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Black Girl Magic: 5 YA Fantasy Novels for Black History Month

Updated: Mar 10

It's the middle of the month, but it's not too late to start a new book! Our guest blogger, Mel, has some recommendations for you. Check out these books (and their sequels) if you're looking for your next great read.



 

I’m always on the lookout for new YA and Adult fantasy novels. For this month, here’s a list of five YA fantasy novels that are written by Black women authors, have Black heroine leads, and have unique magic systems. Let’s dive in!


1. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Book 1 of this contemporary fantasy trilogy follows Bree Mathews as she takes part in an early college program at UNC. What she thought was going to be a mundane college experience at her late mother’s alma mater quickly turns into a matter of life and death when a campus party is attacked by monsters that no one else seems able to see. No one, that is, except Bree and a group of students belonging to a secret society known as the Legendborn. Who doesn’t love a twist on Arthurian legends?! There is plenty of Arthurian lore, Merlins with glowing, yellow eyes and fangs, terrifying shadowborn monsters, and exploration of ancestral root work magic that will keep you on the edge of your seat til the end.



2. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Sixteen year old Deka’s world is upended after failing to pass her village’s blood letting ceremony. Those who bleed golden blood are viewed as abominations and are either killed or recruited to the emperor's army. Deka has a heart of gold [pardon the pun] and longs to have a family who loves and accepts her for who she is. The bonds she forms with her fellow bloodsisters— particularly with Britta—will tug at your heartstrings. As Deka learns to control her unlocked superhuman strength, she and her bloodsisters will uncover an ancient truth... One that will forever change the course of their lives and the fate of the kingdom they were forced to protect.





3. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Tarisai has grown up in her absent mother’s shadow. Desperate for her love and approval, she undertakes her mother’s mission to kill the crown prince. She was raised for this one purpose, but all Tarisai has ever wanted was a loving family. Her heart is torn between the love for her mother and the family she has found with her council siblings and the prince. In a world with compulsion spells, telepathic bonds formed by ancient magic, and where Orishas exist, Tarisai must decide who she wants to be—pawn or ruler of her own fate?

 







4. A Song of Wraiths And Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

Princess Karina needs the heart of a king to resurrect her mother. How better to obtain said heart than by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia festival and killing him after the ceremony? Simple enough, or so she thought.

Malik has his own reasons for entering the festival. An evil spirit has taken his little sister hostage and will only return her if Malik kills the princess. As the two get closer throughout the tournament however, those convictions will be put to the test. This book is full of lore pertaining to spirits, how the capital city barrier was formed, gods and goddess of old, and how one violent action in ancient times has set the stage for the return of chaos.




5. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

Rue was born and raised in East Row, Houston, but when her mother is killed in a seemingly random drive-by, her world is completely upended. Not only does her father whom she’d never met show up to take her back home with him, but she finds out he’s in fact a god from a magical realm called, Ghizon. Her problems only increase upon entering Ghizon. Magic is strictly controlled by the government, and Rue’s demigod existence is viewed as a threat to their power. Rue, along with her best friend and a group of rogue magic wielders, will fight to bring down the tyrannical leader of Ghizon and end their control of the magic that was never theirs to begin with.





Well, there you have it! Five YA fantasy novels to add to your TBR pile. I’ll have more books and graphic novel lists for you soon. See you in May!


 

Mel Katcharian is an illustrator and avid reader. She loves YA, fantasy, and comics. Most of her time is spent making art (often interrupted by her cat, Zuko), rewatching her favorite shows over and over, and daydreaming about living in the woods surrounded by nature, books, and her cat.


Instagram: @Mel_Katcharian



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