Top 10 Diverse/AOC SFF Recs!

 

 

Hey Guys! As you know, one thing that has really made me happy to be part of the online bookish community is how many diverse reads I’ve added to my library! So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite AOC books!

I’ll give you 10 faves of mine in no particular order.

 

10.

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1)

GoodReads:
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king.
It’s the highest honour they could hope for…
And the most demeaning.

This year, there’s a ninth girl.
And instead of paper,
She’s made of fire.

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl whose golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

Please be aware that this contains scenes of violence and sexual assault.

 

9.

The Lord of the Sabbath (Nation of the Beasts, #1)

GoodReads:
The abyss watches him. Nightmares hunt him. And now, a battle begins.

Terrifying creatures, unseen to all around him, have tormented Elisse since he was a little boy. These “night terrors” and the cruel life as a young Westerner in a refugee camp have left him isolated and alone. The only clue to his past is an old, tattered envelope with a picture of his father who mysteriously abandoned him at a monastery as a baby.

When Elisse flees India and journeys to New Orleans in search of his father and the truth of his troubled existence, he finds not only the answers to his extraordinary life, an ancestral secret with a grave responsibility, but also the one thing he most desires. A family—but of beasts.

Now, Elisse’s awakening gifts attract dark forces rooted in Louisiana magic, and he must do the unthinkable to protect everyone he loves. Will Elisse accept the burdens of his gifts and conquer darkness? Or will that same darkness consume him and destroy the love he so desperately longed for?

Mariana Palova’s debut novel, Nation of the Beasts: The Lord of the Sabbath, is an unforgettable journey of magic, heartache, and the unbreakable bonds that span this world and the other.

 

8.

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1)

GoodReads:
A single wish will spark a new dawn. Every millennium, one age ends and another age dawns…and whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers holds the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for any one wish. The time is near and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto. The holder of the first piece is a humble, unknown peasant girl with a dangerous secret. Demons have burned the temple Yumeko was raised in to the ground, killing everyone within, including the master who trained her to both use and hide her kitsune powers. Yumeko escapes with the temple’s greatest treasure – one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of a mysterious samurai, Kage Tatsumi of the Shadow Clan. Yumeko knows he seeks what she has and is under orders to kill anything and anyone who stands between him and the scroll.

 

7.

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1)

GoodReads:
People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Glossary and Pronunciation Guide

 

6.

We Set the Dark on Fire (We Set the Dark on Fire, #1)

GoodReads:
At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?

 

5.

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars, #1)

GoodReads:
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

 

4.

Kingdom of Souls (The Last Witchdoctor, #1)

GoodReads:
Born to a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But she fails at bone magic, fails to see the future, and fails to call upon the ancestors; with each passing year, her ambitious looks on her with ever-growing disapproval.

But there is one thing Arrah hasn’t tried.

It is possible to trade years from your own life for a taste of power: a cheap trick with a heavy price — for you cannot know how much time each ritual will take. This is something Arrah would never stoop to — until the city’s children start to disappear.

When Arrah trades her years for magic to catch the child-snatcher, she uncovers secrets so shocking and terrible that her world is changed forever.

The Demon King, dormant and imprisoned for millennia, is stirring … and his return would bring Arrah’s world to its knees.

Caught between gods and monsters, her ancestors and her future, Arrah’s only hope is to sacrifice more and more of her years to save her family and her kingdom.

But her time is running out.

 

3.

A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy, #1)

GoodReads:
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

 

2.

War Girls (War Girls, #1)

GoodReads:
Two sisters are torn apart by war and must fight their way back to each other in a futuristic, Black Panther–inspired Nigeria.

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

Acclaimed author Tochi Onyebuchi has written an immersive, action-packed, deeply personal novel perfect for fans of Nnedi Okorafor, Marie Lu, and Paolo Bacigalupi.

 

1.

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World Book 1)
GoodReads:
2019 LOCUS AWARD WINNER, BEST FIRST NOVEL2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST, BEST NOVEL2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST, BEST NOVEL
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unravelling clues from ancient legends, trading favours with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive. Welcome to the Sixth World.

 

Finally, this is one to keep your eye out for this year guys, I loved this book so much and can’t wait for its release.

Raybearer

GoodReads:
Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.

That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? 

OUT ON AUGUST 18!

I loved all of these, and there are so many more I could have added, so I’ll make another list later on, but, also know I’m still catching up to so many great authors I’ve been missing! What are your diverse recs?

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