Fantasy, Now with more Magic

Not every novel needs to be a great classic of literature -sometimes what you need is a fun read. One popular sub-genre of science fiction these days is urban fantasy.  These stories are set in the real world but with the addition of magic.  Examples range from Charles De Lint's literary works to thinly disguised paranormal romances.
One of the first urban fantasy novels I can remember reading is War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. It won the Locus award for best first novel back in 1987.  It still holds up in spite of the outdated tech. A newer discovery is Stephen Blackmoore.  I turned up my nose at his first book because zombies just don't interest me.  Somehow Dead Things did catch my eye with the blurb "Necromancer is such an ugly word but it's a title Eric Carter is stuck with".  The protagonist isn't a nice guy or a hero but he's not evil either.  He's just trying to muddle through a really bad situation as best he can when he goes back home after his sister's murder.
 
If you're looking for a bit of light weight campy vampire fun, try Jeaniene Frost, starting with Halfway to the Grave. I give this author a thumbs up. The paranormal romance sub-genre isn't usually to my taste, but I devoured all of this author's books in short order.  Make no mistake. These are not technically "good" books.  Parts are even laughably bad, but somehow I just kept picking up the next book.  Think of it as a bag of chips... You know you ought to just pour a few in a bowl and put the bag away and yet... 
If you'd prefer more plot with your monsters try Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson series, starting with Moon Called.  Mercy is a VW mechanic in the Tri-Cities in eastern Washington.  She's also a skinwalker who can transform into a coyote.  However, in a world with vampires, fae and werewolves turning into a 30 odd pound coyote leaves one rather under-powered.  
 
Soon I'll be catching up with is Charles de Lint's Newford series.  Set in a fictional Canadian town that borders a magical otherworld, the series features a number of standalone novels and short stories that are mentioned frequently in awards shortlists.
 
Happy reading!

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