Categories
List

23 Best Fantasy Books by Black Authors

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.

Categories
Horror List

23 Best Fantasy Horror Books

 

“Bubonic Doctor” by Tom Edwards [ArtStation link]

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.

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List Young Adult

25 Best Young Adult Fantasy Books

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.

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List Standalone

27 Best Standalone Fantasy Books

 

“The Neverending Story – The Ivory Tower” by concept artist Peter Bartels [ArtStation | his site]

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.

Categories
List Strong Heroine

25 Best Fantasy Books with a Strong Heroine

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.

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List Literary

19 Best Literary Fantasy Books

 

Cover art for “Art For Movies – Episode 4 – Fantasy Landscapes” a tutorial by artist Jonathan Berube | ArtStation

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.

Categories
List Summer reading

Summer 2020 Fantasy Reading List

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.

Categories
Fae List

16 Best Fae and Fairy Books

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.

Many of these stories are YA and feature dangerous teen romance. If you’re looking for magical mayhem sans adolescent crushes, jump straight to Nyx or Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Categories
Graphic Novel List

23 Best Fantasy Graphic Novels

Sandman, © Vertigo Comics

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).

Categories
List Mystery

23 Best Fantasy Mystery Books

We like mystery because life is mysterious, and storytelling exists to help us figure out how to live. Mysteries help us figure out how to deal with the unending avalanche of unknowns in our own lives (probably not directly, unless you deal with dead bodies a lot).

Some say that mysteries are popular because people like puzzles. Well, I like a certain kind of mystery, but I’ve never been a puzzle person.

I like Raymond Chandler mysteries, the hard-boiled detective who fights to stay alive while prowling dark alleys and darker minds. Often, I don’t care that much about the final reveal of who the real criminal is. It’s the journey, the tortuous path that I like.

In fantasy especially, the who-dunnit can easily become a what-dunnit.