High Fantasy novels are pure escapism: where else can you fight a dragon, save nations with the swing of your sword, and maybe befriend a barbarian or two? I’ve been hankering for some High Fantasy reads for a while and if you have too, I’ve got some great recommendations for you. All of these books below are written by Own Voices Black Authors, and are either books I’ve read and enjoyed or authors I’m highly anticipating/trust.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
I’m highly anticipating Raybearer, a Summer of 2020 release by Hot Keys Books (UK) and Amulet (US). This is an LGBTQ+ YA High Fantasy, with themes of loyalty, betrayal, family and mystery. I’ve heard the magical system and world building are incredible. And Ifueko explained on Goodreads that whilst the “religions are fictitious, the struggles Kirah (one of the characters) explores reflect their own struggles with conservative Evangelicals”.
Raybearer received numerous nominations upon release, including Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Goodreads Choice Awards, Lodestar and the Andre Norton Award. I’ll need to move on this quickly as Book 2, Redemptor, is due to be released in August 2021. Click here to see the synopsis for this book.
Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart
I recently finished Witches Steeped in Gold and thought it was such a bold addition to my shelves. These characters HATE each other (which, you’ll see is totally justified) but have to work together to defeat a common (and obscenely cruel) enemy. I always appreciate a magic system with clear rules, especially when the main characters experience what happens when the rules are bent or broken. The world-building was powerfully real and expertly crafted.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed The Priory of the Orange Tree or The Poppy War. According to Goodreads, we can expect a sequel to this one as well in 2022, but I wouldn’t wait on this one. Absolutely magical. Click here to read the synopsis, and add it to your wishlist!
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
We had to wait a little longer for this one in the UK, but I think it was worth it. A classic underdog-outcast story about empowerment and magic in the form of this enchanting YA novel, The Gilded Ones follows a group of young women given the choice to be slaughtered for their differences or learn to fight the empire oppressing them. It’s inspired by West African mythology, and at the younger side of YA in regards to the writing style and pacing, but still a champion in its own right.
Another series starter, the sequel – The Merciless Ones – is expected in 2022. If you want to read the synopsis, click here.
Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
This is the newest release on this list, and was only uploaded onto the shop TODAY! (The day I’m writing this, not the day you’re seeing it.) Although those with Waypoint Subscription Boxes will have seen this Pre-Colonial West African novel in their newsletter. An LGBTQ+ Adult Black High Fantasy, perfect for those sick of seeing five-man bands made up of exclusively white dudes, aka – me. Having said that, this has big The Name of the Wind vibes for me, with the scholars, forbidden magic and tempestuous adventures.
And for those of you who want to step away from Fantasy Romance, Okungbowa has said on Goodreads that whilst characters ‘have love lives, it isn’t centred in the main story,’ and doesn’t involve the main characters at all. Click here for more info.
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
When I saw this Black Fantasy was comp’d to Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale, I had to have it.
This fantasy feels more like a Black Historical Fiction novel than a Black High Fantasy, but it deserved to be on this list regardless. (Although, when I do the Urban Fantasy List, it’ll probably pop up on that one too). A Western Inspired Dystopia, LGBTQ+ Rep and murder! What more could you want? This is Davis’ Debut novel, and I’m really excited to see what they come up with next. I’ve heard nothing but good things, so click here to read the synopsis and add to your wishlist.
This is another novel expecting a sequel in August 2021, so you’ll want to get a wiggle on!
Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender
Kacen Callender (yes, of Felix Ever After, and King and the Dragonflies fame) has DELIVERED with this Historical High Fantasy. I love an unlikeable character; Sigourney Rose shows in the first chapter that she will use her magic for her own gain, and this Caribbean Inspired Black Fantasy is the perfect setting for some revenge served cold. The action is incredible, the descriptions of the world are fully immersive and the tension is palpable. All I need to do now is finish it!
The only surviving daughter of a noble family, Sigourney isn’t going to take prisoners in this one, and then there’s an epic second half to this duology in King of the Rising. If you want to read the full synopsis, click here.
Obviously, the list of epic Black Fantasies should be so much longer than this, so if you think a great recommendation has been missed, let us know – Either in the comments, or message us so we can put that book on our shelves! Have a great day!