A side of diversity with my UF/PNR, if you please!

April 8, 2012 General 9

I am an avid UF/PNR fan and I will read anything that catches my interest. Strong likeable characters, interesting world-building, and unique takes on supernatural regulars are what keep me coming back to a particular series for more.  However, as a woman of color, I sometimes get tired of seeing the same types of characters in my UF books – usually Caucasian women in worlds built around a European mythology.  I’d love to sometimes read about strong heroines that reflect the diversity I see in the mirror and in the world around me.  So I decided to put together a list of my top five series I feel illustrate that diversity.

 

1.  JANE YELLOWROCK SERIES by FAITH HUNTER

Jane Yellowrock is probably my favorite UF heroine.  She is a Native American skinwalker, someone who can shift into just about anything she wants but prefers changing into “Beast,” her Mountain Lion alter ego.  Jane’s past is a bit of a mystery and Hunter does a good job of slowly revealing pieces of it over the course of the series.  The Jane Yellowrock books are recommended for anyone who likes their UF full of action, led by a kick ass alpha female heroine who is smart, confident, and can hold her own when making tea and killing vampires.

First Book in Series:  Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)

2.  MERCEDES THOMPSON by PATRICIA BRIGGS

The Mercedes Thompson series is pretty much an auto-buy for me.  Mercedes is part-Native American and she believes she is a skinwalker because she can shift into a coyote. However, over the course of the series she learns more about her past, her father, and her heritage.  Raised within the North American Werewolf Pack, she is pretty much part of the werewolf family and struggles within a romantic triangle between the two wolves she cares about.  Mercedes is small but scrappy, smart and caring, and gets into all kinds of trouble but usually because she is trying to help out a friend.

First Book in Series: Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1) 

3.  KIRA SOLOMON by SERESSIA GLASS

This is a really interesting series.  Glass takes from Egyptian and West African mythology and creates a world that is very unique in the UF genre.  Set in a supernatural Atlanta, the main character, Kira Solomon, is a Shadowchaser.  She hunts down beings from the Shadow of Chaos who threaten our world.  Kira is a very lonely character given her unique ability (or curse) to draw energy, memories, and emotions from anybody she touches.  As a result, she can’t touch anyone she cares for without hurting them – a power similar to Rogue from the X-Men.  Enter Khefar, a Nubian warrior with a curse of his own, and there is nice romantic tension in this series coupled with some cool action scenes.

First Book in Series: Shadow Blade (Shadowchasers, #1)

4.  LILY YU by EILEEN WILKS

I’ve only read the first one in this series but I enjoyed it.  Lily Yu is a San Diego cop investigating a murder that seems to have been committed by a werewolf.  During the course of the investigation she gets close to her prime suspect, Rule Turner, who is a member of werewolf royalty.  Lily has her own supernatural abilities that help lead her deeper into city’s supernatural community.  Great romantic tension and a good murder mystery make this a recommended read.  I hope in later books Wilks might introduce some Asian mythology based on Lily’s Chinese ancestry, particularly through the character of her grandmother who has a pretty cool ability herself.

First Book in Series: Tempting Danger (World of the Lupi, #1)

5.  MILAGRO DE LOS SANTOS by MARTA ACOSTA

This was a fun read.   I started this series not too long ago and I’m interested in seeing what craziness happens to Milagro in the next books!  A smart and sassy Latina heroine that would be besties with Carrie Bradshaw, coupled with a new twist on the vampire mythology, and you have a fun paranormal romance that shows a lot of promise.

First Book in Series:  Happy Hour at Casa Dracula (Casa Dracula #1)

***

Tell me, what UF/PNR series do you recommend that show some diversity in their characters and mythology?

Happy Reading!

9 Responses to “A side of diversity with my UF/PNR, if you please!”

  1. Lady Jaye

    Nalini singh’s characters in both her series – Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter have an abundance of different cultural heritages.

    Ilona Andrew’s characters, are quite diverse if you pay attention, and uses varied mythology: sometimes Asian. The European mythology she uses is usually less well-known: like Slavic Mythology or ancient European mythology (Gilgamesh)

    Thea Harrison’s upcoming novel – Lord’s Fall, has a black character in itt

    Stacia Kane’s downside Ghosts feature important supporting cast members who are Asians and has diversity of a different kind – class lines.

    ……er and that’s probably about it. I can’t think of any more right now.

    • shewolfreads

      Awesome list! I love Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series and I have yet to start the Downside series (yikes!) I know. I must. Thanks so much for the comment!

  2. Felicia the Geeky Blogger

    I think there should be way more diversity in UF/PNR —if for no other reason than the whole idea behind the paranormal is the vast differences in the world. Especially since many of the characters are older than dirt (LOL) and let’s get real “white europeons” were not actually a dime a dozen several hundred years ago. So many where multi-racial, multi-cultural people due to the nomadic structure of most societies. (Look at me getting out my history knowledge and making it useful LOL)

    I will agree Nalini does a great job at making her worlds culturally diverse. So does Thea Harrison. I will read the Mercy Thompson series and now I have a few others to put on that list.

    I really do like my reading to be as diverse as my fantasy life is LOL

    • shewolfreads

      Okay, Thea Harrison. I need to read something by her. What do I start with? I agree, Felicia, that the paranormal world should really exemplify diversity given the age of the characters and what they must have experienced and the travels, etc. Old as dirt is a great description! 🙂 And thanks for laying down some historical analysis!

      • Lady Jaye

        I sorta feel bad saying this, but Dragon Bound is absolutely fantastic, you should definitely read that. The other three books in series (IMO) are either middling, or duds. a lot of people disagree so you might like them too. But Dragon Bound is a must.

      • Felicia the Geeky Blogger

        Dragon Bound was not the most diverse but it is the first in the series. It does introduce all her characters and each one of them represents a different mix of races. Tiago’s was the best book IMHO though 🙂

  3. Pamela (@SpazP)

    GREAT post! I looooove Eileen Wilks’ Lupi series, LOVE it. At first I didn’t know how I’d be able to relate to a Chinese-American heroine but I devoured the series and each new release is on my instant-buy.
    And omg same with the Mercy Thompson and Alpha/Omega series by Patricia Briggs.

    I am here to second all the suggestions in the comments – YOU MUST check out Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Stacia Kane and Thea Harrison!! All four of these authors are some of my FAVORITES.

  4. shewolfreads

    Pam, thanks so much for the comment! I already got the first in the Harrison, Andrews, and Kane series. I’ve read the Guild Hunter series by Singh and love it. Must check out the Psy series!