10 Fresh Urban Fantasy Books and Series

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack.

Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

Canary Street Press

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I’ve been a fantasy girlie since forever, but only just got into urban fantasy, and I have to say I’m here for it. I love how it’s modern and oftentimes city-based setting, which is a large part of the defining difference between it and other fantasy sub-genres, allows you to get right straight to the mess. I really appreciate world-building when it’s done well, and I like a fantasy map included at the beginning of a book like the next girl, but it’s also just nice to get right into the lore and not have to learn too much.

Since urban fantasy takes place in our world, there isn’t much explaining to do, setting-wise. We just get to jump into whatever, monster, witch, werewolf, etc. mess there is to get into, and that’s that. I also like how, since the setting of urban fantasy is so close to our own, it can help you see the slightest possibility of magic in the mundane.

The roundup of urban fantasy below includes some standalone books and series, and is broken up by adult and YA. They dabble in magical jade gangs, fine-ass Aztec vampires, cozy UK witches, and more.

Adult Urban Fantasy

Book cover of Certain Dark ThingsBook cover of Certain Dark Things

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Street kid, Domingo, meets Atl, a beautiful and mesmerizing descendent of Aztec blood drinkers. Together, the two of them try to make it out of Mexico City alive with the threat of rival vampires, cops, and criminals closing in on them from all sides.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna Book CoverThe Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna Book Cover

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Witches are few and far between in the UK, which is why Mika Moon and her group of witches meet only so often — safety is the priority, and too many witches in one place tend to draw attention. Even though Mika is used to the loneliness, a big part of her rejects it, and she posts videos on a YouTube-like site where she shares magic tips, pretending to be a witch. But someone sees her for what she really is and invites her to a house out in the middle of nowhere to tutor three young witches into their magic. Somehow, she agrees and finds with the inhabitants of the house — especially a grumpy librarian — a family like none she’s ever experienced. But the transition from being a loner orphan witch to a loved one isn’t easy, and she’ll have to make some changes to adjust.

Mandanna also has A Witch’s Guide to Magical Innkeeping, which, though it shares some similarities with The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, isn’t listed as a follow-up.

cover of Demons of Good and Evil by Kim Harrisoncover of Demons of Good and Evil by Kim Harrison

The Hollows series by Kim Harrison

In Demons of Good and Evil, the 17th in The Hollows series, witch-born demon Rachel Morgan has her work cut out for her as the protector of the paranormal citizens of Cincinnati. She feels this especially well once she’s framed for murder and the vampire leaders in DC get involved. Now Rachel and her friends are in hiding, and to make it out alive, she’ll need to make an unsavory deal.

To start at the beginning, pick up Dead Witch Walking.

cover of Discount Armageddoncover of Discount Armageddon

InCryptid series by Seanan McGuire

This is the first in McGuire’s bestselling and award-nominated InCryptid series. It follows Verity Price, who is part of a family that protects cryptids from humans and vice versa. She’s not really into the family business, despite her cryptologist training, instead opting for a life of professional ballroom dancing. But then the Price family’s opps — the Covenant of St. George — start sending monsters her way, and now she’s got to deal with a Covenant boy, strange lizard men, and rumors of a dragon beneath the city.

The 13th in this series, Aftermarket Afterlife, just came out on March 5th.

Jade City by Fonda Lee Book CoverJade City by Fonda Lee Book Cover

The Green Bone Saga series by Fonda Lee

This award-nominated series has all the blood feuds, magic, and martial arts you could hope for. In it, the Green Bone clans used to protect the island Kekon and its valuable and rare magical jade. The Kaul family — a crime syndicate — is one of those families, and once the tensions get too high between them and their greatest rivals, there is open violence in the streets.

Jade City is the first book.

YA Urban Fantasy

Bad Witch Burning coverBad Witch Burning cover

Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis

Katrell is a mess. Period. It’s not her fault, though. Her mother is even more of a mess and exploits her daughter’s ability that allows her to speak to the dead. The money Katrell gets from connecting people with their departed loved ones goes towards paying for said deadbeat mother and whoever her mother’s abusive loser-of-the-month boyfriend is. All while (barely) going to high school and working a low-wage job. Bless her heart, you know how much I would be charging with that power?! I would have what they call eff-you money. Katrell is young and doesn’t know any better, though, and it shows. She’s warned one day by her best friend’s dead grandmother during a session to stop communing with the dead, but she doesn’t listen. And, it gets bad bad.

cover image of Lobizona by Romina Garber showing a drawn girl with the moon shining behind hercover image of Lobizona by Romina Garber showing a drawn girl with the moon shining behind her

Wolves of No World series by Romina Garber

Lobizona is the first of the Wolves of No World trilogy and follows Manuela “Manu” Azul, who is living as an undocumented immigrant in Miami, Florida, to evade her father’s Argentine crime family. But then her adoptive grandmother is attacked and her mother is arrested by ICE, which finally allows her to move freely in the world. As she starts to investigate her past, she learns of a secret world full of Argentine folklore and how, for some families, every seventh daughter is born a bruja, and every seventh son a lobizón (or werewolf).

Book cover of Blood DebtsBook cover of Blood Debts

Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker

Here, Cristina and Clement Trudeau, two 16-year-old twins, are descendants of a powerful magical family in New Orleans. They used to be close, but now they find their family in shambles: the talented Cristina has given up her magic because of a tragedy, their father is dead, their mother is cursed, and Clement is trying to fill an emotional void with random hookups. But then they realize someone is after their family, and that it has something to do with a woman who was killed 30 years ago. If they can finally come together, they can save their family, and New Orleans from having another massacre.

There’s a second book (Blood Justice) that’s due to come out on April 23rd this year, but it’s not clear if the two books will be a duology or part of a series.

the cover of Legendbornthe cover of Legendborn

The Legendborn Cycle series by Tracy Deonn

This urban fantasy series also counts as an Arthurian retelling. In it, 16-year-old Bree Matthews wants to get away from home after her mother dies in an accident, and UNC-Chapell Hill’s residential program for bright high schoolers provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. But then she sees a magical attack on her first night there, which leads to her learning of a secret society full of people called Legendbord, who are descendants of King Arthur’s knights. After her own magic is unlocked and she learns that there was magic involved with her mother’s death, she infiltrates the society to find out more. Thing is, there’s a war coming, and she’ll have to decide whose side she’s on and how to use her power.

cover fo Wicked Foxcover fo Wicked Fox

Gumiho series by Kat Cho

So far, there are two books out in this series, which follows 18-year-old Gu Miyoung, who has a secret: she’s a nine-tailed fox demon (gumiho) who eats men’s energy to survive. With all the evil men in the world — and people’s lack of belief in folklore these days — hunting is made super easy in the big city of Seoul, Korea. But maybe she had life too easy, because she decides to save a human boy from a goblin in the forest one day, and it makes her lose her fox bead, aka, her gumiho soul. As she and the boy she saved, Jihoon, grow closer, she’ll have to make a choice between him or having her immortal soul back.

Once you’re done getting your soul snatched by these urban fantasy books and series, make sure to check out the list of Ridiculously-Good Fantasy Books Like Baldur’s Gate, and The 10 Best Hugo Award Winners.

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