86 books like Black Water Sister

By Zen Cho,

Here are 86 books that Black Water Sister fans have personally recommended if you like Black Water Sister. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The City We Became

Samit Basu Author Of The City Inside

From my list on real-world cities in SF and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing and publishing novels across speculative genres for almost two decades now. In my most recent book, The City Inside, the city of Delhi was perhaps the second most important character, and it was quite a struggle attempting to capture its challenges and delights, its people across its many divides, and the experience of living in this constantly turbulent megapolis. So I’ve spent the last few years thinking a lot about reimagining real megacities, capturing their essences without exotifying or demonising them, and about where the borders of speculation and reality lie in a world where it’s already difficult to trust any single point of view or even source of data.

Samit's book list on real-world cities in SF and fantasy

Samit Basu Why did Samit love this book?

What better way to start talking about some of the world’s greatest cities explored in SFF than with a book that’s the origin story of a city avatar, the first of a series called The Great Cities? New York and London are probably the most explored cities in English literature—for anyone who’s grown up reading books in English, there are versions of these cities that exist in your imagination, layered over the years by generations of talented authors. But despite seeing NY in several hundred films, shows, comics, and books, The City We Became delved deeper into the hearts of the city’s people, and the spirit that makes them who they are, than any other speculative novel I’ve read. I was thinking of Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 to represent it because of all the impressive futurist research that went into it—but in the end, people have to come…

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The City We Became as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York' Neil Gaiman on THE CITY WE BECAME

'The most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation. . .Jemisin seems able to do just about everything'
NEW YORK TIMES

'Jemisin is now a pillar of speculative fiction, breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold'
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Five New Yorkers must band together to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and…


Book cover of Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Sydney Dell Author Of Take My Hand

From my list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a part of the LGBTQ+ community my whole life and have always been passionate about advocating for the people who identify as such. Furthermore, I have always had a fascination with emotional stories and the combination of a lack of many LGBTQ+ books with an abundance of romance and emotional thrillers out there makes it a ripe topic for stories. As a lesbian myself, it is very hard to write stories that don’t have those kinds of couples, so I tend to stick to that genre and I’m absolutely addicted to lesbian books.

Sydney's book list on LGBTQ that evoke emotions

Sydney Dell Why did Sydney love this book?

By inserting the book into a time when the very essence of the story is dangerous, the people are made to be in a situation where I was turning one page after the next to find out what would happen to them.

Each question that arose in my mind made me urgently attempt to find answers and the smile that came to my face at each happy moment felt amazing. The emotions that echoed through the book found their way into me and made me feel as if I was along for the ride as well right beside the characters.

By Malinda Lo,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Last Night at the Telegraph Club as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

"That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other." And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: "Have you ever heard of such a thing?"

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.

America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall…


Book cover of Iron Widow

Robyn Dabney Author Of The Ascenditure

From my list on women who challenge the patriarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up as a total tomboy in the early 90s, I naturally gravitated toward traditionally male-dominated sports, jobs, and hobbies throughout my life. Despite encountering instances of sexual harassment and sexism along the way, I had strong role models and books with fierce main characters to turn to for support. I have always been passionate about women claiming their power, which is why I love writing about and reading stories that center on this theme.

Robyn's book list on women who challenge the patriarchy

Robyn Dabney Why did Robyn love this book?

This book was a wild read in the best way, with its fierce protagonist and thought-provoking social commentary.

The author’s portrayal of protagonist Zetian’s unhindered feminine power, combined with the powerful feminist themes of the book, made this story a gripping, inspirational read. With elements like female fighter pilots, rich Chinese-inspired world-building, and a refreshing polyamorous romance, Iron Widow delivers a story that is a testament to feminine rage and empowerment and refuses to follow the rules. 

By Xiran Jay Zhao,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Iron Widow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An instant #1 New York Times bestseller!

Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale in this blend of Chinese history and mecha science fiction for YA readers.

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
 
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through…


Book cover of Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata

Gita Ralleigh Author Of Siren

From my list on myths beyond the Greco-Roman Canon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a poet and fiction writer who enjoys popular feminist retellings of Greco-Roman mythology. But I want to draw attention to the rich and powerful myths beyond that canon, myths used by contemporary writers to make sense of our world, our brief mortal lives, and what lies beyond. Scholar Karen Armstrong writes in A Short History of Myth, "Myth is about the unknown; it is about that for which we initially have no words. Myth therefore looks into the heart of a great silence." My poetry book A Terrible Thing reinterprets goddess myths and Siren does the same with myths of hybrid women, half-fish and half-bird and more.

Gita's book list on myths beyond the Greco-Roman Canon

Gita Ralleigh Why did Gita love this book?

As a writer of feminist myths, Kartika Nair’s exquisite poetic retelling of the Mahabharata from the women’s perspective felt like it was written for me. The title is from the African writer Chinua Achebe’s words, "Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter." Using formal poetry, free verse, and prose, Nair has created a palimpsest of the great Indian epic of kingship and warring dynasties which is several times the length of The Iliad and The Odyssey combined. Here the mothers, wives, sisters, and lovers of the protagonists tell their stories, providing a counterpoint to the much-quoted verse from the epic: "All that is found here can be found elsewhere, but what is not here can be found nowhere."

By Karthika Naïr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Until the Lions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The title of this book comes from the African proverb - "until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter". In this poetic reimagining, Nair writes, for the first time, the history of the women in the Mahabharata, the longest poem ever written and one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.


Book cover of The Mermaid of Black Conch

Therese Down Author Of The Estate Agent

From my list on lighting up your imagination and your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories grounded in realism - but which also explore that there may be more to life than meets the eye; reasons beyond reason, for the way we dream, love, and think, and which come from unexpected sources. I love books whose characters really 'live', and stay with me, long after I've finished reading. I aspire to create such characters. In my novels, I seek to explore important themes from perspectives that often pitch rationality against what it cannot explain, or dismiss. The fiction I most love does this – whether it exploits mythology, suggests life beyond life, or uses magical realism to add ‘other’ dimensions to the ordinary. "There are more things… Horatio…"

Therese's book list on lighting up your imagination and your soul

Therese Down Why did Therese love this book?

The Mermaid of Black Conch takes a mythological creature and gives her extraordinary life, as a very real, young woman, called Aycayia.

She is caught – hooked like a prize fish - by greedy anglers, and hauled from the sea, bringing with her an already fascinating and tragic history of injustice and misunderstanding. But, she is also an object of love.

Not all fishermen are commercial opportunists… Not all men are eager to exploit beautiful and unusual women, and so begins an extraordinary rescue, and a life-affirming relationship, with many unpredictable, literally magical, and truly remarkable twists.

This enchanting book, written with breath-taking originality, is likely to spell-bind you – permanently. You’ll never again think of mermaids in the same way.

By Monique Roffey,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Mermaid of Black Conch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Escape to the ocean with the entrancing, unforgettable winner of the Costa Book of the Year - as read on BBC Radio 4.

'Mesmerising' MAGGIE O'FARRELL
'A unique talent' BERNARDINE EVARISTO
'Wonderful' BRIDGET COLLINS
'Brilliant' CLARE CHAMBERS

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected - Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid.

When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully, she transforms into a woman again. Yet…


Book cover of One Last Stop

Dana Hawkins Author Of Not in the Plan

From my list on swoony, sapphic RomComs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a contemporary romance writer, mom, queer, dog-lover, and coffee enthusiast. I have a deep love of the genre, particularly sparkly and swoony, sapphic romcoms, with a borderline obsession with happily-ever-afters. Knowing I will always have a happy ending while smiling through pages gives me the comforting hug I sometimes need. My goal is to spread queer joy in my writing and provide a safe, celebratory, and affirming space for my readers to escape reality.

Dana's book list on swoony, sapphic RomComs

Dana Hawkins Why did Dana love this book?

I’ve heard people say this book is “magical,” and that description is spot on.

I cannot get over how cute this book was! A sprinkle of magic, found family, finding yourself, and amazing descriptions of the city. This book gave me so many sparkly feels. I begged for the two characters to get together and rooted for the MC from page one. The plot was phenomenally creative, genuinely like nothing I had ever read within contemporary romance.

I finished this book faster than any other book of the year. 

By Casey McQuiston,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked One Last Stop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don't exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can't imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there's certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there's this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges…


Book cover of Rivers of London

Jane McMorland Hunter Author Of Urban Nature Every Day: Discover the natural world on your doorstep

From my list on novels set by the River Thames in London.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived in London most of my life, and what I love most about it are the wild places, the spots where the city and nature rub shoulders. When reading fiction, ‘place’ matters a lot to me, and if I am familiar with the setting, I like it to be accurate. That said, I love a little fantasy to stretch the boundaries. As well as being a writer and editor, I have worked part-time in bookshops for over forty years, and during that time, I must have read hundreds of novels set in and around London. These are five of my absolute favourites.

Jane's book list on novels set by the River Thames in London

Jane McMorland Hunter Why did Jane love this book?

I love a mix of fantasy and reality. This book (and the following series) has changed the way I look at almost everywhere in London.

Unbeknownst to most policemen and nearly all members of the ordinary public, the Metropolitan Police have a unit that deals with magic in the city. Seemingly-innocent events are often caused by vampires, magicians, or the rivalries between the gods and goddesses of the River Thames’ tributaries.

Here, it is not just the Thames that is important; all the little, often overlooked, waterways have a role to play. Peter, the Detective Constable at the heart of the story, is also a trainee wizard; the plot moves at breakneck speed, and I found it funny, exciting, and surprising all at once. 

By Ben Aaronovitch,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Rivers of London as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book 1 in the Rivers of London series, from Sunday Times Number One bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch.

My name is Peter Grant, and I used to be a probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service, and to everyone else as the Filth.

My story really begins when I tried to take a witness statement from a man who was already dead...

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. After taking a statement from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost, Peter comes…


Book cover of She Who Became the Sun

H.J. Reynolds Author Of Without a Shadow

From my list on unique and memorable magic systems.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read almost any genre, but fantasy is what I love most, both reading and writing. Stories are magic, but when they have actual magic in them, I’m hooked. Having studied both Film and Creative Writing at university, I love to go in-depth on storytelling and have reviews aplenty on my website if you want further recommendations. The books I’ve chosen for this list have incredibly unique worlds full of bizarre magic. When I enter a new world, I want it to be exactly that: new and exciting with a touch of the surreal. To me, these books showcase magic at its most vivid and creative. 

H.J.'s book list on unique and memorable magic systems

H.J. Reynolds Why did H.J. love this book?

I’m a sucker for a Chosen One, and I really loved how this book adds a unique take on this trope. Fate and ambition are tied together with flame magic that literally shines light on the characters marked out for greatness.

The magic has a few other twists, but I actually loved how the magic doesn’t take center stage. This is more historical fiction than epic fantasy, and I was so impressed by the detailed world-building. As serious as the topics that this book deals with, it still managed to make me smile along with the characters as they dared to dream outside of the role the world would have them play.

By Shelley Parker-Chan,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked She Who Became the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British Fantasy Award Winner
Lambda Literary Award Finalist
Two-time Hugo Award Finalist
Locus Award Finalist

"Magnificent in every way."—Samantha Shannon, author of The Priory of the Orange Tree

"A dazzling new world of fate, war, love and betrayal."—Zen Cho, author of Black Water Sister

She Who Became the Sun reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty’s founding emperor.

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

“I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…

In…


Book cover of Analog/Virtual: And Other Simulations of Our Future

Samit Basu Author Of The City Inside

From my list on real-world cities in SF and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing and publishing novels across speculative genres for almost two decades now. In my most recent book, The City Inside, the city of Delhi was perhaps the second most important character, and it was quite a struggle attempting to capture its challenges and delights, its people across its many divides, and the experience of living in this constantly turbulent megapolis. So I’ve spent the last few years thinking a lot about reimagining real megacities, capturing their essences without exotifying or demonising them, and about where the borders of speculation and reality lie in a world where it’s already difficult to trust any single point of view or even source of data.

Samit's book list on real-world cities in SF and fantasy

Samit Basu Why did Samit love this book?

Bangalore, or Bengaluru, is a city I’m very familiar with in real life, and Lavanya Lakshminarayan’s Analog/Virtual, to be published in the West next year by Rebellion as The Ten-Percent Thief, does a splendid job of moving it to the future, using an intricately interconnected mosaic structure to take a wide-ranging look across the social and technological divides that present-day India will carry into the future, giving her readers bleakness, clarity, wonder, humour, and hope as she tells the multifaceted story of a revolution. Analog/Virtual was published in India the same year as Chosen Spirits (the Indian edition of The City Inside), and it was personally fascinating to me to see how similarly and differently we approached present-day social and political concerns in our future-real cities. Definitely a book (along with SB Divya’s Machinehood) that would have deeply influenced mine if I’d read it before writing.

By Lavanya Lakshminarayan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Analog/Virtual as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Central Station

Barbara Krasnoff Author Of The History of Soul 2065

From my list on Jewish science fiction and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a secular Jewish household where Yiddish culture, history, and politics were a part of daily life. As a result, when I began reading (and eventually writing) science fiction and fantasy, I would take note if I found a novel or short story collection that reflected any of the many flavors of Judaism and Jewish culture. While it is not all I read or write about (I make my living as a tech journalist and I have very eclectic tastes in literature), I find that my curiosity is particularly piqued when confronted with a new book that covers both those genres.

Barbara's book list on Jewish science fiction and fantasy

Barbara Krasnoff Why did Barbara love this book?

It’s hard to describe Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station, except to say that it is a fascinating study of various humans and non-humans residing—some permanently, some temporarily—in a hot, dusty spaceport/city that has sprung up between Tel Aviv and Jaffa sometime in our future. They confront questions and answers about family, memory, reality, and what is human—and occasionally come up with answers. A wonderfully written, almost hypnotic book.

By Lavie Tidhar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Central Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Appeals to fans of classic and contemporary science fiction and mainstream fiction Contains international and multicultural themes Israeli-born author has also lived in Vanuatu, Laos, South Africa, Israel, and the UK


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