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?