Urban Fantasy that makes me feel we need a subgenre within this subgenre with the way some UF books combine crime and UF (Paranormal Procedural, anyone?)

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin


An urban fantasy where the city itself is personified. This book should be on any top UF list – Jemisin is an excellent writer and I have not yet come across something of hers I haven’t loved. This one especially is brilliant in the way it tackles UF as a genre as well as sticking two fingers up to Lovecraft. A brilliant book.

May Day by Josie Jaffrey


We end with May Day, the first in the Seekers series and featuring Jack Valentine, a vampire detective. This falls into that same sort of Paranormal Procedural book as Rivers, and it’s a really good one. If you enjoy the UF that has more of a mystery at its core that the characters have to solve, I definitely recommend this one.

Are you an Urban Fantasy fan? If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!


7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Genre Freebie

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