50 Must-Read Fantasy Books by Women

Recently, BookRiot posted this list of 50 Must-Read Fantasy Books by Women. https://bookriot.com/2019/07/25/fantasy-books-by-women/.  Like most readers, I love a good list, and I’ve read a lot of the books on this list.  If you’re a fantasy reader and you’re looking for a few good books, check it out, and let me know what books on the list you recommend.

The list is alphabetical by title, and with 50 books I might have liked a top ten or some indication of the books you really must read.  But I think the point of this list is more to expose us to books we haven’t read.

The authors on the list, as you might expect, include Ursula LeGuin, Madeline Miller, Robin Hobb, Jo Walton, Mercedes Lackey, Octavia Butler, Katherine Arden, Nnedi Okorafor, VE Schwab, NK Jemisin, Zen Cho, Naomi Novik, and JK Rowling.

Of the 50, I’ve read 20 (including my latest read The Poppy War). Some of my favorites on this list are Kindred, The Bear and the Nightingale, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Golem and the Jinni, and of course Harry Potter.

A few less well known books that I highly recommend are Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova.

On a related note, I recently watched a special on PBS about Ursula LeGuin, funded by the National Endowment of the Arts as part of their American Masters series, and it was fantastic.  I didn’t know much about LeGuin, except that she’s one of a small group of women in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.  I’ve only read Left Hand of Darkness but I want to read more, and this short special gave me a much better understanding of her work.

What do you think of this list?  Is anything missing, or are there books on here you didn’t care for?  The only one I didn’t think much of was Theodora Goss’ novel The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter.  I was surprised not to see Dread Nation on the list, which I loved.  Maybe that’s not exactly fantasy, although the intro to this list does say it covers all sub-genres and age levels of fantasy.   I also don’t see anything by Leigh Bardugo. And Binti seems more like science fiction.  But it’s a thin line.

There are a lot of authors on this list I want to try, including Zen Cho and Tomi Adeyemi, and I’m happy that the list is so diverse.  What fantasy novels by women do you recommend?

  4 comments for “50 Must-Read Fantasy Books by Women

  1. September 21, 2019 at 9:12 am

    I don’t read much fantasy. Besides from Harry Potter, I haven’t read anything from the list. If I had to pick one, it would be Circe. I quite like stories drawing on mythology and I have seen some good reviews of this one.

    • September 22, 2019 at 5:37 pm

      Circe is a great read for non-fantasy readers, it’s really more mythology. It’s very good, I hope you like it!

  2. September 23, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I like that the list is so diverse. I’ve read a few on the list, but the majority of them are on my physical and virtual TBRs.
    I wanted to watch that special on Le Guin. Totally forgot about it and missed it.

  3. September 24, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Fun list! I would want to add Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees. And anything by Diana Wynne Jones, but having been published mainly on juvenile lists probably disqualifies her, unfairly.

    Standouts for me were The Bear and the Nightingale, Circe, Graceling, The Golem and the Jinni, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

    The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter was much better in the idea vs. the execution. Disappointing, I though.

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