We live in a wonderful Golden Age of paranormal fantasy; more particularly, the last 10 years have been nothing short of paradigm-shifting for the genre. Inflexible classifications like romance, fantasy, horror, best political fiction books 2023, etc. are a thing of the past. Novels that freely incorporate aspects of fantasy, romance, mystery, thriller, and science fiction are now the most popular type of literature.
Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Richard Kadrey, Kat Richardson, Stacia Kane, Nicole Peeler, and Jaye Wells, to name just a few, are just a few of the legendary series and authors who rose to fame during that time. Other notable authors include Jaye Wells, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Nicole Peeler.
While writing this piece, I discovered how drastically paranormal fantasy has changed. The following list contains 20 books that, in addition to being very good, have had a significant impact on the development of the genre and still do.
Mario Acevedo’s The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (2006):
The Felix Gomez saga by Acevedo, which began with this book in 2006, significantly changed the definition of the genre. I don’t like what Mission Iraqi Freedom has done to me. Talk about a wonderful beginning line. I entered the war as a soldier and emerged as a vampire.
Jenna Ashley’s Pride Mates (2010):
This was a transcendent read for me since it was the first paranormal romance that worked as well as a paranormal fantasy. It is the first book in Ashley’s Shifters Unbound saga. I still consider this to be one of the craziest erotic books I’ve ever read.
The Jonathan Wood Book No Hero (2011):
Undoubtedly one of the most daring books I’ve ever read, its debut is severely underappreciated. Detective Arthur Wallace of the Oxford Police is the protagonist of the book, and he has an obsession with Kurt Russell. Conjoined triplets, an antisocial ninja murderer, twin girls who prophesy and live in a pool with octopi, battery-licking sorcerers, grimoires buried in Peruvian temples, killer cats, and more tentacled monsters than you can toss a sword at—all of these ingredients make for a memorable read!
By Seanan Mcguire, Rosemary, And Rue (2009):
The first book in McGuire’s October Daye saga blends dark fantasy, mythos, and hard-boiled mystery into a series that is absolutely readable. It’s a very contemplative series that alternates between stunning depictions of enchantment and beauty and moments of bleakness and existential despair.
Patricia Briggs’ Book Moon Called (2006):
This series, which began with the first Mercy Thompson book, has had its ups and downs in recent books, but in my opinion, Moon Called deserves to be on this list. Mercy is undoubtedly one of the most unforgettable paranormal fantasy characters ever written. She is a hot, tattooed, shape-shifting auto technician.
Previously Dead, A Charlie Huston Film (2005):
This series, which was written by Huston and starred the vampire Joe Pitt, pushed the limits of supernatural fiction. The book is “a violent and satirical story that merges blood-sucking fantasy and horror themes with the hard-boiled style of noir thrillers,” as I stated in my review.
And Skyler White’s Falling, Fly (2010):
White’s first book was a profoundly impassioned, exquisitely poetic, and heartbreaking masterpiece of literature. The entire book reads like dark ethereal poetry and centers on the romance between a neuroscientist with a “bizarre” condition named Dominic and Olivia, a vampiric fallen angel. Unforgettable.
Cherie Priest’s Book Four And Twenty Blackbirds (2005):
This eerie and poetic read, Priest’s debut, and the first of her Eden Moore novels represented the first steps of a writer who would become one of the most influential and inventive personalities in genre literature. This book, along with its two sequels, is sadly underappreciated.
Jaye Wells’ Book Blue-Blooded Vamp (2012):
This is how you end a series: with the brilliant Sabina Kane saga’s concluding volume by Wells! There is a tonne of stunning character discoveries and plot turns in this book. As I’ve said before, this series will go down as one of the greatest paranormal fantasy sagas of all time and will repeat again. So excellent.
Author Vicki Pettersson’s The Taken (2012):
Simply said, this was a great read. From my review: “This book defies categorization into genres—yes, paranormal fantasy lovers will adore it, but so will die-hard mystery and romance fans—and, most significantly of all, readers of mainstream literature. We are all invited to Vicki Pettersson’s coming-out party.
Adrian Phoenix’s Book A Rush Of Wings (2008):
One of the most controversial series out there is The Maker’s Song, the first book in Phoenix’s debut novel series. Really, come on! A team-up between a hot FBI agent and a deceased rock star can’t possibly go wrong, right? a series that is sadly under-appreciated.
Charlaine Harris’ Book Dead To The World (2004):
This was the fourth novel in Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, and it was the turning point for me. Whatever your opinion of the HBO series True Blood, it is undeniably an iconic series with an iconic heroine.
Nicole Peeler’s Book Tempest Rising (2009):
The selkie-halfling heroine Jane True, who is in many respects the antithesis of the traditional paranormal fantasy heroine, is the driving force behind one of the most adored paranormal fantasy series currently available. She works in a bookshop, is petite, not particularly athletic, and is socially uncomfortable. Jane favors comfy jeans and purple Converse over stiletto heels and leather miniskirts. This series is fantastic!
Laurell K. Hamilton’s Book Cerulean Sins (2003):
Undoubtedly the most contentious series on the market is LKH’s Anita Blake series. Over the years, this long-running, historically significant series has had its ups and downs, but Cerulean Sins, which is still my favorite book in the series, was a high point for me.
Kat Richardson’s “Greywalker” (2006):
the first book in Richardson’s Greywalker trilogy, one of my all-time favorite series. These novels, are almost faultless in their execution and feature Seattle-based private eye Harper Blaine who can see into the hereafter. This is a series that will endure the test of time since it is elegant and timeless.
Author Marcus Pelegrimas’ Blood Blade (2009):
Skinner’s books include relentless action, horrifying monsters, unusual weaponry, fascinating and well-developed protagonists, and story twists at every turn. They read like a cool, supernaturally powered video game. But the series goes well beyond that. It combines gore-filled horror, dark fantasy, suspense, supernatural thriller, and biting social satire in a way that is incredibly addicting. Pilgrims is, in my opinion, “the Bram Stoker of the twenty-first century.”
Stacia Kane’s Unholy Ghosts (2010):
This is the most socially meaningful fantasy series I’ve ever read. It is the first book in Kane’s Downside series. From my review: “I have never read a paranormal fantasy series that combines expansive world-building, intricate intrigue, outstanding character development, and societal importance. The Downside saga by Stacia Kane raises the bar for supernatural fantasy.
Jim Butcher’s Dead Beat (2005):
The eighth novel in Butcher’s Dresden Files series, Dead Beat, was a bestseller when it was initially published. It wasn’t just the first Dresden Files book to be published in hardcover; it also demonstrated how far the series had developed to include readers of mainstream literature. The initial run was gone in a matter of days! The Dresden Files’ commercial success paved the way for many more notable characters, such as Joe Pitt (played by Charlie Huston) and Felix Gomez (played by Mario Acevedo).
Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim (2009):
An overt combination of hard-boiled mystery, horror, and fantasy. The sharp wit of Kadrey is what makes this book so memorable. His writing is just addicting due to its bluntness and acerbity. For illustration, here is how he characterizes Los Angeles: “L.A. is what occurs when a group of Lovecraftian elder gods and porn stars spend a weekend locked up at the Chateau Marmont smoking lines of crack off Jim Morrison’s bones,” said one observer. The Japanese tentacle porn will get you going if Viagra and illegal Traci Lords DVDs don’t. Classic.
Author Kim Harrison’s For A Few Demons More (2007):
This book, the fifth in Harrison’s wildly successful Hollows series, which stars adorable grey witch Rachel Morgan and her friends, signaled the series’ rise to elite series status for me. It was the series’ first hardback publication. There is no question in my view that the Hollows saga will go down as possibly the very best paranormal fantasy series ever written, with only two novels left until the series is finished.