All posts filed under: Fantasy

Alyssa Cole is Expanding the Boundaries of Romance

At one point in 2017 it felt like Alyssa Cole’s name was coming at me from every direction. She’d pop up in every Twitter discussion that even vaguely mentioned a romance must-read list, whether the sub category was contemporary, historical or science fiction. During my 10 leagues deep obsession with the Hamilton musical I discovered Cole had contributed to a romance anthology called Hamilton’s Battalion, set during the founding father’s assault on Yorktown. She appeared on Shonda Rhimes’ culture website shondaland.com sharing book recommendations and she was splashed all over the Smart Bitches Trashy Books review website. Yet, despite the universe’s insistence that I read her work, it was the cover design for her novel, A Princess in Theory that finally made me pay attention. Many black authors have talked about the problems they experience creating appealing book covers for their work. Issues range from difficulties finding stock photography that feature black models, to publishing houses that woefully misrepresent the characters the author has created. Therefore, whenever I spot a good black book cover my …

Black Books in Your Local Bookshop this March

I love going into Waterstones and just having a root around their shelves to see which black writers they have in store. Some days I’ll discover a new author, other days I get to rejoice over a familiar book that’s been reissued with a new jacket design.  It’s been quite a few a while since my last visit to my favourite Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus so there was plenty for me to appreciate this week. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton Two fantasy novels. Two black authors. Both highly anticipated and buttressed with serious marketing dollars. I hope this is a taste of things to come. Children of Blood and Bone Synopsis: Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without …

Fledgling by Octavia Butler

If you’re not an ardent science fiction fan you may not have heard of Octavia Butler. Suffice to say she is to sci-fi what Tiger Woods is to golf and Ozwald Boateng to men’s tailoring, an outsider whose talent bought her a ticket to the party then elevated her to VIP status. In Fledgling Butler’s final novel before her premature death, she works a remarkable transformation on the hackneyed vampire myth. Society is more likely to accept a vampire in your car than a young girl of a different race. Her protagonist, Shori is a young black girl who barely escapes a brutal attack on her family. She wakes from a coma to ravenous hunger and a black hole where her memories should be. When Wright Hamlin, a white man, drives by and stops to offer her a lift we quickly discover two things; firstly Shori’s food of choice is blood, secondly society is more likely to accept a vampire in your car than a young girl of a different race. Wright doesn’t deposit Shori …