Originally posted by the author on Facebook.

The cosmic. The weird. The fantastic. The spiritual.
Whatever we call it, we all have a profound need to glimpse, experience, or at least believe in, some greater reality beyond our mundane existence.
That is why Urban Fantasy has become one of the most successful genres in modern publishing.
Urban Fantasy is unique in its willingness to see the stuff of horror – the familiar cast of vampires, were-creatures, zombies, demons and other monstrous entities – not simply as horrific and repellent, but also as darkly fascinating and appealing.
Vampires have always embodied the darker aspects of human sexuality, but in urban fantasy, those aspects are allowed full rein to express themselves. However, there is far more to Urban Fantasy than steamy encounters with glittery bloodsuckers.
Authors of African descent are taking Urban Fantasy by storm and, as author Daniel José Older proclaimed in 2015, “the degentrification of Urban Fantasy has begun.”
Here are a few great Urban Fantasy books with Black Protagonists:
A Haunting in the SWATS: The Savannah Swan Files (Book 1), by Balogun Ojetade
Hoodoo. Ritual Murders. Ancient Secrets. Welcome to the SWATS!
Savannah Swan is the Root Woman, charged with enforcing the Road Law in Atlanta. Walk the wrong road and Savannah’s justice will be swift… and deadly.
Beneath the southern hospitality of Atlanta rests a dangerous world where shifters, demons, witches and gods, old and new, all vie for power.
And Southwest Atlanta – known as the SWATS – is the most dangerous area.
For generations, the Root Woman – given great power, both mundane and arcane, by the mayor – has protected the SWATS, but now a wave of ritual child murders has struck the city and corpses are appearing with strange occult symbols etched into their flesh. Something ancient, powerful and malevolent is behind it all, threatening to destroy the city and Savannah’s family; a family that might just break the Road Law to save themselves, Savannah and the SWATS.
A HAUNTING IN THE SWATS is the first novel in the Dark Urban Fantasy SAVANNAH SWAN FILES series.
If you like action packed supernatural thrillers brimming with magic, spine-chilling southern horror and otherworldly monsters, then you will love this book!
Amber and the Hidden City, by Milton Davis
Thirteen year old Amber Robinson’s life is full of changes. Her parents are sending her to a private school away from her friends, and high school looms before her. But little does she know that her biggest change awaits in a mysterious city hidden from the world for a thousand years.
Why? Amber’s grandmother is a princess from this magical kingdom of Marai. She has been summoned home to use her special abilities to select the new king but she no longer has the gift, and her daughter was never trained for the task. That leaves only one person with the ability to save the city: Amber! But there are those who are determined that Amber never reaches Marai and they will do anything to stop her.
Prepare yourself for an exciting adventure that spans from the Atlanta suburbs to the grasslands of Mali. It is a story of a girl who discovers her hidden abilities and heritage in a way that surprises and entertains.
Legend of the Orange Scepter (Age of Redd) (Volume 1), by Marcus Haynes
What would YOU do if you had the power to control the elements?
Teenagers De, M, Rod, and Mo already have an answer to that question: save the world.
When the evil android A.G. begins her takeover of the planet Colorius De, M, Rod, and Mo, along with the engineering prodigy Don, take it upon themselves to bring down A.G. and her army of androids before it is too late. Their journey takes them all over their home of Redd Continent, pitting them against several different foes as well as each other, but only by banding together can they truly earn the title of Elemental heroes.
Can they do it? Or will the Age of Redd end with them?
Urban FantasyBrookwater’s Curse, by Steven Van Patten
Christian Brookwater is a former Georgia plantation slave who became a vampire during the 1860s. His long, tumultuous life takes a complicated turn when he is forced to travel to modern-day Senegal to rescue a child from a vengeful werewolf prince. It is here that Christian uncovers a plot that would throw the entire vampire nation into a civil war. To stop this, Christian must betray his best friend and mentor, an influential Italian vampire who nurtured him during his vampiric infancy.
Christian also suffers from a rare condition that makes intercourse with human females especially dangerous.
In the 2nd novel in the series, the civil war Christian Brookwater sought to prevent has become a harsh reality.
In the 3rd novel, Christian Brookwater has spent the last four years helping to cure the werewolves of their insatiable bloodlust. The only problem is that his funding is coming from vampire taxes. Christian is about to be called on the mat for it and must defend himself on national vampire television!
Personal drama also unfolds as Christian and his second in command, Helen, each find themselves embroiled in separate but equally volatile love triangles. Secret alliances will be revealed, deals will be brokered, villains will emerge and heroes will rise. Most shocking of all, Christian Brookwater will come to learn that he is, and always has been, more than just a vampire!
Immortal, by Valjeanne Jeffers
In the first book in this Urban Fantasy series, we meet Karla and Joseph, lovers who have been separated by time and space. Karla and Joseph are werewolves empowered to protect their world from a powerful evil that has been unleashed.
The first novel builds the groundwork for the communes of supernatural beings, good and evil, that make their appearance throughout the series.
In the second book, we meet Karla and Joseph’s kindred, who are also the saviors of the world.
In the third book, another key player emerges: Annabelle, a vampire with her own agenda and her own stake in the planet’s survival.
In the fourth book, the characters find themselves in a sinister Steampunk realm without their memories.
Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring is set in 21st century Toronto, which has been barricaded behind roadblocks, abandoned by its rich, predominantly white, residents and left to crumble.
The inner city has to rediscover the old ways – farming, barter, herb lore. But now the wealthy need a harvest of bodies, so they prey upon the helpless of the streets.
With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother.
She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.
Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter, by D.K. Gaston (Keith Gaston)
Taurus Moon is a relic hunter, who will work for pretty much anyone if they can afford him.
He is financially strapped most of the time, lives in a run-down apartment in Detroit and always seems to be in trouble.
The artifacts he searches for are not found in the jungles of the Yucatan or the deserts of Egypt. He searches for lost supernatural artifacts that may or may not be located on Earth, with his quests often taking him through the grittier parts of urbanized cities where even the toughest of thugs fear to tread. Forgotten relics once thought of as only myths and legends can be found, if you know where to look, and have the guts to go searching into dark and deadly places; Taurus Moon has such guts and knows exactly where to look.
The Taurus Moon novels blend action, fantasy, science fiction and humor. Fairy tales, mythologies, and legends are not stories to Taurus Moon, but his reality.
The Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan, by Zig Zag Claybourne (Clarence Young)
ADVENTURE… just got 35% cooler!
Milo Jetstream. Ramses Jetstream. Coming to save the world one last damn time against the False Prophet Buford in the battle to save the Earth, preserve the soul, and make sure folks get home in one piece…
Secret cabals; Fae folk in Walmart; and a psychic whale that was poured into the oceans when the world first cooled from creation.
This is the stuff of the amazing, the life transforming Brothers Jetstream: Leviathan!
Adventure doesn’t need a new name. It needs a vacation!
Redeemer: The Cross Chronicles, by Balogun Ojetade
Ezekiel Cross is handsome, strong, intelligent and a cold blooded killer.
For most of his life, Ezekiel has been a killer, trained to enforce the whims of his boss. But Ezekiel is tired – tired of the lies to his wife, Mali; tired of not having the normal life he craves. He longs for the day that he can hang up his guns and live a normal life with his wife Mali. So he decides to end his career as a professional assassin; to hang up his guns and raise a family.
But the life of a killer is never his own. Ezekiel is called to do one last hit, but instead of closing the deal he finds himself a target. He’s sent back in time in what is meant as an experiment as well as punishment.
Initially distraught, he decides to change his fate by saving himself and his family from the events that led him to a lifetime of crime. Along the way, he meets some of the coolest, sexiest, deadliest and craziest characters to ever grace the pages of a book and ultimately finds himself in a situation that could change his life forever…or end it.
Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor
Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one’s place in the world.
Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born in the United States.
Her features are African, but she is albino. She is a terrific athlete, but cannot go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in.
And then she discovers something amazing—she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she is part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality.
But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?
Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older
Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world.
Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.
With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one – and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.
Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and masterful writing, Shadowshaper introduces a heroine and magic unlike anything else in fantasy fiction, and marks the YA debut of a bold new voice in Urban Fantasy.
It Happened on Negro Mountain, by Jeff Carroll
Matthew Abraham is a drug dealer being forced out of his empire in Baltimore. Rather than submit to the pressures of the younger dealers, he decides to destroy his empire and leave his neighborhood turf. He takes his seven year old daughter Destiny and her mother with him – leaving behind a gang war – and takes up residence in Negro Mountain, located along the Mason-Dixon Line.
Destiny, disturbed and frightened by her parents’ gang-banging lifestyle, turns to the spirits of her departed grandmother, and the spirits of Negro Mountain, that speak to Destiny through the dolls she plays with, and bestow upon her powers to manipulate nature through her prayers.
The saying goes, “Negro Mountain is a place where bad things happen to bad people,” so when negative energy meets with the energy resting in Negro Mountain, the outcome is always the same…
The Mountain wins… as does the reader of this Blacktastic book!

 

About Balogun

Balogun is the author of the bestselling Afrikan Martial Arts: Discovering the Warrior Within and screenwriter / producer / director of the films, A Single Link, Rite of Passage: Initiation and Rite of Passage: The Dentist of Westminster. He is one of the leading authorities on Steamfunk – a philosophy or style of writing that combines the African and / or African American culture and approach to life with that of the steampunk philosophy and / or steampunk fiction – and writes about it, the craft of writing, Sword & Soul and Steampunk in general, at https://chroniclesofharriet.com/. He is author of eight novels – the Steamfunk bestseller, MOSES: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman (Books 1 & 2); the Urban Science Fiction saga, Redeemer; the Sword & Soul epic, Once Upon A Time In Afrika; a Fight Fiction, New Pulp novella, Fist of Afrika; the gritty, Urban Superhero series, A Single Link and Wrath of the Siafu; the two-fisted Dieselfunk tale, The Scythe and the “Choose-Your-Own-Destiny”-style Young Adult novel, The Keys. Balogun is also contributing co-editor of two anthologies: Ki: Khanga: The Anthology and Steamfunk. Finally, Balogun is the Director and Fight Choreographer of the Steamfunk feature film, Rite of Passage, which he wrote based on the short story, Rite of Passage, by author Milton Davis and co-author of the award winning screenplay, Ngolo. You can reach him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Afrikan.Martial.Arts; on Twitter @Baba_Balogun and on Tumblr at www.tumblr.com/blog/blackspeculativefiction.

4 responses »

  1. Fujimoto says:

    Splendid list of suggestions! A lot of these I haven’t heard of before, so I need to get myself some copies. Thanks a lot!

  2. Reblogged this on adaratrosclair and commented:
    Thanks for writing this post. I look forward to discovering more urban fantasy starting with these books. (I’m currently reading Older’s “Shadowshaper”.

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