Get ready to lose yourself in the captivating world of urban fantasy, with these unreal Urban Fantasy books where the ordinary and the magical collide in the most extraordinary ways.
Each book on our list offers a unique combination of urban grit and fantastical elements, illuminating the extraordinary hidden within the ordinary. Be prepared to wander through neon-lit streets lined with arcane shops, delve into secretive supernatural societies, be trapped on a mysterious island, or delve into the world of wolves and witness the breathtaking clash between magic and technology.
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Best Urban Fantasy Books
Whether you’re a seasoned fan of urban fantasy or new to the genre, this curated selection aims to satisfy your cravings for gripping narratives, intricate world-building, and unforgettable characters. In these 36 Urban Fantasy books, we have something for everyone. Gritty, realistic Vampire lore. Bloody and violent wolves. Mysterious witches. Magical Spellcasters. Ranging from YA to Adult Fantasy, we have no doubt something will pique your interest!
A Blade So Black – L.L. McKinney
In this cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alice in Wonderland, 17-year-old Alice Kingston struggles to balance her normal teenage life in Atlanta and her calling to battle the Nightmares slipping into the mundane world from Wonderland.
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head… literally.
Book of Night – Holly Black
Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make.
She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall.
Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but getting out isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that Charlie’s shadowless, and possibly soulless, boyfriend has been hiding things from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends into a maelstrom of murder and lies.
Determined to survive, she’s up against a cast of doppelgangers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world—all trying to steal a secret that will give them vast and terrible power.
As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business—to put it mildly—stinks.
So when the Chicago P.D. bring him in to consult on a double homicide committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name…
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way our of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…
City of Bones
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
The City We Became
In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn’t remember who he is, where he’s from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power.
In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it’s as if the paint is literally calling to her.
In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels.
And they’re not the only ones.
Dead Witch Walking
The first book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s Hollows series!
All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party . . . and to feed.
Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining—and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.
A bounty hunter and a witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ’em back alive, dead . . . or undead.
Dead Until Dark
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Bon Temps, Louisiana. She’s quiet, doesn’t get out much, and tends to mind her own business—except when it comes to her “disability.” Sookie can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable. Then along comes Bill Compton. He’s tall, dark, handsome—and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…
But Bill has a disability of his own: he’s a vampire with a bad reputation. And when a string of murders hits Bon Temps—along with a gang of truly nasty bloodsuckers looking for Bill—Sookie starts to wonder if having a vampire for a boyfriend is such a bright idea.
Rosemary and Rue
The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie’s survival—but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born.
Outsiders from birth, these half-human, half-fae children spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or, in the case of October “Toby” Daye, rejecting it completely. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating into a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, Faerie has other ideas…
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose, one of the secret regents of the San Francisco Bay Area, pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant to the Duke of Shadowed Hills and begin renewing old alliances that may prove her only hope of solving the mystery…before the curse catches up with her.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone
The first book in the New York Times bestselling epic fantasy trilogy by award-winning author Laini Taylor
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
Mercy Thompson is a shapeshifter, and while she was raised by werewolves, she can never be one of them, especially after the pack ran her off for having a forbidden love affair. So she’s turned her talent for fixing cars into a business and now runs a one-woman mechanic shop in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State.
Mercy’s two worlds are colliding. A half-starved teenage boy arrives at her shop looking for work, only to reveal that he’s a newly changed werewolf. Mercy asks her neighbor Adam Hauptman, the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, for assistance.
But Mercy’s act of kindness has unexpected consequences that leave her no choice but to seek help from those she once considered family—the werewolves who abandoned her…
Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.
Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.
The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.
A storm is coming . . .
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined—it is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own. Along the way Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.
House of Earth and Blood
Sarah J. Maas
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life-working hard all day and partying all night-until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear.
Halfway to the Grave
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.
Karen Marie Moning
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks . . . until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death—a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone—Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae. . . .
Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.
Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.
Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1)
Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country is about to recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.
Kitty and The Midnight Hour
Kitty Norville is a midnight-shift DJ for a Denver radio station and a werewolf in the closet. Her new late-night advice show for the supernaturally disadvantaged is a raging success, but it’s Kitty who can use some help. With one sexy werewolf-hunter and a few homicidal undead on her tail, Kitty may have bitten off more than she can chew?
Night Shift (Jill Kismet #1)
A new heroine hits the urban fantasy scene in this spectacular series about an exorcist by New York Times bestselling author, Lilith Saintcrow.
When things go bump in the night, I bump back. Hard.
Every city has a hunter — someone brave enough, tough enough, and fearless enough to take on the nightside. Santa Luz is lucky. They’ve got Jill Kismet. With a hellbreed mark on her wrist and a lot of silverjacket ammo, she’s fully trained and ready to take on the world.
Except the world isn’t the problem. The problem is hellbreed thinking they can run her town, and a clutch of nightmarish murders. It looks like a rogue Were is killing his way through Santa Luz, and he’s got help. So does Jill — but help isn’t what this new hunter needs. She needs a miracle. But miracles are in short supply. Better stick with more ammo. . .
Welcome to the Night Shift. . .
Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake is small, dark, and dangerous. Her turf is the city of St. Louis. Her job: re-animating the dead and killing the undead who take things too far. But when the city’s most powerful vampire asks her to solve a series of vicious slayings, Anita must confront her greatest fear—her undeniable attraction to master vampire Jean-Claude, one of the creatures she is sworn to destroy…
“What The Da Vinci Code did for the religious thriller, the Anita Blake series has done for the vampire novel.”—USA Today
Burn for Me
Nevada Baylor runs a small-time detective agency in Houston, Texas, busting scammers, exposing cheaters, and dealing with petty criminals.
Connor “Mad” Rogan is a former combat mage, a telekinetic singularly responsible for mass destruction in war-torn countries, and a member of one of the most powerful magic families in the world
Bound by their mission, Nevada and Connor clash over their tactics and moral beliefs, even as things undeniably heat up between them. But the man they’re chasing is involved in a darker conspiracy that threatens to destroy the city—and destabilize the balance of power the elite magical families use to influence every nation on Earth.
Rivers of London
My name is Peter Grant and until recently I was just another probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right thinking people as the Metropolitan Police and by everyone else as the filth. My only concerns in life were avoiding a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – We do paperwork so other coppers don’t have to – and where to get a hot coffee while on late shift. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from a man who was dead, but disturbingly voluble and that brought me to the attention Chief Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in Britain.
There’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious, vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.
Broken Elements (Elements #1)
Though Aidan tries to outrun her past, the grisly murder of an old friend draws her back to the scene of her crimes. In Lake Tahoe, she only finds more trouble. An estranged best friend, a dangerously attractive landlord, and a couple of FBI agents are determined to complicate her life…and for the first time in years, she doesn’t mind a few complications.
As the killer grows increasingly fixated on Aidan, her past and present begin to collide. To defeat the killer, she must learn to control her power—before her broken magic fails her for the final time.
Amongst Our Weapons
There is a world hidden underneath this great city.
The London Silver Vaults—for well over a century, the largest collection of silver for sale in the world. It has more locks than the Bank of England and more cameras than a paparazzi convention.
Not somewhere you can murder someone and vanish without a trace—only that’s what happened.
The disappearing act, the reports of a blinding flash of light, and memory loss amongst the witnesses all make this a case for Detective Constable Peter Grant and the Special Assessment Unit.
Alongside their boss DCI Thomas Nightingale, the SAU find themselves embroiled in a mystery that encompasses London’s tangled history, foreign lands and, most terrifying of all, the North!
And Peter must solve this case soon, because back home his partner Beverley is expecting twins any day now. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s about to encounter something—and somebody—that nobody ever expects…
Borderline (The Arcadia Project #1)
A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.
For her first assignment, Millie is tasked with tracking down a missing movie star who also happens to be a nobleman of the Seelie Court. To find him, she’ll have to smooth-talk Hollywood power players and uncover the surreal and sometimes terrifying truth behind the glamour of Tinseltown.
Daniel José Older
Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.
One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague.
Some Girls Bite
First in a brand new series about a Chicago graduate student’s introduction into a society of vampires.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
London Falling (The Shadow Police #1)
Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London. Or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.
Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. The history of a Tudor queen becomes entwined in their pursuit of a witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.
The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1)
K. D. Edwards
The last member of a murdered House searches for a missing nobleman, and uncovers clues about his own tortured past.
Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home. With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts.
As they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man. A legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past?
A Darker Shade Of Magic
V. E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
Ninth House (Alex Stern #1)
Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?
Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.
The Ward Witch (Unholy Island #1)
Esme Gray runs the guest house and tends to the ethereal wards that protect the island. She’s sheltering from a terrible past and will do anything to stay safely hidden.
Luke Taylor has been searching for his missing twin for months, but has begun to believe that his brother might be dead. With his hope in tatters, a tip off leads him to a remote tidal island in the North Sea. It’s further out than the famous Holy Island, and far stranger.
Visitors shouldn’t be able to stay for more than two nights. When Luke breaks this rule, the close-knit community is then sent into turmoil. The residents of Unholy Island have secrets and they intend to keep them.
When Luke stumbles across one of the islanders dead on the shore, he finds himself under suspicion. Soon made worse by his own troubles washing up on the tide.
Court of Shadows (Shadow Fae #1)
Rags to riches is supposed to be a nice fantasy. Going from a cheap London hovel to an elite fae institute should be amazing, especially when it involves a medieval castle.
It’s just not so great when the aristocratic jerks in the Tower want to crush you.
It starts when a lethally gorgeous fae–Ruadan–hunts me down. He’s known as the Wraith, and he’s taken a vow of silence to snuff out illegal magic. Fae magic that I possess. The Wraith lets me live on one condition: I have to earn my place at the Court of the Shadow Fae. I’m a survivor. I think I can manage the competition.
Too bad the posh recruits have it in for me. Worse, I’m forced to share a room with the silent Wraith, who is as sinister as he is hot. All it takes is one slip up, and I’m out. And at the Court of the Shadow Fae, failure means death.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
Patricia Campbell’s life has never felt smaller. Her husband is a workaholic, her teenage kids have their own lives, her senile mother-in-law needs constant care, and she’s always a step behind on her endless to-do list. The only thing keeping her sane is her book club, a close-knit group of Charleston women united by their love of true crime. At these meetings they’re as likely to talk about the Manson family as they are about their own families.
One evening after book club, Patricia is viciously attacked by an elderly neighbor. This brings the neighbor’s handsome nephew, James Harris, into her life. When children on the other side of town go missing, their deaths written off by local police. Patricia has reason to believe James Harris is more of a Bundy than a Brad Pitt. The real problem? James is a monster of a different kind—and Patricia has already invited him in.
Twilight (Twilight #1)
When seventeen-year-old Isabella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father she expects that her new life will be as dull as the town itself.
In spite of her awkward manner and low expectations, she finds that her new classmates are drawn to this pale, dark-haired new girl in town.
Bella is convinced that Edward Cullen in particular hates her. He seems determined to push her away – until, that is, he saves her life from an out of control car.
Bella will soon discover that there is a very good reason for Edward’s coldness. He, and his family, are vampires – and he knows how dangerous it is for others to get too close.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Urban Fantasy books?
Urban Fantasy books are fantasy books which are based in modern times or cities. These typically allow for more ‘realistic’ fantasy elements as well as allow readers to picture magic in their day-to-day lives.
Is Harry Potter an urban fantasy?
Some say YES, some say NO! Harry Potter does not take place in cities, rather isolated (for the most part) in a fantastical magic school, so it misses some of the gritty reality that urban fantasy brings.
We’ve been a little generous on this list 😉
What is the difference between historical fiction and fantasy?
Contemporary Fantasy is Fantasy set in present time (or the present time of the author) and in our own world. Urban fantasy is the same with the difference that it is specifically set in a city or a densely populated area.
Enjoyed these Urban Fantasy books? Why not try out a blast from the past with Historical Fantasy?