13 Must-Read Science Fiction & Fantasy (SFF) Books by Black Authors

Science fiction fantasy books black authors scaled

I think we can all agree that black authors deserve all the visibility in the world and one thing that makes me very happy is when I see authors of colour having a better presence in the literary world. 

For this post, I’ve rounded up 13 absolutely amazing science fiction and fantasy books written by black authors featuring black protagonists that you absolutely need to read.

They’re as flavorful as can be and I promise you’re going to relish every second you spend with these characters. 

1. Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

Sloane, a fifteen-year-old Scion with lethal powers, joins the Lucis army to dismantle them from within, but this bold move threatens her identity and morality.

Deborah Falaye is one of the best black SFF authors of our time and I promise you’re going to root for Sloane from the very first page of this epic tale. 

2. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Indentured in a magical zoo, Koffi and Ekon form an uneasy alliance to hunt a monstrous threat, but secrets and motives blur the line between hunter and prey.

Beasts of Prey is an excellent pick if you’re on the hunt for SFF books by black authors to read this weekend and I promise you won’t regret giving it a chance. 

3. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Deka has always been ostracized for her golden blood, but she soon learns to accept her uniqueness.

Even more so when she joins an army of near-immortal girls to combat a looming empire threat.

In time, she discovers many unexpected and thrilling truths about herself and her world and I absolutely adored her character development in this lovely book. 

4. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Jane was trained as a protector against the undead, but she becomes entangled in a conspiracy while a societal upheaval is underway.

And now to survive, she must face off against powerful enemies and the restless dead – Isn’t this the most epic thing ever?

Justina Ireland is right up there with the best and I’m not kidding when I say Dread Nation is one of the best SFF books by black authors (It even made it to my list of the best books that deserve a screen adaptation). 

Also See: 15 Stunning Greek Mythology Books You Should Check Out ASAP (They’re So Good)

5. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia, a Belle with the power to bestow beauty, is thrust into a world of dark palace secrets and moral dilemmas that force her to choose between self-preservation and revolutionizing her world.

You guys, Camellia is one of the most bold, memorable, and courageous fictional characters I’ve read about and it was an absolute joy to follow her journey. 

6. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

A Song Below Water by Bethany C

Tavia is a hidden siren in a prejudiced society and together with her friend Effie, she grapples with her identity

But with the heavily escalating tensions and many supernatural threats, they are pushed into a corner that forces them to confront their long-hidden secrets.  

7. The Kindred by Alechia Dow

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

Joy and Duke Felix, bonded by fate as Kindred, flee assassination attempts and slowly discover the strength of their connection and a love that could shape a galaxy’s future.

Kindred is a romantasy through and through and it’s the perfect YA fantasy book by a black author you need to read ASAP (or gift to someone). 

8. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season

Essun is devastated by personal tragedy, but she knows she must find a way to survive in her dying world and locate her daughter. 

With a deadly war waging and the imminent total collapse of society looming above her, she learns to confront the forces that threaten her existence.

We don’t get a lot of adult science fiction and fantasy books by black authors, and I promise this rare find is unique in every way that counts and it’s absolutely worth reading. 

Related: 20 Must-Read Historical Fiction Books Set In The 1900s and 1910s

9. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Tarisai, torn between loyalty and autonomy, competes for belonging and discovers a sinister prophecy that forces her to confront her destiny and forge her own path.

One thing I’ll tell you right now is that while Tarisai wasn’t the most likeable character (to me) and she made some questionable choices (in my opinion), she was still an amazing character to follow and I was immersed from the first page. 

10. The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

Unquiet by Mikaela Everett

Lirael was trained to replace her parallel Earth counterpart, but when her time comes to shine, she starts backtracking.

This moral dilemma is the springboard for everything that happens in this SFF book by a black author & I daresay her inner turmoil is perfect book club discussion material. 

11. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Let me preface this summary by quickly mentioning that I have a huge bias for anything slightly related to my home country (Nigeria), but this book is genuinely good. 

Sunny discovers her magical heritage, so she joins forces with friends to stop a kidnapper while embracing her unique abilities and shaping her own destiny.

This SFF book is very much middle-grade level, but that doesn’t take away from what an awesome riot it was to read and you’re going to be pulled into Nnedi’s world from the first page. 

12. The Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

The cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris

Alex, burdened by visions of the future, races against time to save his brother, and he confronts the many complexities of fate and identity in modern America.

The beauty of SFF novels by black authors is that there’s often a subtle theme related to identity and belonging in them and you’re going to see firsthand what this does to a person’s development in real-time. 

13. The Unbroken by C. L. Clark

The unbroken

Touraine and Luca are two individuals bound by duty and ambition, and, as expected, they’re soon pulled into the treacherous waters of politics. 

To control their nation’s destiny, they’ll need to go low and dirty, and it might cost them the one thing they hold dear — their loyalty to their different causes.

The Unbroken delivers just the right blend of politics, romance, and drama and the cocktail will have you buzzed from the very first chapter. 

What do you think? Will you add any of these amazing science fiction and fantasy books by black authors to your TBR? Let me know in the comment section. 

The related posts have even more recommendations that will totally blow you away and you 100% need to check them out. 


Hi! I'm Preye ("pre" as in "prepare" and "ye" as in "Kanye"), and I am a lifelong book lover who enjoys talking about books and sharing bits and pieces of all the fascinating things I come across. I love books so much that I decided to become a developmental editor, and right now, I work with authors to help them tell their stories better. On this blog, I share everything from book recommendations to book reviews and writing tips, so feel free to stop by anytime you like!

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