5 Reasons To Start Reading #UrbanFantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

What do you know about urban fantasy?

This is a genre that I’m currently enjoying, but admit that until I started reading it, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant!

Like most categories, fantasy has its share of sub-genres, such as alternate history, dark, fairytale, historical, mythical, magical realism, sword and sorcery, romantic…. and urban.

So what is urban fantasy?  Here’s a definition:

Often set in the real world, with aspects of fantasy such as mythical or paranormal beings co-existing with humans – usually with a metropolitan setting.

Let’s expand on that…

  1. Normality is SO yesterday!

Fictional characters of this genre are often nonconformist.  In urban fantasy, the underdog theme is popular, especially if they can rise up against seemingly unbeatable odds. It’s not just the hero, either; fantasy allows the antagonist to be different too, but he or she usually has an arsenal of ‘magical’ weapons or abilities, often with a support team of nasty minions.

2…. but, often, ‘normality’ is what the hero is seeking

Lots of main characters that I’ve read about in urban fantasy just want to live a ‘normal life’. It might mean the security of a family, or having a relationship where no one dies in a moment of passion, or maybe they want a quiet night in with pizza and beer without a demon/angel/ troll or twenty dropping by.

  1.  It’s not who you are, it’s what you do that counts.

Be it a person who is just adjusting to their new magical skills, or someone who has lived with their special ability all their life, not everything the main character does will be good. They may kill off some of the good guys as well as a whole load of bad ones. In the end it’s about ‘doing the right thing’.

  1. Fighting skills

I don’t think I’ve read any urban fantasy that hasn’t involved fight scenes, but the balance has to work.  Few readers want endless battles where the hero hardly gets more than a bloodied knee, nor should the hero have an insta-healing ability, a bit of pain and suffering makes the story more compelling. The opportunity for creative fighting is vast in this genre, with elements of magic and paranormal. Magic protective shields, Goblin weapons enhanced with mysterious durability, and telekinesis all add aspects to a fight scene.

  1. Keeping one foot in reality

So how does ‘urban’ differ from other forms of fantasy? It often links to a town or city with elements of ‘real life’ as opposed to a fantasy which is set in a completely ‘new world’.  For instance cars, aeroplanes, television. Eating in a café, diner or restaurant. Perhaps holding down a recognisable day job; the main character might be a private investigator or a librarian.  The point is that this keeps part of the story tangible, because it’s not all inside a total fantasy world.

If you want to try this genre, here are a few that I can recommend:

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(Grave Witch is Book #1)

The Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price

 

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(A Demon Bound is Book #1)

The Imp series by Debra Dunbar

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Gnosis by Rick Hall

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Don’t Touch and One Way Fare by Barb Taub

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The Heretic by Joseph Nassise

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(Azimuth is book #1)

The Rahki Chronicles by Rennie St. James

42 thoughts on “5 Reasons To Start Reading #UrbanFantasy #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. I do like urban fantasy as I struggle with the wholly new worlds in the likes of high fantasy. I have to admit though that I often get confused between urban fantasy and paranormal romance as it’s not always that easy to tell where the line is between them (if there is one). I don’t think I’ve come across your recommendations so will be checking them out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some authors add romance into their books too, so I understand where you are coming from. But not all of them have it, the recommendations below are a mixed bunch within the genre. the first two in my list do have some romance, if it is something you would prefer not to read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t have anything against romance so will happily read anything. It’s more that I’m not sure which category the books I do read (the Dresden Files, Night Huntress, Charley Davidson, Mercy Thomson etc) fall into. I’m not sure it really matters though as I’ll read them regardless.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean Robbie, it is hard to draw the line between some genres. I would say that both of these set the majority of their story in another world, but I can see the argument for a bit of urban fantasy in there too.

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  2. Great post, Rosie! Still thinking about what you wrote about keeping one foot in reality e.g. a day job. Would you classify Kate Daniels as Urban Fantasy? I loved the juxtaposition of ‘technology’ and magic in Atlanta setting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s have a look, I haven’t read any of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, but looking on Goodreads, lots of readers have certainly put book #1 onto urban fantasy shelves. I’ve read the blurb, and I agree that it would fit the sub genre well. Sometimes authors head in different directions as a series evolves which might then cross more genres.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Urban fantasy would be the genre I’d go for as opposed to anything else under the fantasy umbrella. High fantasy isn’t my thing at all. I’m quite drawn to the Alex Craft series you’re reviewing and am going to add book one to my TBR pile.

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  4. I remember when I read American Gods for the first time. It totally flashed me. Like… this is a thing you can do? Write Fantasy that’s “here”? I totally fell in love with it and enjoy it so much more these days than the epic Fantasy I used to read. I like how gritty the genre is and the main characters are always, as you said, these awesome underdogs.
    I’ll check out the other books from your list! And I’ll leave you with a recommendation for the Hellequin Chronicles 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, Rosie. Like some of your commenters, I am not into high fantasy either (I don’t have the patience), but as you say, this subgenre can cover many things (I’ve read some titles listed as urban fantasy that had too much erotica thrown in for my liking, and I have mixed feelings about action scenes), and I have enjoyed some books that fit into the category, although I haven’t read any of your recommendations. I’ll have a look!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to read a lot of Urban Fantasy. But I read a lot of different genres and in comparison with other books I read I can’t seem to find one’s I enjoy anymore. There’s more emphasis on the romance and when they’re not teen books they’re usually adult books which may as well fit in the erotica genre 🙂 The things you mention about urban fantasy make me realise that maybe I’m just bored of reading the same things over and over: the under dog story and the reluctant hero. There’s never much originality (same old vampires and shifters). Maybe I’ve just read the wrong ones. The style of writing can sometimes put me off. I love The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness but it fits into so many genres. I always give books and genres another chance though.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Rennie St. James and commented:
    If you’re a #reader considering urban fantasy, you’ll want to check out this blog! I’m also giddy to report Rosie was kind enough to include my book (Azimuth, Rahki Chronicles #1) on her list of recommended reads!

    Like

    • It might depend on how much Cambridge is part of the story? Does it have a significant function to the story? Also what is your target audience? Is the setting equally as important as the magical side?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh lots to consider Rosie. Yes Cambridge is pretty central to the story. The target audience is slightly older teens and anyone who likes an imaginative family-centred story with dark elements. For me magic plays the most important part in the story, without magic there would be no story, so perhaps that answers the question. Lol.

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  8. Pingback: Saturday Miscellany — 7/13/19 | The Irresponsible Reader

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