Sistah Girls is it easy for you to predict your favorite books? Sometimes a new favorite book takes me by surprise. I’ll pick it up expecting to enjoy myself and have fun reading, only to end up obsessed and abandoning the rest of my reading list to read it all over again.
Fantasy is my favorite genre because of its inherent escapism. I love the larger-than-life stakes, traveling new worlds, and following a hero through their journey. And because I want Sistah Girls everywhere to read more fantasy here are some of my all-time favorite fantasy novels written by Black authors.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Jemisin is my favorite author. Period.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is her first book and the start of a dark fantasy trilogy about gods. Yeine is called to her mother’s country to participate in a contest to determine the next ruler and she uses it as an opportunity to investigate her mother’s death.
This is one of my favorite books because: humans interact with gods, there are nuance conversations about good and evil/forgiveness and cruelty, and the characters are so interested. Yeine is in constant danger so the atmosphere is tense and I couldn’t put it down.
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
Another Jemisin entry, no one is surprised.
The City We Became is a weird book: it’s about an inter-dimensional invasion and New York City comes to life. Jemisin explores culture, community, racism, and xenophobia in such a unique way.
The prose is eccentric and doesn’t gloss over the New York-ness of the characters. All the dialogue felt so natural, and she includes rap and spoken word in the narrative.
Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass
Shadow Blade is the first in an urban fantasy trilogy about Kira, a demon hunter in Atlanta. I love this trilogy because it does all my favorite fantasy tropes so well.
Kira is a twist on a few action character cliches, reading a Black woman just being badass and slaying demons will always be a good time. But the story got better as Kira was able to explore her emotions and open herself up to her friends and love interest.
Temple of The Inner Flame by Amber Fisher
This is a book that surprised me. I just didn’t expect to love it as much as I do. The main draw of this book for me was the unique magic system.
In order to balance the cosmic scales, the descendants of enslaved Africans are sometimes born with necromancy and can commune with the dead. These people talk with their ancestors’ spirits and can pass magical gifts from the dead to the living.
I loved the way Fisher considered the collective trauma Black Americans face and how creative this magical solution was. The plot in book one follows Name as she figures out where the souls of murdered cult members are being held.
The premise and magic of this book sound much scarier than it actually is, this book is not a horror it’s more a contemporary fantasy with mystery elements.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Right now the only young adult novel in my favorites is Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn. This is a contemporary fantasy about a Black girl going to UNC and discovering a secret society based on King Arthur and the round table.
Bree is the heroine I wanted when I was a teenager. Bree is such a clever character and has such strength and vulnerability; the plot kept me engrossed, but Bree’s character is the best part of this book.
The Unbroken by C. L. Clark
The Unbroken is a military fantasy about a soldier caught between the country that kidnapped her and her country of origin.
This book is one of my favorites because it has an in-depth look into the mind of someone suffering imperialist oppression. Touraine was abducted from her family, stripped of her culture, and forced into the military.
The narrative explores self-hatred and the first steps to unlearning imperialism, I can’t wait until the sequel comes out.
Sistah Girls, those are my favorite Black-authored fantasy books as of 2022, hopefully, I can add something to this list by the end of the year.
Let us know what your favorites are or if you’re interested in reading my picks!
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