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5 Authors like Nalini Singh: Wonderful World-Building

Helen Maloney itcherIf you’re anxiously awaiting your next fix of the ‘Psy-Changeling’ or ‘Guild Hunter’ worlds, then I have 5 authors like Nalini Singh who are also wonderful world builders. Ilona Andrews gives us more unique worlds while Thea Harrison blends myth with modernity in her ‘Elder Races’ series. ~ Helen Maloney

Intensely Emotional

Love is the greatest form of loyalty, one that places happiness of the beloved over the lover.

If I had to describe Nalini’s writing in just 3 words, they would be: innovative, thrilling and addictive. Her books are like Pringles: ‘Once you pop, you can’t stop’.

Whether you’re a fan of her ‘Psy-Changling’ series with its Silence Protocol or ‘Guild Hunter’, where we follow one main couple as they navigate the changes their relationship bring to their lives at a time of great upheaval, there’s no denying her paranormal and urban world building is some of the best out there.

I hope you find my recommended writers like Nalini Singh as exciting and engaging as I do! 

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Authors Similar to Nalini Singh…

Ilona Andrews

Image Source: All Things UF

I’ve had a love affair with this couple’s work for many years now and if you haven’t been introduced yet, then you’d better pick up a copy of theirs ASAP. I can equally recommend their ‘Kate Daniels’ series, ‘The Edge’ series, and the ‘Innkeeper Chronicles’. I love them all!

This author duo is the one most similar to Singh for me because their worlds and characters are so intricate and detailed that, before you’re even halfway through, you’re soon wishing they were real places and people you can visit.

If you ever read Ilona’s blog, you will begin to get a clear picture of the struggle, strife and determination that is involved in writing, getting published and keeping at it. Their hard work has certainly paid off, though.

Recommended book: ‘Burn for Me’ (2014)

The next time I kill someone, I’d like to do it in a way that doesn’t freak you out.

Although the ‘Kate Daniels’ series is amazing and probably my favourite, this is the one which reminds me of Nalini the most. Also set in an alternative present, magic has been discovered and powerful magical families called Houses rule over the majority. Nevada is a struggling PI with a secret, and when Mad Rogan (possibly the most dangerous man on the planet) decides she’s as intriguing as the case… Uh oh.

Similarity Match: 90%
Similarly to Singh, each of Andrews’ works are unique and stand out from each other, however, there is more of a focus on magic.

***
Kalayna Price

Image Source: Kalayna

This is another writer with fantastic world building skills. She began writing in 2009 and her urban fantasy series are best sellers. While she focuses on different paranormal beings to Singh, this doesn’t result in any decrease of tension, anticipation or danger.

The characters really are at the heart of Price’s worlds – without them, there would be nothing – but the worlds she has created for them are almost as interesting and curious to us. However, I do find this element carries less impact than Singh’s, where we are equally curious to learn about the world and the people as a whole, without focusing on specific characters lives.

In her ‘Alex Craft’ series, for example, we focus on witches and Fae, rather than angels and vampires, but we do have shapeshifters and vampires in her ‘Haven’ series.

Recommended book: ‘Grave Witch’ (2010)

Ms Craft, while I’m sure your charming personality endears you to many people, is there anyone you know who would want to kill you?

Alex is a Grave Witch, someone who can speak to the dead, and it is this ability which is the basis for her PI business. While she concentrates on trying to put food on the table, she finds that Death, the dead and magic are not behaving in their usually predictable manner – it may be more than Alex can handle.

Similarity Match: 80%
Like Singh, character and plot development is the primary motivation but the romantic relationships are not as easily resolved.

***
Thea Harrison

Image Source: Goodreads

Thea’s writing career began in the 1980s under the name Amanda Carpenter and she wrote 16 romances before taking a break. Since her return, she has penned two fantasy series in the paranormal and urban fantasy genres.

Harrison’s ‘Elder Races’ world is an interesting meld of mythological and supernatural creatures and modernity. We have a dragon, thunderbird, vampires, medusa and the elves and Fae make an appearance also. I love how she has blended them all together while keeping them firmly as individuals, reminding me of how Singh has done something similar in her ‘Psy-Changeling’ series.

However, there is definitely a more light-hearted feel or tone to the writing. Although Thea’s characters suffer their share of troubles and traumas, and there is danger and violence in their world, her novels don’t dwell on it or give it as much impact.

Recommended book: ‘Lord’s Fall’ (2012)

He was such a hard male, and sometimes that hardness bruised others, but sometimes it bruised him most of all.

While I love Pia and Dragos’ initial meeting in ‘Dragon Bound’ (2011), this is possibly my favourite as you see the effect their love is having on them and those around them. We also see more of how this world works (which has been an increasing trend since book one) and things are gearing up with the Sentinel Games, politics and the Peanut.

Similarity Match: 75%
Like Singh, Harrison has skill with mixing your expectation of a certain creature together with a new take on them and a distinct personality, but there is less in the way of violence and threat.

***

If You Like Nalini Singh, You Will Like…

The following two authors share many similarities as Nalini, but their world building is less complex, concentrating more on the romance side of things.

Angela Knight

Image Source: Blogspot

Knight has created a group of worlds linking Arthur of Camelot and his Knights and ladies with vampires, Fae and other creatures in an interesting way.

In my opinion, however, the worlds and characters haven’t fully achieved Singh’s depth or captivating quality, although the stories have all the necessary elements of danger, violence, romance and sensuality. I find also that the character development is less complex, as our focus is on following their interactions with each other and their journey to their happy ever after.

Recommended book: ‘Master of the Moon’ (2005)

Diana is a Direkind, almost completely impervious to magic and tasked with keeping Mortal Earth safe. It’s just her luck that a power-hungry and blood-thirsty vampire has begun feeding in her town, drawing the King of the Sidhe there to hunt her down, naturally, as her heat cycle reaches its peak.

As in Singh’s books, we have an interesting and novel group of worlds created, though they interact with each other here and there’s more of an emphasis of sex.

***
Jennifer Estep

Image Source: Cloudfront

Whichever of her stories you read, Estep has a talent for taking the familiar and transforming it into something else. So far, she has worked her magic on magic schools, assassins and elementals, and family feuds. You’ve got to wonder what’s next.

One of the best parts of reading Nalini’s work is the feeling of delving deep beneath the surface – of the world, the characters, you name it – but while Estep’s worlds are fascinating, I just don’t get the same impression when I read them, not as much anyway. She’s still a great author, but  I think if only her world building was expanded a little more, she could become more of a contender within this genre.

Recommended book: ‘Spider’s Bite’ (2010)

Gin is known as the Spider, one of the most expensive but successful assassins. That is, until someone sets her up and tries to murder her only remaining family. Now she has to find those in charge, survive, and clear her name while trying to resist the distracting Detective Donovan Caine.

Although there is some new and intriguing world building going on, as well as engaging stories and characters, Estep’s writing doesn’t resonate as much with me.

***

Worlds like No Other

All of these books provide us with fantastic new worlds and realities we can escape to and enjoy, as well as brilliant new characters to be our friends or fantasy lovers. I don’t know about you but I love the choice of worlds and creatures to read about within the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres.

Which has been your favourite author like Nalini Singh or do you have your own recommendations you would like to share?

Hi, I′m Helen, I teach English in the UK and am a book addict (I′m serious - if I go too long without reading I get withdrawal symptoms!). I also love music, films, crafting, corresponding and video games. It is impossible for me to sit still unless I′m eating, holding a book or making something.
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