The Last Unicorn is a quirky little masterpiece. It’s short, and anyone who likes fantasy should read it: it’s one of the best fantasy books in existence.
Though almost absent in the early years of fantasy writing, the number of Black authors—and the recognition of their work—is growing year by year.
It’s impossible to talk about fantasy written by Black authors as a cohesive genre because, like writers of other skin tones, Black authors come from all over the world and write about a wildly diverse array of subjects in their own unique ways and voices.
Despite that, I’m including this list because most other lists of fantasy books tend to be heavy on white folk, and trumpeting the achievements of Black authors should help balance that out a little bit.
Note: I’m using “Black” instead of “African-American” because a number of these authors are not American.
Horror seems like a strange thing to enjoy reading: why would you want to be terrified while mental images of grotesque bloodshed are burned into your head? What’s wrong with you?
Of course, nothing’s wrong with you. One of the jobs of fiction is to give us clues on how to survive, and seeing how characters (maybe) defeat horrific beasts gives us hope in fighting our own monsters.
Most young adult fantasy books are set in strange worlds with bizarre rules and baffling characters. Based on what I remember from high school, this is completely appropriate.
Sometimes you don’t want the commitment of a seven-book series with each book being over a thousand pages long. Sometime you want a fling, and these books will give you exactly that.
Fantasy literature has come a long way since the boys club of The Lord of the Rings (which I’m a fan of, but let’s be honest here), but there’s still work to be done.
Literary fantasy is simply fantasy that’s better-written, has more realistic characters, and is more ambitious in exploring deep ideas than other books. Instead of just wizards zapping each other with blue lightning and smart-mouthed goblins, literary fantasy can contain wrenching emotions that look at what it actually means to be human.
Its polar opposite would be something pulpy like Hunky Vampire Witch Lust Prom Night or Battle Vixens in Improbable Armor.
Fortunately, there’s room for many styles in fantasy.
With very few of us on vacation at the beach right now, diving into someone’s deep blue imagination can be just as thrilling as a splash in the ocean.
With an emphasis on more recently-written books, this list should provide fun, thoughtful fare.
The word fairy come from the Old French words faie or fee, which meant a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs. Our definitions have evolved since then, but most fairies are still dangerous (if diminutive) females.
There’s still a stigma to reading graphic novels. As a grown man, I wouldn’t do it in public. However, at home, I love them and I encourage my kid to read every one he gets his hands on.
At their best, graphic novels combine deep, thoughtful storytelling with real works of art. I’m glad to see that great comics are still being written and drawn (and inked and colored).