I wanted to reaffirm my commitment to reading authors of diverse backgrounds, and stories featuring diversity and non-white leads (something particularly important in fantasy). I’m going to do this by making a more concentrated effort to read said books, and by making sure I review the ones I’ve already read.
We’ve all seen how fantastic books like the three in N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth series have changed fantasy. We need more. We need international authors in translation, diverse authors, diverse characters, and a broader and more authentic inclusion of other cultures in our world-building.
Just think about the way Russian mythology in Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale felt like a breath of fresh air, and you’ll realize just how narrow fantasy is. Let’s not do that anymore. Give us all the places. Show us the cultures and well-rounded characters. Support books that do that by buying or borrowing them and leaving reviews along with me.
Note: I’ve updated this post to include a few author recommendations of my own (and one new author I’m excited about!), in no particular order, below.
Authors You’ll Love
The Year of the Witching is all the mystery, horror and serious trouble with witches you could ask for. Don’t expect it to wrap up too neatly: a sequel is on the way to this beautifully (and creepily) descriptive book.
A Song Below Water (YA Fantasy) is as compelling as…you know (my review here). A wonderful story of found-family sisterhood, identity, protest and myth set in a version of our world with modern mythological beings. The Renaissance fair mermaids might not be real, but the sirens and elokos are. A second book in the series, A Chorus Rises, is due out this year.
Khanani is an indie author who is now a traditionally published one, too. She writes strong, diverse heroines, like Hitomi in the Sunbolt Chronicles (read my review of Book One here.) She is also the author who changed my mind about self-publishing.
The queen of science fantasy, if not all of fantasy. Jemisin won three consecutive Hugo Awards for The Broken Earth Trilogy, a series that knocked my socks off and only got better. With literary-caliber writing and an original world, Jemisin broke the mold in fantasy and made a new one. And there are more highly acclaimed books and series by Jemisin, too.
If you don’t know her yet, you will. Mexican Gothic will soon be a series (I can’t say this enough: don’t let anyone spoil the plot twist for you). But it’s Gods of Jade and Shadow that won, and broke, my heart. A classic fantasy odyssey set in Mexico and using Mayan and other regional mythology, it’s a truly unforgettable book.
Seraphim Falling (YA Epic Fantasy) is on my TBR list! With her first book released in 2020, BwaBwa is a more recent discovery of mine, and with a series that reminds me of Sharon Shinn’s Samaria series, I can’t wait to check it out!
Kobo: 10 must-read diverse sci-fi and fantasy novels
Book Riot: 9 Diverse Fantasy Books that will Challenge your Idea of Fantasy Fiction
BookBub: 13 Acclaimed Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels by Black Authors
Cheers and be well,