Urban Fantasy, what is it? And how do you create good urban fantasy? I’ve mentioned Urban Fantasy before in some articles, but I wanted to delve deeper into it and provide some more examples beyond my normal one. Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has […]
Tag: urban fantasy
We all know fantasy pretty well, at least I’m assuming that we do. We’ve seen and/or read Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. We might have read the Shanara Chronicles, Wheel of Time, Mistborn, or so many other epic fantasy series or watched shows […]
We’ve done most of the Halloween topics that I wanted to cover already in October, and we still have two weeks to go. This seems like the right time to do good books for Halloween.
The Dresden Files
These are also good Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July books. Okay, maybe not, but I just really like this series, and the supernatural aspect with the fae creatures, demons, vampires, zombies, werewolves, and more showing up throughout the series, every book in the series is a good Halloween book. I’m currently reading through the series again, and it’s one that I suspect I’ll do that quite often. Harry Dresden is a Wizard PI in Chicago, and Chicago is a hot bed of trouble for the supernatural. How will he almost fail at and then eventually solve the problem that he’s being faced with? The Dresden Files aren’t a scary series, but they do have that monster feel that you generally associate with Halloween.
Definitely my favorite Stephen King book, and I like most of his books, in fact another will be showing up on the list. One of my knocks from just putting Stephen King completely down as the list as any of his books is that some of them suffer at the end, they just don’t wrap up as well as you would hope that they would. It, however, wraps up the best, in my opinion and makes a very well told story. The interlacing of the two timelines also works so well in the book. Most people probably have some idea of what this story is, but in Maine there is a town, Derry, that has a monster in it, and while people don’t really think about it between when it strikes, it’s always there ready to come back. They were kids when It happened to them the first time, and now as adults they are going to put an end to it.
Probably not the Stephen King book people would expect to see on the list, but it’s one that I enjoy a lot. It’s an interesting balance where it isn’t just normal Stephen King horror, but has a good amount of suspense and craziness. Anything by Stephen King, at least that I’ve read, has some horror feel to it. A girl who is born with powers, because of some crazy experiments done on her parents is on the run with her dad as the government tries to chase them down. It’s an interesting concept and I feel like Stephen King was channeling Robert Ludlum for some of the writing as it has some more of the intrigue feel that you get from Ludlum. Probably not a story for everyone just because it isn’t as much horror, but I’ve enjoyed it.
Under the Dome
Last Stephen King work on the list, and I know there could be a ton of other options as well for Stephen King, like I said, it could be a whole list. In Under the Dome, a city is completely surrounded by a dome, and no one knows why, where it came from, or how to get rid of it. The horror shines through in this one a whole lot more then Firestarter because it really looks at the horror of what people might do in that situation. One thing that I really like about this book is how King manages to make his bad characters really bad, but the good characters definitely are more shades of grey than they are the knight in shining armor. That makes the characters much more compelling to me, and definitely has my most hated bad guys in King’s writing.
So a major departure from the things I’ve written about before as Coraline is definitely leaning towards a children’s or young adult book, but Neil Gaiman’s story, definitely has that Halloween feel to it. From the talking cat which feels very Halloween like, to the other mother in the story, there are great nods to horror in the book without being too scary and without having the feel of blood and gore. I would say that this is a book that a parent should probably skim or read (it’s a short book) before giving it to a child because it might be much for some children while others might be able to handle it. If it is too much, you can always start with Gaiman’s Wolves in the Walls.
Another Neil Gaiman book, and you can probably now tell some authors I like quite well, Neverwhere was originally a mini-series (which is okay), but was then turned into a book. This is definitely less horror and closer to the Dresden Files where it is more urban fantasy than anything too scary. However, the story, like The Dresden Files, does have some of that feel where there’s enough unsettling or fantastical things going on that it just matches the Halloween spirit. It’s been a while since I’ve read or watched this one, I should probably do that again sometime.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Again, an urban fantasy series, but there is so much going on in this story, it has more of a gothic feel than it does horror, but that still fits well in Halloween for me. What makes this series really interesting is the fact the fantasy isn’t the standard, New York, Chicago, London story, it’s set in Prague, and the monsters aren’t the standard Vampire, Zombie, and Werewolf. While this does run into the issue of information dumping and going a little off the rails at the end of the series, it’s still really well written and does something that is very unique. Both Kristen and I like this series a lot.
What are some books that I could have mentioned? I know that there are classics out there, which I’ll mention right now such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Portrait of Dorian Gray that also all deserve to be on the list. I don’t want to completely gloss over them, but at least Frankenstein and Dracula should be two of the books that people first think of when it comes to Halloween books and that people might generally know more about.
I’m not sure that there will be any more Halloween lists like this, but I will continue next week doing more Halloween posts, just not sure what they’ll be yet, they might be more in depth reviews of things, like I did with iZombie, or it might be ranking various Halloween things for the fun of it, or maybe even a battle between Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies? If you have any ideas, let me know!
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We’re back in urban fantasy land today with Storm Front, the first installment of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. But while this series belongs to the same genre as Little (Grrl) Lost, the tone couldn’t be more different, and the stakes in these stories couldn’t be higher. It’s a […]
Little (Grrl) Lost is one of those books that I’ve run into repeatedly for years — like it was following me. Whenever I saw it, it would taunt me from library and bookstore shelves, saying “read me, reeeead meeee!” (anyone else have this happen to them regularly? […]
Welcome back, fellow nerds! We’re trying something new here at Nerdologists today. Have you ever had that moment where you’re watching a great show or movie or reading a great book and thought, “Holy buckets, this thing is amazing…why is it not more popular?” Well, we sure have. In fact, it’s a pretty regular occurrence around these parts. So consider this new series our way of bringing some much-deserved attention to the awesome yet lesser-known corners of the nerdiverse.
To start us off, I want to talk about a show I’ve recently discovered — Lost Girl. Peder has seen a good portion of this show’s five seasons, and has been telling me for some time about how great it is. This month, we’ve finally got around to watching it together, and are partway through Season 1. There’s a lot still to be watched, but I’ve seen enough to know that it’s fantastic.
Lost Girl originally aired in 2010 on a Canadian channel called Showcase, and made its way to the US via the SyFy channel in 2012. It centers around the story of Bo (played by Anna Silk), a woman with a dark past, and whose origins are a mystery — even to herself. It’s soon revealed that Bo is a member of the Fae, a magical underworld populated by supernatural beings and hidden in plain sight from the human world. More specifically, she’s a succubus — a creature who feeds off of the sexual energy of humans. She finds out (the hard way, naturally) that when she engages in…certain behaviors with humans, she ends up draining their life force and killing them. Basically, she’s a more smoldery version of Rogue.
Early on, Bo encounters Kenzi (played by Ksenia Solo — if that isn’t the coolest name ever, I don’t know what is), a clever, wildcard human girl she saves from a nasty fate and who latches onto Bo like an adorable, friendly stray cat. They set up shop in Bo’s condemned-barn-style house and form what amounts to a two-woman supernatural crime-fighting team. They’re soon befriended by Dyson (played by Kris Holden-Ried), another member of the Fae — he’s a werewolf/cop who consistently rivals Bo for her smoldery-ness. He helps Bo and Kenzi out of (and sometimes into) all kinds of trouble, and he and Bo quickly find themselves in a complicated friends-with-(supernatural)-benefits relationship.
If you know SyFy at all, you’ll know that its shows can be pretty hit or miss, but Lost Girl is decidedly one of the hits. It balances great action sequences with skillful character development, special effects that somehow manage not to be cheesy, unique plot elements…and quite a bit of fanservice, which somehow doesn’t feel overdone.
On that note, I will share one caveat — if you tend to try to avoid sexual content in the shows and movies you watch, this won’t be the show for you. We’re not talking Game of Thrones or Outlander levels of that stuff by any means, but there’s definitely enough to give some people pause. I will say, though, that it’s used in a pretty ingenious (and generally not gratuitous) way. Since that element is so much a part of Bo’s character as the source of her powers, it feels relevant to the story whenever it comes into it, and is often an important part of Bo’s character development as she learns to control her powers in order to both use them to her advantage and to keep from hurting the people she loves.
In short, this urban fantasy show doesn’t just tell an interesting story; it has the right amount of depth to keep it compelling and engaging without feeling too heavy. Add in some of the funniest, most complex, and most unique characters I’ve encountered in quite some time, and you have one fantastic show.
So, have you heard of Lost Girl? If so, what do you like the most about it? If not, is it one you’d add to your to-watch list?
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