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Fantasy & Not Problematic: 25 Recommendations by FBC Members

Recommendations compiled by Natalia & Rashmila

Art & editing by Claudia

Disappointed that JK Rowling is a TERF (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist)? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with our best recommendations from the badasses themselves, Feminist Book Club members.

Interested in reading more recommendations by Feminist Book Club Members? Read PART 2 in our series, Sci-Fiction & Not Problematic 7 Recommendations by FBC Members. Click here to read more!

25 Fantasy Recommendations by Feminist Book Club Members

1. Akata Witch (Akata Books #1)

By Nnedi Okorafor

Twelve-year-old Sunny, whose features are African but she’s albino, seems to have no place where she fits in. She discovers she is a “free agent” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

Recommended By: Alissa F.

2. Anpao

By Jamake Highwater

Traditional tales from North American Indian tribes are woven into one story that relates the adventures of one boy as he grows to manhood.

Recommended by: Jessica P.

3. Beasts Made of Night Duology

By Tochi Onyebuchi

Taj is an aki, or sin-eater—meaning that he literally consumes the exorcised transgressions of others, usually in the forms of inky-colored animal-shaped phantasms. Set in a Nigerian-inspired fantasy world, this duology explores social responsibility and how people bear guilt in a caste based society. 

4. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of OrÏsha #1)

By Tomi Adeyemi

Adeyemi’s story follows Zélie, a young divîner who lives in a dangerous world where magic has been stomped out. But, teaming up with a rogue princess, Zélie may have a way to protect her fellow maji and restore magic to the world.

Recommended by Renee Powers, FBC Founder

5. Dreamblood Duology 

By N.K. Jemisin

Fantasy tale about a king gone mad with power in a world where magic is harvested from dreams.

Recommended by: Natalia – “I haven’t read them yet, but the premise sounds cool as hell.”

6. Exit West

By Mohsin Hamid

The novel is about a young couple, Saeed and Nadia, who live in an unnamed city undergoing civil war and finally have to flee, using a system of magical doors, which lead to different locations around the globe.

Recommended by: Jessica P.

7. Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #1)

By Natasha Ngan

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She gets chosen as a consort for King and she learns what she needs to in order to survive the court, but she also falls in love. This series reminds us how precious freedom is, and what we have to do to save it.

Recommended by: Anonymous 

8. Mirage (Mirage Series #1)

By Somaiya Daud

Somaiya Daud’s Mirage is an epic fantasy series for teens about a poor girl who becomes the body double of a reviled princess in a ruthless empire.

Recommended by Anonymous

9. Ninth House

By Leigh Bardugo

The novel follows 20-year-old Galaxy “Alex” Stern, a high school dropout and homicide survivor who can see ghosts, called “grays”. Alex is mysteriously offered a full-ride to university following her trauma despite her background and lack of qualifications. She attempts to navigate her new life at the Ivy League while tasked by her benefactor with monitoring the eight Houses of the Veil, secret societies that harbor dark occult magic and power, from Lethe, the ninth house.

Recommended by: Lexi A., “I love spooky things and really liked this take on real, elitist, and problematic secret societies.”

10. Once and Future (Once & Future #1)

By Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

This YA novel reimagines the Once and Future King as a teenage girl determined to save the universe from an evil curse.

Recommended by: Lexi A.

11. Priory of the Orange Tree 

By Samantha Shannon

Queer romance. Dragons. Assassins. It’s everything high fantasy is supposed to be. This is the shortest synopsis we could come up with.

Recommended by: Rashmila M.

12. Shades of Magic Trilogy

By V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Recommended by: Lexi A.

13. The Bone Season Series

By Samantha Shannon

A supernatural dystopian novel set in 2059. Features a young woman fighting to use her powers and stay alive in an England entirely different from our own.

Recommended by: Lexi A., “The world is really vivid and interesting,  I’m a sucker for a good world-build.”

14. The Deep

By Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Phew! Where to begin?! There are mermaids who are descendents of enslaved Africans crossing the Atlantic Ocean on their way to the Americas. There’s a memory holder who doesn’t want that weight. There’s dream-like narratives and a novella that demands respect and attention.

Recommended by: Jessica P.

15. The Gilded Wolves

By Roshani Chokshi

An alternate history steeped in fantasy. Nineteenth century Parisian treasure-hunter Séverin Montagnet-Alarie assembles a team of unlikely allies–teenagers with backgrounds as mysterious and diverse as their talents and motives–to help him obtain powerful objects by any means necessary.

Recommended by: Jessica P.

16. The Good Luck Girls

By Charlotte Nicole Davis

Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale. When Clementine accidentally kills a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things.

Recommended by: Jessica P.

17. The Water Dancer

By Ta-Nahesi Coates

This surrealist story set in the pre–Civil War South, concerning a superhuman protagonist named Hiram Walker who possesses photographic memory, but who cannot remember his mother, and is able to transport people over long distances by using a power known as “conduction” which can fold the Earth like fabric and allows him to travel across large areas via waterways.

Recommend by: Jessica P.

18. These Witches Don’t Burn (Book #1)

By Isabel Sterling

This story follows an Elemental witch named Hannah, who lives in Salem, Massachusetts. At first it seems like the hardest thing she’ll have to do that summer is avoid her ex-girlfriend, but her problems become much worse when signs of dark magic pops up around town.

Recommended by: FBC Members as a whole! This was our book pick for April.

19. Winternight Trilogy

By Katherine Arden

Vasilisa “Vasya” Petrovna has received a spiritual gift, using it to see the fantastical creatures that inhabit her village. This leads her to a conflict with the Orthodox Church when she becomes convinced that she is a witch.

Recommended by Amanda C.”It’s written by a female author and has a female lead character. It is also set in and based on Russian folklore which you don’t see featured enough!”

20. Woven in Moonlight

By Isabel Ibañez

Magic. Romance. Revolution. This book draws inspiration from Bolivian politics and history. 

Recommended by: Renee Powers, FBC Founder

21. Who Fears Death

By Nnedi Okorafor

A powerful story of genocide in the far future in post-apocolyptic Africa and of the woman who reshapes her world. Her journey will cause her to grapple with nature, tradition, history, true love, the spiritual mysteries of her culture, and ultimately to learn why she was given the name she bears: Who Fears Death?

Recommended by: Amanda K.

22. Spinning Silver

By Naomi Novik

A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale. Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. This draws the attention of a nameless king and things get complicated. 

Recommended by: Natalia

23. Uprooted

By Naomi Novik

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Agnieszka lives in the village of Dvernik in the kingdom of Polnya. Every ten years the local wizard (known as “the Dragon”) collects one teenage girl as payment for protecting the local valley from the magical forest (the Wood) that borders it. The Dragon picks her and shenanigans are afoot. 

Recommended by: Natalia

24. Song of the Lioness Series 

By Tamora Pierce

Noblewoman Alanna of Trebond, disguised as the boy “Alan”, exchanges places with her twin brother Thom, to go to the royal palace in the city of Corus to train for knighthood, while Thom studies magic. Throughout the four novels Alanna struggles with her gender identity, as well as going through puberty and bullying.

Recommended by: Ashley P.

25. A Song Below Water

By Bethany C. Morrow

A Black siren named Tavia must face the world as the existence of sirens becomes known. Tavia must learn more about her identities as racial tensions rise in the country and her magic puts her at risk.

Recommended by: Claudia N.

5 Fantasy Novels Dropping Soon!

1. Cinderella is Dead 

By Kaylynn Bayron

YA Fantasy

July 2020

2. Lobizona (Wolves of No World #1)

By Romina Garber

YA Fantasy

August 2020

3. Raybearer 

By Jordan Ifueko

YA Fantasy

August 2020

4. Legendborn

By Tracy Deonn

YA Fantasy

September 2020

5. Never Look Back

By Lilliam Rivera

YA Fantasy

September 2020

Interested in reading more recommendations by Feminist Book Club Members? Read PART 2 in our series, Sci-Fiction & Not Problematic 7 Recommendations by FBC Members. Click here to read more!

 

 

Claudia Neu is a teacher who helps students learn and grow in their aspirations to change the world. When she is not working with children or reading, you can find Claudia cuddling with her cat or trying to keep her houseplants alive. Check out her instagram @claudianeureads for more book recommendations and reviews. Favorite genres: contemporary fiction, thriller or suspense, and young adult.

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