Modern Magic: A Complete Newcomers Guide To All Things Urban Fantasy

Modern Magic: A Complete Newcomers Guide To All Things Urban Fantasy

By Neal Martin/ September 11, 2018
Last Updated April 26, 2023
urban fantasy guide

From its humble beginnings in the 1980s, urban fantasy has emerged as a riveting, ever-evolving genre that has captured the hearts and imaginations of countless readers. While it may not yet rival the commercial success of titans like romance or mystery, urban fantasy continues to flourish and expand its reach, offering boundless possibilities for both authors and audiences alike.

The irresistible charm of urban fantasy lies in its unique blend of immersive escapism and relatable modernity. This captivating genre opens a portal into a world of exhilarating adventures, where the ordinary collides with the extraordinary, and the supernatural intertwines seamlessly with the mundane.

What sets urban fantasy apart is its impressive versatility, as it effortlessly weaves together elements from a myriad of genres. From spine-chilling horror and mind-bending mysteries to spellbinding supernatural encounters, pulse-pounding thrillers, evocative historical settings, witty humor, and heartwarming romance – urban fantasy has it all! This kaleidoscope of narrative possibilities is precisely what draws so many writers, including myself, to this genre. It grants us the creative freedom to craft stories that truly defy boundaries and transcend conventions.

To be classified as urban fantasy, however, certain criteria must be met, as specific tropes lend the genre its distinct flavor. Whether you’ve recently delved into a Jim Butcher novel and crave more, or you’re entirely new to this mesmerizing genre, our comprehensive guide will help you navigate the fascinating world of urban fantasy with confidence and ease.

So, let’s embark on this spellbinding journey!

The Essence of Urban Fantasy

While classic fantasy, such as Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones, transports readers to entirely fictional realms, urban fantasy grounds itself in our very own reality. This fundamental distinction sets urban fantasy apart and establishes a powerful connection between the reader and the world within the story.

Picture this: a fearless heroine or an enigmatic hero prowling the dark, labyrinthine streets of New York City, vanquishing vampires and other supernatural threats in pulse-pounding, adrenaline-fueled battles. This is urban fantasy in all its glory.

To truly capture the essence of urban fantasy, stories must incorporate certain tropes, which include:

  1. A compelling, strong-willed male or female protagonist.
  2. A predominantly urban backdrop that comes to life with vivid, atmospheric detail.
  3. An action-packed, fast-paced plot centered around a central mystery that ensnares the protagonist.
  4. A rich tapestry of supernatural elements, featuring mythical creatures (such as vampires and werewolves) and the enchanting allure of magic.
  5. The thrilling, high-stakes use of weapons and combat.
  6. A healthy dose of humor, often infused with biting wit and sarcasm.
  7. An optional yet often irresistible romantic subplot that tugs at the heartstrings.

Those are some of the more broader tropes that you will find in just about every urban fantasy story to a greater or lesser degree. There are many more specific tropes, but it is beyond the scope of this article to go into them all. Check out TV Tropes for a complete list of these more specific elements.

Urban Fantasy Definition

Below you will see an excellent graphic created by Alex at K-Lytics for their report on urban fantasy for authors. The graphic gives a great visual overview of the genre’s elements.

urban fantasy infographic

Urban Fantasy Or Paranormal Romance?

The captivating realm of urban fantasy has long been intertwined with the allure of romance, and this intersection has given rise to a distinct subgenre: paranormal romance. However, the boundaries between urban fantasy and paranormal romance are often blurred, leading to confusion and mislabeling.

At the heart of urban fantasy lies an action-packed, fantastical narrative set against a modern, urban backdrop. While romance may be an ingredient in the story, it is not the central focus. Paranormal romance, on the other hand, revolves around the romantic relationship between the characters, with the fantastical elements serving as an intriguing and atmospheric setting for the love story.

Despite their differences, paranormal romance books, movies, and TV shows are frequently marketed as urban fantasy, making it challenging for readers and viewers to distinguish between the two genres based on covers or promotional materials alone. Only upon delving into the story or watching the film or show does the true essence of the tale emerge. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a romantic tale wrapped in a supernatural setting, it’s essential to recognize that this is paranormal romance and not urban fantasy.

A Glimpse into the World of Urban Fantasy Books

Urban fantasy is primarily recognized as a literary genre, so let’s explore some of the most notable urban fantasy books and series that have graced the shelves over the years. While this list is not exhaustive and may not feature every fan’s top choices, it serves as an excellent starting point for newcomers to the genre. There are thousands of urban fantasy books waiting to be discovered, so let your imagination run wild!

Though the term “urban fantasy” gained prominence in the 1980s, many earlier works can be classified within the genre. For instance, Fritz Leiber’s Our Lady of Darkness (1977) is an early example of urban fantasy. In the 1960s, Peter S. Beagle’s stories brought ghosts and werewolves to modern streets, while Thorne Smith’s Night Life of the Gods (1931) offered a comedic urban fantastical adventure. These are just a few instances of pioneering works that have contributed to the genre’s rich history.

Urban Fantasy Books Of The 1980’s

war for the oaks emma bull

For the purpose of this exploration, we’ll begin with the 1980s, when urban fantasy truly emerged as a commercial genre.

War for the Oaks (1987) by Emma Bull – A standalone urban fantasy novel that is often considered one of the pioneering works in the genre. This book is credited by many to be the first real example of UF literature. Bull went on to write within Terri Windling’s Borderlands universe, touted by Neil Gaiman as “one of the most important places where Urban Fantasy began.”

Moonheart (1984) by Charles de Lint – A standalone novel that blends urban fantasy with elements of myth and folklore.

The Vampire Lestat (1985) by Anne Rice – The second book in The Vampire Chronicles series.

The Anubis Gates (1983) by Tim Powers – A time-travel urban fantasy novel that incorporates elements of Egyptian mythology and magic.

The Talisman (1984) by Stephen King and Peter Straub – A dark fantasy novel set in both modern America and a parallel world.

Little, Big (1981) by John Crowley – A contemporary fantasy novel that weaves together elements of magical realism and urban fantasy.

The Great and Secret Show (1989) by Clive Barker – The first book in the Book of the Art series, which combines urban fantasy with horror elements.

The Homeward Bounders (1981) by Diana Wynne Jones – A young adult urban fantasy novel featuring children navigating magical worlds.

Angel with the Sword (1985) by C. J. Cherryh – A blend of urban fantasy and science fiction set in a post-apocalyptic city.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (First trilogy published between 1977-1979, second trilogy in the 1980s) by Stephen R. Donaldson – A series that blends elements of high fantasy with an urban setting and a modern-day protagonist.

Tea with the Black Dragon (1983) by R.A. MacAvoy – A standalone novel that combines urban fantasy with a detective story and a dash of romance.

Mythago Wood (1984) by Robert Holdstock – The first book in the Mythago Wood Cycle series, which explores the realm of mythic archetypes in an ancient British woodland.

Agyar (1986) by Steven Brust – A standalone vampire novel with urban fantasy elements set in a small college town.

Faerie Tale (1988) by Raymond E. Feist – A standalone urban fantasy novel that weaves together elements of horror and Celtic mythology.

Grendel (1989) by John Gardner – A retelling of the Beowulf epic from the monster Grendel’s perspective, set in a modern-day environment.

The Stress of Her Regard (1989) by Tim Powers – A historical urban fantasy novel involving Romantic poets and supernatural beings.

The Last Coin (1988) by James P. Blaylock – A contemporary fantasy novel involving a magical quest and supernatural elements.

The Silence of the Lambs (1988) by Thomas Harris – Though primarily a psychological thriller, this novel incorporates elements of urban fantasy in its portrayal of the serial killer, Hannibal Lecter.

The Fetch (1982) by Chris Humphreys – A standalone urban fantasy novel set in London, featuring elements of magic and folklore.

Please note that while some of these books may not fit perfectly into the modern definition of urban fantasy, they undoubtedly influenced the development of the genre and paved the way for the urban fantasy books that we know today.

Urban Fantasy Books Of The 1990’s

anita blake urban fantasy

The genre began to grow in this decade, but it was still only talked about by hardcore fans and hadn’t yet entered the mainstream.

Guilty Pleasures (1993) by Laurell K. Hamilton – The first book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series.

Neverwhere (1996) by Neil Gaiman – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

Practical Magic (1995) by Alice Hoffman – A standalone novel that was later adapted into a movie.

Anno Dracula (1992) by Kim Newman – The first book in the Anno Dracula series.

The Night Watch (1998) by Sergei Lukyanenko – The first book in the Night Watch series.

Jack the Bodiless (1991) by Julian May – The first book in the Galactic Milieu Trilogy.

The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse (1999) by Keith Hartman – The first book in the Gumshoe series.

The Tooth Fairy (1998) by Graham Joyce – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

Stalking the Unicorn (1987) by Mike Resnick – The first book in the John Justin Mallory Mystery series, which continued in the 1990s.

Waking the Moon (1994) by Elizabeth Hand – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

Lost Souls (1992) by Poppy Z. Brite – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

Blood Price (1991) by Tanya Huff – The first book in the Vicki Nelson series.

Dead Until Dark (1998) by Charlaine Harris – The first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series.

Black Sun Rising (1991) by C.S. Friedman – The first book in the Coldfire Trilogy.

The Witching Hour (1990) by Anne Rice – The first book in the Lives of the Mayfair Witches series.

Bloodlist (1990) by P.N. Elrod – The first book in the Vampire Files series.

Stray (1996) by Mark Matthews – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

The Gargoyle (1998) by Andrew Davidson – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

The Initiate Brother (1991) by Sean Russell – The first book in the Initiate Brother Duology.

These books are either standalone novels or part of series that were published in the 1990s, and they have contributed significantly to the development of urban fantasy as a genre.

Urban Fantasy Books Of The 2000’s

dark urban fantasy

The genre really began to take off in this decade, to the point where bookstores would assign urban fantasy its own shelf. Some classic urban fantasy series were released in this decade also.

Storm Front (2000) by Jim Butcher – The first book in The Dresden Files series.

Dead Witch Walking (2004) by Kim Harrison – The first book in The Hollows series.

Moon Called (2006) by Patricia Briggs – The first book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Magic Bites (2007) by Ilona Andrews – The first book in the Kate Daniels series.

City of Bones (2007) by Cassandra Clare – The first book in The Mortal Instruments series.

American Gods (2001) by Neil Gaiman – A standalone urban fantasy novel with mythological elements.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011) by Laini Taylor – The first book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

Rivers of London (2011) by Ben Aaronovitch – The first book in the Peter Grant series.

Iron Kissed (2008) by Patricia Briggs – The third book in the Mercy Thompson series, which further solidified the series’ influence in the genre.

Rosemary and Rue (2009) by Seanan McGuire – The first book in the October Daye series.

The Night Circus (2011) by Erin Morgenstern – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of magical realism.

Halfway to the Grave (2007) by Jeaniene Frost – The first book in the Night Huntress series.

Sandman Slim (2009) by Richard Kadrey – The first book in the Sandman Slim series.

Unholy Ghosts (2010) by Stacia Kane – The first book in the Downside Ghosts series.

Dead Until Dark (2001) by Charlaine Harris – The first book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, which inspired the TV show True Blood.

The Name of the Wind (2007) by Patrick Rothfuss – The first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle series, which blends elements of high fantasy and urban fantasy.

Wicked Lovely (2007) by Melissa Marr – The first book in the Wicked Lovely series, which focuses on faeries in an urban setting.

The Lies of Locke Lamora (2006) by Scott Lynch – The first book in the Gentleman Bastard series, which features elements of urban fantasy in a fantasy world setting.

Night Watch (2006) by Sergei Lukyanenko – The first book in the Night Watch series, translated and published in English during the 2000s.

Hounded (2011) by Kevin Hearne – The first book in The Iron Druid Chronicles.

Urban Fantasy Books Of The 2010’s

craft sequence urban fantasy

Despite a few blimps in the road, the urban fantasy genre continues to grow in strength and popularity in this decade. Whereas the 2000’s were dominated mostly by books with kickass female leads, this decade sees the return of the badass male lead, at least as far as self published UF is concerned – “Tough Guy Urban Fantasy”

The Rook (2012) by Daniel O’Malley – The first book in The Checquy Files series.

The City of Brass (2017) by S.A. Chakraborty – The first book in The Daevabad Trilogy.

Trail of Lightning (2018) by Rebecca Roanhorse – The first book in The Sixth World series.

The Bear and the Nightingale (2017) by Katherine Arden – The first book in the Winternight Trilogy.

A Discovery of Witches (2011) by Deborah Harkness – The first book in the All Souls Trilogy.

The Invisible Library (2015) by Genevieve Cogman – The first book in The Invisible Library series.

The Cruel Prince (2018) by Holly Black – The first book in The Folk of the Air series.

Ninth House (2019) by Leigh Bardugo – The first book in the Alex Stern series.

Three Parts Dead (2012) by Max Gladstone – The first book in the Craft Sequence series.

The Golem and the Jinni (2013) by Helene Wecker – A standalone urban fantasy novel.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (2014) by Claire North – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of time travel.

Uprooted (2015) by Naomi Novik – A standalone urban fantasy novel inspired by fairy tales and folklore.

Six of Crows (2015) by Leigh Bardugo – The first book in the Six of Crows duology, set in the Grishaverse.

London Falling (2012) by Paul Cornell – The first book in the Shadow Police series.

The Diviners (2012) by Libba Bray – The first book in The Diviners series, set in the 1920s New York City.

The Library at Mount Char (2015) by Scott Hawkins – A standalone dark urban fantasy novel.

The Fifth Season (2015) by N.K. Jemisin – The first book in The Broken Earth series, which combines elements of urban and epic fantasy.

The Bone Clocks (2014) by David Mitchell – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of magical realism.

The Black Prism (2010) by Brent Weeks – The first book in the Lightbringer series, which features a unique magic system in an urban setting.

The Poppy War (2018) by R.F. Kuang – The first book in The Poppy War series, which blends elements of urban fantasy and historical fiction.

Here are some influential indie urban fantasy books from this decade:

Justice Calling (2014) by Annie Bellet – The first book in The Twenty-Sided Sorceress series.

A Demon Bound (2011) by Debra Dunbar – The first book in the Imp series.

The Scribe (2013) by Elizabeth Hunter – The first book in the Irin Chronicles series.

Angelfall (2011) by Susan Ee – The first book in the Penryn & the End of Days series.

Dirty Blood (2011) by Heather Hildenbrand – The first book in the Dirty Blood series.

The Girl in the Box (2012) by Robert J. Crane – The first book in the Out of the Box series.

Hidden Blade (2016) by Pippa DaCosta – The first book in the Soul Eater series.

Graveyard Shift (2016) by Angela Roquet – The first book in the Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc. series.

Beyond the Veil (2013) by Pippa DaCosta – The first book in the Veil series.

The Book of Deacon (2010) by Joseph Lallo – The first book in The Book of Deacon series.

Innkeeper Chronicles (2013) by Ilona Andrews – The first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles series (originally a serialized, self-published work before being picked up by a traditional publisher).

First Grave on the Right (2011) by Darynda Jones – The first book in the Charley Davidson series (initially self-published, then picked up by a traditional publisher).

Godhunter (2013) by Amy Sumida – The first book in the Godhunter series.

House of Royals (2015) by Keary Taylor – The first book in the House of Royals series.

A Darker Shade of Magic (2013) by V.E. Schwab – The first book in the Shades of Magic series (initially self-published before being picked up by a traditional publisher).

The Curse Keepers (2013) by Denise Grover Swank – The first book in the Curse Keepers series.

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price (2014) by C.L. Schneider – The first book in The Crown of Stones series.

The Devil’s Dreamcatcher (2015) by Donna Hosie – The first book in the Devil’s series.

The Witch Hunter (2015) by Nicole R. Taylor – The first book in The Witch Hunter Saga.

The Faerie Guardian (2012) by Rachel Morgan – The first book in the Creepy Hollow series.

As well as these better known authors, there is a lot more great urban fantasy authors working within the indie scene, such as Shayne Silvers, Jasmine Walt, M.D. Massey, Michael Anderle, Steve McHugh, Orlando A. Sanchez, C.N. Crawford, N.M. Thorn, William Massa, and many, many others, including yours truly, N.P. Martin.

Urban Fantasy Books Published Since 2020

urban fantasy sara j mass

Again, not an exhaustive list, but just some of the highlights of the urban fantasy literary scene since 2020.

House of Earth and Blood (2020) by Sarah J. Maas – The first book in the Crescent City series.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (2020) by V.E. Schwab – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of historical fiction.

The Gilded Wolves (2019) by Roshani Chokshi – The first book in The Gilded Wolves series, which blends urban fantasy and historical fiction.

The City We Became (2020) by N.K. Jemisin – The first book in the Great Cities series.

Black Sun (2020) by Rebecca Roanhorse – The first book in the Between Earth and Sky series.

The Once and Future Witches (2020) by Alix E. Harrow – A standalone urban fantasy novel set in an alternate historical timeline.

The Four Profound Weaves (2020) by R.B. Lemberg – A novella set in the Birdverse universe.

The House in the Cerulean Sea (2020) by T.J. Klune – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of magical realism.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune (2020) by Nghi Vo – The first book in The Singing Hills Cycle series.

The Midnight Bargain (2020) by C.L. Polk – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of historical fiction and romance.

Harrow the Ninth (2020) by Tamsyn Muir – The second book in the Locked Tomb series.

Legendborn (2020) by Tracy Deonn – The first book in the Legendborn series.

The Space Between Worlds (2020) by Micaiah Johnson – A standalone urban fantasy novel with elements of science fiction.

A Deadly Education (2020) by Naomi Novik – The first book in the Scholomance series.

The Bone Shard Daughter (2020) by Andrea Stewart – The first book in The Drowning Empire series.

The Unbroken (2021) by C.L. Clark – The first book in the Magic of the Lost series.

The Shadow of the Gods (2021) by John Gwynne – The first book in The Bloodsworn Saga series.

The Jasmine Throne (2021) by Tasha Suri – The first book in the Burning Kingdoms series.

A Master of Djinn (2021) by P. Djèlí Clark – A full-length novel set in the same world as the author’s previous novellas, The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and A Dead Djinn in Cairo.

Under the Whispering Door (2021) by T.J. Klune – A standalone urban fantasy novel that explores themes of love, loss, and redemption.

Again, not an exhaustive list by any means. There have been thousands of urban fantasy books published – traditionally and independently – in the last few years. For a current list, I recommend searching on Amazon.

Urban Fantasy Movies

dark urban fantasy movies

I’ve already written a comprehensive post on the best urban fantasy movies by decade. Check it out to see what impact the genre has made on Hollywood over the years!

Urban Fantasy TV Series

urban fantasy TV shows

UF is very well represented in TV land these days. I’ve already written about some of the best urban fantasy TV shows in another post.

Urban Fantasy Comics

hellblazer urban fantasy

The urban fantasy genre has left an indelible mark on the world of comics, offering a wide range of influential and captivating stories. One of the most iconic examples is the Hellblazer comics, which introduce readers to Alan Moore’s creation, John Constantine. This character has become an archetype for many male leads in urban fantasy literature, embodying the grit and charm that define the genre.

Here are 20 influential and well-known urban fantasy comics you should explore:

Hellblazer – Follow John Constantine, the streetwise magician and anti-hero, through his supernatural adventures.

American Vampire – Dive into the evolution of a new kind of vampire, an American species with unique powers and characteristics, set against the backdrop of American history.

Hellboy – Witness the paranormal escapades of Hellboy, a demon-turned-hero who combats supernatural threats.

B.P.R.D. – A Hellboy spinoff focusing on the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense as they investigate supernatural occurrences.

Preacher – Enjoy a darkly humorous tale featuring a possessed preacher, a vampire, and a deadly woman, now adapted into a popular TV series.

Sandman – Delve into Neil Gaiman‘s classic comic series about Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, and his siblings.

Lucifer – Explore the adventures of Lucifer Morningstar, the Devil himself, as he navigates life on Earth in this series by Neil Gaiman and others.

Clive Barker’s Hellraiser – Discover the terrifying world of Hellraiser, with a focus on horror elements.

Shade the Changing Man – Join the protagonist with a magical vest and the power to warp reality in this captivating series.

Seven Soldiers of Victory – Follow the story of seven heroes who unite to save reality from destructive faeries.

Fables – A modern take on classic fairy tale characters living in secret in New York City.

Locke & Key – A gripping tale of magic, family, and ancient secrets set in a haunted New England mansion.

The Wicked + The Divine – A story of gods reincarnated as pop stars, destined to live only two years before their ultimate demise.

The Unwritten – Dive into the adventures of Tom Taylor, the son of a famous fantasy author, as he discovers the thin line between fiction and reality.

The Books of Magic – Follow Tim Hunter, a young magician destined for greatness, in this urban fantasy comic written by Neil Gaiman.

Witchblade – Witness the transformation of a detective who gains supernatural powers from an ancient artifact.

The Darkness – Explore the life of a mob hitman who inherits terrifying powers from a primordial force.

Saga – An epic urban fantasy series that follows two star-crossed lovers from warring races as they try to protect their child from danger.

iZombie – A unique take on the zombie genre, featuring a zombie protagonist who must consume brains to maintain her humanity.

Ghosted – A thrilling story about a master thief who assembles a team to steal a ghost from a haunted mansion.

Urban Fantasy TTRPGs

world of darkness urban fantasy

The urban fantasy genre has left an undeniable impact on the world of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs). With its compelling blend of supernatural elements and contemporary settings, urban fantasy has inspired countless TTRPGs that immerse players in captivating stories and richly detailed universes. Even if you’re not an avid TTRPG player, these games can serve as a treasure trove of inspiration. Some influential and well-known urban fantasy TTRPGs include:

Vampire: The Masquerade/Requiem – Explore a world of vampire clans and political intrigue in this groundbreaking urban fantasy TTRPG.

Werewolf: The Forsaken – Embody a werewolf and navigate the complex dynamics of werewolf society in this supernatural game.

Mage: The Awakening – Delve into a dark, magical world full of intrigue and danger in this classic urban fantasy TTRPG.

Changeling: The Lost – Experience a unique take on faery lore and the struggles of those caught between two worlds.

Unknown Armies – Immerse yourself in a dark and bizarre urban fantasy game that challenges the limits of reality.

Shadowrun – Navigate a cyberpunk world infused with magic and supernatural beings in this popular TTRPG.

Urban Shadows – Engage in political machinations and supernatural conflicts within a modern urban setting.

Monsterhearts – Explore teenage supernatural drama in a game inspired by TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Teen Wolf.

Dresden Files RPG – Step into the world of Jim Butcher‘s popular urban fantasy series and become a wizard detective.

City of Mist – Unravel mysteries and balance ordinary life with supernatural powers in this noir-inspired urban fantasy game.

World of Darkness – Experience a modern gothic setting populated with supernatural creatures, including vampires, werewolves, and mages.

Chronicles of Darkness – Delve into a universe of supernatural intrigue and horror in this spiritual successor to the World of Darkness.

Blue Rose – Explore a romantic fantasy setting filled with magic, intrigue, and mysterious forces.

Promethean: The Created – Assume the role of a Promethean, an artificial being seeking humanity in a hostile world.

Demon: The Descent – Play as a demon, a fallen angel, navigating the complexities of the modern world while evading angelic hunters.

Geist: The Sin-Eaters – Embody a person who has returned from the dead, imbued with supernatural powers and a ghostly companion.

Night’s Black Agents – Become a skilled spy in a world filled with vampire conspiracies and supernatural espionage.

Over the Edge – Explore the surreal and dangerous city of Al Amarja in this cutting-edge urban fantasy TTRPG.

Hunter: The Vigil – Take on the role of a hunter in a world filled with supernatural threats, protecting humanity from the darkness.

Mummy: The Curse – Play as an immortal being who awakens in the modern world, seeking to unravel the mysteries of their own past.

Urban Fantasy Video Games

urban fantasy vampire

The urban fantasy genre, while not as prevalent in the video game industry as horror or high fantasy, has still inspired a number of influential and well-known titles. These games blend supernatural elements with contemporary settings to create immersive and engaging experiences for players. Some notable urban fantasy video games include:

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines – Immerse yourself in the vampiric underworld in this classic RPG based on the tabletop game.

The Wolf Among Us – Play as a detective in a world where fairy tale characters live secretly among humans in this captivating adventure game.

The Darkness – Wield supernatural powers in this first-person shooter with a unique twist.

Devil May Cry – Take on the role of demon hunter Dante in this iconic action game series.

Shadowrun Returns – Dive into the magical cyberpunk world of Shadowrun in this tactical RPG.

Dishonored – Assume the role of a supernatural assassin in this stealth-based action game.

Hellgate: London – Battle demons in a post-apocalyptic London in this action RPG.

Bayonetta – Play as a shape-shifting witch battling angels and demons in this stylish action game.

Control – Explore a mysterious government building and wield supernatural powers in this action-adventure game.

Darksiders – Step into the shoes of War, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, in this action-packed game series.

American McGee’s Alice – Explore a twisted and dark version of Wonderland in this action-adventure game.

Bloodborne – Traverse a gothic city filled with eldritch horrors in this action RPG.

Oxenfree – Solve supernatural mysteries on an abandoned island in this atmospheric adventure game.

Neverwinter Nights – Experience a rich urban fantasy setting in this classic Dungeons & Dragons-based RPG.

Grim Fandango – Uncover conspiracies in the Land of the Dead in this beloved point-and-click adventure game.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade – Engage in fast-paced combat and explore Japanese mythology in this action-packed game.

The Secret World – Unravel conspiracies and battle supernatural forces in this MMORPG.

Infamous – Wield extraordinary powers in a modern city as you choose between heroism or villainy in this action-adventure game series.

Beyond: Two Souls – Experience a gripping narrative about a young woman with supernatural powers in this interactive drama.

Persona 5 – Play as a group of high school students who wield supernatural powers to fight evil in this popular RPG.

The Future Of Urban Fantasy

As we look to the horizon, the future of urban fantasy (UF) burns brighter than ever before. This captivating genre has taken the literary world by storm, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. With a plethora of novels joining the ranks each day, the UF realm continues to expand and enthrall readers around the globe.

Similarly, the silver screen and television have embraced the allure of urban fantasy, offering a steady stream of inspired tales that keep audiences captivated and craving more. The genre has proven its versatility and staying power, ensuring its prominence in visual media for years to come.

Although urban fantasy may not yet dominate the landscape of comics, RPGs, and video games, there is no denying its growing presence. As more creators and players discover the endless possibilities of UF, it’s only a matter of time before this genre takes its rightful place among the titans of the gaming world.

Contrary to the naysayers, urban fantasy is anything but a dying breed. This bewitching genre will continue to flourish and evolve, capturing the hearts and imaginations of countless fans.

So, dear reader, let us come together and celebrate the magic, mystery, and undeniable allure of urban fantasy. Share your favorite UF stories, characters, and moments in the comments below. Let’s revel in the enchanting world that has brought us so much joy, and look forward to the incredible adventures yet to come.

After all, urban fantasy is far too mesmerizing, too thrilling, and too much fun to fade into obscurity 🙂

4 responses to “Modern Magic: A Complete Newcomers Guide To All Things Urban Fantasy”

  1. Gwen Mitchell Avatar

    Fabulous post! Especially the info-graphic! FYI on one point though: romance has strict guidelines on what constitutes romance; it requires that the love story be between only two people, be THE central plot, and that the book (or central relationship at least) must have an HEA (happily ever after). That is why you see a lot of heavily romantic books slide into other genres when they don’t meet that bar. I suspect that’s why the paranormal lists are also flooded with reverse harem titles…thought I personally think those should go in erotica (I haven’t read any tho so really can’t say). But I know that my books have cliffhanger-y endings and the romance is equally balanced with the fantasy/mystery, so I can’t market them as romance. Romance readers are MARRIED to those tropes, and if they don’t get that HEA they will flame like no other fans.

    1. Neal Martin Avatar
      Neal Martin

      Great insight! Thanks Gwen!

  2. K.L. McClendon Avatar
    K.L. McClendon

    I have had two books published. That year 2015 and Fiftyish I’m seeking help on how to get them out there and noticed. Also seeking another publisher. Can you help me. Any information at all.

    1. Neal Martin Avatar
      Neal Martin

      Well, I’m an indie author so of course I’m going to suggest you take the self-publishing route if you haven’t already. A great resource that will tell you all you need to know and more besides is the 20Booksto50K Facebook group. I would urge you to check it out as it has loads of great people who are very knowledgable and helpful.

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urban fantasy book cover design

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