9 Books by Black Fantasy Authors Getting Me Through 2020

These fantastical worlds and enchanting characters offer respite and rejuvenation.

A Song Below Water

Need a break from the real world of 2020? Me, too. Personally, I've been leaning into fantasy to help me escape. Featuring fantastical worlds and far-off adventures, these books have given me the beautiful gift of helping block out the constant anxiety and lift me up at a time when I need it most. 

Luckily, there's a wide range of contemporary Black authors writing exceptional fantasy and sci-fi. These nine books by Black fantasy authors are getting me through 2020.

RELATED: Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors You Need to Read 

Buy Black Leopard, Red Wolf at Amazon

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

By Marlon James

One of the most highly anticipated releases of last year, Black Leopard, Red Wolf was listed as one of the top ten books of 2019 by The Washington Post

The first in a planned trilogy, the novel follows Tracker, a mercenary who is on the hunt for a missing child with a band of characters, including the shape-shifter Leopard. Michael B. Jordan, who played Killmonger in Black Panther, has already teamed up with Warner Bros. for a movie adaptation of Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

RELATED: 'Our Myths, Ourselves': Marlon James Talks J.R.R. Tolkien 

Buy Children of Blood and Bone at Amazon

Children of Blood and Bone

By Tomi Adeyemi

I am obsessed with this series, and I can’t wait for the third title in Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone trilogy.

The series follows Zélie as she discovers her long-lost magical powers and fights to restore magic to the land of Orïsha. 

Another novel with a film adaptation on the way (this one for Fox/Disney), Children of Blood and Bone is an inspiring and captivating read.

RELATED: Children of Blood and Bone Is Your Next YA Fantasy Obsession 

Buy A Song Below Water at Amazon

A Song Below Water

By Bethany C. Morrow

What I would’ve given for a book like this in my teen years! 

This debut novel is a story of Black mermaids living in secret in Portland, Oregon. Yes, Black mermaids

Mixing a modern-day high school story with fantasy, this brand new release is a must-read and will fill your day-dreams with wonder.

If you need more convincing, our friends at Den Of Geek even named A Song Below Water one of the top new YA books in July 2020.  

RELATED: 7 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Mermaid Books 

Buy The City We Became at Amazon

The City We Became

By N.K. Jemisin

Already hailed as a “glorious fantasy” by Neil Gaiman, The City We Became by multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winner N.K. Jemisin is an imaginative love-letter to New York City that will fill you with hope.

RELATED: 10 Nebula Award-Winning Books by Female Authors You Need to Read 

Buy The Deep at Amazon

The Deep

By Rivers Solomon

2020 Hugo Award finalist The Deep follows an underwater society inhabited by the descendants of African women who were thrown overboard during the slave trade. 

The Deep was written by Rivers Solomon and based on a song by the rap group, Clipping, which includes Hamilton star Daveed Diggs. 

RELATED: Explore The Deep: A Stunning and Collaborative Afrofuturist Novel

Buy Rage of Dragons at Amazon

Rage of Dragons

By Evan Winter

Another impeccable debut fantasy novel, Rage of Dragons is as epic and addictive as A Song of Ice and Fire. 

For centuries, the Omehi people have been locked in an un-winnable war. The lucky few among them survive through rare skills: the ability to call on dragons, and the capability to transform into a powerful machine. 

Tau has neither of these powers, but plans for a life that's not defined by war. When he's betrayed and loses those closest to him, Tau commits the rest of his life to ending the ceaseless cycle of violence. 

Buy Gingerbread at Amazon

Gingerbread

By Helen Oyeyemi

A modern-day fairy tale, Gingerbread has been hailed as “exhilarating” and is a lush, perfect summer read. The story follows the Lees, a remarkable family that appears normal at first glance—but their exceptional gingerbread isn't the only remarkable aspect of the Lee clan. 

Pick up Gingerbread and prepare to be sucked into Helen Oyeyemi’s incredibly rich and beautiful world.

RELATED: Enchanting and Captivating Fairy Tales for Adults 

Buy Black Girl Unlimited at Amazon

Black Girl Unlimited

By Echo Brown

My whole life I’ve loved stories of witches and wizards, and Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown follows a teen wizard — also named Echo Brown — finding her way in a modern-day city. 

RELATED: 9 Comforting SFF Books to Read When You're Self-Isolating 

Buy The Gilded Ones at Amazon

The Gilded Ones

By Namina Forna

Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones won't hit shelves until February 2021, but it deserves a special mention here. 

What’s the early buzz for? This first book in the Deathless series is already being compared to Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther, and follows 16-year-old Deka on her journey to becoming a warrior. 

Published on 29 Jun 2020