I’m on a bit of an urban/paranormal fantasy kick. I’m really enjoying the Dresden Files, particularly the audiobooks read by Spike (James Marsters). I’d like to read similar stuff but there’s a lot of complete junk in the genre. I’m hoping some of you fine folks might point me in the right direction.
Charles Stross’s Laundry Files
Paul Cornell’s Secret Police series
Can’t vouch for any of the audiobook versions however.
For an older book, see if you can find Mark Frost’s The List of 7
Hard to find truly good stuff, though there’s a ton of mediocre stuff.
American Gods, Neverwhere, and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman are good.
Tim Powers has some great stuff – I highly recommend. I also love James Blaylock’s The Last Coin and The Paper Grail.
The above are not really close to Harry Dresden. They are urban fantasy though. Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series might be closer to what you want. He’s a powerhouse prose writer.
Clive Barker has some stuff that fits into urban fantasy, but again not really close to Dresden.
The Iron Druid stuff by Kevin Hearnes might work. Think that’s the name.
Simon Green has a lot of stuff – he churns it out.
The Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch is good – well, I read the first and liked it.
Charles de Lint is an excellent writer, though again not too much like the Dresden stuff.
There’s a ton of first-person tough-guy/girl urban fantasy stuff out there.
Harry Connolly’s 20 Palaces series is definitely mining the same vein. They didn’t sell as well, though, so It’s much shorter. I’d second Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books as another good choice. Sandman Slim and 20 Palaces are both darker in tone than Dresden, though.
Thanks for these guys. It seems like it’ll be ages before the next Dresden book, so these will help fill the void.
I just finished Rook actually. Was eeeeeeexcellent.
Second the Rivers of London series as being good.
But closer to Dresden might be Alex Verus series.
Another one like the Dresden Files is the Hellequin Chronicles by Steve McHugh.
Thirded about Rivers of London, currently reading the sixth book. They’re more whimsical and humorous than I imagine Dresden files is based on what my friends tell me. But this reminds me to put the first Dresden book on my list.
Rivers of London is excellent. The books keep getting better, and are indeed fairly whimsical (which is a plus for me).
Also, the narrator for the audio books is incredibly good. Really enjoyable voice and he brings the London police constable and his superiors to life so well. One of my top 2 narrators without a doubt.
Thanks for all the suggestions.
I’ll reinforce the Checquy Files series by Daniel O’Malley (“The Rook” and “Stiletto” so far). They are both quite good.
I adore the Rivers of London series and 20 Palaces, not to mention Neil Gaiman and Tim Powers. I would also generally second most of the recommendations above but Simon R. Green I can’t get behind. Tried to read his stuff once and the prose just seemed awful. I may give him another go someday though.
Other good picks include M.L.N Hanover (a pen name for Daniel Abraham, who’s also written brilliant fantasy as himself and who is one half of the writing team that does the Expanse novels), C.E. Murphy, and Kim Harrison. I love urban fantasy and could probably recommend at least a dozen others if I had them in front of me but I am blanking on names. :(
I don’t just like the Dresden Files. I, like, like like the Dresden Files.
Already mentioned, but allow me to +1 these:
Alex Verus (series, first book is Fated) by Benedict Jacka (truly excellent, absolutely love these, think this was a rec from @malkav11 originally)
The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne (IMO not quite as good, but still great page turners with moments of brilliance. Don’t regret purchasing, will reread for sure)
Any and all Tim Powers novels. He’s so great. I particularly adore Three Days to Never and Last Call but you can’t go wrong.
Other stuff I’d recommend:
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. Great little self-contained adventure.
The first 6 or so Laurell K Hamilton books (the Anita Blake series, first book is Guilty Pleasures). Yes, really. They’re quite good, and the direct inspiration for the Dresden Files. It suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper jumps ALL THE SHARKS by book 10, and I heartily recommend dropping it before you get to that point, but the first handful are excellent.
The Mercy Thompson novels by Patricia Briggs (first book is Moon Called). These are definitely romances to some degree, and there’s a bit of silliness about just how stroooooooong and mysteeeeeeeerious and haaaaaaandsome the main character’s love interest is, but they’re also very well-written adventures. I like the protagonist a lot, and there are some great recurring characters. Not steamy or salacious at all, despite how tramp-stampy sexysexy as the cover art is.
Not really urban fantasy but I would still recommend to someone who likes Dresden:
The Red Rising books by Pierce Brown (first book is Red Rising, nice self-contained trilogy) is sci-fi but very rooted in pulp-adventure with a side of Game of Thrones. I may just be plugging these because I can, and they’re so good.
Mistborn (series, first book is The Final Empire but it’s usually sold as a trilogy these days) by Brandon Sanderson. Not urban in the sense of taking place in the modern world, but definitely not swords-and-sorcery fantasy either. These are well-loved for many good reasons. Bonus points for the thousands-years-later quasi-sequels The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self, which I might like even better.
The Reckoners (series, first book is Steelheart) also by Sanderson. “What if something turned a bunch of people randomly into superheroes, but also made them evil?” Kinda post-apocalyptic, kinda young-adulty, but very adventurous and fun and well-written as all of Sanderson’s stuff is.
Bone Dance by Emma Bull. Post-apocalyptic sorta soft sci-fi, but very creative and interesting. Good stuff.
I see Tim Powers has been mentioned, and if you care to move from urban to the golden age of piracy, On Stranger Tides is quite good.
I really liked these two books as well.
Agreed. It’s easily the closest to your original request as well, if you are wanting even more Dresden. Plus I think it’s better. Also I would double down the recommendation on the Red Rising series, it’s excellent but Space Opera, not Urban Fantasy. Oh, plus everything Brandon Sanderson - the workhorse of the modern fantasy writers.
I have read most everything else in this thread and that is where I would start. Except Rivers of London, sounds like I need to check that out.
Oh man, I love Dresden. When is the next book? Feels like it’s been years since I read the last one…?
I don’t think anyone really knows when the next one is, and yeah, it HAS been years since the last one, god dammit.
Simon R Green churns this stuff out. I actually like most of it.
Drood books - urban fantasy James Bond
Nightside - urban fantasy noir detective
His stuff is very samey though up to the point where I haven’t bothered buying any more Ghost Hunters novels (urban fantasy ghost investigations) beyond the first 3 because his recent work is a bit like an AI script writing a Simon R Green book, a criticism I guess some would apply to most of his stuff, but I’m a fan of pulpy junky stuff.
His best are Deathstalker (sci-fi) and Hawk and Fisher (fantasy whodunits) but I like the Drood adventures.
He wrote a blog post back in Feb that he is working on it, but too early to say anything. Which has been the update for a year or so.
I can’t tell if he needed a break, is tired of the series, or wrote himself into a corner.
I have read the first few of these. Your description is spot on and made me laugh. I like the mythology the author has set up and the organization of the werewolves, vampires, and Fae and the stories are well paced and entertaining. I can do without the romance angle but it doesn’t detract too terribly from what I like about the series so far.
I also like the Mistborn series but couldn’t get into The Reckoners at all.
I dunno, he’s for years been spouting a plan about a 20+ series with an apocalyptic finale-trilogy thing, so I believe/hope he does have it planned out.