My last post talked about what urban fantasy is. Now I’m going to touch on some of my favorite UF authors. Like I said, I love UF, so there are a lot of authors I read. They mostly tend to be female authors with strong female leads. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good male UF authors, Jim Butcher is very good, as is Charles de Lint, I just tend to read more female authors.
Mercedes Lackey (bibliography) has several stories which could be classified as Urban Fantasy. They all came out in the very late ’80s and early ’90s. I’m not sure that I would classify them as straight UF so much as pre-UF or early UF. There are 3 series that she, along with her husband, wrote. SERRAted Edge, Bedlam’s Bard, and Diane Tregarde. They are all set in the same universe and there is some small connection from series to series.
SERRAted Edge is basically about elves want to start racing. Because they can’t race in stock cars because of the metal content, they’ve created their own racing league, SERRA, with somewhat different rules. Most of their cars are elven steeds who take the shape of the cars. However, that doesn’t work well for inspections. The elves bring in a metallurgist to fake them. There are struggles against the dark elves and a million other things. There are kitsune, wizards, dragons, and other fun, magical creatures. I think that there have been some books printed since the turn of this century. I haven’t read the series in a while, I think it’s time to reread it.
Diane Tregarde is a Wiccan who is a Guardian. She is in the business of fighting off all the big bads, along with other Guardians. She also has a vampire lover. There is a small crossover here with SERRAted edge. In one of the books, Diane has to go to OK, and she meets a teenager who will end up being a main character in SERRAted Edge.
Bedlam’s Bard has a main character who is a magical violinist. He doesn’t quite realize it until he summons up Nightflyers at his audition for Julliard, which then messes up his life. Eventually, he gets control of his powers, helps save the homes of the elves, stops gang wars, etc.
Laurell K Hamilton
When I think of urban fantasy, I really go straight to LKH (Bibliography) and Anita Blake. I first found Anita in my sophomore year in college, for those of you playing along at home, that was ’98. By that time, she already had 7 books out I started the first one, and then hit up the library for the rest. I know own most of them in either e-formant or paper. Anita’s books take place in a St. Louis where magical creatures are widely known. There are laws about vampires up before Congress which may declare the vampires people or not. Anita, on top of raising zombies, is a licensed vampire hunter, nicknamed The Executioner for her high rate of kills. In the first few books, the focus was more on Anita’s job and her work with the police. The later books got pretty sex heavy and all of Anita’s job fell by the wayside. The most recent books are working on getting a better balance, but there is a heavier focus on Anita’s magic vagina saves the world than I particularly like. I have nothing against sex in books. I mean, hello, look at some of the other books I’ve talked about, but it didn’t seem to happen in an organic fashion to me. I don’t know that I’ll continue to read any more of her books because I can’t just seem to get interested in them anymore.
LKH also wrote the Merry Gentry series. Merry is the American Faerie Princess. She can trace her lineage back both the light and dark Sidhe. The series starts out with her having run away and hidden for 3 years, until something happens and her aunt sends her Darkness out to bring her back. This series started out with sex, lots of it, and lots of participants of it. The plot is good. The reason that the sex doesn’t bother me here is that it was never anything other. I will read new Merry Gentry books, if LKH ever comes out with more.
Faith Hunter is one of my most favorite UF authors ever. Her main character is Jane Yellowrock, a skinwalker and 100% Cherokee woman. Jane is the premier vampire killer in the country. Part of what makes her so good is that she can switch to her mountain lion self, Beast, and hunt them at night. No one knows that she is a skinwalker, except for her BFF Molly Everheart and her husband and kids. In the first book, Jane is headed into New Orleans to find and kill a rogue vampire. She’s been hired by the current head of the city, Leo, to come in and take care of it. When she does, she exposes certain secrets that were being hidden and starts a whole slew of thing in motion, some of which are just now starting to show up, several books later. Faith has plotted so well.
Soulwood is a spinoff of the Jane Yellowrock series. In it, we meet Nell, who helped Jane rescue some vampires and kill off the bad guys. Nell isn’t quite human, and is tied to her land. Rick LeFluer, sent to Nell to try to recruit her to a supernatural police department, manages to get her on his team. So far, there are only 2 books from this series out, but the 3rd comes out later this year. I already have it on pre-order. I really love pre-order.
OK, UF pt. 3 will come out tomorrow with more to the list of my fave UF authors, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, CE Murphy, and Jim Butcher.