Tough chicks who kick butt. The continued popularity explosion of paranormal YA. Male wizards. Hard-boiled detective stories with fantasy settings. These were the most dominant urban fantasy trends this year, and they’ll continue well into 2011.
Standouts include J.L. Bryan’s Jenny Pox about a girl who kills people with her touch. It’s a welcome change from the emo, vegetarian vampires that populate YA novels; highly recommended reading. Brandon Sanderson and Paul Hoffman showed us the darker side of epic fantasy, while Jocelynn Drake and Kelly Meding proved that their female protagonists kick just as much butt as the boys do. Thomas Sniegoski sent us on another adventure with angel-turned-human PI, Remy Chandler, and Joe Hill gave us another compelling protagonist with Ig, a human who grows horns.
My top pick, as with 2009, goes to Kill the Dead, the second volume in the Sandman Slim series. We continued Jimmy Stark’s foray into the gritty, noir-inspired Los Angeles of Kadrey’s fashioning, and this book featured a fantastic, Gaiman-esque interpretation of Lucifer. Let’s hope that the forthcoming title, Aloha from Hell, is even better.
Here’s my picks for the Top 10 Urban Fantasy and Horror Books of 2010.