An Urban Fantasy novel is one which combines an element of the supernatural, such as a werewolf or vampire, with a contemporary or urban setting. While technically these can take place in historical settings, or even the future, most Urban Fantasies are set in the world of today. Following are my personal five favorite series of this wonderful genre.
#1: The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher
This series, which began with Storm Front, follows the adventures of Harry Dresden, Wizard for hire. He's pretty easy to find, as he is the only one listed in the yellow pages. The series is written from Harry's point of view with a very dry and sarcastic wit. Each book brings us closer to the characters. Some of whom we love, others that we hate. While the first book seemed to be a bit of a slow start, by his second book, Fool Moon, Jim Butcher had hit his stride. Over a dozen books later, he has yet to disappoint me. Well worth a read.
#2: Kim Harrison's Hollows Series
This series had me from the very first page of the first book, Dead Witch Walking. The books star character is a modern day witch named Rachel Morgan. While the books are set in modern times, things have slightly changed from the world we know. A virus carried by a lowly little tomato has wiped out a lot of humans, giving the supernatural community the idea to come out of the paranormal closet. Now we humans no longer have the comfort of thinking we are alone. Vampires, witches, werewolves, and pixies share our world as well. Very well written, if a little on the dark side.
#3: The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris
This is the series that inspired the hit television series, True Blood. Set in modern times, the vampires have come out, enabled by the breakthrough discovery of a synthetic blood. Now that we humans don't have to be food, we have nothing to fear...maybe. This series, starting with the book Dead Until Dark is a fast and light read. Poor Sookie is a telepath who discovers, to her joy, that she can't "hear" vampires, giving her the first peace she's ever had. Of course, the vampires could use someone like Sookie. Great books, all.
#4: The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake is both an Animator (one who can raise the dead) and a vampire executioner. In the first book, Guilty Pleasures, the vampires want to hire Anita to find out who is killing the vampires of the city. When Anita refuses to work for them, they make her an offer she can't turn down. Namely, help them or they will enslave her friend by vampire glamour. These books are probably the darkest of my top five, but still worth a read.
#5: The Undead Series by MaryJanice Davidson
If the Anita Blake Series is the darkest, this series is by far the lightest. Each book in this series is a fast and funny read, starring Betsy Taylor. In the first book, Undead and Unwed, Betsy is killed. Don't worry, it isn't a permanent state. She wakes back up. Only now the vampire community is convinced that she is the Queen that the prophesies have promised. Ms. Davidson's Mermaid Series is also worth a read.
And there you have it. The 5 best Urban Fantasy book series to date. But wait, there's more. For a limited time only, I'll throw in an additional two series for your consideration, making it 7 not 5 great series for you to read and enjoy. What a bargain!
These two might have ranked higher, but they probably don't quite fit the genre.
#6: The Disc World Series by Terry Pratchett
These books are a total hoot. No darkness or sadness allowed. Pratchett has several different niches within the disc world that he writes about. While I dearly love all of them, my personal favorites are the ones that center around the witches. Granny Weatherwax may be a crone, but she's the only one to date that has taken on Death (who by the way rides a white horse named Binky) and come out the winner. If you are unsure and only want to try one of his books, I highly recommend Witches Abroad. In this book the maiden witch inherits the Fairy Godmother's wand and the witches have to travel abroad to stop Cinderella from marrying the prince.
#7: The Between the Numbers Books by Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich's books are classified as mysteries. They star a totally inept bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, and are a laugh a minute read as Stephanie tries to make a living while choosing between two very hot, and very different men. Most of her books have numbered titles, but some do not. The between the numbers series, starting with Visions of Sugar Plums, center around the holidays and star an otherworldly Diesel. Which gives them just enough of a supernatural element for me to be able to include them here. Give them a try. They are worth it.