Urban Fantasy is a tricky genre; many series begin with a book that offers hope it will be the start to something wonderful. In order to achieve that promise, the characters have to be strong and full of depth. Readers need to be able to explore the intricacies of the characters and the world they live in. The series cannot be shallow or superficial, otherwise after only a few books we will be left with nowhere to go. Thankfully, there are a few books that have been published recently that seem to have all the elements for keeper urban fantasy series:
Written in Red (The Others #1) by Anne Bishop
...[E]nter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.
Anne Bishop is well known for her Black Jewels, Ephemera, and Tir Alainn series, but this is the first book of hers that I've read. And as of right now, it's my top book for 2103. Written in Red is unapologetic in its brutal and graphic content, unforgiving characters and bloody plot. This book has everything I look for in a new UF series and I fully expect to be a devout follower of the series for many years to come.
Sealed With a Curse (Weird Girls #1) by Cecy Robson
Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twenty-something girls—with one tiny exception: They're the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that make them, well, a little weird…
Cecy Robson's Sealed With a Curse, while still UF, falls at the opposite end of the spectrum as Written in Red. The series follows three sisters, with Celia being the main character. While Written in Red is dark and graphic, Sealed With a Curse is not as dark and is also quite funny. The first book did not lack for fight scenes or bad guys, but along with those scenes came humor and a more light hearted tone. There is the usual UF love triangle, but as with most UF books the love interest is not the main focus. Book 2, A Cursed Embrace, is out in July and I look forward to what adventures come next.
Blade Song and Night Blade (Colbana Files) by J. C. Daniels
Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades…
J. C. Daniels is the pen name for author Shiloh Walker. Blade Song was released in late 2012, and Night Blade followed in early 2013. Not since Kate Daniels or Mercy Thompson has a character so completely drawn me in as Kit Colbana did. Blade Song is a good introduction to the Colbana world, but Night Blade will flip you upside down and turn you inside out. I grew very attached to the characters in that book so when things go down in an unexpected way I was unprepared to deal with how I felt. But that kind of unexpected surprise is the joy with UF.
Those are three of my newest, best discoveries in urban fantasy. Though very different from the each other they all touched upon reasons I love the urban fantasy genre. What about you? Have you made any new discoveries that you can share?