What do you think belongs on this list?
I’m far from an expert on paranormals. Seriously. I get confused by the INFINITE NUMBER of fantasy novels with covers that depict A Woman With Weapon And Animal and the whole subgenre blurs together, so I only ever have read the ones recommended by particular bloggers whose taste I mostly share. Which has worked for me, but it means I’m only familiar with a small subset of paranormal auhors.
But Barnes and Noble recently did such a list: best 20 paranormals. Well, it IS B & N, maybe their list compiler (Paul Allen) was influenced by popularity more than by quality. Or not. But I have to say, not loving his top picks.
Kim Harrison’s series . . . sorry to point this out, but this is the one where Harrison refers to an animal as a “mink” all the way through her first book (and for all I know, all the way through her series), when the animal she is describing is actually a least weasel. Such a turnoff. I know, that’s just me. But I also didn’t like her excessively impulsive, idiotically emotional main character. Well, yes, I know, that’s just me, too, but give me a woman like Martha Well’s Tremaine ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.
I haven’t read many of the B & N picks — five out of the twenty — but the ones I have read certainly would not make MY list of top paranormals. For example, any Laurell Hamilton after the first three or four is definitely not going to be on my list — too much sex for me, at the expense of not nearly enough plot.
Much, much closer to my own taste is this top ten list from Angieville. Angie certainly isn’t going by popularity! Check out some of her selections:
Sunshine by McKinley — I never thought of it as a paranormal romance, but of course it is! And it is a wonderful book! I loved everything about it — the way it starts off looking like our normal world and then takes a sudden hard left turn into weirdness, the characters — all of them, really, including quite minor secondary characters — the creepy, creepy vampires. Even Con is creepy, though on him it looks good. I only wish McKinley would write a sequel.
And A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb — that is one of my favorite books EVER, any genre, though again I hadn’t thought of this ghost story as a paranormal.
Angie also calls out Charlaine Harris, whose books I do enjoy though I don’t necessary grab each one the moment it comes out; and Patricia Briggs — you all know how much I love Patricia Briggs — and Ilona Andrews, who is my second-favorite paranormal author after Briggs.
Angie’s other five picks include books by Rachel Caine, Jeri Smith-Ready, Kat Richardson, Rachel Vincent, and Cassie Alexander — click through if you’re interested in the exact titles Angie chose for her list. Only the last of those authors was already on my radar. So . . . given that I am right there with Angie for five of her picks, I’m inclined to add all of her other picks to my wishlist, too.
If *I* were trying to pick three, just three, paranormal novels that totally establish how great this genre can be . . . perhaps for someone who had never read anything but Twilight, or who thinks the whole subgenre is nothing but Twilight — For me it would be Moon Called, the first Mercy Thompson book by Briggs; Sunshine by McKinley; and then either Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (I don’t think that series took off till that book) or A Certain Slant of Light by Whitcomb. That last choice depends on whether I think my hypothetical introducee would prefer adventure or a quiet, literary romance.
What would be on your top-three list for paranormals?