Hi! Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads. This week’s theme is: Your Favorite Urban Fantasy Books. I actually had a hard time coming up with five books for this post, so I hope those you who are big Urban Fantasy fans will forgive me if I’ve stretched the definition a little too far here. It’s just not a genre I’ve read broadly in yet, but I’m very open to recommendations!
5. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović
Wicked Like a Wildfire is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read and it has one of the most beautiful settings: Cattaro, Montenegro. Cattaro’s a small seaside town, so it’s not the most urban fantasy, but I’m trying ya’ll. All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty, but their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret. They’re forbidden from sharing their magic with anyone and they must never fall in love. When their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters have to discover the truth of her past – and their future.
4. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Vassa’s lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters in Brooklyn, where magic’s easy to stumble into, but harder to stumble away from. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters – and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission. This is the most unusual and unexpected take on Russian folklore I’ve seen in a book – it’s awesome, but also very, very strange.
3. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
Alex is a bruja, but she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration she performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires and her whole family disappears instead. The only way to get them back is to travel to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limb and as strange as Wonderland. If you like books about witches and haven’t read this yet, you really should. Zoraida Córdova’s Brooklyn Brujas are the baddest witches on the block and the sequel Bruja Born comes out in June!
2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Karou is an art student in Prague, she has a feisty best-friend, problems with her ex and a tiny apartment. She also has secrets. One is that her bright blue hair really does grow out that color. Another is the mysterious errands she runs for the Ram-horned devil who raised her. One of the many things I adore about this series is the way Laini Taylor’s lyrical and descriptive writing makes her magical world feel as real as our own and her real world settings like Prague, Marrakesh and Rome, seem as fantastical and touched by magic as her imagined ones.
1. Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
One of the things I love about Catherynne M. Valente’s books is that they’re so unique and original, they’re almost impossible to categorize. Deathless is part fairy-tale retelling, part alternate-history, but it’s set in St. Petersburg and features all kinds of magical creatures from Stalinist house elves to rusalki and even Baba Yaga herself – so there’s definitely elements of urban fantasy as well.
Have you read any of these books? Or do you want to? What’s your favorite urban fantasy books? I’d love to read your Top 5 Wednesday post if you’ve posted one!