The best fantasy novel with unique worlds

Kayti Nika Raet Author Of Niko
By Kayti Nika Raet

The Books I Picked & Why

The Sound of Stars

By Alechia Dow

Book cover of The Sound of Stars

Why this book?

I loved The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow. It takes place in a world after an alien invasion where any kind of artistic expression, like music and books, are banned, Janelle “Ellie” runs a secret library. The world building was masterful and really highlights Dow's gorgeous writing as she uses the world she has created to subtly handle themes of colonialism, systematic oppression as well as the power of art. The Sound of Stars is less of a gritty dystopian and instead manages to be a book of heartfelt emotion, pop-culture references, and whimsy.


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War Girls

By Tochi Onyebuchi

Book cover of War Girls

Why this book?

War Girls is a sci-fi novel set almost 200 years in a futuristic Nigeria and is inspired by the Biafran War, a civil war that nearly tore apart the country in late 1960. The world around sisters Onyii and Ify has been ravaged by climate change and nuclear disaster forces the humanity that's left to fight over what is left. I hadn't read many science fiction or fantasy novels set in Africa, and War Girls drew me in with its found family premise as well as being a coming-of-age story filled with Wakanda-style tech. Despite the heavy subject manner Onyebuchi manages to showcase the sisters's hope and vulnerability despite how they were used as pawns by forces out of their control.


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This Woven Kingdom

By Tahereh Mafi

Book cover of This Woven Kingdom

Why this book?

I've always been a huge fan of Tahereh Mafi, her writing style is so amazing and each book gets better and better. Alizeh lives as a low-class servant, but is secretly the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom that is prophecied to topple the kingdom of the crown prince Kamran. This Woven Kingdom is based on Persian mythology and is so beautifully lush and detailed that it feels like I've been transported to a magical paradise.


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Iron Widow

By Xiran Jay Zhao

Book cover of Iron Widow

Why this book?

As part of her plot for revenge, Zetian becomes a concubine pilot of a giant robot, a role that often leads to the death of the female pilot. Instead she survives and through her powerful and ruthless personality begins her ascension to the throne. I love that we get a purely focused and driven main character. There's an almost ruthless energy to her that fits perfectly with the world but with a morally grey cast that we don't often see in female characters. The world of Huaxia is a society that has the fashion, social customs, and beliefs of Ancient China but is paired with futuristic tech as the characters attempt to fight back invaders.


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Strange the Dreamer

By Laini Taylor

Book cover of Strange the Dreamer

Why this book?

Lazlo Strange is a war orphan and junior librarian obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, a land of blue-skinned gods that was cut off from the rest of the world by the heroic Godslayer. But there seems to be more to the city of Weep as well as the people that remain. Utterly unique Laini Taylor crafts a world in glorious prose filled with subtleties and foreshadowing as she explores the aftermath of colonisation and freedom, magi, gods, and monsters, and what happens to those that fall through the cracks.


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