7 Great Fantasy/Urban Fantasy Series

Storm Front - Jim Butcher Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green The Gates (Samuel Johnson, #1) - John Connolly The Rook - Daniel O'Malley Moving Pictures - Terry Pratchett The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) - Patrick Rothfuss On a Pale Horse - Piers Anthony

At this point, it is no surprise to anyone that I am a fantasy fan, specifically urban fantasy. I like magic, monsters, adventures, etc. I also like revisiting characters and worlds, which means I'm definitely a series guy. I like a good standalone, mind you, but they are rarely as immersive as a long-running series.These are a few of my faves, and why. I am excluding the ones I discovered last year, as I've already discussed them elsewhere.


1. Storm Front - Jim Butcher  The Dresden Files - Jim Butcher


First Book: Storm Front (2000), ongoing


One of my all-time favorites, this series follows Harry Dresden, a professional wizard based in Chicago. It starts out as basically a PI series with magic, but dives much deeper into the lore starting with book 3, Grave Peril. Fast, funny, and exciting, this is the big daddy of modern UF, hitting #1 on the NY Times list a few times. There are 15 books in the series thus far, plus various shorts, novellas, and comics.


2. Something from the Nightside - Simon R. Green   The Nightside series - Simon R. Green


First book: Something From The Nightside (2003), completed


This series takes place in the titular Nightside and follows John Taylor, PI, ne'er-do-well

and prophesied heir to the Nightside, as he solves crimes, learns about his birthright, and challenges the Powers That Be. The writing can be a bit repetitive, and there are a couple lesser books among the twelve (thirteen including a collection, which is fun but inessential), but some of the characters are just flat awesome, especially Walker and "Shotgun" Suzie Shooter. Can get a bit gruesome, but the humor is always spot on.


3. The Gates (Samuel Johnson, #1) - John Connolly  Samuel Johnson series - John Connolly


First book: The Gates (2009), completed.


A very funny combination of demonology and theoretical physics, intended for YA readers. A great trilogy about a young boy whose town is frequently treatened with demonic takeover. I'm not usually a YA guy, but this just flat rocks.


4. The Rook - Daniel O'Malley  Checquy series - Daniel O'Malley


First book: The Rook (2012), ongoing.


Another fun UF series, this one told, thus far, from exclusively female perspectives. There are many people in the world born with strange abilities and, in the UK, it is up to the Checquy to handle them. Very funny, often gory, and occasionally thought-provoking. As the second book, Stiletto, mostly abandons the lead from the first book in favor of two new characters, it will be interesting to see what happens in book 3.


5. Moving Pictures - Terry Pratchett  Discworld - Terry Pratchett


First book: Color of Magic (1983), completed.


Confession time: I've only read six or so of these books and feel no pressig need to complete the series. I will read more of them, and happily, but am in npo rush, nor do I feel any need to read them in any particular order. There are about forty books in various subseries, plus various addenda, and, while there is continuity, flitting around has worked fine for me thus far.


6. The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) - Patrick Rothfuss  Kingkiller Chronicles - Patrick Rothfuss


First book: The Name of The Wind (2007), ongoing.


An epic fantasy in the traditional vein, with great characters, beautiful writing, and interesting magic systems. This series follows Kvothe first as a student, then on various adventures. Stories within stories, an unreliable narrator, a school story, this is as interesting structurally as narratively. Am desperately anxious for book three.


7. On a Pale Horse - Piers Anthony  Incarnations of Immortality - Piers Anthony


First book: On a Pale Horse (1983), completed.


Both the worst-written and most structurally ambitious of all these series. this deals with mere mortals who, in various ways, become incarnations of various concepts, such as Death, Time, War, etc. Originally intended as a quintet, then extended to eight books. I never bothered with the last three books because the first five tell a complete story. Said story is not told sequentially, as the books take place at around the same times. Instead, we get the same occurrences from different perspectives, slowly deepening context, and a growing sense of the underlying conflict. The writing isn't particularly strong, but the ambition is laudable.