On every SF&F forum I visit, people ask for book recommendations.
These can range from requests for general SF&F to specific sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy. As an example, Matt Staggs put together a great list of Cyberpunk novels last week after one of our readers asked for recommendations.
This week, I am posting a primer for urban fantasy, that sub-genre of fantasy that takes place in our world—usually in contemporary times—featuring supernatural elements and creatures. Urban fantasy began more than two decades ago as its own sub-genre and it has grown considerably in that time, largely due to the talented authors who are writing in it. They create complex characters usually with dark pasts—wizards, knights, vampire hunters, shapechangers, to name a few—pitting them against a shadowy underworld most people are unaware of.
And the creatures in that underworld? They are as diverse as the characters they often fight against. Usually drawn from various mythologies and religions like Celtic, Norse, and Christianity, the creatures become important characters themselves.
When done right like these examples, urban fantasy offers a mirror that reflects our own lives.
Listed below in order of publication are several novels that all readers should try if they are interested in urban fantasy. I have posted them in chronological order of publication.
Feel free to add your recommendations in the comment field below!