YA/NA Fantasy and Scifi Books to Read for Black History Month
Looking for some new reads? Check out these Fantasy and Scifi titles written by black authors.
- Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
- A Phoenix First Must Burn by Patrice Caldwell, Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Nicole Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, Ibi Zoboi.
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
- Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
- A Blade So Black (The Nightmare-Verse #1) by L.L. McKinney
The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.
Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.
- The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhonielle Clayton
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.
With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.
- Kill Three Birds (Kingdom of Aves Mystery #1) by Nicole Givens Kurtz
Sent to investigate a string of murders in a quiet remote egg, can Hawk Tasifa find the killer before she becomes the next target?
Prentice Tasifa is an investigative hawk whose been deployed from The Order to the small egg of Gould, a mountain village. A missing girl had been found dead. Hawks investigate strange and difficult situations throughout the Kingdom of Aves. They can “see the unseen,” by accessing a unique ability to activate hawk-like vision, a trait they carry through their bloodlines.
When Prentice arrives in Gould, she soon discovers that there isn’t just one bird dead, but three. There’s a serial killer operating in Gould, and she has to find the person before she ends up next.
If you love goddess worship, winged humans, mystery, and magic, this story is for you.
- Rebel Sisters (War Girls #2) by Tochi Onyebuchi
In the epic, action-packed sequel to the “brilliant” (Booklist, starred review) novel War Girls, the battles are over, but the fight for justice has just begun.
It’s been five years since the Biafran War ended. Ify is now nineteen and living where she’s always dreamed–the Space Colonies. She is a respected, high-ranking medical officer and has dedicated her life to helping refugees like herself rebuild in the Colonies.
Back in the still devastated Nigeria, Uzo, a young synth, is helping an aid worker, Xifeng, recover images and details of the war held in the technology of destroyed androids. Uzo, Xifeng, and the rest of their team are working to preserve memories of the many lives lost, despite the government’s best efforts to eradicate any signs that the war ever happened.
Though they are working toward common goals of helping those who suffered, Ify and Uzo are worlds apart. But when a mysterious virus breaks out among the children in the Space Colonies, their paths collide. Ify makes it her mission to figure out what’s causing the deadly disease. And doing so means going back to the corrupt homeland she thought she’d left behind forever.
- Errant (The 12:01 Trilogy #1) by Montrez
Superpowers transform one anxious outside into New York’s most wanted girl in this soulful, spirited YA Contemporary Fantasy.
16-year-old Savannah Scarlett struggles to reclaim her life after the devastating loss of her father. but finding a place to belong isn’t easy for someone who’s used to living life on the sidelines.Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Savannah witnesses an impossible phenomenon that triggers the emergence of a wild and powerful gift. She must learn to accept and control her newfound ability or die trying. That is if a deadly organization of vicious hunters doesn’t kill her first.Running for her life, Savannah soon finds refuge with the Errants, a ragtag group of powerful misfits who share her power and all the danger that comes with it. A supernatural war has long been brewing. Savannah is no chosen one or savior, but she may be the catalyst needed for the Errants to have a fighting chance at survival against an immortal enemy.
Fans of Divergent and the Darkest Mind are sure to enjoy.
- Raybearer (Raybearer #1) by Jordan Ifueko
Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?
- The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
- Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud
In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.
But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.
As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.
- Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud
Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?
After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.
Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?
- A Song Below Water (A Song Below Water #1) by Bethany C. Morrow
Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
- House of Rahilius (Sword Nation #1) by A. J. Ross
Seventeen-year-old Lincoln Wolfe is set to marry the princess when his world is turned upside down. A ship from the neighboring planet Kayora arrives with passengers fleeing enslavement by the Prime Minister and infamous pirate Rahilius. When Rahilius’s demands for the return of the stolen vessel are ignored, he kills the Ruler of the Grii, kidnaps the princess and declares war on Graiis.
Lincoln learns the necessary skills to kill Rahilius, while the princess sheds propriety and uses her hidden talents to fight for her own survival. Meanwhile, a Southern City rebel seeks to spark a revolution and free the enslaved people of Kayora.
One hero. One warrior. One rebel. Three paths converge to start one Holy war against the Kayorian Empire, but Rahilius is more than he seems, and underestimating him will come at great costs.
- Mystic Bonds (Paranormal World #1) by C.C. Solomon
Mage Amina Langston thought surviving the supernatural apocalypse, which killed fifty percent of humankind and changed most of the surviving population into paranormal beings, were the biggest challenges in her life. That is, until she and her brother go on the run from non-gifted humans who want to steal their magical blood to make a power-giving serum. Now she’s in search of a handsome stranger who keeps appearing in her dreams and a secret paranormal city to help free those still held in captivity for their blood.
During her journey, Amina befriends several other magical beings also searching for the mysterious town, including a sexy were-jackal who distracts her from locating the man of her proverbial dreams. However, when the group finds the city, it’s filled with dangerous magic and a barbaric were-pack. Facing these new troubles, will Amina take down her human pursuers and save the other paranormals she left behind or end up in greater peril?
- This Time (Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter #1) by Azaaa Davis
Resurrected into present-day New York, Nadira Holden is asked to save the world … again.
Nadira achieved legendary status when she gave her life to protect humans from the demons. To her, it was yesterday. To the rest of the world, it was twenty years ago.
People have made peace with the demons, worshipping them like celebrities. No one wants to believe that the beautiful creatures who brought magic to humans could be causing the disappearance of so many. When Nadira’s father goes missing, she refuses to play nice. Gloves off. She has to do what she does best. Fight.
Experience why not even death can stop her.
Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter is a fresh urban fantasy series from Azaaa Davis that combines monster-slaying action, family drama, and simmering romance.
Fans of Vampire Hunter Anita Blake, Succubus Georgina Kincaid, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Vampire Death Dealer Selene are enthralled and eagerly awaiting the next Nadira Holden novel.
- To Astera, With Love by Amanda Ross
America, 2022 – drugs are legal, witches are real, and a literal vampire is President. In this world of boutique blood bars and policies that force witches to out themselves, 21-year-old Mercury Amell just wants to live. He wishes that the ages-old feud between vampires and witches didn’t exist. He wishes that his powers and his skin color didn’t increase his odds of being burned at the stake.
After making a powerful enemy, Mercury and his friends must travel to Astera, an annual gathering of all witchkind. They battle vampiric cops, evil witches, aggressive humans, and each other along the way as they struggle to make it in one piece. Will their collective power be enough to get them to Astera safely? Or will they fall prey to their enemies and the laws that spell their destruction?
- Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1) by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
- A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanne A. Brown
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.
But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.
When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?
The first in a fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.
- The Gilded Ones ((Deathless #1) by Namina Forna
Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.
But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.
Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.
Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.
- Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls #1) by Rena Barron
A girl with no gifts must bargain for the power to fight her own mother’s dark schemes—even if the price is her life.
Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.
But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.
Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford.
- Finding Eden (The Eden Saga #2) by K.R.S. McEntire
A mutant searching for sanctuary. A hunter hot on her trail.
Lilah has heard rumors of a garden paradise known as Eden somewhere out in the wilds. Forced out of post-apocalyptic Chicago when her mutant abilities come to light, it’s her only hope of safety.
But she’s not the only one roaming the wastelands.
On Adam’s first mission as a newly-qualified Warden, he is tasked with finding and destroying the heart of the Resistance–Eden.
When Lilah’s and Adam’s destinies collide, neither can deny the spark of attraction between them, but how long can they journey together before their secrets come to light?
When Lilah lets down her barriers, Adam sees her for who she truly is and is faced with an impossible choice–between duty and his heart.
Finding Eden is a gripping dystopian adventure, perfect for fans of Delirium, Shatter Me, Divergent, and The Hunger Games.
- Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
- Alice and the VooDoo Queen by K.R.S. McEntire
Alice’s life is finally looking up.
She went from barely affording her studio apartment to living in a penthouse with her fiancé. She tries not to question her good fortune by asking too many questions—like how he can afford it on a restaurant manager’s budget or why she’s yet to meet his family. She is living in the moment, eager to embrace her glow up.
But when her fiancé goes missing a week before the wedding, Alice must go down the rabbit hole and dig up the truth about her lover. She discovers a world of illicit drugs, potions, voodoo spells, gods, goddesses, and spirits. Who would have guessed that her biggest challenge would be his mother, the voodoo queen.
- Wrath of the Winter Witch (The Unholy Witch Wars, #1) by D.L. Howard
Eight hundred years ago there was harmony in the world and no such thing as light and dark witches. The people were one. Enticed by the seductive powers of dark, some strayed down the twisted path, breaking the balance causing a rift. Eventually starting the Unholy Witch Wars.
Now, war is brewing again and Nthanda, a child of the dark, unknowingly, is at the center of it all. Well loved by many in her homeland, there are those who grow jealous and tired of the witchling and the long time rule of her family. Betrayed and kidnapped by rivals, she’s sold to her blood enemies across the seas.
With the help of an unexpected ally, Nthanda, risks her life and tries to escape the horrid clutches of her captors. Full of rage, fueled by hate, Nthanda and her companions, forge a path through the realms unleashing wrath and havoc on the deserving all the while trying to stay a step ahead of her enemies. With the fate of the world in her hands, can she stop the impending war and find a way to bring balance back to the lands?
Or will everything be lost…