Dive into a magical world of creativity with fantasy books by Black authors.
Why You Need Diverse Voices in Fantasy (and Where to Start with Black Authors)
Fantasy, that boundless realm of dragons and damsels, hunger for more than familiar echoes. We crave the kaleidoscope, the unexpected riffs, the melodies woven from voices rarely heard. Enter Black authors in fantasy: their pens conjure universes as vibrant and diverse as the cultures they draw upon.
Forget tired tropes; embrace the unexpected. Imagine deities shimmering with African folklore, magic pulsing to Caribbean rhythms, and heroes shattering bronze stereotypes. Black authors breathe life into worlds you didn’t know existed, where ancestry whispers in the wind, and every corner unveils a secret.
But why dive into this treasure trove? Because diversity isn’t just an afterthought; it’s a symphony. Each story is a kaleidoscope, refracting familiar themes through lenses of lived experiences, ancestral wisdom, and boundless creativity. You’ll encounter heroes who defy expectations, journeys fueled by resilience, and struggles for an agency that resonates beyond the page.
So, although reality beckons, step into realms painted with stardust and possibility. This blog is your passport to a literary fiesta, a curated guide to novels that will ignite your mind, touch your soul, and push the boundaries of what fantasy can be. Get ready to laugh, cry, rage, and cheer. Let’s unlock the kaleidoscope together, one page at a time.
Must-Read Fantasy Books by Black Authors
The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin
Earth shattering. People shaking. That’s the world of N.K. Jemisin’s “The Fifth Season,” a landmark in Black fantasy. Gifted folks like Essun bend the earth itself, but their power comes with a price: fear and control. Their kind? Hunted. Essun just wants to save her daughter.
She dives for refuge, but reality cracks open. Shocking secrets rewrite everything she thought she knew. This gripping tale? It’s resilience, motherhood, and survival on overdrive. Every page twists your expectations, blurring power and oppression into something breathtaking.
Ready to lose yourself in a world where magic and peril dance? “The Fifth Season” is your gateway. It’s Black fantasy at its finest, thought-provoking and impossible to put down. Dive in, and let it shake you awake.
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
Sowing seeds of hope in a cracked world: “Parable of the Sower”
Imagine a future baked by drought, choked by dust, where society crumbles. That’s where Lauren Olamina blooms in Octavia E. Butler’s “Parable of the Sower.” This girl’s got grit, and a vision: Earthseed, a new belief to guide humanity through the ashes.
But safety, in this unforgiving wasteland, is as scarce as rain. Lauren’s journey? A test of strength, faith, and the kind of adaptability that could bend steel. Every sunrise brings a new peril, every choice a gamble. Yet, Lauren pushes on, her spirit blazing like a stubborn wildfire.
Butler’s storytelling magic pulls you deep into Lauren’s world. You’ll sweat in the dust storms, wince at the betrayal, and cheer for every fragile victory. This is a tale of resilience that cracks you open, makes you ponder the power of belief, and leaves you wondering: what seeds of hope would you sow in a broken world?
“Parable of the Sower” is more than a book, it’s a gut punch. A must-read that’ll haunt you long after the last page. So grab your seeds of courage and dive in. This future needs you.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
“A Song of Wraiths and Ruin” by Roseanne A. Brown is a thrilling gem among fantasy books by Black authors. In the vibrant city of Ziran, a festival turns deadly when Malik, seeking to save his sister, makes a dark deal with a vengeful spirit. Meanwhile, Princess Karina, mourning her mother’s assassination, sees a chance for revenge in Malik’s presence. However, their paths unexpectedly intertwine, leading to a treacherous journey where alliances shift, secrets unfold, and choices carry unimaginable consequences.
Brown’s storytelling prowess shines as she crafts a tale of magic, politics, and the unbreakable ties of family and destiny. As you delve into the richly woven narrative, you’ll be captivated by the intricate dance of these two protagonists in their quest for survival and redemption. “A Song of Wraiths and Ruin” offers readers an enthralling and thought-provoking adventure that showcases the brilliance of fantasy books by Black authors.
Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
In “Blood Scion” by Deborah Falaye, a gripping addition to the world of fantasy books by Black authors, we meet fifteen-year-old Sloane, a Scion with the power to incinerate her enemies at will.
However, in a world ruled by the oppressive Lucis regime, her abilities mark her for death if uncovered. Forced into the Lucis army on her fifteenth birthday, Sloane seizes an unexpected opportunity: to conquer the brutal Lucis training and dismantle the regime from within.
Deborah Falaye’s debut novel weaves a tale of magic, injustice, power, and vengeance, drawing inspiration from Yoruba-Nigerian mythology. The book has been acclaimed by readers and authors alike, earning praise for its combination of soaring fantasy, heart-pounding action, and thought-provoking social commentary. If you’re a fan of fantasy books like “Children of Blood and Bone” and “An Ember in the Ashes,” “Blood Scion” promises an enthralling journey through a world where rebellion and destiny collide.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Dive into Cairo, 1912! Magic hums in the air, but a grisly murder shatters the peace. Special Inspector Fatma, whip-smart and fearless, must crack the case.
Ancient rituals, forbidden relics, hidden motives… Fatma plunges into a shadowy world. The deeper she digs, the more shocking the truth. A city-shaking conspiracy lurks, fueled by rising tensions and a ticking clock.
Can Fatma navigate treacherous alliances and confront her own past to stop chaos from engulfing Cairo? “A Master of Djinn” blends history, fantasy, and heart-pounding mystery for a spellbinding ride until the very end.
Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray
Buckle up for a magical adventure! Forget fairy tales, Lkossa is a harsh city with no room for magic, at least not for Koffi. Trapped working at the notorious Night Zoo, her only dream is freedom for her family. But when danger strikes, she unleashes a hidden power, changing her life forever.
Meanwhile, Ekon, son of a hero, should be celebrating his warrior initiation. Instead, he faces the monstrous Shetani – a nightmare come true. Koffi saves him, but she vanishes, leaving him disgraced and desperate.
Haunted by guilt, Ekon vows to slay the Shetani. He needs Koffi’s power, so they forge an uneasy alliance. Together, they plunge into the Greater Jungle, a land teeming with magic and peril. But are they hunters or hunted? Can they overcome their pasts and stop a threat lurking in the shadows? Dive into this thrilling series, perfect for fans of dark fantasy and unlikely heroes!
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Arrah ain’t your average magic user. Sure, her family line is practically bursting with witchdoctor power, but for her? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Talk about feeling like a dud!
But when creepy snatchings rock the Kingdom, Arrah decides enough is enough. Forbidden magic? Bring it on! The power she gains is sweet, but it comes with a side of shocking truth and a darkness hungry for her loved ones.
Dive into “Kingdom of Souls” by Rena Barron! It’s a heart-pounding YA fantasy full of dark magic, surprising twists, and a heroine who’ll grab you by the feels. Plus, it’s a must-read for fans of amazing fantasy by Black authors!
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
“The Gilded Ones” by Namina Forna introduces readers to Deka, a sixteen-year-old girl awaiting a life-changing blood ceremony in her village. Despite her hopes for acceptance, her blood runs gold, marking her as impure.
However, a mysterious woman offers Deka a choice: stay and face her fate or join an army of alaki, gifted girls fighting for the emperor. Determined to find her place, Deka embarks on a journey to the capital, where she uncovers surprising truths about herself and the empire.
This immersive fantasy, reminiscent of “Children of Blood and Bone,” promises thrilling adventure and unexpected revelations, making it a must-read for fans of fantasy books by black authors.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
“Raybearer” by Jordan Ifueko introduces readers to Tarisai, raised in isolation by her mysterious mother, The Lady. Sent to compete in Aritsar’s capital to join the Crown Prince’s Council of 11, Tarisai longs for the family she never had.
However, The Lady commands Tarisai to kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Determined to forge her own destiny, Tarisai grapples with loyalty, fate, and love in this gripping fantasy tale. With rich world-building and captivating prose, “Raybearer” is a must-read.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
In “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Marlon James, Tracker, a renowned hunter, breaks his rule to join a group searching for a missing boy.
However, their journey is fraught with danger as they encounter creatures set on destroying them.
As Tracker questions the truth and confronts lies, the novel delves into African history and mythology, offering a unique adventure.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
In “Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor, Binti faces a life-changing decision when she’s offered a place at Oomza University, the galaxy’s most prestigious institution of higher learning. However, accepting the offer means leaving behind her family and immersing herself in a world vastly different from her own.
However, her journey is far from easy, as she encounters hostility and danger along the way. The world she seeks to enter is plagued by long-standing conflict with the Meduse, a terrifying alien race. Despite the risks, Binti is determined to pursue knowledge and expand her horizons.
With awards like the Hugo and Nebula, “Binti” offers a gripping tale of courage, identity, and diplomacy in the vast expanse of space.
The Unbroken by C. L. Clark
In “The Unbroken” by C. L. Clark, Touraine is a soldier molded by the empire from childhood, yet her loyalty to her fellow conscripts is tested when she’s sent back to her homeland to quash a rebellion.
Caught between her ingrained allegiance to the empire and her newfound connection to her roots, Touraine grapples with the complexities of identity and duty.
Meanwhile, Luca, determined to reclaim her rightful place from her uncle’s rule, seeks a strategic ally who can navigate the delicate balance between loyalty and betrayal. Recognizing Touraine’s potential as a catalyst for change, Luca enlists her aid in navigating the political landscape rife with assassinations, betrayals, and shifting allegiances. As they navigate the perilous terrain of power and politics, Touraine and Luca must confront their own values and ambitions to shape the destiny of their nation.
Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
In “Son of the Storm” by Suyi Davies Okungbowa, Danso, a scholar in the ancient city of Bassa, is on the verge of greatness, yet he finds himself drawn to forbidden stories and secrets beyond the city walls. When he stumbles upon a warrior wielding forbidden magic, his quest for knowledge propels him into a journey that unravels the city’s darkest secrets.
As Danso delves deeper into Bassa’s hidden history, he uncovers truths that challenge the very foundations of the empire. With each revelation, he realizes that the chaos sparked by his discovery could have far-reaching consequences, potentially bringing down an entire civilization.
Set against the rich backdrop of West African pre-colonial empires, “Son of the Storm” is a masterful tale of ambition, intrigue, and the pursuit of knowledge. With fantastical beasts, forgotten magic, and a protagonist driven by curiosity, this epic fantasy promises an immersive journey into a world where destiny is shaped by the choices one makes.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
In Justina Ireland’s “Dread Nation,” Jane McKeene navigates a world where the dead walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, altering America forever. Tasked with attending combat schools, Jane, trained in weaponry and etiquette, fights for survival amidst societal expectations.
As Jane nears the end of her education in Baltimore, she plans to return to Kentucky, ignoring the politics of eastern cities. However, when families go missing in Baltimore County, Jane becomes entangled in a conspiracy, battling powerful enemies to save her life.
Amidst the unrest, Jane faces a perilous fight against both the living and the restless dead, challenging her perceptions and shaping her destiny.
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
In “Wings of Ebony” by J. Elle, Rue, a Black teen, finds herself straddling two vastly different worlds: the gritty streets of Houston’s East Row and the affluent enclave of Ghizon. Despite the contrasts, she’s learned to adapt, finding solace in her tight-knit community while yearning for the luxuries she sees across the water.
However, Rue’s world is shattered when her mother is brutally murdered, thrusting her into a whirlwind of grief and revelation. In the aftermath, she discovers her true heritage as a goddess, unlocking powers she never knew she possessed. Determined to seek justice for her mother and protect her community, Rue joins forces with a rebel group fighting against the oppressive forces that threaten to tear their world apart.
As Rue delves deeper into her newfound identity and powers, she faces not only external threats but also internal struggles. Alongside her allies, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and empowerment, challenging the status quo and reshaping the fate of her people in the process.
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
In “Skin of the Sea” by Natasha Bowen, Simi, once a mortal girl, now serves the gods as Mami Wata—a mermaid—guiding souls to the afterlife. However, when she defies ancient laws to save a boy from drowning, she triggers a chain of events that threaten both her existence and the balance of the world.
Forced to confront vengeful gods and navigate treacherous lands, Simi embarks on a perilous journey to seek redemption and protect her fellow Mami Wata. Along the way, she discovers secrets that challenge everything she thought she knew about her world and herself.
With echoes of West African mythology and the allure of the deep sea, “Skin of the Sea” is a captivating fantasy tale that explores themes of sacrifice, bravery, and the power of defiance against destiny.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
In Tracy Deonn’s “Legendborn,” sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews seeks solace from her mother’s death in a high school program. Yet, her plans unravel when she witnesses a magical attack, unveiling a hidden world of Legendborn students and ancient secrets.
As Bree delves deeper, she unlocks her own latent magic and unravels connections to her mother’s mysterious death. With the help of Nick, a disillusioned Legendborn, Bree navigates the society’s secrets while confronting her own destiny.
Infused with Southern Black Girl Magic and the legacy of King Arthur’s knights, “Legendborn” offers a gripping blend of contemporary fantasy and ancient legend, as Bree grapples with truth, power, and the choice between joining the fight or tearing down the society from within.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
In Tomi Adeyemi’s “Children of Blood and Bone,” Zélie Adebola is determined to restore magic to the land of Orïsha, which has been plunged into darkness and despair after the ruthless eradication of all maji.
Haunted by the memory of her mother’s brutal death at the hands of the oppressive monarchy, Zélie embarks on a perilous quest with the help of a rogue princess named Amari. Together, they seek to retrieve an ancient artifact that has the power to bring magic back to their world.
As they navigate a treacherous landscape filled with vengeful spirits, deadly creatures, and political intrigue, Zélie must learn to control her burgeoning powers while grappling with her growing feelings for an unexpected ally. With the fate of Orïsha hanging in the balance, Zélie and Amari must outwit their enemies and confront their own inner demons in order to fulfill their destiny and restore magic to their homeland.
Lose Yourself in Black Fantasy’s Magic
We’ve journeyed through a tapestry of worlds: empires of magic and whispers of myth, each woven with the vibrant threads of Black imagination. These stories resonate not just because they’re fantastical but because they hold up a mirror to our shared humanity.
Black authors push the boundaries of fantasy, crafting narratives that sing with diverse voices and lived experiences. Each book is a portal, drawing you in with breathtaking adventures and characters that stay with you long after the final page.
So, seasoned fantasy reader or curious newcomer, don’t wait! Dive into the magic and lose yourself in the unknown. These worlds await, brimming with possibility and the power to change your perspective. The adventure starts now. Just open a book and let the Black voices of fantasy lead the way.
Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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