5 Great Choices in Urban Fantasy

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Ryan McRae

Hey there! Let's talk about one of my favorite sub-genres of fantasy literature: urban fantasy! It's set in a contemporary, urban setting, and it combines elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror to make for an exciting read. I've read some amazing urban fantasy books over the past few years, and in this blog post, I'm going to share my top five picks published between 2019-2023.

"Ninth House" by Leigh Bardugo (2019)

Leigh Bardugo's "Ninth House" is a thrilling urban fantasy novel that explores the dark side of the Ivy League. The book follows the story of Galaxy "Alex" Stern, a young woman with a troubled past who is given a second chance to attend Yale University. Alex is tasked with monitoring the activities of Yale's secret societies, which are more than just harmless clubs. They engage in dark and dangerous practices that threaten the safety of the students and the wider community.

The novel is full of suspense and intrigue, and Bardugo's writing is both atmospheric and gripping. The book has received critical acclaim and has been praised for its complex characters, intricate plot, and vivid world-building. It is a must-read for anyone who loves urban fantasy and is looking for something fresh and exciting.

"The City We Became" by N.K. Jemisin (2020)

N.K. Jemisin's "The City We Became" is a brilliant urban fantasy novel that reimagines New York City as a living, breathing entity. The book follows the story of five individuals who are chosen to embody the different boroughs of New York City. Each of them has a unique power and must come together to fight a malevolent force that threatens the city's existence.

Jemisin's writing is both poetic and powerful, and the book is full of social commentary and political satire. The novel explores themes of identity, culture, and gentrification and is a timely and thought-provoking read. It is a fantastic example of how urban fantasy can be used to explore complex issues and challenge readers' perceptions of the world around them.

"The Once and Future Witches" by Alix E. Harrow 

Alix E. Harrow's "The Once and Future Witches" is a stunning urban fantasy novel that tells the story of three sisters who are reunited after years of estrangement. The sisters are all witches, and they must come together to fight against the patriarchy and restore magic to the world.

The novel is set in the early 20th century and explores themes of feminism, sisterhood, and the power of storytelling. Harrow's writing is both lyrical and evocative, and the book is full of memorable characters and magical moments. It is a beautiful and empowering read that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

"Black Sun" by Rebecca Roanhorse 

Rebecca Roanhorse's "Black Sun" is a gripping urban fantasy novel that takes place in a world inspired by pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures. The book follows the story of a powerful priestess, a sailor, and a young man with a mysterious past, who are all drawn together by a celestial event that threatens to destroy the world.

Roanhorse's writing is both rich and vivid, and she does an excellent job of creating a unique and immersive world. The novel explores themes of power, corruption, and the importance of community, and is a fantastic example of how urban fantasy can be used to explore non-western cultures and traditions.

"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" by V.E. Schwab

"The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" is a captivating urban fantasy novel that follows the story of a young woman named Addie LaRue, who makes a deal with a god in order to escape the confines of her small town and the expectations of her family. However, the deal comes at a steep cost - Addie will live forever, but no one will ever remember her.

The novel is a beautifully written exploration of what it means to be alive and what it means to be remembered. V.E. Schwab's writing is both poetic and poignant, and she does an excellent job of bringing Addie's story to life. The book is full of memorable characters and moments, and it is a must-read for anyone who loves urban fantasy or is looking for a thought-provoking read. "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue" is a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

Image of Ryan McRae
Ryan McRae

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