Top 14 Best Urban Fantasy Books (2023) An Excellent Low Fantasy List
Urban fantasy is one of my favorite book genres because it's a great way to explore different aspects of the supernatural without having to leave the safety and familiarity of our world.
Often described as modern fiction, the urban fantasy genre is a mix of fiction with the action taking place in more recent times, such as the past century. Readers can expect intriguing stories and supernatural elements, yet this genre can take different approaches. For instance, you can find urban fantasy drama or action books, among many other types. All in all, here are some of the best urban fantasy books with a touch of mystery to trigger your imagination with some incredible plot twists.
Similarities Between Urban and Low Fantasy Books
Urban fantasy and low fantasy books are similar in a few ways. One similarity is that they are both set in a contemporary world that is different from our own. In urban fantasy books, the characters often live in or visit a city that is full of supernatural creatures. Low fantasy books are set in a world where magic exists, but it is not common.
Another similarity between these two types of books is that the main characters are often on a quest. They are trying to find something or do something important. This quest often leads them into dangerous situations where they have to fight against the bad guys.
Finally, both urban fantasy and low fantasy books are full of exciting creatures and places. Readers will want to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Let's see some popular low fantasy, urban fantasy books that are worth start reading:
What Are The Best Urban Fantasy Books?
Bleudark, by Varnadore Vaughn (2022)
Bleudark is one of the best urban fantasy books released this year with unending action. It hits all the ins and outs of incredible action with profound lore and rich mythology. You will love the vivid scenes, sequences, moments, and fresh ideas about how magic works. Varnadore has also created a current and realistic world that makes this story unique without giving away anything.
Bleudark is the story of Rune Hartsmund. He is just about to pitch the game of his life and make baseball history. But an attempt to end his life emerges from behind the stadium lights. Luckily, a young boy in the field saves him from the bullet. To Rune’s surprise, Jee, his savior, is a Japanese deity of 600 years who has reincarnated into a 13-year-old boy.
In a reluctant manner, he is drawn into a world filled with magic where guns go by the name of wands, bullets are seen as curses, and Magi employs human life force to get the magic going. Caught up between the loyalties of the world he has always known and a different one claiming him, Rune has difficulty dealing with the ethics of his newly attained magical abilities.
Together with a group called A.A.D.A.A.M (The Alliance Against Dark Arts & Arcane Magics) and the Paladin Magi, he must struggle to defend his two conflicting worlds against the Necromancer, Nubilous. That is when he will unravel that nothing has ever been what it seemed and discovers Bleudark’s malignant mysteries.
Amongst Our Weapons (Rivers of London Series), by Ben Aaronovitch (2022)
This is the ninth book in the Rivers of London series and probably the most exciting one. The adventure has never been more intense. Those who have read the previous books may have a few clues about the characters.
The book follows Peter Grant. He is not just a regular detective, but also an apprentice wizard. His role is to solve magical crimes in and around London. This edition’s adventure may seem confusing at first, but it will pleasantly surprise you.
Low fantasy? Check. Mystery and suspense? Check. Thriller? Check. A bit of fun? Check. This is one of the most intense urban fantasy books out there and will give you an amazing, fresh experience.
Jarrod and the Demon’s Knight, by P. N. Burrows (2022)
Some people know him as the wizard. Some others know him as Jarrod. He has managed to integrate into the human society, trying to find some ancient magic secrets for the University of Magic on his own planet.
However, the university council believes his intentions have changed a little, so he is called back. Demonic murders start occurring around him, and his flawless reputation is stained when everything seems to be related to him.
His time is limited. He wants to clear his name, but he also needs to respect the council’s requirements. He ends up teaming with a local detective to find the real murderer and figure out what has happened.
Unnatural Magic, by Stacia Stark (2022)
Unnatural Magic is Stacia’s first entry in the Bargains with Beasts duology. It is an urban fantasy romance that centers around Evie and Nathaniel.
All her life Evie was kept ignorant and protected from everything. But when she gets the chance to be free, she promises herself that no one will ever coddle her again. Not even the hot werewolf king who thinks pampering is acceptable. The reason being something is after the humans in her city.
This thing kills similarly to a werewolf but leaves public displays of ripped bodies as though its attempt is to taunt the authorities.
However, Evie already has a smart arrangement with the police. Her job is to figure out precisely what this thing is. The problem is that whatever is after the good Durham citizens is also after her.
But when her investigation takes her to the local werewolf pack, especially their overly protective alpha, she knows she is in trouble. Everyone is blaming Nathaniel’s wolves for the carnage. Can Evie solve the murders she is after and not lose her life and freedom? Or, will this creature make her regret her thoughts about being strong enough in a lonely world?
Stacia’s writing skill is evident throughout this book based on how she delivers a driven plot alongside emotional relationships. You will love how she has developed great characters with different perspectives about various issues. It will also be interesting to watch them grow their connections. The werewolf world will also be something to devour as you get details about their operations.
Reject Me, by Kel Carpenter and Aurelia Jane (2022)
This is the first book in a series of urban fantasy books. The story is told from a personal point of view. No one wants to be stuck in a relationship with their childhood bully – however, when this bully is someone important’s son, you risk becoming homeless.
This is exactly what happened to her – the main character in the book. She has no protection, and she has no clue what to do next. Until one day, when a vampire king decides to pay more attention to her. But for his protection, she needs to join the house.
The vampire king wants something from her. Apparently, this is the only way for her to move forward. The price is high, but she has lost everything believing in the wrong thing. Why not go the other way and find something different?
Trial of the Lovebird Butcher, by Lumen Reese (2022)
The action takes place in New Haven, Connecticut. A local antique dealer and part-time magician – Edward Fox – is charged with three different murders. The murders took place in the 1980s, but he was only a child back then. He is not going through the best time of this life, having to deal with alcohol addiction and no future prospects. All in all, his trial gained huge attention from the media.
On the other hand, the story also follows Maggie Stowe. She is a local private investigator and also a night owl. She has been on Edward's case for a few months already, chasing him around. She is definitely a feminist, and she hopes Edward's victims could get the justice they require. However, her reality blurs out of nowhere, and she is no longer certain of whatever is around her.
The trial is completely unusual. Edward is presented as a good man who has been around humans for ages – a great entertainer during the peak of his career.
But is he really the killer? How could a child commit such horrific murders? As the detective tries to dig more details, she finds out that there is more to Edward. What is the outcome of the trial?
Adjusting Course (Artemis University Series), by Erin R. Flynn (2022)
The 15th book in the Artemis University series follows Tamsin Vale, who always has something to deal with. Deal with a dirty council, and another villain is waiting around the corner. Deal with a noble, and a commander is ready to become the next villain.
There is always something to do – no doubts about it. Why does Tamsin even bother anyway? The character cries, yells, and tries to educate those around and change things into better, but new problems are always ready to arise.
If everyone around acts like a child, perhaps this is the right time for Tamsin to start acting like a parent and punish them…
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V. E. Schwab (2020)
Addie La Rue makes a pact with a demon. She becomes an immortal, but such a great advantage comes with an even greater price. Not only does she trade her soul in, but she is also deemed to be forgotten by everyone she runs into. She meets people, but they will forget who she is before she can develop an actual relationship with them. She becomes no one – no one knows who she is.
Addie leaves her home from France and starts a journey all over the world. She meets all kinds of characters, and they all forget about her in no time. No one remembers anything – plus, everything she owns becomes history only. She is definitely a muse for people she meets, but the hard time occurs when she starts falling in love with them – she knows they will never remember her.
Addie has no choice whatsoever. But things seem to change one day. She ends up walking into a bookshop from Manhattan, and she runs into a man who seems to remember her. Is the pact over? Is she still immortal? One thing leads to another, and her life seems to get back to normal, but then, she realizes that her fate will always chase her around.
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern (2011)
The circus comes in town out of nowhere – no one knows anything about it. There are no prior announcements either. It just shows up without prior warnings. Tents show up with their attractive striped canvas, and noisy entertaining booths pop up. This circus is known as Le Cirque des Reves and believe it or not, it is closed during the day. It only opens up at night.
There is more to this circus, though – a deep competition behind the scenes. Two young magicians have spent most of their lives with the circus. Celia and Mark have been under consistent training since they were kids. They have no idea about it, but they are in a competition – only one of them will be on the stage. However, love inevitably kicks in, and things do not always go as planned.
It is hard to tell whether the love is true or not. One thing is for sure, though – they do have to play this game. Somehow, everyone is involved in it, from the actual patrons to other performers. This urban fantasy Books book may seem a bit unusual. It is seductive and rich, but at the same time, it has a plethora of plot twists that will easily hook you in. Who is going to survive in the long run?
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (2001)
Shadow is close to getting released from prison. He is looking forward to meet some of his old friends, but especially his wife – Laura. Unfortunately, his wife is killed in a car crash. There is a lot of mystery around it – a few things simply make no sense, while the police are deliberately pushed in the wrong direction. Something is obviously fishy in there, but no one can really tell what it is.
Flying back to his home, Shadow makes a new friend – Mr. Wednesday. Mr. Wednesday is basically a refugee from a different part of the world. He refers to himself as a former god, but also the king of America. It sounds a bit crazy for Shadow, but the two bond and get together in an attempt to find out what happened. Their journey takes them all across the country.
Meanwhile, they have no idea about it, but a massive storm of massive proportions is about to kick in. It is probably the most powerful storm ever recorded. There are a few things that may not necessarily make sense straight away. But as you keep reading, you will practically look into the heart of America. You will be amazed by what you can find in there, as well as the outcome of this incredible story.
Storm Front, by Jim Butcher (2000)
No one can really beat Harry Dresden at what he does because no one really does the same job he does. He is the best in the industry and technically, the only one. One day, the experts at the Chicago P.D. known on his door with an appealing case that beats them – a case that involves mortality and creativity at the same time.
Harry is the man to go to if you deal with something that involves magical things. If something cannot be explained, everyone turns to him. This is when he does his magic. He is a wizard, and he can catch anyone and anything. There is just one issue though – the business is not the best in the world.
All in all, the police reach to him regarding a double murder. Based on most clues, there was lots of magic involved in these murders. In need of money, Harry takes the job right away. However, the case is not as easy as it seems, and things may turn against him.
Moon Called, by Patricia Briggs (2008)
This is one of the best urban fantasy books with a touch of mystery and horror, as well as the first book in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy Thompson is known as Mercy among friends and not only. She is a VW mechanic living in Washington.
She is also a so-called walker – someone with supernatural powers who can turn into a coyote when needed. Her neighbor is a werewolf, and her ex-boss is a gremlin. Meanwhile, her newest project implies repairing a bus for a vampire.
This is what Mercy's world looks like. She deals with all kinds of creatures and not always in a bad way. Mercy's connections with everyone around her are mild and direct. But then, things are about to change to 180 degrees, and her world goes upside down.
Fated, by Benedict Jacka (2012)
Alex Verus is part of an unusual world. He is responsible for a magic shop in the heart of London. Furthermore, he also has some magical powers himself, but he is too far from being a professional magician.
Alex has one gift though. He can see the future. He can see things before they happen, so he takes advantage of some amazing opportunities – things that are less likely to happen, but they do after all, with incredibly low odds.
One day, he is approached to open an ancient relic, and he knows that no matter what is inside, it must be very powerful. He can see his future, and he knows that taking this job can literally kill him – what is he going to do then?
Dead Until Dark, by Charlaine Harris (2001)
At a first glance, this book may seem a bit common – nothing special is about to happen. However, things quickly escalate, and a few plot twists will hook you in straight away. The book follows Sookie Stackhouse's story.
Sookie is a cocktail waitress in a tiny town from Louisiana. She is passionate about vampires, and one day, the vampire she has always dreamed about walks in.
She is in love with him, and the two seem to begin a romantic venture. However, having a vampire boyfriend will not be her brightest idea, as the future will teach her.
Final Thoughts on the Best Urban Fantasy Books
Bottom line, these are some of the best urban fantasy books with a touch of mystery to try out. Some of them may seem predictable at first, but a plethora of plot twists will give you unexpected endings.
If you are in love with urban fantasy, you may also check the best urban fantasy books for young adults.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has its unique value.