I’ve been reading a lot this year. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot.
I admit, I cheated on myself by buying a lot of e-books instead of printed ones. I did try to restrain myself, I really did. But then, last year, I discovered that I could buy e-books without feeling guilty about buying yet another book without reading the ones I already have sitting as a huge TBR pile beside my armchair… So yeah. You might be able to guess what that did to my e-book consumption.
Not all of the books I read where good, quite a few of them were actually really bad, but as always, I found a few gems in between.
So, because Christmas is just around the corner and we all deserve a treat or two (I like to see e-books as treating myself, mostly, because gifting them proves difficult), I’d like to introduce three urban fantasy series I particularly enjoyed this year.
(Please note: all three series are also available in paperback!)
All of them are written by female writers, all of them sport female badass heroines at their best – or worst – behaviour, and all of them tend to be both fast-paced and at the same time leaning towards the more romantic side of the genre. If you’re looking for something gripping, magical, with both sass and fluff in equal measures, these are my recommendations for you.
#3: Marina Finlayson – Shadows of the Immortal (5 book series, ongoing)
In this series, ancient Greek myths meet Avatar: The Last Airbender, with a bit of Cat Woman burglary and shape-shifter rivalry on the side.
In a world where people are generally divided into shapers, shifters and non-magical beings, Lexi is an oddity: she has magic, but none that has been heard of. Because of this and a few other reasons, she is hiding with her were-cat best friend Syl in the backwaters of Berkley’s Bay, where nothing exciting ever happens. Until she decides to break into the major’s house and steals a valuable artefact. After that, Lexi tries to stay out of trouble as good as possible, but when Syl is kidnapped, she is determined to get her back. But things are just starting to move, and before she realises it, Lexi is already knee-deep in it and sinking fast.
The Shadows of the Immortal series makes for an exciting mix of ancient myths, creatures and gods in a modern setting. There are some unexpected characters turning up, and some wildly imaginative places to be visited. I liked the twists and turns, especially in the first two books. Starting with Stolen Magic, Marina Finlayson weaves a magical world where gods roam and nothing really seems impossible.
#2: Augusta Blythe – Magic Bullet novels (4 book series, finished)
Alyse is a powerful djinn working as an agent for the Shadow Elite, doing in-jobs around the world, using her abilities to the fullest. That is, until one day she is betrayed, struck down, and cuffed with copper. Stripped bare of her powers, she finds herself back in Philadelphia, the one place she has sworn herself to never return to, at the mercy of her old friends and the prince of her caste, whom she detests.
Furious, she sets out to get her powers back and find whoever is responsible for the betrayal, only to stumble over a scheme that spans far more than just the local mafia – and might be just outside her league in her incapacitated state. So she has to team up with some unlikely partners, and she finds herself doubting her own sanity as well as others’ soon enough.
The Magic Bullet series starts with Burned, and plunges just deeper and deeper into magical scheming and political plots with every passing book. I liked the series because of Alyse and her best friend Farah, who are just a great team, and because of the shifting focus of the plot – from fighting to scheming and back again, all the while Alyse becomes more and more likeable. Her struggles are relatable, as are her friends’, and the rich supernatural world conjured up by Blythe makes the reading all the more enjoyable.
#1: Linsey Hall – Dragon’s Gift series (3×5 books, finished)
Cass, Dell and Nix are professional hunters of magical artefacts, a work both thrilling and dangerous, as tripping around magical archaeological sites can unleash some nasty stuff, but the magic they receive sells for a decent price. This way, they earn enough to keep themselves and their true nature hidden from both the shadows of their past, and the supernatural governments in the present. Because all three of them have forbidden magic, and if one of them is discovered, the other two are in danger as well.
It’s a given that the momentary peace can’t last forever. So when magic is at danger and more and more strong supernaturals keep turning up on their doorstep, trying to both hunt and help them, they have to decide whom to trust beside each other – knowing full well that a slip of the tongue can be their death sentence.
Starting with Ancient Magic, this series features three very unique sisters, each of whom gets her own 5-book-series written from their point of view. I enjoyed all books immensely. I started with Magic Undying, the first book of Dell’s series Dragon’s Gift: The Seeker, but went back to reading Cass’s series The Huntress first, beginning with aforementioned Ancient Magic. Cass’s series was already completed when I started reading, and I curled up in my apartment for two days straight and read them all in one go. I recommend you to read them in chronological order, as the events of the books are clearly linked together.
I think I liked Dell’s series best, just because she’s my favourite sister of the three and her male companion is really cool, but I was already so hooked when Nix’s series Dragon’s Gift: The Protector started publishing, that I downloaded all of them on my Kindle on their release dates and read them in two days tops. It was always a most delightful read.
(I was especially thrilled to hear that two of my favourite side characters get their own series after the main one is now finished. Undercover Magic, the first book of Dragon’s Gift: The Valkyrie released on Dec 1st, the second one will follow soon. I’m really looking forward to new adventures by Linsey Hall’s Dragon’s Gift heroines.)