The best science fiction & fantasy books featuring incredible mothers

Who am I?

I’m a mother of two children and was raised in a noisy family of four. It was my kids who reawakened my instinct to write again and follow through on my projects. Motherhood is such a fundamental part of my life and for most women I know. It’s mundane yet transformative in the sense it brings out your inner lioness in a way you don’t anticipate. When I think about some of my favorite literary characters, they would be unrecognizable if they weren’t mothers. With that in mind, I hope readers find a lovely story for their moms on Mother’s Day.

I wrote...

Children of Alpheios

By Diana Fedorak,

Book cover of Children of Alpheios

What is my book about?

Set within a genetically engineered colony on another planet, Children of Alpheios is about a young mother, Alina, who finds herself up against the colony’s corporation when she discovers they want to exploit her baby’s remarkable DNA anomaly. Trained by the Expeditionary Academy, Alina knows how to survive Eamine’s harsh environment and flees to keep Mandin safe. 

While Alina tries to uncover the truth, she finds herself relying on Kiean, a gruff pilot who protects her from threats in the midst of her new surroundings. As Alina seeks to protect her son from the colony’s most powerful institution, she’s forced to make critical family and romantic choices. The book was rated 5 stars by three reviewers from Reader’s Favorite.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Fifth Season

Diana Fedorak Why did I love this book?

This Hugo Award-winning novel has one of the most original stories I’ve read that revolves around a remarkable mother, Essun.

While Essun pretends to be ordinary, she is an orogene, a race of humans with the ability to significantly alter her environment. As a result, the orogenes are wretched exiles, feared by society and trapped in a governing system that seeks to control them.

I was immediately taken with Essun’s emotional journey as the story opens with the loss of her child. She wants to live a quiet life with her family but is pursued by officials who cannot allow her to go free.

The story really tapped into the most primal aspects of motherhood. Ultimately, it’s motherhood that strengthens Essun’s power as she unleashes it with devastating effectiveness. 

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

24 authors picked The Fifth Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land…

Book cover of The Witch's Heart

Diana Fedorak Why did I love this book?

In modern culture where it’s reiterated that women must always be fierce girl bosses, The Witch’s Heart is a refreshing tale that shows the gratification of motherhood.

Angrboda is an ancient witch who falls for the Norse god, Loki, the mischievous trickster who visits her in the forest. What I found striking about Angrboda is when she becomes a mother to Loki’s unusual children, she lives a life of contentment, raising her brood in the forest.

She’s also not dependent on Loki but rather turns to a friendly huntress for help. With Loki, nothing is ever boring as he’s often entangled in the cruel games of the gods.

When threats rise to her family from Loki’s father, Odin, Angroboda reaches deep within to explore her mysterious powers for her family’s survival.

By Genevieve Gornichec,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Witch's Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Angrboda's story begins where most witch tales end: with being burnt. A punishment from Odin for sharing her visions of the future with the wrong people, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the furthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be the trickster god Loki, and her initial distrust of him-and any of his kind-grows reluctantly into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces the most important things in her long life: a trio of peculiar children, each with a secret destiny, whom she…

Book cover of Six Crimson Cranes

Diana Fedorak Why did I love this book?

This is a delightful re-telling of the classic fairy tale, The Six Swans, with surprising twists on the stepmother trope that I found fresh and engaging.

While the main character of this NYT best-seller is Princess Shiori, it’s her beautiful and mysterious stepmother, Raikama, who upends the young princess’ life when Raikama discovers Shiori’s secret magic. Raikama is a formidable character working to preserve her own powers and secrets.

The world-building and magical creatures are inspired by East Asian themes that give this book a unique take on an enduring story that I’ve always loved.

By Elizabeth Lim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six Crimson Cranes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse... Drawing from 'The Wild Swans' and East Asian folklore, this breathtakingly original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo or Tomi Adeyemi.

Shiori'anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted. But it also catches the attention of Raikama, her…

Book cover of Daughter of the Moon Goddess

Diana Fedorak Why did I love this book?

The eternal devotion and self-sacrifice endured by the mother-daughter pair is the real heartbeat of the story as I followed Xingyin on her many adventures.

As the daughter of the exiled Moon Goddess, Xingyin is forced to flee her home when her mother fears Xingyin’s existence will be discovered by the Celestial Emperor.

Xingyin must find a way to please the very Emperor who holds her mother hostage if she has any hope of setting her mother free. Her mother gave up so much in order to give Xingyin life, and is never far from her daughter’s mind.

I could not help but hope that mother and daughter would one day be reunited.

The book also has gorgeous world-building inspired by Chinese myths that makes it an enthralling read.

By Sue Lynn Tan,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Daughter of the Moon Goddess as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling debut fantasy inspired by the legend of the Chinese moon goddess.

A young woman's quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm, setting her on a dangerous path where those she loves are not the only ones at risk...



Raised far away on the moon, Xingyin was unaware she was being hidden from the Celestial Emperor - who exiled her mother for stealing the elixir of immortality. But when her magic flares and reveals her, Xingyin is…

Book cover of Dune

Diana Fedorak Why did I love this book?

This classic epic tale of a galactic empire rife with treachery and betrayal is stunning in its world-building.

I found one of the most intriguing characters to be Lady Jessica, Paul Atriedies’ mother. Jessica is from the secretive Bene Gesserit sect, a mysterious order of women who scheme in marrying their sisters to certain noble families for their own political purposes.

Trained in the Bene Gesserit ways, Jessica also possesses certain mind talents and is shrewd in her approach to politics. As the Duke takes up a new station on the desert planet Arrakis, Lady Jessica becomes pregnant before their perilous journey.

It’s rare to come across pregnant heroines in literature, but I was thrilled by Jessica’s actions during the most suspenseful parts of this story.  

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

51 authors picked Dune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…

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The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

Book cover of The Road from Belhaven

Margot Livesey Author Of The Road from Belhaven

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Reader Secret orphan Professor Scottish Novelist

Margot's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Road from Belhaven is set in 1880s Scotland. Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small girl that she can see the future. But she soon realises that she must keep her gift a secret. While she can sometimes glimpse the future, she can never change it.

Nor can Lizzie change the feelings that come when a young man named Louis, visiting Belhaven for the harvest, begins to court her. Why have the adults around her never told her that the touch of a hand can change everything? When she follows Louis to Glasgow, she begins to learn the limits of his devotion and the complexities of her own affections.

The Road from Belhaven

By Margot Livesey,

What is this book about?

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy, a novel about a young woman whose gift of second sight complicates her coming of age in late-nineteenth-century Scotland

Growing up in the care of her grandparents on Belhaven Farm, Lizzie Craig discovers as a small child that she can see into the future. But her gift is selective—she doesn’t, for instance, see that she has an older sister who will come to join the family. As her “pictures” foretell various incidents and accidents, she begins to realize a painful truth: she may glimpse the future, but…

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