Some help with "Urban Fantasy."

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#1
So at the risk of alienating everyone here, I started reading Dresden a while back and was like, "What is this drivel?" I had to put it down. It's been too long so I can't give specific criticism but I just found the entire first novel silly.

Anyway, I have stopped taking myself and the books I read so serious. Yes, I do like a challenging read but have recently got into audio books and like those to be fast and fun. I keep reading about certain Urban Fantasy books that everyone seems to love.

So, I'm looking at picking up "Nightwise" on audio by R.S. Belcher to start. Was also considering "The Devil You Know" by Mike Carey.

I would like something a little deeper and darker than Dresden. Do the above storied fit that bill? Any other suggestions in this genre? Thanks!
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#2
Nightwise is definitely deeper and darker than Dresden and I think The Brootherhood of the Wheel set in the same world as Nightwise is even a better book. Belcher definitely hit all the notes for me with this fantasy / horror combination in both of them, but his writing seems more relaxed in Brotherhood. Terrific mythology adaptation as well. Hell, this book even has a soundtrack to it (I'll write more about that in my review soon).

I am 5 books into Dresden, but even so I'm on the fence. People keep saying it will get better, and it does get better to some degree, but there is a lot of silliness around as well. Some of it is fun though (I like Toot-Toot). I think my main problem is with Harry himself. I don't think I like him very much.

You can try Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, that is also darker compared to Iron Druid or Dresden. And it's Russian, so it has a different flavor to it.

Urban fantasy is more fun and fast paced than epic for example, but on the other hand it can often lack the depth to the story and very light world-building because of it. I think you are good to go with Nightwise for something meatier. Fair warning, it's quite gory and graphic. If it was a movie it would be rated R. Same with Brotherhood.
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
would like something a little deeper and darker than Dresden
Good question! I'm not a 'huge' fan of the UF genre (have just read Dresden and Iron Druid) and whilst they're fun and fast paced, I too would like to hear recommendations of similar, but somewhat 'darker' books, which I think may be more up my street ... so I'm looking forward to reading what folk have to say on the topic. I don't think I'd particularly want to read another series similar to Dresden/Druid in the short to medium term, but I've added Belcher to my list, thanks both:)
 

Haven

Became a Faceless Man
#4
So, I'm looking at picking up "Nightwise" on audio by R.S. Belcher to start. Was also considering "The Devil You Know" by Mike Carey.
Both of these are quite dark books, and are much, much better than Dresden (imo).

Nightwise is arguably the darker, but the Felix Castor books are a completed series (although I really hope I get to read another), but both definitely have similarities.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#5
Thanks for the suggestions and information. It seems that the Belcher books are sort of independent of each other correct? They are not actually a series if I'm understanding them correctly so I wouldn't have a problem starting them. Since I will be listening, I may go with whichever books have the better narrator at this point.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#6
It seems that the Belcher books are sort of independent of each other correct? They are not actually a series if I'm understanding them correctly so I wouldn't have a problem starting them. Since I will be listening, I may go with whichever books have the better narrator at this point.
They are set in the same world, but aside from that they are standalones. If you read Nightwise before Brotherhood, then you get some small tidbits and references in Brotherhood, but nothing important.
Nightwise has been green lighted for a sequel and I hope Brotherhood will too, which imo has a lot of potential to spin in any direction of the 3 main POVs that is has. The stories in both books are pretty much self-contained, so don't worry about sequels. Belcher will probably try to expand the world in the next books and bring more characters in. My hope however is that at one point, we will have an intersection, a crossover in one of the next books. I would love to see Laytham Ballard (Nightwise) and Hector Sinclair (TBotW) kicking it together.

The narrator is the same, and he's really good. It's Bronson Pinchot.
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#8
The narrator is the same, and he's really good. It's Bronson Pinchot.
Oh God, he was in an awful 1980s sitcom in the US. I do believe that's the only thing I've ever seen him in. Because of that, I think I would have a hard time taking him seriously.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#9
Oh God, he was in an awful 1980s sitcom in the US. I do believe that's the only thing I've ever seen him in. Because of that, I think I would have a hard time taking him seriously.
Try the sample on audible and hear how he sounds now. I really enjoyed his performance.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#10
@fbones24 have you finished the Narrator yet? It's been a long time since you've posted about it.
I have not. This is why I should never put a book down and start something else. I keep starting other books that I have previously wanted to read and/or gotten enthralled in other stuff that I couldn't seem to put down. When I finish Consider Phlebas, I'm going to finish The Narrator. :banghead:
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#11
I still have not made a decision. I basically read the intro to both Felix Castor and Nightwise and neither grabbed me. I found the writing in Felix Castor a little more clever. Also, found the narrator a little easier to listen to in the sample but Nightwise has great reviews. Anybody have more to offer on either of these series? Any other UF series that might be a good listen?
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#13
Why dont you simply take a plunge? Book reading isnt exactly a high risk activity. You can even return the book on audible if you dont like it for something new.
Ahhhhh. I did not know you could simply return the book. That makes it a lot easier for me. I thought I was basically out the money or the credit if I didn't like the book. Thank you!!! I will plunge.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#14
Ahhhhh. I did not know you could simply return the book. That makes it a lot easier for me. I thought I was basically out the money or the credit if I didn't like the book. Thank you!!! I will plunge.
You're welcome.
Of course audible allows this every now and then, but if you make it a habit of changing books far too often, than that's system abuse obviously and they don't tolerate that.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#15
So at the risk of alienating everyone here, I started reading Dresden a while back and was like, "What is this drivel?" I had to put it down. It's been too long so I can't give specific criticism but I just found the entire first novel silly.
The problem I had with the Dresden books, was that the writing is a bit too cute sometimes, and I'm not crazy about Harry. He has these bouts of introspection that I find really dull reading. That said though, it usually doesn't matter how good a series is, but by book four or five I've had enough.
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#16
I haven't read too much Urban fantasy but can comment on Dresden.

1) Book 1 and 2 kind of suck. Start book 3 or 4
2) It gets darker as the story evolves. The lore gets quite interesting

If you want something like Dresden but not as cute, give Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka a try.
 

Sparrow

Journeyed there and back again
#17
Oh God, he was in an awful 1980s sitcom in the US. I do believe that's the only thing I've ever seen him in. Because of that, I think I would have a hard time taking him seriously.

If you didn't already know him from his sitcom days, you would never recognize him by his voice work. He's actually really good.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#18
I haven't read too much Urban fantasy but can comment on Dresden.

1) Book 1 and 2 kind of suck. Start book 3 or 4
2) It gets darker as the story evolves. The lore gets quite interesting

If you want something like Dresden but not as cute, give Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka a try.
Jon, thanks for a great tip because I've tried book 1 a couple times and can't get into it which frustrates me no end because everyone loves these. I'll sample the third one first.
 

fbones24

Journeyed there and back again
#19
Well, went ahead and purchased "Nightwise" audio book. I am about 9 chapters in and so far my only impression is that this book is really trying to hard. Reminds me of a really bad TV show but can't put my finger on it. The only reason this is darker than Dresden is because that darkness (sex, drugs, etc.) is just overused for the sake of overuse. I love sex and drugs :D:eek: but not when they are used for the sake of creating this aura of badassery when it's just not there. Anyway, narrator is actually great and it's keeping me listening. I guess when I said I wanted something darker than Dresden, I actually meant Deeper.

With that said, it's not terrible. I will keep listening mostly because the narrator is great and I'm hoping there is some twist or hook that grabs me. Perhaps UF is just not for me?
 

Jon Snow

No Power in the Verse can stop me
Staff member
#20
Jon, thanks for a great tip because I've tried book 1 a couple times and can't get into it which frustrates me no end because everyone loves these. I'll sample the third one first.
Yeah, you won't miss anything except a few characters that aren't that important. Dresden does a good job of filling you in throughout each book.