The best books that offer a fresh new take on urban fantasy

Why am I passionate about this?

I watched my first episode of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer at 12 years old, and I’ve never been the same. It introduced me to the world of urban fantasy, with monsters and magic that exist in our world, and I’ve been devouring everything and anything in the genre since then. I work as a CPA for my day job, so I think I love all things supernatural because it offers a true escape from the ordinary world. I hope you enjoy the books on this list, along with my own book’s take on urban fantasy. If you ever want to chat, you can find me on Instagram at @katyforaker. 


I wrote...

Memories, Lies, and Other Binds

By Katy Foraker,

Book cover of Memories, Lies, and Other Binds

What is my book about?

A bookish demonologist who can’t remember her past. A magic-stealing vampire on the loose. Both unknowingly caught in a larger conspiracy that threatens both the supernatural and human worlds. 

Memories, Lies, and Other Binds is The Vampire Diaries meets The Da Vinci Code in a suspenseful take on urban fantasy with dark academia vibes.  

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

Katy Foraker Why did I love this book?

A Discovery of Witches swept me off my feet as a reader! Harkness’s prose is gorgeous, and as an avid highlighter of my favorite lines, my physical copies of her books are dripping with ink! It’s a love story between a reluctant witch and a vampire, but so much more than that with a strong influence of science, along with a mysterious lost book. The characters are complex and rich—even the side characters! This isn’t your YA, teeny-bobber urban fantasy; it’s grown up, smart, sophisticated, and completely addicting. 

Once you devour the rest of the All Souls series, check out the TV series based on the books! The casting is perfection and it is one of the few examples where the film/TV version did the books justice.

By Deborah Harkness,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked A Discovery of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.


Book cover of The Rook

Katy Foraker Why did I love this book?

This book inspired me to write my own novel because of one thing: the main character is a woman and there is no romance in this story. Before reading The Rook, I thought writing a book with a female lead always had to center around a romance (even though there is romance in my novel as a subplot). The Rook proved all of that wrong. It’s about a woman who works at a supernatural secretive government agency who has her memory stolen. She has to find the culprit while masquerading as herself, or face deadly consequences. The Rook is an edge-of-your-seat thriller and oddly enough is also really funny. It’s a strange mix of juxtapositions, but somehow they all work in making a great read. 

By Daniel O'Malley,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Rook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The body you are wearing used to be mine.' So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her. She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly…


Book cover of The Passage

Katy Foraker Why did I love this book?

This book made me want to throw it across the room many times, and I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s about a dangerous virus that escapes and quickly infects most of the world, turning the majority of the population into vampires. But not the cuddly, repenting type—the mindless, zombie-esque type. What gives this book edge is that it’s an epic urban fantasy, spanning thousands of years, and offers interesting insight into how language and religion develop within human culture that blew my freaking mind. 

By Justin Cronin,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is. THE PASSAGE. Deep in the jungles of eastern Colombia, Professor Jonas Lear has finally found what he's been searching for - and wishes to God he hadn't. In Memphis, Tennessee, a six-year-old girl called Amy is left at the convent of the Sisters of Mercy and wonders why her…


Book cover of The Tale of the Body Thief

Katy Foraker Why did I love this book?

My teen years were spent in the early 2000s, so Anne Rice was the OG to me for urban fantasy. Tale of the Body Thief is my favorite story of hers. Like my novel and current city, it also takes place in DC (Georgetown!) and I love retracing Lestat’s footsteps through the novel as he visited notable places like Martin’s Tavern. The plot focuses on Lestat body-switching with a human who ends up stealing the vampire’s body. If you’ve seen Interview With the Vampire, you don’t really need to have read the other books in the series to read this one. For me, I love that it’s a fun literary ride with familiar characters and setting. 

By Anne Rice,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Tale of the Body Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Rice is our modern messenger of the occult, whose nicely updated dark-side passion plays twist and turn in true Gothic form.”—San Francisco Chronicle

In a gripping feat of storytelling, Anne Rice continues the extraordinary Vampire Chronicles that began with the now-classic Interview with the Vampire. For centuries, Lestat—vampire-hero, enchanter, seducer of mortals—has been a courted prince in the dark and flourishing universe of the living dead. Now he is alone. And in his overwhelming need to destroy his doubts and his loneliness, Lestat embarks on the most dangerous enterprise he has undertaken in all the years of his haunted existence.…


Book cover of The Atlas Six

Katy Foraker Why did I love this book?

Just when everyone thought urban fantasy was dead, here comes The Atlas Six! What really makes this story interesting is the world building. There is not a lot of backstory on the world it is set in, but bits and pieces throughout the book give you context clues. There are people with magic and abilities, shifters, and petty-thief criminal mermaids. Similar to A Discovery of Witches, science is a strong theme, but in this story, the science is less genetics and more physics-based. As a reader, it made me wonder if there really is an intersection between space, time, and magic. The twist at the end turns the whole story on its head, making me want to grab the sequel immediately!

By Olivie Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Atlas Six as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Instant New York Times Bestseller
A Goodreads Best Fantasy Choice Award Nominee

The much-acclaimed viral sensation from Olivie Blake, The Atlas Six—now newly revised and edited with additional content.

• The tag #theatlassix has millions of views on TikTok
• A dark academic debut fantasy with an established cult following that reads like The Secret History meets The Umbrella Academy
• The first in an explosive trilogy
• Indigo's Top 10 Most Anticipated Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books of 2022
• Tor.com's Most Anticipated SFF of 2022

Each decade, only the six most uniquely talented magicians are selected to earn…


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Shadow of the Hidden

By Kev Harrison,

Book cover of Shadow of the Hidden

Kev Harrison Author Of Below

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Traveller Horror addict Reader

Kev's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over, and the lives of Oz and his family hang in the balance. Can Seb find the answers to remove the hex before it’s too late?

Journey with Seb, Oz, and Deniz across ancient North African cities as they seek to banish the Shadow of the Hidden.

Shadow of the Hidden

By Kev Harrison,

What is this book about?

It’s Seb’s last day working in Turkey, but his friend Oz has been cursed. Superstition turns to terror as the effects of the ancient malediction spill over and the lives of Oz and his family hang in the balance. Can Seb find the answers to remove the hex before it’s too late?

From Kev Harrison, author of The Balance and Below, journey with Seb, Oz and Deniz across ancient North African cities as they seek to banish the Shadow of the Hidden.


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