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20 Enthralling Books Like “The Dresden Files” for Urban Fantasy Fans

Dive Into Magical Realms With These Books Similar to "The Dresden Files"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 25 2024

20 Magical Books Like The Dresden Files for Fantasy Fans

“The Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher chronicles the life of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s first (and only) Wizard P.I., as he solves crimes and navigates the complex world of the supernatural. Blending detective fiction with urban fantasy, this series has captivated readers with its engaging mix of magic, mystery, and humor.

Fans of Harry Dresden’s adventures often seek books with similar elements: a charismatic protagonist, a well-built magical world, and thrilling plots that blend the arcane with the everyday. If you’re on the lookout for books that deliver a similar blend of urban fantasy and mystery, this list is your perfect spellbook.

Here are 20 books that carry the same magical allure as “The Dresden Files,” ensuring your reading list remains enchanting.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “The Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher


1. “Rivers of London” by Ben Aaronovitch

Follow Peter Grant, a young police constable turned apprentice wizard, as he solves magical crimes in modern London.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A blend of police work and magic.
  • A witty, likable protagonist navigating a secret magical London.
  • A series that mixes humor, mystery, and the supernatural.


2. “Hounded” by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona until a god with a grudge seeks him out.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A modern setting intertwined with ancient myths.
  • Fast-paced action and witty dialogue.
  • A strong, magical protagonist facing off against powerful enemies.


3. “Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson, a shapeshifting mechanic, finds herself in the middle of the supernatural world’s dangers.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A protagonist with a unique supernatural ability.
  • A contemporary setting filled with werewolves, vampires, and fae.
  • Mysteries that entangle the supernatural with the mortal world.


4. “Night Watch” by Sergei Lukyanenko

Set in Moscow, this series follows the Others, beings with supernatural powers who swear allegiance to either the Light or the Dark.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A gritty urban setting mixed with fantastical elements.
  • Complex moral questions within a magical society.
  • A protagonist who serves as a peacekeeper in the supernatural world.


5. “Storm Front” by Richard Castle (Nikki Heat series as a stand-in for those looking for crime-solving with a twist of the extraordinary)

Though more of a conventional detective series, fans of The Dresden Files may enjoy the witty banter and crime-solving aspects.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A blend of crime-solving and dynamic character interaction.
  • Fast-paced narrative and intriguing mysteries.
  • Compelling and likable protagonists.


6. “Dead Witch Walking” by Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan, a witch-private investigator, navigates threats from the supernatural community in Cincinnati.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A strong, supernatural protagonist.
  • An urban fantasy setting with a rich magical community.
  • Action-packed plots with a balance of humor and danger.


7. “Sandman Slim” by Richard Kadrey

After spending 11 years in Hell as a gladiator, James Stark returns to Earth seeking revenge.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • Dark humor and gritty urban fantasy.
  • A protagonist with a foot in both the supernatural and human worlds.
  • Engaging, action-filled storylines with a revenge theme.


8. “The Iron Druid Chronicles” by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, the last Druid, battles gods and monsters in modern-day Arizona, drawing from various mythologies.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A modern world filled with mythical beings.
  • A charismatic protagonist with significant magical abilities.
  • A blend of humor, mythology, and urban fantasy.


9. “The Hollows” series by Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan delves into personal and supernatural challenges in a world where magical beings are the norm.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A complex magical society coexisting with the human world.
  • A strong, capable female lead.
  • Engaging a mix of mystery, action, and supernatural politics.


10. “Fated” by Benedict Jacka

Alex Verus, a London-based mage with the power of precognition, finds himself caught in the crosshairs of the magical community.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • Urban fantasy set in a bustling city.
  • A protagonist navigating between various factions in the magical world.
  • An engaging blend of magic, mystery, and moral dilemmas.


11. “Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews

In a futuristic Atlanta where magic competes with technology, Kate Daniels navigates a volatile landscape filled with shapeshifters and necromancers.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A strong, skilled protagonist with hidden depths.
  • An urban setting transformed by magical elements.
  • A series rich in magical creatures and lore.


12. “Angelfall” by Susan Ee

In a post-apocalyptic world, Penryn teams up with the angel Raffe to rescue her sister, navigating a landscape filled with danger.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A blend of supernatural elements within a recognizable world.
  • Strong character dynamics and alliances.
  • A mix of action, survival, and uncovering hidden truths.


13. “Urban Shaman” by C.E. Murphy

Joanne Walker has the skills of a police officer and newly awakened shamanic powers to navigate the world of the supernatural.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A modern urban setting with ancient magical traditions.
  • A strong lead character balancing normal life with supernatural responsibilities.
  • Mysteries and dangers stemming from magical entities.


14. “Monster Hunter International” by Larry Correia

Private operatives battle monsters threatening humanity, blending action, humor, and dark fantasy.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A team dealing with supernatural threats.
  • A wonderful mix of action, comedy, and dark elements.
  • A richly built world of monsters and magic.


15. “Blood Price” by Tanya Huff

Vicki Nelson, an ex-police detective with failing sight, gets involved in a supernatural investigation alongside a vampire.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A mystery-solving heroine with a connection to the supernatural.
  • An urban setting where magic is real.
  • Dynamic character relationships and plot-driven stories.


16. “The Others” series by Anne Bishop

Meg Corbyn, a blood prophet, and shape-shifting Others navigate life in a world where humans are not the apex predators.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A refreshing take on supernatural dynamics within society.
  • Engaging, complex characters both human and non-human.
  • A mix of mystery, politics, and a touch of romance in a magical setting.


17. “The Felix Castor” series by Mike Carey

Felix Castor, a freelance exorcist, deals with the dead’s unresolved issues in London, facing ghosts, demons, and even darker forces.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • Dark humor intertwined with a gripping narrative.
  • A protagonist dealing with supernatural beings in a modern urban setting.
  • Complex storylines blending mystery, horror, and fantasy.


18. “The Nightside” series by Simon R. Green

John Taylor, with his unique gift, navigates Nightside, a dark heart of London where the fantastical and horrific coexist.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A hidden world within our own filled with wonders and nightmares.
  • The fusion of detective work and the supernatural.
  • A charismatic lead with a complicated past.


19. “October Daye” series by Seanan McGuire

Half-fae, half-human Toby Daye solves mysteries involving the denizens of the Faerie world while navigating Faerie politics.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A richly imagined world where myths are real.
  • A blend of urban fantasy and detective noir.
  • Compelling character development across the series.


20. “Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter” series by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake, a vampire hunter, and necromancer, faces off against supernatural creatures while dealing with romantic entanglements.

Elements in common with “The Dresden Files”:

  • A protagonist with a strong moral code entangled in the supernatural world.
  • An urban fantasy setting with a blend of mystery, action, and romance.
  • A series that evolves with the protagonist gaining new abilities and facing bigger threats.

Each of these series offers a unique take on the urban fantasy genre, providing fans of “The Dresden Files” with a rich array of worlds to explore, full of magic, mystery, and adventure.

Whether you’re drawn to the wit of the protagonists, the depth of the magical systems, or the blending of the mundane and the magical, there’s something on this list for every urban fantasy enthusiast. Ready your wands and sharpen your senses; your next great read awaits!


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