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I read urban fantasy. I am SO TIRED of the "vapid" female lead, the "all-powerful" female lead, the "everyone is in love with her and she can't choose" female lead.....
Let's just say I'm tired of female leads. So, besides Rob Thurman's Cal Leandros series, Jim Butcher's books, Abne Bishop's series, and Tanya Huff's series about Tony, (all of which I love, by the way) are there any other books with male leads?
Hm. Interesting question. I'm not sure why female leads are so prevalent in Urban Fantasy.
Off the top of my head:
Simon R. Green's Nightside series -- Kind of the same mystery/detective story type as the Dresden Files with not nearly as much humor.
I haven't read this, but Already Dead by Charlie Huston. I think that one is also a mystery/detective type.
I'll try to think of a few more, but I'm coming up blank at the moment.
Hmmmmm. . . I would speculate that the reason there are so many female leads is that urban fantasy has been melded with paranormal -- which used to be a branch of romance, where naturally female leads dominate.
The stuff I classify as straight urban fantasy seems to be evenly split male/female -- stuff by Charles de Lint, for example, which is usually told from multiple viewpoints (both male and female). He's quite good -- give his short fiction a try first though. The collection Dreams Underfoot is wonderful, and gives you a nice grounding in his many characters and the city of Newford.
If you like more the noir feel, there's a little-known author named William Hjortsberg I'd recommend. He wrote before the whole genre of paranormal fiction came about, and his books were generally marketed in the mystery section, but they all have some supernatural elements to go along with their very noir feel. Falling Angel is the one I'd recommend first.
I think Orson Scott Card's sole urban fantasy title is told mostly from a male perspective. . . though again, it has multiple viewpoints. It's called Magic Street, it's set in Compton/Inglewood (middle class black neighborhoods in L.A.) and has tons of Shakespeare references that are a lot of fun.
I'd classify Neil Gaiman's American Gods (and I think Anansi Boys) as urban fantasy, and that's definitely got a male lead. . .
Sean Stewart is an excellent Canadian writer that doesn't get a lot of press here in the U.S. He has several books that I think would suit. . . though I think they're usually classified as Magical Realism. Try Resurrection Man -- the first of three set in the same world, though I haven't read them yet so I don't know how much of what I know about them would classify as a spoiler for the first, so I don't dare describe them here. ;)
That's all I've got for now. . . good luck!
Charles de Lint, for example, which is usually told from multiple viewpoints (both male and female). He's quite good -- give his short fiction a try first though. The collection Dreams Underfoot is wonderful, and gives you a nice grounding in his many characters and the city of Newford.
One of the reasons I said Mulengro is that it is readable as a stand alone, though it's much darker than his normal fare. I'm looking at my shelf of his books now, and there's plenty of other books that have a big male lead (Trader, Moonheart, etc) but those you need to read the short stories first. If you haven't ever read any of his short stories, definitely give them a try sometime. They're really good and the best introduction to his work. He's one of my favorite authors.
Sean Stewart is an excellent Canadian writer that doesn't get a lot of press here in the U.S.
I've had a copy of Nobody's Son on my shelf for over a year now. I really need to read it someday. (That's not urban fantasy, though)
What about Lev Grossman's The Magicians? Some of it is set in a magical world apart from ours, but it's got enough of urban modern society that I think it would still qualify. Despite how it was marketed, it's really nothing at all like Harry Potter.
Another urban fantasy that I have but haven't read yet is Child of Fire by Harry Connolly.
I'm not sure how urban I'd consider this fantasy but have you read Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently series? It's missing some of the elements that would make it urban fantasy and more comedy than anything else, but it does take place in a modern city.
Last Edited on: 2/27/10 10:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Melanti: You definitely need to read Nobody's Son! It's my favorite by Stewart. . . and Robyn, if you want to try some high/fairytale fantasy with a male protagonist (though of course, male protagonists are much more common in those subgenres) you should give it a try as well. :)
There's the Repairman Jack series by F Wilson. They're shelved in the regular fiction usually although they are mysteries with supernatural elements in them. Replay by Grimwood might be considered urban fantasy. And what everyone else said! Oh I still haven't read Second Sunrise by David & Aimee Thurlo and it has mixed reviews but it might be urban fatasy -it's in current time and involves vampires.