Please note that since these books are fantasy series â€œto watchâ€, this list does not include any series that is already complete.
1. The Hollows / Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison – Always my favorite author, and not just because she set her books in my home town.
This series follows â€˜Runnerâ€™ (a sort of private investigator) Rachel Morgan in her quest to take down the bad guys in Cincinnati. With her partners, Jenks – a pixie – and Ivy – a living vampire – Rachel does her best to thrive in a dangerous world where supernatural races live openly and demons show an interest in making her their personal familiar. Begins with Dead Witch Walking.
2. Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher – Another favorite of mine, particularly for Harryâ€™s dry wit and sarcasm.
Harry Dresden is the only Wizard listed in Chicagoâ€™s yellow pages. He spends his time rescuing damsels in distress, fighting off vampires, and trying to avoid becoming entangled in Fairy politics. Sometimes heâ€™s successful, and other times decidedly not. With his wickedly lecherous sidekick, spirit-stuck-in-a-skull Bob, Harry at one point even manages to resurrect a T-Rexâ€™s skeleton and rides it rampaging through downtown. A hilarious and intriguing ride. Begins with Storm Front.
3. Rogue Mage series by Faith Hunter – An intriguing tale of post-apocalyptic America.What happens if Armageddon happens but God never shows? Too bad the demons did.
Thorn St. Croix is one of my favorite characters, a rogue mage hiding from the rest of her people in a small town in Appalachia. Knowing sheâ€™d be reviled, beaten, and quite probably killed by her neighbors if they found out what she was, Thorn still goes to battle on their behalf against the forces of evil. A great re-readable series; I feel smart just for reading it. Begins with Bloodring.
4. The Godslayer Chronicles by James Clemens – Clemens is one of the best authors out there, in my opinion. Heâ€™s never afraid to look full in the face of evil. His books always grab you by the throat and donâ€™t let go.
In the land of Myrillia there are a hundred Gods, all bound to the land to keep it safe and prosperous. When Tylar de Noche, crippled and disgraced former Shadowknight is implicated in the murder of one of them, he is dubbed Godslayer and forced to go on the run to prove his innocence. And perhaps save the world from a bigger disaster than the death of a God. Begins with Shadowfall.
5. Chronicles of the Necromancer by Gail Z. Martin – These books are huge, over 600 pages each. I think I read both of the available books (to date) in less than a day each. An intriguing read.
Prince Martris Drake is the second son of a King, and heâ€™s never wanted to be anything more. But when his elder brother kills their father and seizes the throne, Martris is forced to run. With only a handful of loyal friends, he goes on a journey to gather enough resources to rid the world of the evil his brother has unleashed. His task is complicated by the realization that he can speak with the dead, and his burgeoning talent wreaks havoc on his plans. Begins with The Summoner.
6. The Codex Alera by Jim Butcher – Yes, I know Butcher is already on this list. I canâ€™t help it if he has two excellent series. Alera is Butcherâ€™s foray into more traditional fantasy (Something he was told he couldnâ€™t write. They were wrong.).
Tavi is a teenage boy living in a world where it seems that everyone can call elementals – called Furies – to their aid. Everyone, that is, except for him. Through sheer wit and ingenuity, however, Tavi manages to uncover a creeping invasion by his countryâ€™s enemies to the north and is also able to assist in repelling the attack. This summary does not do the series justice, however. I highly encourage you to give it a shot. Begins with Furies of Calderon.
7. Godspeaker by Karen Miller – This story is so captivating that I lack words. So hereâ€™s the back cover blurb:
â€œIn a family torn apart by poverty and violence, Hekat is no more than an unwanted mouth to feed, worth only a few coins from a passing slave trader. But Hekat was not born to be a slave. For her, a different path has been chosen. It is a path that will take her from stinking back alleys to the house of her god, from blood-drenched battlefields to the glittering palaces of Mijak. This is the story of Hekat, slave to no man.â€ Begins with Empress.
8. A Song of Ice And Fire by George R.R. Martin – What series list would be complete without ASOIAF? Especially since fans have been waiting over a decade for the seriesâ€™ conclusion; and weâ€™ve still got two more books to go.
I have to say that I have a love/hate relationship with this series. Martin is cruelly brutal to his characters; no one is safe from being psychologically harmed, physically maimed, or even killed. Itâ€™s a heart-rending, breath-stopping, canâ€™t-wait-to-see-how-it-turns-out kind of ride. I am simultaneously furious as the events unfold and fascinated by the intricate weavings of the story. Begins with A Game of Thrones.
9. Signs of the Zodiac by Vicki Pettersson – Comic book superheros crossed with high society socialites written by an ex-Las Vegas showgirl. Who knew?
This is not your Marvel superhero universe, letâ€™s just say that. Each city with enough population warrants their own Zodiac – twelve superheros fighting for good against their twelve dark opposites. This series focuses on the Zodiac in Las Vegas and the trials of the prophecied Kairos, Joanna Archer, who is destined to carry within herself both the powers of Light and Dark. Begins with The Scent of Shadows.
10. Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman – Tired of all those new â€˜urban fantasyâ€™/’preternatural romanceâ€™ type novels where the heroine falls into the arms of the dangerous vampire/werewolf/whatever after knowing him three days? Then this is welcome relief.
Meet Cal and Niko Leandros, half-brothers trying to make it in New York City. They escaped from their abusive mother to the big city, but thereâ€™s just one problem. Calâ€™s nightmarish Grendal father is looking for him to be the key in bridging their dark and evil world with ours. A very dark, wild ride. Begins with Nightlife.