Feb 26 2012 4:00pm

Open Vampire World, the Enclave, Downside and More: Top 5 Worst Urban Fantasy Locations to Live

Greetings from Louisiana image by Editor B via FlickrOne of the main reasons I read fantasy and paranormal novels is the escape. Not just being drawn into another’s life, but the whole world. Even when it’s a slight shift on our current world, I get the freedom of being someplace new.

Some places I wouldn’t mind visiting—really, I still wish Hogwarts was real. I’d totally score a letter. But let’s be honest, our urban fantasy heroines tend to have it fairly rough. Most of the cities would not make any tourist brochures. In the event you were planning an urban fantasy road trip, here are the five cities to avoid at all costs.

Yes, we have the top five worst urban fantasy locations to live in. Forbes does this based on economics, rights, debt to income ratio and the like. I focus much more on the prevalence of murderous faeries, lack of emergency response units to ritual murders, supernatural political tensions and, of course, general life expectancy.

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin CastNo. 5: Open Vampire World (mostly in Tulsa, OK) in P.C. and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series

Humans know about vampires in P.C. and Kristin Cast’s House of Night series. When a human is “marked” to become a vampire, a crescent moon tattoo appears on her forehead. In the case of protagonist Zoey Redbird, this happens to her at high school. And everyone knows what it means. She’s going to become a vampire. She’s rushed to Tulsa’s House of Night school where she’ll get a regular education with a heavy dose of preparation for vampire-dom.

Doesn’t sound so bad on its face, until you read about these high school kids using makeup to hide their vampire nature—they aren’t going to be killing anyone—just go to the mall. There’s a self-imposed segregation between the humans and the vampires. While some vampires have human consorts, there’s an epic division and segregation.

Living in the House of Night world one would miss out on half of society as a result of sequestering vampires into estates with high walls. Keeping the humans out and the vampires in.

Blood Bound by Rachel VincentNo. 4: City in Rachel Vincent’s Blood Bound

Mob bosses rule most of city in Rachel Vincent’s Unbound series. There’s no way of underlings turning snitch and taking down the bad guys, because everyone is bound to their mafia kingpin via magic. Tattoos binding their will to his force them to obey, never to turncoat. When magical bonds rule the government, normal citizens have no real control. Calling in the police does little good as so many key players have those nasty ring tattoos sealed with magic binding them to do what’s best for the bad guys. Working around those promises is tricky, and makes a for a great novel. But it’s not particularly safe for mortal tourists.

Dead on the Delta by Stacey JayNo. 3: Louisiana Bayou in Stacey Jay’s Dead on the Delta

Turns out the Louisiana Bayou is prime grounds for faeries. Who knew? Other states were lucky to avoid the malicious buggers. One bite drives most people mad, a few more and death comes quickly. A small percentage of humans are immune and are stuck with the job of monitoring the tiny killers. Those who chose not to leave the southern state, stay inside their cities—domed over with iron. The metal keeps the faeries out, but that also means travel from town to town is dangerous and requires special buses encased in iron and a chance at death.

My point? Getting there would be tough enough, but imagine if something as simple as heading an hour away to visit a friend meant a chance at dying by faerie bite. Not worth living on the faerie-infested bayou.

Enclave by Ann AguirreNo. 2: The enclave from Ann Aguirre’s Enclave

Sure, living underground with a ton of teenagers sounds fantastic. Wait, no, I could just stop there.

Really, though, things are so dangerous in a post-zombie world that it’s rare for one to live past 25 in the enclave. Kids don’t even receive names until they’re teenagers, when they’re assigned jobs within the community. No choice of profession here. And should that cute boy look at you? Don’t get your hopes up. Unless your job is “breeder” you’re not allowed to even kiss the guy. Brutal.

Add in never seeing sunlight and the constant threat of zombie attack, and there’s little appeal to the enclave. Also, if you came by for a visit, its residents will not welcome you with open arms lest you have known fighting skills and are quick to heel to a hive mind.

Unholy Ghosts by Stacia KaneNo. 1: Downside from Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series

Triumph City has problems, sure, but its Downside neighborhood brings the worst. Drug lords run the streets, peddling sex and narcotics to those seeking escape. Muggings and murders are par for the course. Should your home catch fire, it’s best to grab what possessions you have, because emergency response isn’t coming. They’ve had one too many close calls on the seedy streets in Downside. As the building fires – which are a frequent occurrence – shift to smoldering embers, the community doesn’t help its citizens rebuild, instead looting is encouraged.

Downsiders are forced to rely on the pimps and the pusher for protection, and having an in with the bad guys in charge can make life a whole lot easier. Trust me, it says plenty about Downside Ghosts protagonist Chess Putnam’s neuroses that she chooses to live in the part of town where life and death are ever present and dictated by one’s own devices.


Where urban fantasy city gives you the creeps? Where would you refuse to move?

Also—and I can’t stress this part enough—while I wouldn’t want to live in any of these places, reading about them is fantastic.

Greetings from Louisiana image courtesy of Editor B via Flickr


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Gems
Great post!! Few new series I'll check out from this list- thank you!!
2. Lege Artis
Oh, Unicorn Lane in Atlanta from Kate Daniels series. Ilona Andrews duo made it sound seriously creepy:
"When life backs you into a corner and offers you no escape, when your friends, your lover, and your family abandon you,when you're at the end of your rope, panicked, alone, and losing your mind, you know you'd give anything to make your problems go away. Then, desperate and eager, you will come to Unicorn Lane, seeking salavation in its magic and secrets. You'll do anything,pay any price. Unicorn Lane will take you in, shroud you in its power, fix your problems, and exact its price. And then you will learn what 'anything' really means."
Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
3. ChelseaMueller
@Lege Artis -- Really good addition. Unicorn Lane definitely falls into the dangerous, creepy, never-want-to-live-there category.
Vanessa Ouadi
4. Lafka
Brrr, neither of those places are very attractive, nop! I haven't read Ilona Andrews' Magic Bites, but it's good you warned me, Unicorn Lane sounds so innocent, I would never have guessed it's just a creepy place! ;)

In a more YA register, I really wouldn't like to live in Rachel Cain's
Morganville, Texas. Unless if you're "protected" by one of the local
vampires who rule the town _ and being protected doesn't seem much fun because you're basically a slave to your protector _ you're condemned to be a blood donnor. Given that not only the population but all the institutions of the town (from the mayor to the university or the hospital) collaborate, more or less willingly, to that system, it's
probably not a good idea living in Morganville. Unfortunately, you
cannot know that until you've actually moved in Morganville, since
whoever leaves the town forgets about how things are ruled in this small texan city. Tricky, isn't it?
Pamela Webb-Elliott
5. Spaz
Love this post!! Three of these are some of my favorite series (Downside Ghosts, Enclave, Unbound) and now I HAVE to check out Dead on the Delta!
6. ChelseaMueller
Oh, Pamela, you will love Dead on the Delta. The heroine could be friend with Chess. She has tons of potential at work, but chooses to do the bare minimum and drink herself into a stupor. Complicated men, deadly faeries, Southern culture -- you'll dig.
MaryJanice Davidson
8. MaryJanice
I've read this three times today and I'm *still* giggling like a hyena. What a terrific post! Now I've got all sorts of new weird things to wonder about. :-)
9. Doc Redbat
No Nightside by Simon Green? That place will give nightmares nightmares!
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