(Note: Any list of the top 10 best urban fantasy series will be far from objective. That said, the following are among my top picks for the best UF novel series of all time. ~MDM)
Urban fantasy novels provide readers with a captivating blend of contemporary settings and fantastical elements. These stories often take place in bustling cities, where supernatural beings and magical occurrences coexist with the mundane. With their unique blend of magic, mystery, and adventure, urban fantasy novels have gained immense popularity among readers of all ages. Let’s explore the top ten best urban fantasy novel series that have enthralled readers with their imaginative worlds and compelling characters.
- The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher: The Dresden Files is a highly acclaimed urban fantasy series following the adventures of Harry Dresden, a wizard detective in modern-day Chicago. With its well-crafted blend of mystery, magic, and humor, this series has garnered a massive following. Butcher’s dynamic writing style and complex characters make it a must-read for fans of the genre.
- The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews: Set in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta, the Kate Daniels series showcases a strong, kickass heroine who navigates a world where magic and technology alternate in dominance. Ilona Andrews weaves an intricate narrative filled with intense action, rich world-building, and sizzling romance. The series offers a refreshing take on urban fantasy, keeping readers on the edge of their seats.
- The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne: Kevin Hearne’s “The Iron Druid Chronicles” follows the adventures of Atticus O’Sullivan, the last surviving Druid, as he battles gods, demons, and supernatural creatures. Set in modern-day Arizona, the series combines Celtic mythology, humor, and fast-paced action to create an enthralling reading experience. The clever blend of fantasy and contemporary elements keeps readers engrossed from start to finish.
- The Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs: This series features protagonist Mercy Thompson, a shape-shifting mechanic who becomes embroiled in the Tri-Cities area’s supernatural conflicts. Patricia Briggs creates a rich and intricate world filled with werewolves, vampires, and fae creatures. With a strong and relatable heroine, engaging storylines, and a touch of romance, this series has captivated fans around the globe.
- The October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire: Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series introduces readers to a half-human, half-faerie detective named Toby Daye. Set in the heart of San Francisco, these books beautifully blend urban fantasy, mystery, and intricate political intrigue. McGuire’s masterful storytelling and vivid world-building make this series an absolute delight for fans of the genre.
- The Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch: “The Rivers of London” series, also known as the “Peter Grant” series, follows the adventures of Peter Grant, a police officer turned apprentice wizard in modern-day London. Ben Aaronovitch seamlessly weaves together elements of crime, magic, and folklore, offering readers a fresh and captivating take on urban fantasy. The series combines humor, supernatural entities, and an immersive portrayal of London, making it a standout in the genre.
- Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton: Hamilton’s Anita Blake series introduces readers to a tough, no-nonsense protagonist who battles supernatural creatures while working as a professional animator (a.k.a., necromancer) and vampire executioner. Set in a world where vampires, werewolves, and other paranormal beings exist, this series delves into the complexities of morality, romance, and the struggle for power. Hamilton’s gripping storytelling and intriguing characters have made this series a fan favorite.
- The Others Series by Anne Bishop: The Others series by Anne Bishop takes place in a world where humans coexist with powerful supernatural beings. Set in the Lakeside Courtyard, the series explores the delicate balance between humans and others. Bishop’s vivid world-building, intricate plots, and well-drawn characters make this series a standout in the urban fantasy genre.
- The Alex Verus Series by Benedict Jacka: The Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka follows the adventures of a divination mage named Alex Verus in a modern-day London filled with magic and danger. Jacka’s strong writing, suspenseful plots, and well-crafted magical system have captivated readers who enjoy intricate urban fantasy tales.
- The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison: The Hollows series by Kim Harrison takes place in a world where supernatural creatures coexist with humans. The series follows the adventures of Rachel Morgan, a witch and bounty hunter. With its blend of action, romance, and intricate world-building, this series has garnered a dedicated fan base.
BONUS: Five More Killer Urban Fantasy Series You Must Check Out!
- The Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn: The Kitty Norville series by Carrie Vaughn centers around Kitty Norville, a werewolf who hosts a popular late-night radio show for the supernatural community. This urban fantasy series explores themes of identity, acceptance, and the challenges faced by paranormal creatures in a modern world. Vaughn’s engaging storytelling and relatable protagonist make this series a must-read for fans of werewolf lore.
- The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman: The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman offers a unique twist on the urban fantasy genre by combining elements of portal fantasy, magic, and popular literary references. The story follows Quentin Coldwater as he enrolls in Brakebills University, a secret institution for magical learning. With its complex characters, thought-provoking themes, and touch of darkness, this series appeals to readers looking for a more mature take on urban fantasy.
- The InCryptid Series by Seanan McGuire: Seanan McGuire strikes again with her InCryptid series, which follows the Price family, a clan of cryptozoologists dedicated to protecting cryptids (magical creatures) from harm. Each book centers around a different member of the Price family and their encounters with various supernatural creatures. With McGuire’s signature blend of humor, action, and intricate world-building, this series offers a refreshing take on urban fantasy.
- The Remy Chandler Series by Thomas E. Sniegoski: “The Remy Chandler” series introduces readers to Remy Chandler, a former angel turned private investigator. Set in Boston, this urban fantasy series explores themes of redemption, morality, and the blurred lines between good and evil. Thomas E. Sniegoski skillfully blends elements of mythology, religion, and noir detective fiction to create a gripping and thought-provoking series.
- The Twenty-Sided Sorceress Series by Annie Bellet: Bellet’s The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series combines urban fantasy with elements of gaming culture. The protagonist, Jade Crow, is a sorceress and gamer who finds herself entangled in magical conflicts. With its fast-paced plots, witty dialogue, and nods to geek culture, this series offers a fresh and engaging take on urban fantasy.
Urban fantasy novels offer readers an escape into enchanting worlds where magic mingles with reality. Each of these urban fantasy novel series offers a unique blend of magic, mystery, and adventure, captivating readers with their imaginative worlds and compelling characters. From wizard detectives in modern cities to shape-shifting mechanics and half-human, half-faerie detectives, these series provide a plethora of captivating stories that showcase the best of the urban fantasy genre.
The top urban fantasy novel series mentioned above showcase the genre’s diversity and creativity, offering readers thrilling adventures, captivating characters, and immersive settings. Whether you’re a fan of wizards in Chicago, shape-shifting mechanics, or modern-day detectives battling supernatural entities, these series will transport you to extraordinary realms where the supernatural becomes ordinary. So, dive into these enchanting series and let your imagination soar.