Diversity in Fantasy & Recommendations

When I die, my gravestone is going to read “Jananee – remembered for heroically fighting in the war for diverse characters”.

Yes, this is a tad melodramatic (as is my style) but seriously, fantasy authors (well any author, but in particular those that write fantasy) have NO excuse not to include diversity in their fiction. You are literally MAKING UP your  own world. You have so much power in your hands to create diverse characters with complex backgrounds, epic relationships and a story that they can call their own. Are you going to tell me that no one in your fantasy world is a Person of Colour? The no one is part of the LGBTQI + community? I’m sorry, but I just don’t believe that. If you’re able to feasibly make dragons, magicians and unicorns exist then why can’t you create diverse characters?

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I know a lot of authors try to hide behind the “oh, I don’t want to mess up the representation” excuse as a pardon for their lack of representation. This is such a cop out. If you can put time and effort into researching for your novel in order to, say, effectively build  a world or develop a language system, then why can’t you put in the time and effort to create well-rounded diverse characters when essentially, it just requires you as an author to do your homework? I feel like authors do not understand the importance of including diverse characters in their work and therefore find it acceptable to just forget them all together- well let me tell you, IT IS IMPORTANT. It’s as important as having an interesting plot, it’s as important as having a dynamic world, it’s important because it is one more thing that envelops your reader into your story.

I just want to put a disclaimer out there because it is the way of the world that these types of posts require disclaimers. I am not here to offend ANYONE and there is nothing wrong with being White, straight or anything else that constitutes the majority. What I am trying to get at is this should not be the only thing that I read in my fiction because not only does it get boring and repetitive after a while, it also takes away so much of the exposure minorities need.

But all of this aside, today’s blog post is here to celebrate some of the authors that have beaten the odds and have included diversity spectacularly in their fiction. Whether it be high fantasy or urban fantasy, the books presented below will captivate you with their characters and keep you wanting more. Feel free to leave some of your own suggestions in the comments – I am always looking for new books to devour ;).

Onto the recs!


S I X   O F   C R O W S 

{ L E I G H   B A R D U G O }

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Honestly, I feel like every time I open my mouth it’s to rave about this book. THAT’S BECAUSE YOU SHOULD READ IT. Not only do we have characters from diverse backgrounds (INEJ MY BABY) but we also have canonically bi and gay characters as well as a disabled protagonist. If that wasn’t enough, the plot and the world building and the EVERYTHING is fantastic as well so it is well worth the read.

Also the feels will rip you apart so that’s always a bonus.

p.s. Crooked Kingdom has yet to be released but we all know it’s going to be awesome anyway so I’m gonna recommend it. #sorrynotsorry


T H E   R A V E N   C Y C L E

{ M A G G I E   S T I E F V A T E R }

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So when I am not raving about Six of Crows, I am probably going to be raving about the Raven Cycle. Now I have come to the realisation that it is hard to talk about the diversity in this series without major spoilers occurring so all I’m going to say is this – there is a main gay and main bi character and they are both my SMOL CINNAMON ROLLS THAT MUST BE CHERISHED.

But seriously. Read these books. You won’t regret it.


T H E   L U N A R   C H R O N I C L E S

{ M A R I S S A   M E Y E R }

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I could go on and on about how spectacular The Lunar Chronicles is in terms of plot, world-building and characters but instead I am going to insert a quote from Marissa Meyer that I found:

“I wanted the world to feel authentic and real, and the idea that all these characters doing amazing things would be white seemed ridiculous to me. The world isn’t made of only white people, so fictional worlds shouldn’t be either.”

FANTASY AUTHORS TAKE NOTE.

Marissa Meyer is not only fantastic but she gets it and it is so obviously translated in The Lunar Chronicles. Not convinced? I’m just gonna leave this picture of all the main characters right here…

(yeah, I told you so.)


T H E   W R A T H   A N D   T H E   D A W N 

{ R E N E E   A D H I E H }

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This book is inspired by A Thousand Nights and as a result, draws on the Arabian backdrop for its setting. With this backdrop comes a whole book full of diverse characters and a very vivid exploration of the culture and the customs of the time. Although not necessarily her own unique world, Renee Adhieh has done a wonderful job at bringing it alive in the YA context.


T H E   C R O W N ‘ S   G A M E

{ E V E L Y N   S K Y E }

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This is a recent read but one that definitely deserves mentioning because it is AMAZING. The diversity in this book stems from the setting – an alternate Russia – and therefore obviously extends to the characters and is also a great example of how brilliant a book can become due to a research on the author’s part.  The setting, characters, and obvious study the author did into Russia and it’s culture adds a lot of magic to the book and makes for a downright fantastic reading experience.


That’s all for today friends! It safe to say that I will have a lot more to discuss about diversity in the future and hopefully many more recommendations to go with it. If you want to read my other post about diversity, this one with a focus on Harry Potter, check it out here.

happyreading,jananee

 

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27 thoughts on “Diversity in Fantasy & Recommendations

  1. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    Great list!! Although I like reading the traditional fantasy, it’s the stuff that takes place in non euro-centric settings that really gets my heart pumping fast πŸ’• Six of Crows is so beautifully inclusive and it remains my everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alexa @ Words Off the Page says:

    Six of Crows also has a disabled character, Kaz! These are great recs. I’ve heard some talk about Crown’s Game not being very accurate to the finer details of Russian history and society, though. I think there’s also a fear in some authors because sometimes I have a feeling like there’s a movement where people think white writers shouldn’t write poc (which completely defeats the purpose) and so people are afraid to dip their toes in it, but I just want people to go and research, question, and cross reference!

    Liked by 1 person

    • headinherbooks says:

      Yeah I have heard of the movement and it makes me kind of sad. Obviously we need PoC authors but I strongly believe that everyone should be including diversity in their work. I think it’s just a matter of doing your research!

      Like

  3. headinherbooks says:

    Your novel sounds fascinating! I think a lot of authors do get scared away because of the people who dont want non-PoC authors to write diversity but I strongly believe that everyone can if they do their research properly! And also, I think it does depend on the setting as well – obviously it would be hard for you to include PoC when you are writing about a time where long distance travel isn’t even a thing πŸ™ˆ I was mainly referring to authors who start up their worlds from scratch and therefore don’t really have any excuse not to put diversity it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • WeeReader says:

      Aw thank you! Hopefully it will be okay as I am attempting to keep it really closely tied to Scotland in the past. Research and talking to people about how they would like to be represented seem like the best ideas! I think some people will never be satisfied though, but I suppose that happens with everything. Would love to see more diverse recs in the future! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alice deGrey says:

    Thanks for a great post! With the exception of the Raven Cycle, I didn’t know those books had so much character diversity. Will definitely keep that in mind & maybe check them out.

    I’d like to recommend a cute novel I read recently: The Butterfly Finale by Viano Oniomoh. It has not so much diversity but more complete reversal as the majority of its characters are either black (or at least not white) or gay or both. It’s set in a fantasy world, but it’s really different from the usual fantasy setting, so I think you’ll like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anisha says:

    So, so true! I 100% agree because i’m so sick and tired of the run of the mill characters. Authors have the oppurtunity to be original and totally choose not to, which absolutely sucks and saddens me. I haven’t read any of the books you’ve mentioned above (eek don’t kill me) but I promise they are all on my TBR and I will read them!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Agsani Dreamerous says:

    I just found your blog (or not really, I just managed to open it as I’ve been following your bookstagram for a while) and need to agree with this post! It seems so illogical to be given SO MANY opportunities and not use them. Especially when it’s so obvious that people are different and making characters different make them REALISTIC. I always thought that as world which includes some countries, lands etc., then a part of creating them is creating their
    inhabitants. It’s obvious. I make up a world and think of how they look, talk, what is their culture and mores. Piity authors don’t think about it often. ALL books you recommended I want to read, SoC I’m ordering today *^*

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Christina says:

    Your entire world is based off of Scotland, there are no other lands in it either distant or near. This Scotland world covers the entire globe. If so then I see no problem. Now if this is just a part of your world then you should include more diverse secondary characters, maybe traders, fighters, etc. I don’t understand your correlation with writing and travel, why must people write in order to move around; and if your whole world is just one land mass than wouldn’t people be able to just walk/ride to different places.

    Like

  8. ksvilloso says:

    As a minority who also writes about people of colour in an epic fantasy setting, I can’t help but get sucked into these discussions. I’m glad they exist. Even though lots of people still seem to take issue with this subject. Thanks for talking about it.

    Liked by 1 person

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