I love urban fantasy novels. I'm not one hundred percent certain what it is about them I like so much but I think it's most likely the way the mundane is intertwined with the magical.
If you've found your way onto my page, I suspect you love them too.
As a fledgling author, my blog has, until now, tended towards writing discussions and character exploration. But this blog is a signpost that I will be heading in a new direction.
For those of you who have enjoyed and want to hear more about my writing process, don't worry, I will still be posting on that topic. But those posts will be joined by fantasy book reviews and general musings on fantasy fiction.
Over coming weeks, I will be introducing some of my favourite fantasy books of all time and reviewing some new ones too. If you want me to review any particular book don't hesitate to ask.
As an opening gambit, here are a few of my favourites: a mixture of YA and adult novels depicting gods, vampires, shifters and wizards. Hopefully it will whet your appetite for more and you will sign up to my mailing list.
Seething with Vampires
I know what you are going to say. True Blood is eons ago and Sookie is so passé but I disagree. The Sookie Stackhouse novels are absolutely my favourite vampire series. Yes, Vampire Diaries is popular, yes Twilight was humongous, but I'm sticking with Sookie. She's kick-ass.
Here is what Goodreads has to say about Dead Until Dark, the first in the series:
"Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....
Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea. "
You can buy it on Amazon.
Favourite wizard of all time? Harry Potter? No way!
Don't get me wrong, Harry Potter is awesome and all that but when it comes to wizarding I think Harry Dresden has him bang to rights. Did you see what I did there?
Anyhoo, here's what Goodreads says about old Harry and the scrapes he gets himself into in Storm Front:
"Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.
Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he's the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the "everyday" world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most don't play well with humans. That's where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a—well, whatever. There's just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks.
So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name. And that's when things start to get interesting.
Magic - it can get a guy killed. "
Buy it on Amazon here.
Oh no. I can't choose!
So, instead of choosing one book, I've picked two - an adult and a YA - urban fantasy novels with Gods as the theme. Shadow and Percy are both sons of Gods. Percy is the son of Poseidon and Shadow is the son of Odin.
Here's the write up for each of them:
"Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse - Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena - Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods."
"Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what - and who - it finds there..."
A Surfeit of Shifters
There are dozens of shifter romances but none of them even come close to the fun and games Mercy Thompson has with Patricia Briggs' Tri-Cities Pack Alpha (Adam), unless it is perhaps the fun Anna has with Charles Cornick in the Alpha & Omega series.
Here's the blurb for Moon Called:
"Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water..."
I'm not a massive fan of dystopian. It all seems so depressing and I find quite enough to be depressed about without adding to it. That said, I really loved the Divergent series. Here's what Goodreads has to say about it:-
"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. "
Buy on Amazon.
Daemons and Hunters
It is more than 10 years since I first read City of Bones. It was the first YA urban fantasy I'd ever read and it's on my list of favourites because it is responsible for getting me hooked on the genre and maybe even sparking the idea of writing an urban fantasy novel.
"When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know..."
My debut novel, about a group of unruly teens who are transformed into gods with the task of uncovering The Settler's dark secret and saving the earth from the impending global catastrophe, is out on 31st October.
You can pre-order it on Amazon.