The best funny and snarky fantasy novels set in New York City

Alex Shvartsman Author Of The Middling Affliction: The Conradverse Chronicles, Book 1
By Alex Shvartsman

Who am I?

I've lived in Brooklyn for over 30 years now. I've always had a weakness for fun, snarky urban fantasy where the city is always a supporting character—and sometimes a major one. One day I decided to write a short story in the style of Simon R. Green's Nightside books, only instead of London, it'd feature New York City. And thus, the Conradverse was born. I tend to combine action, humor, real Brooklyn and NYC locations and history, and copious pop culture references when writing in this setting, and I seek out other books that do a great job at handling some or all of these elements.


I wrote...

The Middling Affliction: The Conradverse Chronicles, Book 1

By Alex Shvartsman,

Book cover of The Middling Affliction: The Conradverse Chronicles, Book 1

What is my book about?

Conrad Brent protects the people of Brooklyn from monsters and evil wizards. The snarky, wisecracking guardian also has a dangerous secret. He's a middling—a despised half-gifted who can perceive magic but has no powers of his own.

When a shady corporation develops a bioweapon against magic users, Conrad's secrets are revealed. Stripped of his rank, magical objects, friends, and allies, he must save the world—and a fellow middling—using only his wits and copious amounts of coffee.

The books I picked & why

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The Hex Is In: The Fast Life and Fantastic Times of Harry the Book

By Mike Resnick,

Book cover of The Hex Is In: The Fast Life and Fantastic Times of Harry the Book

Why this book?

Mike Resnick is a master of writing humor, and Hex collects all of his Harry the Book stories, a Damon-Runyon style tales of a down-on-his-luck bookie and his oddball crew, operating out of a booth in a Manhattan bar. I love this noir-ish version of NYC with zombies, werewolves, and even dragons mixing with human New Yorkers who are even more colorful.

If you love this book, Resnick's Hunting the Unicorn (and sequels) take place in the same setting. 


Tune in Tomorrow: The Curious, Calamitous, Cockamamie Story of Starr Weatherby and the Greatest Mythic Reality Show Ever

By Randee Dawn,

Book cover of Tune in Tomorrow: The Curious, Calamitous, Cockamamie Story of Starr Weatherby and the Greatest Mythic Reality Show Ever

Why this book?

A struggling actress catches her big break when she's hired onto a reality TV/soap opera show produced by and watched by mythical creatures. They're fascinated with humans and more than willing to accept the soapiest of soap opera plots as reality. Dawn is an entertainment journalist and she mixes humor with insider details that make the set seem authentic. Well, as authentic as a set populated with fawn producers, cameradryads, and security dragons can get.

Although much of the story happens on set, the New York City bits by this Brooklyn-based author feel both authentic and fun to me.


Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device

By James Aquilone,

Book cover of Dead Jack and the Pandemonium Device

Why this book?

Dead Jack is a zombie private detective with fairy dust addiction and a homunculus sidekick. He plies his trade in the Five Cities of Pandemonium which are very clearly the five boroughs of New York City.

I'm a sucker for a snarky voice first and foremost. Staten Island-based Aquilone melds horror and humor into a page-turner series that deliver my recommended daily dose of Vitamin Snark.


The Shambling Guide to New York City

By Mur Lafferty,

Book cover of The Shambling Guide to New York City

Why this book?

A recent transplant from the South gets hired as a travel book editor and finds herself the sole human employee in a company run by a vampire. Her coworkers include zombies, incubi, and even a goddess. As part of her job, she must write a tourist guide to the city—for the undead.

To me, the most fun parts are the actual pages from the guide, interspersed with the narrative. 


Brooklyn Knight

By C.J. Henderson,

Book cover of Brooklyn Knight

Why this book?

If Indiana Jones was based in Brooklyn and was also an expert at magic and arcane lore, you'd have Piers Knight, the titular character of this book. Although a bit lighter on humor than the other entries here, I found this book to be fun and snappy, and as an additional bonus delves into the real (and weird!) historical factoids about New York City.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in New York City, New York State, and Brooklyn?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about New York City, New York State, and Brooklyn.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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