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February SFFKIT: Urban Fantasy

2018 Category Challenge

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1mathgirl40
Edited: Feb 1, 2018, 8:02am Top

     

What is urban fantasy? The simple answer, as suggested by its name, is "a fantasy that takes place in an urban setting", but there is much more to it than that. There are good explanations in Damien Walter's Guardian article, "Urban fantasy fiction: there's more to it than sex with were-leopards", and in A. J. Blakemont's blog post, "Urban Fantasy: Definition and Characteristics".

Charles de Lint is considered by some to a pioneer of urban fantasy and he is also a favourite of mine, so I encourage you to look at his books. Most are set in the fictional city of Newford, and though they are loosely connected, many can be read as standalone books. A great place to start is his short-story collection Dreams Underfoot.

Some other examples of urban fantasy include:
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (London)
The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (Chicago)
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch (London)
The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (San Francisco)
The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff (Calgary)

One series I've recently discovered is Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. I think his books are an excellent example of urban fantasy as they examine certain aspects of a city, like its laws, corporations and infrastructure, in a fantastical setting.

Take a browse through the Best Urban Fantasy list on LibraryThing for more ideas and please share your own!

Here are some ideas for discussion:
What is it about urban fantasy that appeals to you?
Who are your favourite authors and which are your favourite works in this genre?
Where is your book set? Is it a fictional or real place? If it is a real place that you've visited, does the author do a good job of describing the look and capturing the atmosphere?

As a personal request, I'd love to hear about urban fantasy set in cities not in the UK, US or Canada. I don't have anything against those places, but I read enough from those areas and would like to branch out!

Please add your books to the Wiki here:
https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2018_SFFKIT#February:

2majkia
Edited: Jan 14, 2018, 12:30pm Top

I'm planning on Hunted by Kevin Hearne. I definitely need me some Oberon. I listen to the audio books because Luke Daniels's rendition of Oberon is so fabulous.

ETA: to fix the right book in the series.

3scaifea
Jan 14, 2018, 1:57pm Top

>2 majkia: Oooh, I need to get round the the Hearne books - I've heard so many good things about them.

If my ILL request comes in time, I think I'll count Our Lady of Darkness for this one.

4whitewavedarling
Jan 14, 2018, 2:44pm Top

I've been away from Laurell K. Hamilton for too long, and enjoy both of her urban fantasy series, so my plan is to get back to her this month.

5VioletBramble
Jan 14, 2018, 3:58pm Top

I'm planning to read A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab for this CAT. It's set in various other Londons - Red London, Grey London, Black London.

6virginiahomeschooler
Jan 14, 2018, 8:48pm Top

I have a question. I searched through the urban fantasy tag to see if I might have some on my shelf that qualify, and ones like Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse books and Twilight were among those listed. I would not have thought of those as urban fantasy at all. Am I wrong? I'm simply curious. I don't plan to read either of those. I'll probably read Grave Peril, which is the next Dresden book in line for me.

7mathgirl40
Jan 15, 2018, 9:20am Top

>2 majkia: I'm always swayed by great audio narrations, so I'll definitely keep this one in mind for future reading!

>3 scaifea: This one looks good too, especially the horror element.

>4 whitewavedarling: I've never read any Laurell K. Hamilton, despite her being so prolific. This really ought to be remedied!

>5 VioletBramble: I really enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic myself, and especially the idea of alternate Londons.

>6 virginiahomeschooler: There is often confusion between the genres Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, mostly because there is so much overlap, but they are not the same. I've not read the two series you've mentioned so I can't really say whether they qualify. If they take place in an urban setting, and that setting is a key element of the story, then they probably do fit.

It's hard to say what "key element of the story" means, but for me, a book is urban fantasy if the same plot and characters would produce a substantially different story if put in a non-urban setting. For example, I really enjoy Charles de Lint's stories because they explore urban elements like the arts scene and social work, and Ben Aaronovitch's books because the plots involve well-known locations in London. Having said that, simply "set in an urban area and involving fantasy elements" is sufficient as a qualification for this month's theme. :)

8whitewavedarling
Jan 15, 2018, 10:38am Top

>7 mathgirl40:, her Anita Blake series was the first urban fantasy I ever read, and I fell in love with it back when she first began them. I've wandered in and out since then--over the years, they've changed quite a bit and gotten more and more flavored with romance, but I still adore them!

9virginiahomeschooler
Jan 15, 2018, 11:07am Top

>7 mathgirl40: Twilight is set in a little town in the Pacific Northwest called Forks...i can't remember if it's Oregon or Washington. But it's definitely not what I'd call a city. Same for Sookie. Those are small town Louisiana. Like I said, i don't plan on reading those for this or anything. It just surprised me that they'd be tagged as such and was wondering if I'm just missing something in the definition. I've only ever read a few that I think would qualify. A couple of the Dresden Files books and one of Aaronovitch's. So I'm not well versed in the genre. Thanks for the help in clarifying it. :)

10christina_reads
Jan 15, 2018, 11:43am Top

I'm planning to read Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire, the first book in her InCryptid series, which is set in New York City.

11DeltaQueen50
Jan 15, 2018, 9:50pm Top

Not being very sure of what is or is not Urban Fantasy, I searched for urban fantasy tags and came up with The Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell so that is what I am planning on reading.

12Robertgreaves
Jan 16, 2018, 3:23am Top

I think The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovich is my only book that fits this category.

13majkia
Jan 16, 2018, 8:28am Top

>11 DeltaQueen50: A lot of us aren't sure, LOL. Close enough!

14Crazymamie
Jan 16, 2018, 9:20am Top

I'll probably reread Night Broken, the eighth book in Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series - I started rereading through this series last year, and this is the last one I have left to reread before continuing into the books I have not read yet. And I might read Chimes at Midnight, which is the seventh book in Seanan McGuire's October Daye series.

15owlie13
Jan 16, 2018, 12:19pm Top

Since this is one of my favorite genres, I'll have no trouble with this one. I'm currently re-reading the Dresden Files in order, as well as The Hollows series by Kim Harrison. They take place in Cincinnati, and the city setting is important. If you are unfamiliar with this excellent series, and want to give it a try, the first is Dead Witch Walking.

16Kristelh
Jan 17, 2018, 8:12pm Top

I am planning on reading Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older for February kit.

17mathgirl40
Jan 17, 2018, 8:52pm Top

>8 whitewavedarling: I will definitely keep that recommendation in mind!

>9 virginiahomeschooler: I too was surprised by some of the titles I saw in the various Urban Fantasy lists.

>10 christina_reads: I'm a big fan of Seanan McGuire (a.k.a. Mira Grant), though I've not yet tried her InCryptid series.

>11 DeltaQueen50: A story that features a supermarket chain? That sounds pretty urban to me. :)

>12 Robertgreaves: Can't go wrong with Aaronovitch!

>13 majkia: No kidding. I'm happy to let everyone here make his/her own call about what counts as Urban Fantasy. :)

>14 Crazymamie: I'd like to continue with the October Daye series too, but honestly, McGuire writes faster than I can read!

>15 owlie13: I've not read anything by Kim Harrison yet. Thanks for the recommendation.

>16 Kristelh: This looks like another intriguing series I'll have to add to my wishlist.

18christina_reads
Jan 18, 2018, 11:15am Top

>17 mathgirl40: I've really enjoyed the Toby Daye series, so I'm looking forward to trying a different one!

19leslie.98
Jan 20, 2018, 12:15am Top

I was just posting elsewhere that it is time for me to spend some time with Charles de Lint's Newford series so this is the perfect nudge for me to do it in February! Maybe I will read Tapping the Dream Tree or Moonlight and Vines...

20mathgirl40
Jan 20, 2018, 7:22am Top

>19 leslie.98: I'll be joining you in reading from the Newford series. I've got The Ivory and the Horn lined up for February.

21leslie.98
Jan 20, 2018, 3:45pm Top

>20 mathgirl40: It was your mention of The Ivory and the Horn (in the short story thread I think) that prompted me!

22staci426
Jan 21, 2018, 6:41pm Top

>16 Kristelh: I was contemplating reading Shadowshaper also. It's been on my to read list since I heard the author on a podcast a while back.

I've always thought I wasn't a big fan of urban fantasy, but I'm surprised by how many possibilities I have for this month. I hope to get to the next October Daye book, One Salt Sea, and I'd also like to read Hexed by Kevin Hearne.

23virginiahomeschooler
Jan 24, 2018, 11:06am Top

So, I think I've changed my mind decided to go with God Save the Queen. I had thought it wouldn't qualify since it's steampunk, but apparently it is set in modern times and London seems to play an important role in the story. So, unless it shouldn't really be classified urban fantasy, that's what I'll be reading. I think. Maybe.

24majkia
Jan 25, 2018, 8:21am Top

>23 virginiahomeschooler: I've read that, and yeah, it fits.

25virginiahomeschooler
Jan 25, 2018, 9:14am Top

>24 majkia: yay! Thank you. :)

26mathgirl40
Jan 26, 2018, 10:00pm Top

>21 leslie.98: I'm also intrigued by de Lint's new novel, The Wind in His Heart, which has received very positive reviews. However, I don't know how urban the setting is, so I'll stick with a Newford book.

>22 staci426: At one time, I didn't think I liked urban fantasy either, until I started discovering de Lint, McGuire and similar authors.

>23 virginiahomeschooler: This looks like a good choice. There is certainly overlap between the steampunk and urban fantasy genres. Some of China Mieville's books would fit both.

27Tanya-dogearedcopy
Edited: Feb 2, 2018, 4:05pm Top

I'm waiting for my audiobook credit to roll in, and then I plan on dnloading and listening to Whispers Under Ground (Rivers of London/Peter Grant #3 by Ben Aaronovitch and narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.) :-)

EDIT: YAY! I just searched through my storage drive and found my copy of this book! I had purchased it years ago from Tantor Audio's website and archived it without listening to it! Now I can spend my credit on something else... :-)

28Kristelh
Feb 3, 2018, 5:08pm Top

Completed Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older.

29DeltaQueen50
Feb 4, 2018, 10:12am Top

>27 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Good news that you found your copy before using one of your credits to purchase it a second time! I hate it when I find that somehow I've bought more than one copy of a book (and unfortunately, no matter how careful I try to be, it does happen!)

I have completed my read of The Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell. I quite enjoyed this quick read about three women who come together to defeat the forces of evil as represented by a supermarket conglomerate.

30lkernagh
Feb 4, 2018, 4:33pm Top

>29 DeltaQueen50: - I just recently acquired a, e-copy of The Witches of Lychford! Glad to see it holds up as an enjoyable read. Kobo has been trying to entice my to buy book two in the series but I want to hold off until I decide if book one works for me. ;-)

31virginiahomeschooler
Feb 4, 2018, 5:21pm Top

I read Dead Witch Walking, the first in the Hollows series by Kim Harrison and really enjoyed it.

32Tanya-dogearedcopy
Edited: Feb 4, 2018, 9:47pm Top

>29 DeltaQueen50: Yes, I'm glad too! My situation got a little bit more complicated a couple years ago when the main beam of the house, which runs under my home office/library started to give quite a bit. We had to call a structural engineer in. He told us that the weight of my bookcases was stressing the beam and compromising its structural integrity. Cracks starting appearing over certain doorways and in the walls, and our pocket door won't slide properly anymore :-/ We had to get additional supports put in ($$$) and I had to purge my book stacks. Now when I see a book I like, I can't remember if I had it and gave it away, or if I still have a copy on my shelf! I curated by LT book stacks at the time, but unfortunately, I haven't been keeping up with them :-/

The next house we get, though? I'm putting my library on a room set over a concrete pad!

33fuzzi
Feb 4, 2018, 8:10pm Top

>32 Tanya-dogearedcopy: we sometimes joke about our books collapsing the floors, but never think it could happen.

I'm sorry to hear about your problem.

34mathgirl40
Feb 4, 2018, 9:26pm Top

>27 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I enjoyed Whispers Under Ground myself and I do like Kobna Holdbrook Smith's narration of the series.

>28 Kristelh: How did you like it?

>29 DeltaQueen50: >30 lkernagh: Arrgh! Tor Books had a 24-hour giveaway for The Witches of Lychford for its newsletter subscribers but I didn't act on it in time. Anyhow, I'm glad to hear it's a worthwhile read.

>31 virginiahomeschooler: Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

>32 Tanya-dogearedcopy: >33 fuzzi: It's somewhat reassuring to know there are other people with more books than I have. :) I've never worried about the weight of books because unfortunately, I've never been able to use a room primarily as a library so my bookshelves are scattered all over the house.

35hailelib
Edited: Feb 5, 2018, 9:56am Top

Our largest and heaviest bookcases are mostly against load bearing walls and scattered throughout the first floor. So we don't worry much about the weight, just where to put the next books we buy.

I read the next book in the Kitty Norville series and Fated from a series new to me. Liked both.

36DeltaQueen50
Feb 5, 2018, 12:10pm Top

>30 lkernagh: I held off picking up the second book in the Lychford series as well, Lori, but I will probably pick it up now and save it for when I need a quick, light read. I hope it works for you.

>32 Tanya-dogearedcopy: OMG Tanya! I also never really thought that bookcases could do so much damage. I'm sitting here eyeballing two of my heavier bookcases and hoping they don't decide to fall through to the apartment below us! Probably not the best way to meet my new neighbours.

37Kristelh
Feb 6, 2018, 6:20am Top

>34 mathgirl40:, I found the story to be a bit difficult to get into. I enjoyed the book overall and gave it a 3.5 star rating. I liked the Spanish that was sprinkled throughout the book and more so when i could recognize some of the words. The story features a very strong mixed race young lady who is comfortable with her own skin. This is young adult book has a positive message.

38mathgirl40
Feb 6, 2018, 8:54am Top

>37 Kristelh: Thanks for the review! It sounds like it's worth checking out.

39Tanya-dogearedcopy
Feb 6, 2018, 10:10pm Top

Over the weekend, I listened to Whispers Under Ground (Rivers of London/Peter Grant #3 by Ben Aaronovitch, narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.) Peter Grant is a police constable in London who discovers he has some magic skills. In this installment, the search for the hidden wizard who has taught corrupted magic to a number of followers continues as PC Peter Grant himself is called to investigate the death of an American art student found with a pottery shard in his back and sewage on his boots... The pacing of the story was a bit slower than the first two books in the series, but the story is still clever, fun, and well-plotted overall (no loose ends!) The audiobook narrator's voices for characters has gotten richer and better developed. Love this series, and I think I'll listen to all the books in the run this year :-)

The bookcases were only half of the problem regarding the supporting beam. It turned out the house's original footprint had been expanded over the course of five decades. As wings were added to the main house, the beamline was extended so it wasn't all of a single piece. Where the seams met was where additional supports were placed but they were also the points least able to handle the additional stress of twenty-first-century lodes. So now we have concrete pillars underneath the house. Hopefully, that should do it!

40Guanhumara
Edited: Feb 6, 2018, 11:26pm Top

>1 mathgirl40: In response to your request for urban fantasy set in outside the US, UK and Canada, how about trying the "Watch"sequence by Sergey Lukyanenko, starting with Night Watch?

An ancient struggle between Light Others and Dark Others, led by leaders with the names of old Russian gods, has for centuries been held in an uneasy truce. The Night Watch are a team of Light Others, who police the truce on behalf of their side... which is just as well, since Dark Others have a tendency to bite humans. This struggle, unseen by humans, is takes place nightly on the streets of modern Moscow. it is seen through the eyes of Anton, a human who becomes a Light Other.

There are vampires, shapeshifters, witches - and the question of where does Good and Evil stand in all this - all with a distinctively Russian tone.

As to what I'll try to read myself? I need to catch up with Barbara Hambly's James Asher historical spy sequence (with a major vampire protagonist), so I hope to finish Blood Maidens (Book 3), which, incidentally is set in Germany and then St. Petersburg.

41majkia
Feb 7, 2018, 7:18am Top

Started Hunted sixth book in the Iron Druid series.

42mathgirl40
Feb 7, 2018, 9:34am Top

>39 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Glad to hear you enjoyed Whispers Under Ground and good luck with the house!

>40 Guanhumara: The Watch series sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation! I've added this to my wishlist.

>41 majkia: I had to add the first book of this series to my wishlist too, after browsing through the description.

43Crazymamie
Feb 7, 2018, 10:01am Top

I started Chimes at Midnight, the seventh book in Seanan McGuire's October Daye series.

44majkia
Edited: Feb 7, 2018, 10:13am Top

>42 mathgirl40: My favorite character in Iron Druid is Oberon, the talking wolfhound who has a thing for sausages and poodles. :)

45Crazymamie
Feb 7, 2018, 10:31am Top

>44 majkia: Mine, too!

46mathgirl40
Feb 7, 2018, 6:21pm Top

>43 Crazymamie: I hope you enjoy it. I so want to read One Salt Sea, my next installment in the October Daye series. However, there are too many books on my TBR stack right now, including other books by McGuire. Sometimes I wish she'd slow down!

>44 majkia: >45 Crazymamie: I have a weakness for talking cats in fantasy novels. I suspect I'll acquire the same fondness for talking wolfhounds. :)

47Crazymamie
Feb 8, 2018, 9:50am Top

>46 mathgirl40: OH! One Salt Sea is a good one! The second book in the series is the weakest, I think, and the rest just keep getting better.

I have BIG love for Oberon. He is da Bomb!

48AHS-Wolfy
Feb 10, 2018, 4:23am Top

I think I was Fated to have an entry for this month. The first book in a series set in London sees Alex Verus becoming involved with both sides of the Light and Dark magicians as it seems everyone wants what is contained in a recently discovered relic. Can Alex see enough to navigate a path to a future where he at least manages to survive intact? Not a bad first book in a series that often suffers in obvious comparison with Jim Butcher's Dresden books but as this latter series took a few books to really get going then I'll certainly be giving the Alex Verus series another go. A full review will be posted sometime soon.

49owlie13
Feb 10, 2018, 11:10am Top

>48 AHS-Wolfy: I am enjoying the Alex Verus series - I think his particular form of magic is interesting and not something I've seen before. It does get better as it goes along (I think I'm up to book 5 or 6).

50AHS-Wolfy
Feb 10, 2018, 12:21pm Top

>49 owlie13: I just put in my review that it will be the use of the magic that makes or breaks this series. Glad to hear you're continuing to enjoy it.

51majkia
Feb 10, 2018, 1:01pm Top

>48 AHS-Wolfy: I really enjoyed Fated also. Not sure when I'll get back to the series though. I do have book two in planet TBR.

52scaifea
Feb 10, 2018, 3:02pm Top

I finished Our Lady of Darkness today:
Franz Westen is a horror/fantasy writer who becomes interested in a book written by Thibaut de Castries. The book deals with Thibaut's theories of the occult and big cities, specifically how paramental entities can thrive in metropolitan settings, and Westen find himself in the thick of De Castries' posthumous attempts to prove his own theories.
Groundbreaking in the genre of urban fantasy, this is a pretty cool little novel. A cool mix of the supernatural in the lovingly-described streets and districts of San Francisco with the (literal) horrors of an academic lifestyle, and with just the right amount of creepy blended in.

53mathgirl40
Feb 10, 2018, 3:51pm Top

>47 Crazymamie: I'm glad to know that One Salt Sea was a good one. I'll have to move it up higher in the stack!

>48 AHS-Wolfy: >49 owlie13: >51 majkia: Thanks for the recommendation of Fated. I tend to read so many books set in London, but I never tire of that city. It's such a great setting for urban fantasy.

>52 scaifea: This book seems like it would also be a good candidate for next month's ScaredyKIT theme, "weird fiction".

54scaifea
Feb 10, 2018, 5:45pm Top

>52 scaifea: Ha! Yep, there's definitely an element of the weird to it. But in a good way!

55threadnsong
Feb 10, 2018, 6:44pm Top

Just getting back to LT pages and reading challenges, and yay! You've given me a reason to read Onion Girl by Charles de Lint! I've had it on my shelf for years and found other pretty shiny to read instead, so it is there! Great theme, and I'm sure I have others on my shelf. Riddle of the Wren is also staring me in my face, but I've read it once already. Or maybe twice?

56h-mb
Feb 12, 2018, 2:17pm Top

I tried Unclean spirits by M.L.N. Hanover which is a run-of-the-mill UF. A bit disappointing.

57MissWatson
Feb 14, 2018, 4:28am Top

I finally got around to Rivers of London. Interesting set-up, I liked the rivers, but it was too long. Things dragged towards the end, especially the incident at the Royal Opera, and I'm not overly fond of Peter Grant.

58leslie.98
Edited: Feb 14, 2018, 1:37pm Top

I am finally getting to my library copy of Moonlight & Vines...

59mathgirl40
Feb 14, 2018, 10:22pm Top

>55 threadnsong: I loved The Onion Girl! Jilly Coppercorn is one of my favourite Newford characters.

>56 h-mb: Too bad about the disappointment. I hope your next read is better!

>57 MissWatson: I wasn't all that fond of Grant at the beginning either, though he's grown on me. The character I like much better is Lesley.

>58 leslie.98: That book has such a gorgeous cover!

60MissWatson
Feb 15, 2018, 4:37am Top

>59 mathgirl40: I confess I was relieved to see Nightingale survived, so I may pick up another book if I find it at my charity shop.

61mathgirl40
Feb 15, 2018, 8:44am Top

>60 MissWatson: Me too. I definitely like the secondary characters as much as (if not more) than the main character in this series.

62Tanya-dogearedcopy
Feb 15, 2018, 1:10pm Top

The March SFF Kit Thread is up!

http://www.librarything.com/topic/286916#

63sturlington
Feb 15, 2018, 6:15pm Top

For this month, I finished a book I received in my Nocturnal Readers' Box: Vermilion: The Adventures of Lou Merriweather, Psychopomp by Molly Tanzer. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, which for some reason I wasn't expecting to like. It is set in an alternate version of the Old West, where ghosts, vampires, and werewolves exist, bears and sea lions are intelligent and talk, and professional psychopomps are employed to routinely usher the dead into the next world. Lou Merriweather is one of them, a Chinese-American 19-year-old girl who often passes as a boy, who travels from San Francisco to the wilderness in Colorado in search of some young Chinese men who have disappeared, and runs into a lot more than bargained on. Good characters, a fun story, a light and entertaining read that really hit the spot right now.

64whitewavedarling
Feb 15, 2018, 6:23pm Top

>63 sturlington:, That sounds like a lot of fun... bb taken...

65sturlington
Feb 15, 2018, 6:37pm Top

>64 whitewavedarling: Happy to be of service. :-)

66owlie13
Feb 16, 2018, 10:49am Top

Just finished Hounded which was a SantaThing gift. I'd seen this series before, and thought about it, just never picked it up. Will definitely continue - quite enjoyed it!

67mathgirl40
Feb 18, 2018, 4:38pm Top

>62 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Thanks for the link!

>63 sturlington: I'm taking a BB for that one too!

>66 owlie13: Glad to see another recommendation for this one, which has already been added to my wishlist!

68threadnsong
Feb 18, 2018, 7:12pm Top

>59 mathgirl40: And wouldn't you know . . . I couldn't find my copy of The Onion Girl! So instead, it's Moonlight and Vines. I so miss reading de Lint and I'm so happy to be reading him now!

69threadnsong
Feb 18, 2018, 7:15pm Top

>58 leslie.98: Yay! Me too.

70cmbohn
Edited: Feb 18, 2018, 9:06pm Top

I just finished Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. It's set in Hispanic N.Y. Totally inventive, great sense of place.

71h-mb
Feb 19, 2018, 3:04am Top

Starting Moonheart by de Lint. I hope I'll like it more than Unclean spirits by Hanover.

72Robertgreaves
Feb 19, 2018, 7:43am Top

73-Eva-
Edited: Feb 21, 2018, 1:49pm Top

I read War for the Oaks, which is billed as one of the first in the genre and it was interesting to see how much the genre has evolved since this one. Good read, but I think I prefer the current stuff. Had I read it when it was published (1987), I would have liked it more, I think.

74Dejah_Thoris
Feb 21, 2018, 4:21pm Top

I read a fair bit of urban fantasy and keep very up to date on the series that I love, so I went looking for a few new books / series to try OR for series that deserved another chance.

I gave Discount Armageddon another chance and actually finished it this time, which is more than I managed when it first came out. I didn't love it, but definitely enjoyed it more toward the end. I'm not feeling very motivated to continue with the series, though.

I'm a big fan of Lisa Shearin's Raine Benares fantasy series, so I thought I'd try her more recent urban fantasy series again. I reread the second of her SPI (Supernatural Protection & Investigations) Files books, The Dragon Conspiracy. Like Discount Armageddon, it's set in NYC and the city plays a major role. I'll keep going with this one.

I read a few recommendations for Jacqueline Carey's urban fantasy triolgy and I really enjoyed the first two, Dark Currents and Autumn Bones. I'm saving the third, Poison Fruit for March.

I may get to another this month - we'll see. If only the new Mercy Thompson had come out in February instead of March......

75Tanya-dogearedcopy
Feb 21, 2018, 5:04pm Top

>74 Dejah_Thoris: I barely managed to get through Discount Armageddon myself when I read it on the recommendation of a friend a few years ago. I think they thought I would like it because I'm a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan but I found it too much of a Buffy knockoff, and the talking mice were a turnoff for me as well.

76h-mb
Feb 23, 2018, 1:55pm Top

Finished Moonheart by Charles de Lint : a very good fantasy novel which balances magic and mythology in contemporary settings.

77leslie.98
Feb 23, 2018, 5:02pm Top

I really liked Moonheart! Much more than I did Moonlight and Vines, which was my de Lint book for this month's KIT :/

78whitewavedarling
Feb 24, 2018, 1:20pm Top

Finished Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton--it reminded me why I've always so adored her worlds and writing, so I'll be reading more of both her series soon.

79majkia
Feb 24, 2018, 1:37pm Top

Finished Bride of the Rat God - by Barbara Hambly, an early version of urban fantasy.

80threadnsong
Feb 25, 2018, 3:49pm Top

>76 h-mb: >77 leslie.98: I have read Moonheart so many times and I just loved it! I'm enjoying Moonlight and Vines though, almost as well. I like having some short stories to read in the evenings after work: I can start something for dinner, read a bit, stir the rice . . . and then finish a story or two before dinner is done.

81mathgirl40
Feb 25, 2018, 9:49pm Top

>76 h-mb: >77 leslie.98: >80 threadnsong: I just finished a Charles de Lint short-story collection myself, The Ivory and the Horn. It didn't have the same impact as Dreams Underfoot, the book that made me fall in love with de Lint's writing. However, I still liked it very much. After reading your comments, I've put Moonheart on my wishlist!

>70 cmbohn: Nice to see more praise of Shadowshaper. I've not read any of Older's works, but I just noticed that one of his stories is in an anthology I'm currently reading, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond.

>72 Robertgreaves: I might try to get to this one before I submit Hugo nominations next month. I still have some empty slots for the novella category.

>73 -Eva-: As mentioned, I do enjoy Charles de Lint's early work in the urban fantasy genre and I wonder if War for the Oaks is in the same style.

>74 Dejah_Thoris: Thanks for the recommendations. I always like trying new series. However, I think I'll skip Discount Armageddon based on your comments and those of >75 Tanya-dogearedcopy:. I'm behind on McGuire's other series anyhow.

>78 whitewavedarling: I've been wanting to try this series, but there are so many books, it's rather intimidating. :)

>79 majkia: This book has a really awesome title!

82whitewavedarling
Feb 25, 2018, 9:53pm Top

>81 mathgirl40:, I think that's why I put off trying the J.D. Robb series starting with Naked in Death, which has even more books, but now I'm glad I did :)

83Guanhumara
Feb 25, 2018, 11:23pm Top

>79 majkia: I loved Bride of the Rat God! I always hoped that she would write more about those characters, but so far there has only been Castle of Horror, as far as I know.

84-Eva-
Feb 26, 2018, 1:27pm Top

>78 whitewavedarling:
I've not read any of hers before, but I'm in the middle of Guilty Pleasures and it's a lot better than I thought it would be. For some reason I had thought it was more paranormal romance than urban fantasy, but I must have mixed it up with another series.

>81 mathgirl40:
I have Charles de Lint on Mt. TBR, but haven't read yet - I'll think about making a comparison when I get to him.

85whitewavedarling
Feb 26, 2018, 1:51pm Top

>84 -Eva-:, I wouldn't say it ever gets to be paranormal romance, but the caveat is that Anita's relationships (and sex, to be perfectly blunt) become more and more prominent as the series progresses. Plot/paranormal/fantasy elements are always at the forefront of the books, but... Well, I discovered the books when I was in high school and loved them, but because of the way the series plays out, I probably wouldn't begin anyone under 18 on reading it...

86-Eva-
Feb 26, 2018, 2:37pm Top

>85 whitewavedarling:
Ha-ha! OK, I might stop after this one, then... :)

87whitewavedarling
Feb 26, 2018, 3:03pm Top

>86 -Eva-:, well, let the books dictate :) It's a slow, progressive thing. I can't remember where the physical side of things became significantly more of a focus, but my instinct is to say that it wasn't until at least 9 or 10 books in. I know a few folks who've stopped at some point with the series because of it, but it's such a gradual shift that, if you enjoy book 1, you should definitely keep going. There's also one later on where she leaves town to help a friend and isn't even near her relationships, so that gives you an indication of how primary her job and the supernatural elements are :) Anyhow, I hope you keep enjoying it!

88Dejah_Thoris
Feb 26, 2018, 4:16pm Top

>87 whitewavedarling: I'll chime in, if I may! If you're reading later editions of the Anita Blake books, Laurell K. Hamilton is very frank in several 'Afterwards' about how her changing life (and disintegrating marriage) influenced her writing and allowed for Anita to become someone she never imagined her being. I found it rather fascinating.

89-Eva-
Feb 26, 2018, 4:47pm Top

>87 whitewavedarling:, >88 Dejah_Thoris:
Thank you! I'll play this series by ear, then. I have about 50 pages left in this first one and, depending upon how it ends, I may add a few more to the wishlist.

90whitewavedarling
Feb 27, 2018, 9:21am Top

>88 Dejah_Thoris:, I'd forgotten about that! Good point to bring up :)

91Tanya-dogearedcopy
Feb 27, 2018, 11:53am Top

I managed to sneak in another title for this month's challenge! I listened to Broken Homes (by Ben Aaronovitch; narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.) - This is the fourth in the Rivers of London/Peter Grant series and continues the overall plot of searching for the Faceless Man. In this installment, Peter and Leslie go undercover at Elephant & Castle, a housing development within London's city limits. Aaronovitch clearly has a strong interest in architecture and while his main character has also displayed a more than a casual interest in the topic, in 'Broken Homes, it is full-blown with commentary on nearly every standing building, home or shack. As intriguing as it all is, it doesn't distract from the slower pacing of this story compared to others in this series, that Peter Grant makes some fantastical leaps of "logic," or some unclear writing (I have no idea how the Terry's Chocolate Orange-like thing worked in the climactic scene.) Still, I give this four stars for a couple of reasons: 1) Interesting plot twists and a couple of glorious action scenes and 2) Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has truly come into his own as being Peter Grant (see also James Marsters as Harry Dresden, and Ray Porter as Joe Ledger.) I saw some comments where some readers didn't like Peter Grant and were put off by the series, so perhaps giving the character an actual voice makes all the difference. I do know that when I read Moon Over Soho the first time, it was in print and it just didn't "pop" enough for me but when I went back into it in audio, it was utterly compelling.

92mathgirl40
Feb 27, 2018, 9:21pm Top

>91 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I'm planning to read this 4th book in the near future and find your comments interesting. I'm one of the ones who had not been too fond of Grant's character in the first book, but he is growing on me.

93ronincats
Feb 27, 2018, 10:26pm Top

Finally finished an urban fantasy this month! I read Omens by Kelley Armstrong, the first in her Cainsville series. This is the first Armstrong I've read; she has several earlier series which have been popular. This was well-written with an interesting premise and the reading went very quickly. However, the tropes of urban fantasy were definitely present and their ubiquity is one of the reasons this is not my favorite form of fantasy.

94hailelib
Feb 28, 2018, 9:31pm Top

I started a new series with Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron which takes place in a rebuilt Detroit, now known as the Detroit Free Zone and magic is everywhere. Enjoyable enough that I'll be looking for the second one.

95mathgirl40
Feb 28, 2018, 10:17pm Top

>93 ronincats: I'd read Omens and enjoyed its sequel Visions too, but now I see that the series is 5 books long, so it's getting harder to catch up!

>94 hailelib: Dragons in Detroit sounds like an interesting premise!

I've started Full Fathom Five, the third novel in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence, though clearly, I won't finish it by the end of the month. I'll be happy to continue our Urban Fantasy discussion past February, in any case!

Don't forget to update the Wiki here:
https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2018_SFFKIT#February:

96h-mb
Mar 1, 2018, 3:36am Top

> 94 Nice dragon is a fun series and very pleasant to read!

97christina_reads
Mar 1, 2018, 11:08am Top

I finished Discount Armageddon last night and have to say that I found it sort of "meh." Fun world-building, but the plot and characters are fairly generic. I've posted a full review on my thread.

98staci426
Mar 1, 2018, 12:16pm Top

I managed to finish and enjoy two for this month's challenge:
One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire 4*
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older 3.5*

99mathgirl40
Mar 4, 2018, 8:46pm Top

>97 christina_reads: Well, your assessment and the comment from >98 staci426: confirm that I'm better off continuing with McGuire's Toby Daye series.

I finished Full Fathom Five, the third book in Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. I'm enjoying this series and find it's refreshingly different, with its unusual theme of gods and idols in a corporate setting.

I've thoroughly enjoyed our exploration of Urban Fantasy! Thanks for your participation and for the many great recommendations. My wishlist has grown significantly. If you've not finished your February selections, please feel free to continue posting here! I'll be happy to see the discussion continue.

100lkernagh
Mar 11, 2018, 2:37pm Top

Finally finding the time to report in on my February reading. I finished A Discovery of Witches, which proved to be a rather light romance intrigue set predominantly in Oxford but with whole bunch of vampires, witches and daemons.

101mathgirl40
Mar 11, 2018, 8:25pm Top

>100 lkernagh: I'm still catching up with my February reviews too!

102threadnsong
Mar 25, 2018, 6:21pm Top

>100 lkernagh: Well wouldn't you know, I have A Discovery of Witches sitting on my shelves! Maybe for another reading challenge!

103threadnsong
Mar 25, 2018, 6:23pm Top

>99 mathgirl40: Thank you for the absolution, mathgirl! I finally, finally finished Moonlight and Vines and loved the short stories. They were deep, and while some of them were a little less exciting than others, I loved Newford and the great variety of characters de Lint wrote into this work. The elements of magic - death, afterlife, small creatures who want to be gifted with a gift, and of course the crows! I saw some in a tree yesterday and all I could think about was "a murder of crows." There must have been 2 dozen all singing and talking away.

104mathgirl40
Mar 25, 2018, 7:48pm Top

>103 threadnsong: I loved seeing your response to Moonlight and Vines. This book, along with many other de Lint works I've not read yet, is definitely on my TBR. The Newford world is so rich!

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