A few weeks ago, I was asked to complete an impossible task – to compile a list of the top paranormal fantasy lists of the last decade, a decade that has seen phenomenal growth in the paranormal fantasy genre. In the last ten years, authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris have become literary superstars and characters like Anita Blake, Sookie Stackhouse and Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden have become enmeshed in the pop culture landscape.

 

It took me most of the weekend to go through all of the paranormal fantasy releases that I've read and reviewed from 2000 to 2009 but I think I've come up with a pretty solid list. So, without further ado, here is my list of the best paranormal fantasy releases of the last decade, 13 exceptional reads that have dramatically influenced – and will continue to influence – the course of the genre...

 

 

 

1. Dead Witch Walking (2004) by Kim Harrison – Kim's debut novel and first installment of her wildly entertaining Rachel Morgan saga, a series that – like its witchy protagionist – has developed and matured with every new installment. Unlike most series, every new novel in Kim's Rachel Morgan series is better than the last.... This is the beginning of a classic saga.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. A Kiss of Shadows (2000) by Laurell K. Hamilton - LKH's first Merry Gentry novel and easily one of the most anticipated releases of the last decade....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Storm Front (2000) by Jim Butcher - the beginning of Jim's Dresden Files series, a genre hybridizing series that further opened the doors for sagas like Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt, Mario Acevedo's Felix Gomez, etc. Historically significant on numerous levels...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Obsidian Butterfly (2000) by Laurell K. Hamilton - LKH'S first Anita Blake novel to be released in hardcover, this is when LKH (and Anita) became truly iconic. A blockbuster release that had readers talking for years – and they're still talking....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Four and Twenty Blackbirds (2005) by Cherie Priest - Cherie's debut and first of her Eden Moore novels. This haunting and poetic read marked the fledgling steps of a writer who has become one of the most innovative – and significant – writers in the genre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Already Dead (2005) by Charlie Huston - Charlie's first novel featuring vampire Joe Pitt, a series that continues to expand and redefine paranormal fantasy. I described this novel thusly: "The vampire mythos gets a healthy dose of attitude a la Raymond Chandler in Charlie Huston's singularly cool Already Dead, a savage and sardonic novel that blends blood-sucking fantasy and horror elements with the hard-boiled style of noir thrillers."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. A Rush of Wings (2008) by Adrian Phoenix - Adrian's debut novel and first installment of her Maker's Song saga, one of the edgiest series out there. I mean, c'mon! How can you go wrong with a duo that includes an undead rock star and a sexy FBI agent? FYI: rumors are that Disney is looking into buying the rights to these novels for a possible movie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Dead Until Dark (2001) by Charlaine Harris - the first book in Charlaine's Sookie Stackhouse series. True Blood, say no more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (2006) by Mario Acevedo - Mario's debut novel and first book in his Felix Gomez saga, like Huston's Joe Pitt saga, a series that is redefining the genre. And talk about great opening lines: "I don't like what Operation Iraqi Freedom has done to me. I went to the war a soldier; I came back a vampire..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Moon Called (2006) by Patricia Briggs - the first Mercy Thompson novel, a series that has become arguably one of the most beloved sagas ever.

 

Like Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan saga, Patricia's Mercy Thompson novels just seem to get better and better. A sexy, tattooed shapeshifting auto mechanic, Mercy is one of the most memorable paranormal fantasy heroines out there right now...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments
by on ‎12-07-2009 05:44 PM

Just 13?!!

 

Dude, don't think I could have done this. I'll have to give this some serious thought.

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎12-07-2009 06:14 PM

Tig:

I started out with more than 50! But I didn't want to include three Rachel Morgan novels, for example, so I cut the list down to include just one volume from a particular series and then I went with timelessness of storyline and significance historically – like Obsidian Butterfly, the first Anita Blake hardcover....

 

I'm sure everyone will have different lists but it's fun to compare and I think this list is incredibly strong. I feel bad because there are so many truly exceptional novels that I couldn't include but no one wants to read a Top 100 list!   :smileyhappy:

 

Paul

by on ‎12-07-2009 08:15 PM

Paul,

 

I do but then again I can never get enough books and I don't think I could keep it to a hundred since I have more than that on my shelves and I would want to include them all.  I just can't seem to part with my books.  But you do have a great list.

 

Toni

by ailishsmom on ‎12-07-2009 09:14 PM

Great list! Three I haven't had a chance to read yet, but they will definitely move up on my TBR pile. Thanks so much for recognizing the awesome talent of Vicki Pettersson! She's definitely one of my favorites. That woman knows her world-building!

by 1lovealways on ‎12-10-2009 02:00 AM

Paul,

 

I could read a Top 100 List too!  13 only?  That was really a big feat.  What I like about your list is that you gave a short blurb of what each is about.  I appreciate that. There are some on here that I'd be interested in reading.  :smileyhappy:

by Raven_Wrath on ‎12-10-2009 10:47 AM

Great list, Paul.  Although, in my opinion, Obsidian Butterfly was about where the Anita Blake series started to make its downward spiral.  However, Hamilton remains a powerhouse in the genre.

 

I'm glad that you recognized the genius of well known authors Kim Harrison and and Charlaine Harris, of course.  They're incredible!

 

But it was wonderful to see Vicki Pettersson on there.  She has yet to receive the attention she truly deserves.

 

And Sandman Slim was another one that came outta nowhere and really got my attention.  It definitely deserves to be on the short list of awesomeness.

 

Well done!

 

(But I gotta say the exclusion of Jeaniene Frost is obvious.  She's got the best written vampire bite ever.  You feel your neck tingle as your read.)

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎12-10-2009 10:53 AM

Raven:

Hey, thanks – I was waiting for a comment like that regarding Obsidian Butterfly! (I agree to an extent but that is a whole separate conversation!)

 

And funny that you mention Jeaniene – her debut, Halfway to the Grave, was one of the last titles I trimmed off the list!

by Joan_P on ‎01-22-2010 09:36 PM

Hello Kind Sir!

You saved the night! I was at B & N and I could find only one book on my list. I have a terrible memory and couldn't think of any other titles!! So when a nice lady from B & N asked if I needed help; I took a shot in the dark! I asked if I could access the B & N blogs from the store. She didn't think so but tried anyways!! I brought her to this blog (cuz' yer the bestest!). Long story-short; I ended up w/ 3 books from this list! Drum role please!

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/A-Kiss-of-Shadows/Laurell-K-Hamilton/e/9780345423405

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Dead-until-Dark/Charlaine-Harris/e/9780441008537

 

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Moon-Called/Patricia-Briggs/e/9780441013814

 

Thanks for saving the day!

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