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5 Fantasy Books Written By Black Authors You Should Read This February

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

Reading books has always made me feel connected to the people who wrote them. We’re fortunate enough to live in a world where people are beginning to see themselves represented more and more in the world of authors, publishing, and the writing sphere in general. Black authors are making headlines, their books are blowing up on social media, and I have always wanted to read an array of books written by more people of colour. I want to expand the catalogue of books I read by those who are Black and who deserve to have their incredible prose out there in the world.

Representation, especially when it comes to Black female authors in the fantasy genre is scarce and far between. When we think of fantasy, we immediately think of Tolkien, Gaiman, and Prachet. It’s time for women of colour to speak on their experiences, to craft and retell the mythologies and fables important to their own culture.

I compiled a small list of books that I’m looking forward to reading in between my classes for February, meaning that I haven’t read them yet but have read their synopses and highlighted what made them stand out for me as must-reads for the month. What better way to celebrate Black History Month than by supporting the wonderful, thriving, and utterly fantastic community of talented black authors in my favourite literary genre?

So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole

This Jamaican-inspired fantasy novel is crafted by Kamilah Cole. This is the story about Faron and her sister Elara, and how their powerful bond with each other is tested throughout their journey. Faron dedicated her magic to help her island from the fierce dragon-riding empire. Her sister, meanwhile, forms another bond with a dragon who is supposed to be their enemy. To free her sister from her bond, she must kill her. However, in her search to discover another way to break their cursed bond, Elara begins to uncover hidden secrets of the empire on her own.

The dual point-of-views that Cole uses helps to show the thoughts of each sister in their own story. This fantasy-bound story about the love between sisters, dragons, and queerness is sure to hook you in if you haven’t been convinced already.

The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste

Although this book will be coming out at the beginning of March, I felt like it still deserved a place on this list. Bethany Baptiste writes a clever and intoxicating tale of the distribution of illegal love potions and a secret society of witches. Venus is our main character who brews these potions, getting by to support her family through her illicit business. However, after her mother dies, she decides to take the opportunity for revenge on her mother’s murderer. The cost? Using her love potion as a means to control the politicians in DC.

Baptiste’s themes center around the darkness of magic, as well as how it can intertwine with politics. Power is a very prominent player in her debut novel.

Dazzling by Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ

Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ is the author of this book inspired by Nigerian mythology. Fans of magical realism will certainly adore this novel, and the book uses the fusion of English and the Nigerian language to its benefit. The plot follows Treasure and Ozoemena, two young women who lost their fathers and find their destinies intertwined. While Treasure is accepting a deal with a spirit to bring her father back, Ozoemena is running away from the legacy her father had left behind to protect her land and the people living in it. Their lives intertwine deeply as Treasure’s deal begins to become deadly and Ozoemena’s responsibilities catch up to her.

Emelụmadụ utilizes her prose to illustrate the struggles and reconciliations of navigating their relationships with their fathers, and with each other.

Faebound by Saara El-Arifi

Faebound is the first in a trilogy that highlights a queer, sapphic romance in a high fantasy setting. This novel tells the story of Yeeran, an elven army woman with a little sibling who can see the future. When they encounter the fae court, an elusive group that people haven’t seen in many years, the two sisters are thrust into a world of royalty where loyalties will be tested.

El-Arifi lets the plot flow as they follow the two sisters, leading them to follow their hearts, face perils of trust, and whether to follow their hearts and do what is right. This book also contains enemies to lovers, a popular trope that is beloved by most, with a wonderful sapphic twist in an Afro/Arab-inspired world.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E Butler

Despite being released in the 90s, Octavia E. Butler writes the story of Lauren Olamina’s journal entries, describing her feelings and her journey within a dystopian world. Lauren has an innate ability to feel extreme empathy, to the point where she feels other people’s pain as her own. After her bunker is destroyed, she takes responsibility for a group of refugees and embarks to lead them to safety up north.

Butler speaks on the very strong theme of global warming and climate change, and although this book leans more toward the science fiction genre than fantasy, this book is a classic novel that speaks on conflicts that still impact us today. 

Fantasy has always been a genre that is close to my heart. It’s so vast and creative, and seeing Black women thrive in this area makes me beyond excited for what retellings they could tell from their mythologies and fables. Through fantasy, they can make worlds inspired by their own cultures and draw upon their own experiences as individuals. It’s time that the genre had a reset and let Black women shine through their prose, worldbuilding, and innate talent.

Janica Adame

U Ottawa '25

Janica, or Jay, is a third-year honours psychology student looking to pursue counselling. They play a lot of video games, read too many books, and pick up hobbies that are forgotten almost immediately. She looks forward to seeing her partner in the UK soon and loves to write a bit too much.