urban fantasy

The Secret Hour

By Scott Westerfeld
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     The Secret Hour has a very imaginative paranormal premise, and it was enjoyable to read; I finished this book for reluctant readers in two sittings.  I love the idea of a hidden hour after midnight where only a select few can visit, and the continuing threads of mystery and “what’s going on?” kept me reading this urban fantasy.  The characters are not all best buddies, but are unique individuals with their own motivations which are shown in the fast pace.


     The premise is original and interesting with a compelling writing style.  It is definitely written with a young adult audience

Dec 21, 2017

Matt Wagner's comic Mage: The Hero Discovered, originally published from 1984 to 1986, is a personal work that also taps into universal stories and themes. The main character, Kevin Matchstick, is modeled on Wagner himself (in the sequel series, Mage: The Hero Defined, published 1997-1999, Kevin Matchstick's hairline has receded much like Wagner's has) and the depression he speaks of in the first issue is the frame of mind Wagner was in when he began the comic. But that's where real life ends and fantastic heroism begins.


Kevin Matchstick, lonely, angry, feeling unimportant in our world

The Last Dream Keeper

By Amber Benson
4
Rated by Josh N.
Jan 26, 2016

The second book in the Echo Park Coven series picks up immediately after the end of the first book, The Witches of Echo Park. Lyse and her fellow witches, or blood sisters as they prefer to call themselves, have a major threat called "the Flood" looming over them. It isn't long before the Flood comes in and washes the coven, and the plot, in many different, dangerous directions.


When I reviewed The Witches of Echo Park, I said the book moved at a leisurely pace, slowly introducing the cast of characters and the urban fantasy setting, letting the readers get to know everyone, until the end

The Rook

By Daniel O'Malley
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 22, 2015

What happens when you wake up in the middle of a park, with no memories, surrounded by bodies?  If you're Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas, you find a letter in your pocket written by the person you used to be and take over her life.


The previous Myfanwy was a high-ranking agent in a secret society that protects the world from supernatural dangers.  The previous Myfanwy was also a shy clerk, terrified of her own abilities, and unable to ferret out the traitors in her ranks after discovering them through accounting discrepancies. New Myfanwy may not know what's going on, but that's not

The Witches of Echo Park

By Amber Benson
4
Rated by Josh N.
Jun 15, 2015

Amber Benson is mostly known as an actor, primarily for her role as Tara Maclay on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but she's also an accomplished author with a number of books and other projects under her belt. Her latest novel, The Witches of Echo Park, is the first in an urban fantasy series about...well, witches. In Los Angeles. Echo Park, to be specific. Basically, it does what it says on the tin.


Lyse is a young woman running a plant nursery in Georgia. She returns home to LA when she learns her great-aunt Eleanora has terminal cancer. It's there that Lyse slowly learns about the coven of

Two Serpents Rise

By Max Gladstone
4
Rated by Josh N.
Jan 13, 2015

Two Serpents Rise, the second book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, can be read independently of the other books, although I'm glad I read this after the first, Three Parts Dead. Both are great, but I liked Two Serpents Rise a wee bit more. I found the characters a little more developed and the plot a little more complex than Three Parts Dead. And I'm in awe of the way Gladstone melds Hardboiled Detective with Baroque Urban Fantasy, making a delicious mix of razor-sharp banter, knight-in-tarnished-armor thriller, poetic description, weird magic, and ornate worldbuilding.


In a world as

Sandman Slim

By Richard Kadrey
5
Rated by Hebah A.H.
Nov 13, 2014

Life hasn’t been easy for Jim Stark, the protagonist of Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim. His old apartment isn’t his anymore, his lover Alice has been murdered, and, oh, yeah, he’s just spent the last 11 years in hell. Returning to Los Angeles to murder the cohorts who sent him to hell, Stark finds himself in the middle of something bigger, with the fate of the world at stake. In this showdown, the bad guys are terrifying and the good guys are only good by comparison. And Stark? He’s just looking out for his own.


Even for a work of urban fantasy, Sandman Slim is particularly dark and gritty

City of Heavenly Fire

By Cassandra Clare
4
Rated by Diane H.
Aug 14, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final book in The Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare has created a world in which supernatural creatures, magic, and humans coexist. Not an unusual theme these days, especially for a young adult book. The twist in this series is the addition of shadowhunters—​humans who have angel blood in their veins and whose mission in life is to keep demons and other supernatural creatures from harming mundane humans. The books follow the adventures, tragedies, dramas, and triumphs of several teens—shadowhunters, humans, and others.


The story continues, or

Skin Game

By Jim Butcher
4
Rated by Rachel C.
Aug 10, 2014

The newest book in The Dresden Files picks up about a year after Cold Days, and Mab is calling in her Knight once again.  This time he's being blackmailed into helping Nicodemus break into a secure vault, all the while upholding the good name of Winter, watching his back against a Fallen with a grudge, and hopefully managing to sabotage the project to keep old Nick from getting his ancient paws on an insanely powerful magical artifact.


Unlike previous novels, where there are usually multiple plot threads that are intertwined, this is a fairly straight-forward action-adventure novel with a

Hang Wire

By Adam Christopher
4
Rated by Josh N.
Jul 24, 2014

Ted Hall is a San Francisco blogger suddenly hit by strange events. After a fortune cookie explodes in his face in a Chinatown restaurant, he starts having restless sleep, apparently sleepwalking. Even worse, his sleepwalking seems to coincide with the actions of the Hang Wire Killer, a serial killer that's been hitting the city, murdering people and stringing them up with wires like puppets. Meanwhile, a circus has come to Golden Gate Park, and the Celtic dance troupe is practicing eerie rituals in the off hours. A masked acrobat with no name has joined the circus. A beach bum who gives

Jul 3, 2014

When I was in elementary school, I read many, many books on monsters and the paranormal. Books about ghosts, UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, mummies, werewolves...and vampires. Outside of books, there wasn't a lot to see with vampires at the time. You might catch classic Universal monster movies or the later, bloodier Hammer horror movies on late night TV (assuming you could convince your parents to let you stay up that late). Scooby-Doo and other Saturday morning cartoons would have vampires (usually just cranky old men in costumes), there were some horror comics that had vampires in

Moon Called

By Patricia Briggs
4
Rated by Diane H.
Jun 16, 2014

The main character in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series is a type of heroine I like to call “the flawed hero who can’t stop herself from helping those in trouble even if it gets her into trouble; sometimes potentially fatal trouble.” There are a number of supernatural series that feature this type of character - Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Rachel Morgan from Kim Harrison’s Hollows, Sookie Stackhouse from Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, the women in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld.


These people have weaknesses, faults, and limitations that they don’t

Rosemary and Rue

By Seanan McGuire
5
Rated by Hebah A.H.
May 13, 2014

Some readers like their fictional friends kept safe, never truly in harm’s way, despite immediate apparent dangers; you just know they’ll make out just fine in the end. I am not one of those readers—I like it when happy endings are not guaranteed, and the protagonist gets knocked around a bit.


And hoo boy does October “Tobey” Daye, protagonist of Seanan McGuire’s Rosemary and Rue, get knocked around. A lot. The half-Fae private investigator was once a knight of the Fae court, until she lost 14 years of her life in the line of duty; now she wants nothing to do with them. Unfortunately, she

Three Parts Dead

By Max Gladstone
4
Rated by Josh N.
May 8, 2014

Necromancy student Tara Abernathy has been thrown out of her school--literally--only to be recruited by the stern Ms. Kevarian to work for the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao. Brother Abelard is a naive, chain-smoking priest of Kos, god of the city of Alt Coulumb, who has discovered that his god is...dead. Tara and Ms. Kevarian arrive in Alt Coulumb to bring Kos back from the dead, and that's when things get really complicated.


Max Gladstone has created a rich, colorful world where gods are real and make deals with mortals through complicated contracts

The Marbury Lens

By Andrew Smith
5
Rated by Rachel C.
Jan 30, 2014

In the very first bit of this book, you learn that Jack lives with his grandparents, is best friends with Connor, and that he is kidnapped while drunk, nearly raped, and escapes through sheer luck.


It's all downhill from there.


I mean, sure, he's given a pair of magical glasses that transport him to another world, but given the choice between a world where friendly-seeming strangers can be hidden monsters, and a world where monsters are everywhere and clearly visible, which would you choose?  Do you stay with the friend you've known and loved your entire life, or do you protect a couple

Iced

By Karen Marie Moning
3
Rated by Robin D.
Sep 4, 2013

Imagine a world that doesn’t know its own rules.  No cell phones. No Internet. No stock market. No money. No legal system. A third of the world’s population wiped out in a single night and the count rising by millions every day.  The human race is an endangered species.”  So starts Iced, the first book in Karen Marie Moning’s Dani O’Malley trilogy.  This supernatural contemporary fantasy is a follow-up to the bestselling Fever series and begins chronologically after the Fever series’ final book, Shadowfever.  However, unlike the Fever series, the main characters of this novel are 14-year-old

Sep 3, 2012

It is 1767 and rebellion is on the horizon. There is a great deal of unrest between the American Colonies and the British Crown. In the midst of this unrest, a young girl is murdered without a mark left on her body. That’s where Ethan Kaille, thief-taker and conjurer, comes in. It is believed that the girl was killed by magic, and only Kaille has the talents to solve the mystery.

D.B. Jackson’s Thieftaker is an interesting twist on urban fantasy. Not only is it set in the past, Ethan Kaille is a departure from the normal female protagonist of the genre. He is not a superhero, or even really