Looking to Replace Harry Potter? Try These Inclusive Fantasy and Sci-Fi Epics
For fantasy fans, it’s been disheartening and disappointing to see J.K. Rowling’s recent lack of respect for the trans community. For an author who introduced kids to and explored major themes about the importance of people speaking up against intolerance, it’s been heartbreaking to see her defend radical, toxic beliefs that dehumanize trans people.
Seeing Rowling’s transphobic tweets and comments laid bare, you may feel the need to set aside the Harry Potter series for now. If so, perhaps you’re looking for something just as engaging to replace these books with. Start with these great series that are inclusive and diverse, welcoming characters of all orientations, genders and races.
"Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is a 2018 book by Nigerian-American novelist Tomi Adeyemi. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, which follows heroine Zélie Adebola as she brings back magic to the kingdom of Orïsha after its magic users were purged.
“His Dark Materials” Trilogy By Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman that includes Northern Lights (originally published as The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The books follow the coming-of-age story of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they make their way through parallel universes.
“Dark Star” Trilogy by Marlon James
Another newer fantasy series comes from Jamaican writer Marlon James: the Dark Star trilogy. The epic fantasy includes the titles Black Leopard, Red Wolf; Moon Witch, Night Devil; and The Boy and the Dark Star. The tales follow three characters — the Tracker, the Moon Witch and the Boy — as the three mercenaries make their way through a dark fantasy world and await their impending torture and trial in the dungeon of a dying king.
“Inheritance” Trilogy and the “Broken Earth” Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin debuted her first novel, part of the Inheritance trilogy, in 2010, which elevated her to the position of one of the most prominent Black sci-fi/fantasy authors in the United States. And her novel The Fifth Season, which is part of her Broken Earth series, won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, making her the first Black writer to earn this title in that category.
“Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell
If you’re looking for a close-proximity novel to Harry Potter that takes the excitement a step further with the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters, then you’ll love Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. The smooth, romantic language warms the heart with deep character development and storytelling that fans have loved from Rowell in previous novels.
“The Star-Touched Queen” Series by Roshani Chokshi
Are you looking for something a bit less violent than the brilliant Black Leopard, Red Wolf? This series by Roshani Chokshi is a winner. The beautiful writing in The Star-Touched Queen books is lyrical and lush, bringing the characters and events to life in a vivid and mesmerizing way. This YA romantic fantasy plunges you into a captivating retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone with a deep Indian-mythology twist.