Fantasy Novels with Diversity


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Emma Douglass, Staff Writer

Many say that the fantasy genre in literature is known for not having diversity, and the books are just not inclusive enough for readers to feel represented. However, there are many great books in the genre that have diversity as well.

First of all, what is diversity in literature? Many people think about diversity as many people from many groups and backgrounds being represented, but a lot of the time, groups are “represented”, but they are incredibly stereotyped. A truly diverse book includes lots of different groups and backgrounds, but also steers away from the stereotypical generalizations that we often see in literature. 

“The Poppy War” by R.F. Kuang is a great example of a diverse fantasy novel. The main character, Fang Runin grows up poor, and orphaned from a previous war. Nonetheless, she studies and gets into a military academy, and develops a gift to call upon a vengeful Phoenix god. This book has many characters of color, and people from different backgrounds. Also, this book showcases different mythologies apart from the Greek and Norse that you see more often. PLEASE READ THE TRIGGER WARNINGS BEFORE YOU READ THIS!

“These Violent Delights” is a two-book series by Chloe Gong, who is a Chinese-born New Zealand author(now located in New York) of YA fiction. Her debut novel, “These Violent Delights” is a Romeo and Juliet retelling taking place in 1920’s Shanghai. She also recently released a new novel, “Foul Lady Fortune,” which is a spinoff of the first two books she wrote. Her books incorporate racial diversity, as well as LGBTQ+ representation. 

Another recommendation is “the Darkening” by Sunya Mara. This is a brand new novel, recently published in July 2022. In this thrilling debut novel, seventeen-year-old Vesper finds herself at the center of an impending rebellion when she is forced to infiltrate the prince’s inner circle in order to save her father from prison. This book includes many people from different backgrounds, and each character is complex and original. 

“Cemetery Boys” by Aidan Thomas is another amazing recommendation! The book follows Yadriel, who lives in a traditional Latinx family. Desperately wanting to prove himself to his family, he seeks to summon the ghost of his dead cousin Maritza, but ends up summoning someone else instead. This book has Latinx, as well as LGBTQ+ representations. According to Goodreads, this book has been nominated for the Goodreads choice awards!

Yet another great recommendation is “Six Crimson Cranes” by Elizabeth Lim. In this novel, Shiori has a secret. She has secret magic, and loses control on the morning of her betrothal ceremony. She is banished from her own nation, and is determined to overtake the throne. This book represents people of Chinese descent and includes Chinese mythologies, which are not often seen in fiction. 

Andromeda is an exorcist whose job is to cleanse people of the evil eye. She takes a job that no one else wants with a handsome and mysterious young man. “Within These Wicked Walls” by Lauren Blackwood is an alternate ethiopian based Jane Eyre retelling. It is rare to find a fantasy novel based in Africa, as it is also not often that we see POC as protagonists, however this book showcases both of those things!

“Legendborn” by Tracy Deonn is another awesome example! It follows the story of a black teenage girl who finds her true powers. This book has great reviews, and has a black main character, which you don’t see often in the fantasy genre. This book was also nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction. 

These and many others are great fantasy book recommendations that include many groups and backgrounds. There are so many ways to represent someone, and these different books have their own ways of showing and representing a group.