Urban Fantasy recommendations

Anyone have recommendations for a good urban fantasy novel or if it exists, CoG or HG games ?

Really into the genre after playing the WIP Good Intentions by Joshua Koch

Anything similar to this / Bright on Netflix would be great! Preferably darker topics versus lighter ones.

I can tell you that a couple of my favorites are the Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher and the Daniel Faust books by Craig Schaefer.

If I end up being able to write with even half the skill of either of those guys, I could die a happy man.


Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series is really good as is her Dorina Basarab series. They tie together actually.

Kate Daniels books by Ilona Andrews is also pretty good. Very different spin on the magic and science blending together and how it affected our world.

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Dude, your demo basically made me want to read in this genre because I can’t wait for it to actually be released. Any books similar to what you are writing is basically what I’m looking for. I love your writing style as well! Love how the alternate history is, I.e. arch Mages, war with vampires, and saying “savior” (and whatever history that would include, curious about that) instead. Dark / War / action / dystopia type of world with magic and fantasy. Maybe not as futuristic as shadowrun though.

That’s really quite the compliment! Seriously though, I’m just a hack amateur plugging away at his first story. Go read those guys I mentioned, they’re worth the effort.

Schaefer in particular is some kind of world- building savant. He has three distinct series that all exist in the same universe and all intersect in ways that can really just grab you and set you back in your chair.

The two I mentioned both take place in present-day America, and both have the conceit that while magic and monsters are real, that info is kept secret from most of the world.

I took a different path, setting mine in an alternate world around the late 1940s (an homage to early noir films) and I made magic an everyday thing (because I liked the concept of another social barrier between the haves and have-nots).

Hopefully some more folks will chime in, because Im always looking for more reading recommendations myself :sunglasses:

I will definitely check them out, thank you! I’m more looking for the approach your game and Bright are taking.

Where as, rather than a secret-shadow world hidden from the public, I prefer where the fantasy elements are known and ingrained in the society and history. I.e. In you’re story, what is essentially the equivalent of world war 2 had a different enemy, yet still had great loss and trauma on both sides, Archmages that are so powerful the political landscape is different, referencing to the “savior”, implying some sort of great hero / alternate religion and Jesus type character.

In Bright, they referenced to a deep history between the races and the “dark lord”. Racism between races, etc. Things like this are most interesting for me!

The only author off the top of my head that fits that bill is Glen Cook. His stories are set in a more typical medieval fantasy setting, but they’re grim and gritty and utterly fantastic.

His Garrett, PI series is about a war veteran turned hard-boiled private investigator, and might be what you’re looking for.

He also wrote a series about the Black Company, who are a band of mercenaries who always wind up with the shit jobs/suicide missions while trying to survive in a world full of sociopathic sorcerers.

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Another vote for the Dresden files, love those books. That series is on my list with GOT as the series I most want the next book to be finally finished. (However unlike GOT, each book wraps up some plotlines as well as having an over arching one so the wait isn’t quite as painful.) The writing’s good and it mixes the modern day world with magic, monsters, supernatural creatures and mythology all into one. (Think everything from angels and demons through to different courts of vampires, foo dogs, dragons, skinwalkers, fae courts, warewolves, cat sith and more.)

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Another good Urban Fantasy I’d add is the Iron Druid Chronicles.

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I just remembered! In terms of CoGs in the urban fiction genre, I think City’s Thirst and Choice of the Deathless would fit the bill (they’re also a couple of my personal favorites).

They’re both by Max Gladstone, who is also the author of (among other things) the Craft Sequence series, which is the same universe the games I mentioned are set in.


The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch are fantastic. Strong characters, diverse cast, and real consequences the echo throughout the series. I adore these books. Great dry humor, too.

Also great are the October Daye books by Seanan Mcguire. Elaborate fae rules, interesting characters, and a plot that just keeps pushing bigger without losing track of how it all got started. First book or two is weaker than the rest.

And then, though they aren’t really urban fantasy (despite taking place in cities where the city is very much a character): Perdido Street Station & City of Saints and Madmen.


Second vote for Rivers of London and Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence. I’ve heard Charles de Lint described as a father of the genre but haven’t yet read his stuff. War for the Oaks by Emma Bull and War of the Flowers by Tad Williams are both good. Little, Big by John Crowley will be too “literary” for some (or just too weird) but is brilliant and original, not least in its (now much-imitated) down-and-out in magical New York section. And finally, check out Tim Powers (especially “Last Call” and “Anubis Gates” for urban fantasy) and Sean Stewart (especially “Galveston”)–I’ve yet to read a bad book by either of them. “Declare,” Powers’ Cold War spy story with magicians and djinn, is especially good.

Oh, and you might enjoy a lot of Neil Gaiman. Try American Gods and the “Fables & Reflections” Sandman graphic novel for starts.

Edit: how did I miss Perdido St Station? A hundred times yes, and roll straight on into Iron Council and The Scar.


I enjoyed Moonlight by Alaya Johnson a lot - prohibition era urban fantasy with vampires, witches, and djinni! Fun and action packed while still being thoughtful.


Thank you all for your suggestions!

I’ll most likely begin with the Dresden Files after my next book. However, I’ll definitly take a look at the rest of the suggestions as well!

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One thing to be wary about with Dresden (and the only reason I don’t rec it despite enjoying the books) is that they are rather sexist. Part of that is the character Harry being sexist, but then are parts where it seems more part of the author’s worldview. The books (and Harry) do get better, but that honestly isn’t a high bar. There are also a few scenes re: LGBTQ+ that made me wince.

That said, I own these books. Justine is one of my favorite characters ever. The plots are fun to read. When I reached Changes I had to literally walk away for a bit mid-book. I just want to make sure you have the caveat before you dive in.

I do really love the books, the writing is great and the storylines are really imaginative and mix a whole lot of myths and legends into it which is right up my alley, but you’re right in that it’s not perfect. One of the things I liked about the TV series is they seemed to improve racial representation. It’s a bit of a weird mix in that there is some sexism in the way women are portayed in that most of them are described as being attractive and quite a few as potential RO’s (which is unfortunately something you see all over the place in the mainstream media), but on the other hand there’s many strong female characters with both strengths and weaknesses underneath that. (Arguably the most powerful figures in the books are all female- re the faerie mothers, queens and ladies.) Dresden admits he has issues with wanting to protect women, something that many of the women in the story respond to by telling him to “go jump, they can look after themselves” either directly or with their actions. Could use improvement in the writing LGBTQ with sensitivity area.

Another series that might interest you although it does stray further into the pure fantasy rather than the urban in much of the book is the Magicians by Grossman. (It does contain mature themes.) On the other hand unlike the dresden files, I definitely do not recommend the TV adaption as the storyline has been twisted or stuff left out to the point that it makes no sense in places, combined with a whole heap of things that seem to be played primarily for shock value or to involve pointless gratuitous nudity. (At least it did in the first series I saw anyway.)

If you haven’t seen it and have an interest in Mythology set in the present day, I enjoyed the American Gods TV series. I did read the first book and weirdly enough since I usually find the opposite happens, didn’t think it was as good. Only read the first book but it wasn’t bad either. (Again, contains mature themes warning.)

You can’t say urban fantasy without Neil Gaiman. So his works: Neverwhere, American Gods, Anansi Boys… all that.

Christopher Moore has some books that might fit the bill. They lean towards humor first, but fantasy is in there. Same for Tom Holt.

Artemis Fowl series. Gods of Manhattan series. Milkweed Triptych Series with Bitter Seeds as the first one (it’s in 1939, WWII with magic). Sandman Slim series. Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. Ray Bradbury: all of it.

Some are still on my to-read list but most I have read and enjoyed.

As someone who read the first books for Dresden, I think you’ve surpassed Jim Butcher’s writing.

Wow that’s…really an amazing compliment! I hope I can live up to it!