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nbcaffeine
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re: Urban Fantasy That Isn't Romance

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So, I was a big fan of the Dresden Files (well, am, but the next one isn't likely to come out until Octoberish). I haven't read much else in the vein of Urban Fantasy (which is a silly name, should be called "Modern Fantasy" or "Contemporary Fantasy" or something)

I'm not terribly interested in Vampire Romance (or any romance), just wizards, warlocks and etc in modern times. Anyone have any suggestions?

I've seen the following recommended, anyone read any of these?
Twenty Palaces by Harry Connolly
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch
The Sandman Slim series by Richard Kadrey

I'm leaning towards Iron Druid series right now, on one of the urban fantasy (minus romance) boards I frequent, it's a common recommendation for anyone who likes Dresden, then perhaps checking out Twenty Palaces.
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I'm impressed--I've only heard of one of those, haven't read any. Would be interested to hear your reviews.

Been giving this one some thought. So much of urban fantasy has split to paranormal romance these days.

Rob Thurman has a pretty interesting recent series with Cal Leandros (Nightlife is the first). Good spin on a lot of the urban fantasy conventions, fast paced with lots of action, and I particularly liked Spoiler (Click To Show):
nuking the elves
.

If you want to go back to the book that kicked off the urban fantasy genre, nab Emma Bull's War for the Oaks. Absolutely fantastic!

Charles de Lint was another early arrival to urban fantasy. I discovered him in some anthology or the other, where his story was a chocolate cake among bread. Stopped reading him maybe a decade ago because too much de Lint was nauseating (like eating nothing but chocolate); his writing didn't hold up so well at novel length and was always the same thing.

Catherynne Valente is probably the best author we've discovered in the past few years. I'm putting Palimpsest on this list because it's not at all standard urban fantasy, though a city is at the heart of the novel. You have to give her writing 100% of your attention.


I'll keep thinking about what else to add here.


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Yeah, there's so much out there, I haven't got a good place to start yet. For some reason, I really like the formula:

take something known + add "fantasy" = Rad Books

Fantasy in certain periods and contemporary (Hell, "future" fantasy with stuff like Shadowrun). Seems like few things aren't improved with magic and demons and elves and such Happy. That is assuming that the author is good, of course.
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That's actually my problem with urban fantasy. The universe just don't work that way. Every time Harry Dresden goes off on one of his science rants, I do a giant eyeball roll and skip to the end. I've had to compromise with a mental yell, "This would be Erna, not Earth!" then I suspend disbelief.

The only urban fantasy world building I found at all convincing was Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series (first one is Magic Bites), where the universe broke, and now unpredictably shifts between technology and magic in waves.

Other than that, urban fantasy is abysmal at world building. It's like the consequences of magic in the "real" world never even occur to most authors at all. Butcher at least tries and plays with it some, but as I said, ultimately unconvincing.


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SSSH DON'T BREAK THE RULE OF COOL!
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And since I feel like more necromancy in honor of Halloween, turns out I've read 2 of the 5 on the initial list since then.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians was very young adult oriented, and not in a good way.  Felt rather like the publisher ordered "be careful not to go over a 6th grade reading level".  Overall narration felt condescending.  I swear, Scott Westerfeld is the only American YA author I like.  Read Pratchett, Westerfeld, or Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series instead if you need an YA fix.

Iron Druid Chronicles were fairly entertaining.  The dog was my favorite character, but not as cool as Mouse.  Overall not a waste of time, but Hearne desperately wants to be Jim Butcher when he grows up.  There're a lot of things that should be ahead of this on your reading list.

The worthwhile urban fantasy list remains short.



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