Fantasy in a Familiar Setting

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Fantasy in a Familiar Setting

Urban Fantasy Series Recommendations

I tend to read books that twist reality – paranormal romance and historical mysteries featuring real people but fictional events. When it comes to fantasy, my preference is for that same twist on reality rather than a whole new world. Urban fantasy gives readers the fantasy elements with real city settings like Chicago, New Orleans, or London. Not sure if you would enjoy fantasy? This genre might be the stepping stone you need to a whole new world of reading.

Dante Valentine series by Lillith Saintcrow – The Dante Valentine series is complete with five books starting with Working for the Devil. Dante is a necromancer - she can raise and speak to the dead - whose job is dangerous enough that she’s very careful about the jobs she takes when dealing with the dead or going after a bounty. When the devil comes knocking on her door – literally – Dante doesn’t get the choice to decline, but how many times can she deal with the devil and survive? Dante is a fierce but beleaguered heroine with friends who could turn into enemies in a blink. 
 
Maker’s Song by Adrian Phoenix – A classic plot device of the grounded in reality FBI agent who doesn’t believe in the paranormal thrown into the supernatural world by way of a murder investigation. The Maker’s Song series is a little darker than some of the others on this list but fallen angels, vampires, and world ending abilities are all revealed to FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace in New Orleans as she tries to track down a terrifying serial killer. When she tries to investigate Dante, she finds herself realizing he needs her protection even if she’s not sure from what. The first book is A Rush of Wings and book six should be coming out in late 2016.
 
Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs – Not as well-known as Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson, the Alpha and Omega series takes place in the same world but on a slightly different time period. This series features Charles, the younger son of the Marrok, and Anna, his mate. Werewolves operate by a strict dominance hierarchy and Charles is an alpha with more dominance than anyone other than his father. But Anna falls outside this hierarchy for she is one of the rare Omegas, wolves who can assist pack members emotionally and heal the madness that comes from being a nearly immortal shapeshifter. Start with the short story Alpha and Omega which is a stand-along e-book but is also included in the first novel, Cry Wolf.
 
Dresden Files by Jim Butcher – This long running series featuring Harry Dresden, Wizard private investigator, who lives, works, does magic, and fights evil in Chicago. While Harry is the main character, the cast of secondary characters in the series is large and deep, with magical and non-magical beings in Harry’s life, helping keep readers interested beyond the mystery solving in each book. Butcher builds an interesting and complex paranormal world on top of the mundane Chicago readers will recognize, making it seem both familiar and alien. Start with Storm Front, the first book in the series. Butcher is currently working on the 16th book in the series.
 
Crown and Key trilogy by Clay and Susan Griffith – The Crown and Key trilogy, featuring The Shadow Revolution, The Undying Legion, and The Conquering Dark, is a steampunk urban fantasy that spins Victorian London on its head with magic, werewolves, demigods, and demons. Simon, Kate, and Malcolm are interesting and engaging main characters that help drive the plot and emotion of the whole series. The trilogy is equally filled with well-drawn and fully developed secondary characters that are a lot of fun to read, like Penny and Charlotte, and wonderful bad guys that readers will love to hate. This trilogy packs a great deal of well-paced action interspersed with both comic and tender moments for a fulfilling read.