Is there anything better than getting completely lost in the world of whatever fantastical novel you’re reading at the moment? I don’t know about you, but after putting a fantasy book down, I’ve found myself daydreaming in public or during my downtime of magic, mysticism, and mystery. While the genre is historically dominated by white authors, Black fantasy writers offer a different lens on the genre that’s been too long overlooked.
From addressing real-life issues in metaphorical and historical ways to putting Black characters at the forefront of the battles in these fantastic worlds, these authors are telling stories in a beautiful and eloquent way. We’ve rounded up some recent fantasy books by Black authors that are the talk of the town. Don’t believe us? Most of the titles below are top-rated on Goodreads by thousands of readers and book lovers alike. If you’re looking to read a fantasy book soon and want to bring some diversity to your TBR list, opt for one of our suggestions by different Black authors below.
A young girl is transformed into Death’s adopted daughter after an extraterrestrial encounter. Known thenceforth as Sankofa instead of Fatima, she searches for answers to how this happened to her—with Death alongside her the entire way.
The first in a series, The Unbroken follows Touraine and Luca, two women who live in the midst of an empire rattled by rebellion and military rule. If you’re looking for complex worlds and a Sapphic story, this debut fantasy novel is for you.
When Vern is seven months pregnant, she escapes the extremely religious compound she was raised in and gives birth to twins. Forced to survive with her new family, Vern is still trying to escape further from the compound as she is being constantly hunted by her former captors. A fantastical Gothic tale, Sorrowland is a must-read.
Laina thought her brother was a victim of police brutality, but it turns out to be something completely different. After learning that monsters are actually real and mythical creatures begin to reveal themselves, the world as Laina knows it changes completely.
This book, inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa, is about Danso, who lives in the ancient city of Bassa. He comes across a type of magic that should not be possible. Secrets are revealed, and Danso sets out on a fantastical adventure to protect the empire.
Hetty Rhodes is a Conductor on the Underground Railroad. After the Civil War comes to an end and she settles in with her husband in Philadelphia, the two solve mysteries and crimes that the authorities won’t. After a close friend is murdered, the couple sets out to find answers, eventually finding more than meets the eye.
Iraxi is one of the few survivors afloat on an ark seeking refuge from a flooded kingdom. Scared and pregnant with something that could be more than human, Iraxi’s fate is as uncertain as the waves below her.
Otto and Xavier Shin are gifted a trip on a sleeper train to really solidify their love. However, their trip abroad the locomotive seems a bit more peculiar than normal, as it seems like they’re the only passengers—that is, until they come across a woman with a secret message. The two find themselves in a tangle of questions, clues, and mysticism.
Every city has a soul. New York City, of course, has six. When the city is threatened, these personified souls must come together to protect their home.
Ella and Kev are two siblings with immense and extraordinary power who have been shaped by the racism and brutality they experienced growing up. When Kev becomes incarcerated for being a Black man in America, Ella visits him both in person and through her powers to help him revolt.
Beatrice Clayborn dreams of becoming an extremely powerful Magus, which would no longer require her to practice her magic in secret. When it finally seems as if she’s going to achieve her dreams, she is deceived and entangled in a series of conflict, love, and magic.
Lena Johnson drops out of college and takes up a high-paying job in Lakewood, Michigan after her grandmother passes and her family is left in debt. The only catch? The job has to be a complete secret from her family and friends, as the experiments they’re carrying out could be detrimental and devastating. Lena toys with the concept of sacrifice as she endures her time in Lakewood.
Inspired by African history and mythology, Black Leopard, Red Wolf tells the story of a mercenary hired to find a missing child. The story follows Tracker, who ends up joining a group to help find the child despite usually working alone. A story of fantasy and myth, this novel will have you turning page after page.
This book is set in a world where your thoughts could be controlled or erased; your life and fate are controlled by everyone but yourself. Jane 57821 decides to break free and defy these binds, bringing the reader along in an Afrofuturistic story of liberation, queerness, race, and love.
Available April 19, 2022