The technical urban fantasy definition is: a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. Works of urban fantasy are set primarily in the real world and contain aspects of fantasy. A contemporary setting is not strictly necessary for a work of urban fantasy: works of the genre may also take place in futuristic and historical settings.
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Vassa in the Night is my favorite urban fantasy novel. It’s a retelling of Vasilisa the Beautiful set in a magical version of Brooklyn, and it’s as whimsy as it is macabre. It’s also one of the weirdest YA books I’ve ever read, so if weird isn’t your thing this may not work for you.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
If you want something on the lighter side, try Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, a new adult book that has little romance and lots of demons. It’s about demon-fighting bartenders in Chicago, and I found it addicting. Also, Chinese-American main character.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Tired of straight, white vampire books set in the US? Certain Dark Things is a paranormal noir about the vampire descendants of Aztec blood drinkers, and it’s set in Mexico City. There are vampire gang rivalries, action, romance, and a bisexual main character.
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
I may not have loved everything about this book, but it’s still a urban fantasy novel I recommend, especially to younger teens – if I had read this when I was the main character’s age (15), I know I would have loved this.
Labyrinth Lost is the first book in an urban fantasy series set in Brooklyn, which follows a family of brujas (latinx witches). Every book is narrated from a different point of view. This first one follows Alex, who is bisexual, and it’s about a creepy parallel universe and a love triangle.
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
If you want to read an urban fantasy book set in a fictional city, I recommend This Savage Song: it’s set in Verity, a city haunted by monsters and even more monstrous humans. There’s barely any romance, a lot of violence, a lot of action and I had a lot of feelings.
What are your favorite urban fantasy books?