“If you could live in any fictional world, what would it be?”
Does that question give anyone else anxiety? Like sure, it would be nice to visit Middle Earth, but I don’t want to get murdered by bands of roving orcs. The Star Wars universe? Noooo, thank you. Did you see that new Death Star? It can blow up multiple planets at once. And don’t even get me started on the dangers of living in a superhero universe.
At first glance, an urban fantasy world might seem like a much better option to call home than an epic fantasy one. You can have modern conveniences like the internet and indoor plumbing while also enjoying the wonders of magic. But personally, I feel like the modern world is dangerous enough without throwing in supernatural threats. I love reading urban fantasy, but if I lived in the world of one of those novels… I would die. I would die so hard.
You probably would too. Let’s talk about how!
You’re walking down a dark street when you hear the flap of bat-like wings overhead. Or you’re at a late-night party, where you meet an eerily beautiful person who asks you to step outside for a moment, and looking into their eyes, you’re unable to do anything but follow.
Boom. Fangs to the neck. Say goodbye to all your blood.
Vampires are a staple of urban fantasy, so if you’re living in an urban fantasy universe, chances are they’re a threat. The problem is that there are as many different kinds of vampires as there are urban fantasy series, and they don’t all have the same weaknesses. Some are allergic to garlic; others could eat a five course Italian dinner with no problem. Crosses might make them hiss and shriek back in pain…or they’ll just laugh in your face.
So if you don’t know the details on the vampires in the universe you find yourself in…just do everything. Pour garlic powder on your cereal each morning. Stuff your pockets full of seeds to scatter on the ground. Move to a tropical island—some vampires can’t cross flowing water, and most aren’t going to like those sunny summer days.
Let’s be honest. A determined vampire is still going to be able to kill you, but statistically, at least you’re decreasing your chances.
The local cult is preparing a ritual to summon a demon. A sorcerer needs a violent death to power his evil spell. The planets have aligned, and it’s time for the worshipers of a forgotten god to make an offering.
They need a human sacrifice, and bad news: you’re it.
Maybe you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe they target you specifically. It could be that your nice coworker was a cultist all along, and his invitation to that backyard barbecue was an elaborate ruse. However it happened, you wake up tied to an altar in a dark room, surrounded by flickering candles and chanting hooded figures, one of whom is raising a wicked-looking knife…
If the cultists are regular old humans, a canister of pepper spray should throw a wrench in their abduction attempt—assuming you’re only attacked by one or two at a time. If you’re dealing with sorcerers or other magic-users, though…
Don’t completely discount the pepper spray. You might be able to use it before they cast a spell on you. You’re probably screwed, though. Unless you know magic. Is magic something anyone can learn in this universe, or is it the birthright of a chosen few?
Hopefully you thought this through before accepting the offer of whatever eldritch being sent you to a new universe.
You’re out for an early morning jog. The street is quiet, the sun not yet risen. Your favorite song is playing through your earbuds, but then you notice another sound. Is that…growling?
Something big barrels toward you, and you barely get a look at the terrifying monstrosity before everything ends in teeth and screams.
On the bright side, there may be enough pieces of you left to warrant an investigation. Maybe this universe even has a paranormal law enforcement division that won’t write you off as having been attacked by a bear.
Not that it’s much of a consolation.
Oh, man, there are so many different monsters in urban fantasy novels. Was it a werewolf? Wendigo? Chupacabra? Or did the author create it completely from their imagination? A gun might be a decent defense (bonus points for silver bullets), but often, human weapons just make these things angry. You might want to stay indoors when it’s not daylight.
Better yet, just never leave your house.
Scratch that. Leave your house right now. That place is haunted as heck.
It starts off small. You hear a few strange noises in the middle of the night, maybe see movement in the corner of your room, but you figure it’s nothing—just your imagination. But it’s harder to ignore the ghostly figure in your bathroom mirror or the way your furniture keeps moving around.
The next thing you know, the walls are bleeding, knives are shooting out of the kitchen drawers, and a murderous wraith is swooping straight toward you.
Consider staying in a hotel while you put up your house for sale. Of course, it might not be the house that’s haunted. Have you looked closely at that piece you bought at the antique shop a few weeks ago? And how have you been feeling lately? Worn out? Short-tempered? Maybe an evil spirit isn’t possessing the house…but you.
Burning sage, dousing everything in holy water, or calling an exorcist are all great options.
Oh, hey. Look at you still alive. You got somebody to exorcise your house, huh? And what a nice amulet hanging around your neck. Was it a gift? And the person who gave it to you is the same one who helped you fight off those cultists the other week?
It turns out your friend is a wizard. Or a witch. Or a half-vampire, exiled fae, or reluctant necromancer. Perhaps they’re just a regular human who’s spent years training to slay monsters. They probably wear leather, and there’s a significant chance they’re a detective of some kind. Maybe they have an animal familiar or other cute magical sidekick.
Whoever they are, they’re your friend. Or just a professional acquaintance. Or maybe you’re dating. 😘
Bad luck, though, because they just pissed off a powerful villain who decided to teach them a lesson by messily murdering someone they care about, and that person is you.
If you meet an urban fantasy protagonist, run away fast. They’re fun to read about, not so much to know in real life.
Then again, they’re probably the only person who can keep you safe in this deadly new supernatural universe, so…I guess you’re dead either way.
Just try not to come back as a zombie, okay?
This is definitely not a complete list. (I can think of five more ways to die just in my Dark and Otherworldly series.) So if you have good ideas of other possible dangers and survival tips, let me know in the comments!
It’s a scary world out there, so take care of yourselves everybody.
4 thoughts on “5 Ways You’d Probably Die in an Urban Fantasy Novel”
This list is fantastic!!! (pun intended)!!! I could watch those GIFs all day— the vampire one, especially 😆
And YES, I always had a hard time with questions like, “Which fictional world would you like to live in?” or “Which character would you like to be?” Like, I’d love to be a selkie, but not in Seanan McGuire’s stories because Oak and Ash, if you thought the whole Original Sin concept was a drag in the real world, imagine having to make the Changeling’s Choice before donning that magic mermaid coat… 😨 Basically, if your parents tell you they’re ready to give up a sealskin and you’re next in line, JUST SAY NO. It’s not worth it!
Also, if you’re in a superhero movie, don’t live or work in a big city. Especially not downtown. You’ll be lucky if you’re only hit with billions in property damage. And if Thanos exists in your universe…just pray. And tell all your loved ones you love them. And pray some more.
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JUST SAY NO is good advice for a lot of supernatural-related stuff, LOL.
And yes, downtown in a major city has got to be the worst place to live in a superhero movie–but the suburbs or countryside are no guarantee of safety either.
I went to that didthanoskill.me website and ended up one of the 50% who died, lol. Someday, I’ll write a massive blog post ranting about how he should have used his unlimited cosmic power to create new resources or more equally distribute those in existence instead of murdering half the universe…
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I know!!! These well-meaning(?) megalomaniacs always go for the most extreme option right away instead of taking the time to come up with something that won’t piss off most of the people he’s trying to “save”!
And anyway, the existence of a Time Stone automatically means he’ll never be able to sit back and enjoy his victory. There will ALWAYS be some dissatisfied subject waiting for him to drop his guard so they can hit Undo.