My Top 5 . . . urban fantasy series
So, last week I did my Top 6 favorite historical romances. This week, I’m focusing on urban fantasy. I decided to choose my favorite series, since, for me, a lot of uf’s appeal is the development of a world, characters and plot lines over multiple books. The books are not listed in any particular rank order, however the book pictured for each series is my favorite from that series.
What makes this series one of my favorites is Mercy. Her voice really carries the series, and she is such a sympathetic character.
Even though she is a supernatural character (she’s a Walker that shifts into a coyote,) there is always the feeling that she is the outsider among all the super powerful weres, vampires and fae.
She often has to rely on her brains, speed, and small size when going up against stronger and larger foes.
I also really like the world Patricia Briggs has created. There is always an element of politics between the different supernatural races which I find interesting.
And, of course, there’s also Adam and Sam.
I love Charlaine Harris’ mixture of humor, mystery and romance in this series. Some may call Sookie a Mary Sue, but I think her self-deprecating sense of humor make her incredibly likeable, and her “stranger in a strange land” perspective amid all the supernaturals make her easy to identify with.
It also doesn’t hurt that there are great secondary characters like Pam, Bubba, and Sam. The Southern Vampire series reminds me of a great ensemble tv series, where each supporting character really brings something unique to the story.
Another thing I enjoy about the series is the brilliant audiobook productions, read by Johanna Parker. She really brings Sookie’s world to life, and gives each character a distinct voice. After listening to the last few releases in audiobook, I actually have gone back and started listening to the series from the beginning. I’ve even listened to the first in the series, Dead Until Dark, more than once, and it’s now become one of my 3 top “comfort listens”.
Looking back over my read book lists — I kept them well before I kept a blog — it looks like this is the very first urban fantasy series I read. And, boy, it was a great introduction to the genre!
I love Harry Dresden’s smart-ass sense of humor, which never feels arrogant or obnoxious. He’s a great combination of powerful wizard and that sad sack private detective who always falls for the “dame” — and gets him into deep trouble.
This is another series with a great supporting cast, including favorites like Thomas, Bob the Skull, and Butters. One cool thing about the Dresden Files is how these secondary characters have developed along with Harry.
Another strength of this series is Jim Butchers writing. He is a master at plotting and tension. I love how he leads the reader along, and builds the story to the big climax. Great stuff!
My favorite thing about this series is the world Kim Harrison has created. It is so original and there’s always a sense of humor about it.
In the Hollows, Inderlanders (supernatural beings) have been living openly among mundane humans for about a generation. There are still moments of tension, but for the most part society has dealt with the “revelation” and made adjustments.
Rachel, Ivy and Jenks are such a great team, and have stuck together through the ups and downs over the course of the series. I love how they have not just been business partners, but also best friends and family to each other.
Kim Harrison hasn’t spared her characters, really putting them through the ringer sometimes. (If you read the series, you know what I’m talking about. I am still traumatized by when I think about it.) But, it’s always been things that have been necessary for the characters to grow.
Kelley Armstrong is one of the most confident writers I can think of. She really guides the reader through her often complex plots with clarity and ease.
The characters are extremely well drawn, and I love how they grow from book to book. The series will focus for 2 or 3 books on a character or characters, then shift to other protagonists who were previously secondary characters. In this way, the reader acquires a 360° perspective of the world KA has created.
Elena is still my favorite protagonist, however, and I enjoy her sarcastic edgy humor, as well as her no-nonsense attitude.
It was a toss up between the Bitten cover and the Men of the Otherworld cover, since they are just about tied for my favorite in the series. The tie-breaker for me was that the Bitten audiobook is another “comfort listen” for me.
OK, so a couple of things I notice that most of these books have in common: great secondary characters, a sense of humor (though without being “ha-ha funny” paranormals) and 3 of them — The Southern Vampire series, The Dresden Files, and The Otherworld series usually sport the best opening lines of any books I can think of, uf or otherwise.
Be sure to check out Kati’s posts, listing her favorite historical romances and contemporary romances over at her place, Katidom.
What are your top 5 urban fantasy series?
Entry filed under: Top 5, Urban Fantasy. Tags: Charlaine Harris, Dresden Files, Jim Butcher, Katidom, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Mercy Thompson series, Otherworld series, Patricia Briggs, Sookie Stackhouse series, Southern Vampire series, The Hollows series.