10 New Fantasy Books by BIPOC Women to Look Forward to This Year

published Mar 1, 2022
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As reality remains gloomy at times, a fantasy novel can transport you to another world and make you believe in magic. True escapism is promised in the pages of a great fantasy read, but fantasy can also be a great vehicle to look at the current world and its makeup with new eyes.

While there are Eurocentric fantasy books you might hold dear, it’s always exciting to read a world created by BIPOC writers, as they creatively transform and weave in cultural and sociopolitical nuances in the fictional realms they present.

Here are 10 such fantasy books by BIPOC women that you should have on your radar this year, in order of release date:

1. The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta

A YA fantasy inspired by ancient Mesoamerica (and based off of the Kumeyaay tribe), this debut features timely themes of female strength and resisting patriarchal control. It follows two women descended from seers, whose lives are juxtaposed by their privilege and motivations. The imaginative world of Dreamers and seers is so fascinating, and Huerta’s action-packed storytelling promises a gripping ride.

Release date: March 1, 2022

2. Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

This YA military-fantasy debut inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology is electric and exciting. Following the story of Sloane, a descendent of ancient Orisha gods, “Blood Scion” is a tale of power, revenge, political intrigue, and the making of an antiheroine. Personally one of my most anticipated reads of 2022 — I am still in awe of its beautiful cover.

Release date: March 8, 2022

3. When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

Set in Trinidad and inspired by Rastafarian beliefs and myths, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s debut tells a love story with a strong core of magical realism. Darwin and Yejide are brought together by their connection to the dead and both are outsiders who find healing in each other. With an imaginative world and lush writing, this romantic fantasy is a must read.

Release date: March 15, 2022

4. The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport

A fine blend of magic, technology, fantasy, and science fiction, this debut is the first in a duology that stars a Black woman facing titular blood trials in a prejudiced society in order to become a warrior. Full of political intrigue, a thrilling revenge plot, and a strong social justice parallel, “The Blood Trials” kicks off an exciting and powerful new series. 

Release date: April 5, 2022

5. Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

If there’s something I love more than mythology retellings, it’s mythology retellings that give voice to women who were wronged, voiceless, or merely forgotten. Vaishnavi Patel’s “Kaikeyi” tells the origin story of the vilified queen of the Indian epic “The Ramayana.” Whether you have read the epic or not, this book will (re)introduce you to a woman in a man’s world, determined to make a mark of her own.

Release date: April 26, 2022

6. The Hacienda by Isabela Carnas

In the vein of Silvia Morena Garcia, this supernatural suspense story is perfect for fans of gothic horror/fantasy and Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” Set after the Mexican War of Independence, “The Hacienda” follows a young woman who marries a man out of desperation and the need for security, only to be haunted by his house. Bonus points — the love interest may or may not be a young priest (“Fleabag,” anyone?).

Release date: May 3, 2022

7. Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

A fantasy take on Hollywood. From the author of “The Empress of Salt and Fortune” comes a historical fantasy set in pre-Code Hollywood, starring a young Chinese American actress who is determined to make it in an industry that only lets her play monster or maid. With bargains made in blood and magic, and dangerous sacrifices, “Siren Queen” is a thrilling study on how an outsider reaches the stardom she yearns for. 

Release date: May 10, 2022

8. The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

In the veins of “City of Brass” comes an Arab fantasy that spins a tale around a smuggling criminal, her jinn bodyguard, and a cowardly prince, all of whom have to go on a deadly adventure to find a magical lamp. Inspired by the stories and style of “One Thousand and One Nights,” the first book in a trilogy tells a timeless story that is sure to become a favorite!

Release date: May 17, 2022

9. Together We Burn by Isabel Ibanez

From the author of “Woven in Moonlight” comes a high-stakes fantasy featuring dragons. Forced to protect her ancestral home and name, 18-year-old Zarela has to take up her father’s position as the Dragonador — think matador, but for dragons — which puts her on the same path as dragon hunter Arturo. With a banter-filled romance and action-packed story, this YA fantasy is perfect for fans of “All the Stars and Teeth” and “Serpent & Dove.”

Release date: May 31, 2022

10. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

As a self-proclaimed stan of Sangu Mandanna, this “soft” fantasy sounds so delightful and cozy — perfect for the current times. An isolated witch is tasked to mentor three young witches and crosses paths with a grumpy librarian. This one is for fans of found families, uplifting stories, Mary Poppins, and “The House in the Cerulean Sea.”

Release date: August 23, 2022