The general definition of Urban Fantasy is a book set in a real world urban setting, often in modern day. Of course, this encompasses a whole range of books and is a pretty loose definition and so you can get a lot of different types of books included in this.
I have curated a list of some of my favourite Urban Fantasy books for you - I've added links underneath each one if you're interested in more details!
Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews - This is one of my OG favourites, and it follows Kate as she navigates a world where magic and technology have clashed...
"The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.
It’s a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.
In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back."
This is a complete series and a great introduction to Urban Fantasy, set in Atlanta In this crazy world where people have had to adapt to the magic apocalypse. Kate is badass, snarky, fiercely loyal and can't help protecting people despite the detriment to herself. The journey she goes on is full of adventure, near death experiences, love and friendship. Each book is intense and amazing, I'd highly recomened! (It's got one of the slowest slow burn romances and it is exquisite and painful and beautiful.)
Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas - This one admittedly leans more to the fantasy side though it still has an urban fantasy setting with the main character being party girl, going to clubs, university, bars, normal city jobs as well as having the fantasy aspect. It is a city full of humans, half-humans, fae, wolves, witches, sprites and all manor of other magical creatures.
If you've ever read a SJM book then you'd know she does not hold back. This book is intense right from the start. It is an adult book and deals with a lot of adult themes. It has a lot of built up but is an epic story.
It mainly follows Bryce but as it's such a big world, there is a large cast of characters which we meet and follow. This book pulls at the heartstrings and is quite the journey. The sequel has recently been released which is even more insane and epic and beautiful and painful. Not a light read but definitely worth reading!
The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout - This series is set in modern day Americaand follows Layla, a half demon, half gargoyle teenage girl. She doesn't fit in with her gargoyle guardians and when she meets a dangerous yet sexy demon who's offering to protect her from demons, she risks the wrath of her adoptive clan and the trust of a boy she’s loved forever by partnering up with him. This series could also be classed as paranormal romance as its heavy on romance, but I tend to think of it as urban fantasy. This would be a great choice for fans of mature YA books, it has a great plot involving demon uprisings and possible end of the world scenarios as well as a lot of heartbreak and love and learning.
Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine - If you're a fan of Vampires and of YA books, then this is the series for you. This is a complete series and it has a lot of books in it.
It follows student Claire Danvers as she moves to a small town university in
Morganville. She foes because she is two years younger than most students and she thinks it will be safe. But Claire Danvers stumbles into a secret: Morganville’s owned by vampires. And so is everybody in it. With the help of new friends Michael, Eve and Shane, she might have a fighting chance of surviving the toughest little town in Texas … not to mention her killer classes.
An addictive YA series following Claire and her friends as they try to survive - its not made easy as they suffer one disaster after another. Enemies become allies, allies become enemies and the danger never ends. A cast of characters I loved, full of changing dynamics and character growth.
Only a Monster by Vanessa Len - This is very entertaining easy read set in modern day London - though it involves visits to London in a few different time periods! The story follows Joan...
"Joan is half-monster. And what's more, her summer crush Nick isn't just a cute boy - he's hiding a secret as well; a secret that places Joan in terrible danger. When the monsters of London are attacked, Joan is forced on the run with the ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family who are sworn enemies of her own."
I loved the story and it took some unexpected turns as I had zero idea of the plot going in. It is YA and doesn't have much in the way of romance though I expect this to change in the sequel. A excellent story with a unique idea of monsters and their powers. I'd recommend it especially for anyone not looking for a long series to commit to. Only the first book is released but it didn't end on too much of a cliffhanger so its a good one to try out Urban Fantasy.
I hope you find some new books to love from this list! I love sharing them with you and if you do read any I'd love to hear your thoughts. What are your favourite Urban Fantasy books? Or some you are excited to read?
Links for the first book in each series if you'd link to know more: