Top 10 Best Urban Fantasy Books To Read if You Love The Fantasy Genre
There are so many urban fantasy books out there, it can be hard to know where to start. There are vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings, of course, but the genre also draws inspiration from urban myths, folklore, and legends. The protagonist often has to battle with darker forces in order to solve a crime, right a wrong, or fight / escape from an evil force. Urban Fantasy differs from the Paranormal Romance genre, because the latter features a romance between the main character and a paranormal being, while the former does not.
Some of the best urban fantasy books with modern settings draw on the setting of their creators’ home cities, creating a world that is both familiar and fantastic. These stories are set in modern day cities, usually in a city popular for its high crime rate. The hero tends to be a human or semi-human who has some special ability or power.
Table Of Contents
- Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
- City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
- Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
- Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
- Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
- Touch the Dark by Karen Chance
- Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
- Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
- The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin
1. Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep is the first book in a new fantasy series that follows a young woman named Gin Blanco. While working as a server at the Pork Pit, Gin discovers her recently murdered employer has left her a mysterious legacy—a vial of spider venom. Now, she must juggle her new career as Spider, an assassin-for-hire, with her day job at the restaurant, all the while trying to stay alive long enough to figure out who murdered the Pork Pit owner and why.
I’m a sucker for fantasy. Give me a novel where magic is real, kingdoms are at war, and dark powers lurk in the shadows and I’ll read it. That’s why I was so excited about Spider’s Bite, the first book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep. Elemental Assassin may be categorized as a modern fantasy, but there’s nothing modern about this novel. It transports you to a land where magic is real, and where assassins wield magic in the service of their kingdoms.
2. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments series follows the story of Clary Fray, a teenager who can sense the presence of Shadowhunters in her New York City neighborhood—a secret group of half angel/half human warriors dedicated to protecting the world from evil. She quickly finds herself pulled into a dangerous and romantic adventure, as she learns about her past—and future. To date, the series has sold over 35 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 30 languages. In 2013, the first film based on the first book in the series, City of Bones, was released.
Clary has always felt like something is missing in her life. But now, something’s changed. Suddenly she senses a strange presence in the club—and she has a horrible vision of a dragon slayer. And when her mother disappears, Clary’s world begins to change in ways that she could never have imagined. Suddenly she’s plunging into a secret world of werewolves, vampires, demons, and warriors who look at her in a way that is both frightening and exhilarating. Clary has only just discovered that she is a Shadowhunter, a warrior whose bloodlines go back centuries.
3. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs is one of the most successful urban fantasy series ever. The first book in the series, Moon Called is set in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State and mainly focuses on Mercy Thompson, a working class woman who is a coyote shapeshifter with a strong sense of responsibility and a penchant for getting in trouble. When her neighbor is attacked by wolves, Mercy realises that someone is targeting the local werewolves.
4. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
A small town veterinarian wakes up one night to the sound of her cell phone ringing. It’s her ex-boyfriend, who is calling to break up with her one last time. He claims that there was a mix up at the lab he works for and that one of the animals he was supposed to euthanize got loose. The next day the veterinarian finds a dead body outside her office and realizes that her ex-boyfriend wasn’t lying. In this installment of the Kitty Norville series, the werewolf talkshow host finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation with a special interest in the victim.
5. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
If you’ve been looking for a good urban fantasy series to get into, look no further. Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series is a great place to start. The first book, Magic Bites, tells the story of a tough-as-nails mercenary, Kate Daniels, who is hired to protect a powerful shape-shifter. What sounds like your typical fantasy fare quickly becomes something much more, as Kate is thrust into the middle of a war.
Magic Bites features a strong female lead named Kate Daniels, who is a mercenary with a sarcastic streak and a soft spot for animals. Kate has a strong, close relationship with her Uncle, the alpha werewolf of the local pack, and she is an independent, self-sufficient woman who doesn’t need anyone else to watch her back. When Kate is hit by a fire elemental magic attack and passes out, she doesn’t expect to wake up and find that she has no memory of the last several hours. A series of events take place involving the kidnapping of a noble, and Kate is forced to team up with her ex-lover.
6. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is the first book in the Folk of the Air series that features Jude, a human girl who was raised in the faerie world by the Fae king. She’s been living in exile since she defied her father and escaped with her human husband, Cardan, who is half Fae. She has no memory of her human family, and she and her husband have since had a child, Aliz, who has been raised as a human. As the novel opens, Jude’s father, the High King, has been murdered, and the faerie world is in an uproar.
It’s always a gamble when you pick up a new book and hope that the story inside will live up to the hype. The Cruel Prince , which is the debut novel of Holly Black , did not disappoint. The story is set in modern day New York, but you can be sure that this isn’t the modern world we know. Jude is a tough girl in a not-so-friendly world. As the only human in a family of Fae, she has to fight to keep up with her more magical family members, and she’s constantly looking over her shoulder to make sure no one’s plotting against her.
7. Touch the Dark by Karen Chance
Touch the Dark is the first book in the Cassandra Palmer series. Cassandra Palmer series, is jam-packed with action, adventure, and romance. But the best thing about this book is that it ties together all the different character threads and story arcs that have been unraveling since the first book in the series. (And I, for one, could not be happier about this!) If you’re a Cassandra Palmer fan, this book is a must-read.
It is one of my all-time favorite series. I absolutely love it. Karen Chance has created a fantastic world full of magic and mystery. The characters are strong and engaging. I love Cassie’s voice and I love all the different characters she meets along the way. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas is the first book in the Throne of Glass series. This YA fantasy series follows Celaena Sardothien, a twenty-year-old woman convicted of a crime she did not commit. The story is told from Celaena’s point of view, and she is a tough protagonist.
She has lived in a men’s prison for the last two years and has been training in order to enter into an elite fighting competition. But things get interesting when she is forced to compete in the competition by her mentor.
Celaena is a very strong and independent character, and she is an extremely skilled assassin. The story gets going when she is offered her freedom, in exchange for going on a mission. Celaena agrees, and her mission is to kill the king.
9. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
Chloe Neill’s urban fantasy series featuring shape-shifter Juliet Marillier and Chicago homicide detective Ryan Gallagher has captivated a huge female following, and last week Neill released her ninth novel in the series. Some Girls Bite is a great addition to the series, which has built a loyal following over many years.
Neill’s latest novel is something of a departure from her previous books. In the past, Neill has focused on Juliet’s adventures as a newly turned vampire, and her efforts to fit into her new life and to resist her urges to drink human blood. In Some Girls Bite, the story’s main focus is on the relationship between Ryan and one of his ex-girlfriends, werewolf Sydney.
The members of the Alpha Team have all the prerequisites for a job well done: acute powers of observation, preternatural agility and strength, and a thorough working knowledge of vampire lore. But what will happen when the rules of engagement go out the window, the playing field is leveled, and the unthinkable happens: one of the pack falls for her prey?
10. The Brimstone Deception by Lisa Shearin
The Brimstone Deception is a surprising novel as well as a heart-pounding read. As the story unfolds, you will be captivated in a world of the supernatural as well as the human. There are supernatural creatures that are known as “Spirits”.
The Brimstone Deception is the first book in the Spellcrackers.com series by Lisa Shearin. While the book is primarily the story of Dante and Faye, the book also follows the lives of the other members of the Spellcrackers, an online community that helps magic users make the most of their skills. (The primary focus is on practitioners of thaumaturgy, or “low magic,” which is less powerful but much more practical than “high magic,” which is available only to those who have been born with the gift.)
The Spirits come in different types and are considered to be the most powerful beings that dwell in the world. More specifically, the Brimstone Spirit is considered to be the most powerful. There are legends that reveal a prophecy that a female child will be born. Her birth will signal the end of the Spirits and the beginning of a new order to the world.