Hi everyone! Today I have another post to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month and it’s a very exciting post because fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I have some recommendations if you want to read fantasy books by Latinx authors.
If you are wondering why this post includes “It’s not Magical Realism” in the title, it’s because oftentimes fantasy books by Latinx authors are label as magical realism, especially if they are paranormal or urban fantasy and it’s a big source of annoyance for Latinx authors and readers. Not everything that Latinx authors write and that includes magical elements in it should be pigeonholed as magical realism. Latinx and magical realism are not synonyms. This post is not about this discussion tho, so if you want to learn more a quick google search will help you out with that!
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This book follows a young woman and the Mayan god of death as they embarque on a quest, where they face all kinds of mythological creatures ande deities, in order to save their lives.
The writing makes it feel like reading a myth or fairytale, it was so engaging.
The Mayan mythology was captivating and lush, and since it’s a mythology that it’s not often used in fantasy books, this book was full of gods and mythical creatures that felt very new and unique.
It’s set in 1920’s Mexico and the mix of the mythological elements and the ‘modernity’ of the Jazz Age worked well and gave this story an even more unique touch.
Nocturna by Maya Motayne
This book follows a thief with powerful magical abilities and a prince running from his past, who inadvertently free an evil force and then have to try to capture it again before it destroys everything.
The most magical thing about this book is the way it embraces Latinx culture and the way it uses Spanish as the language of magic in this world.
It addresses colonialism and slavery through the history of this fantasy world in a very organically and subtle way.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
This story follows a young women, who has trained all her life to be a primera, a wife who runs her husband’s household. But when a rebel group treatens to expose her biggest secret, she is forced to start working for them. All this while having to live with the enemy, her husband’s other wife, the Segunda, in charge of giving him children.
This books has two beautifully complex main characters, a forbidden sapphic love story, fascinating mythology, an infuriating world and a flawed and complicated rebelious group.
The strengh of this book lays in the way it addresses immigration, privilege, poverty and opression, because it manages to evoke so many emotions and be incredibly thought-provoking, it’s brilliantly done.
Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria
This book follows Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, who is determined to fight back against the high council to do it she must go on a heist and her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt.
This book has five main characters, who are queer, poc or struggling with mental illness and trauma. They all have distintive voices and personalies and the author seamlessly integrates the different aspects of the characters identities to the story.
This book is full of twists and turns and a fast pace that keeps the book entertaining and engaging.
Labyrinth Lost + Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova
Each book in this series follows one of the Mortiz sisters, who are brujas and who always end up getting into trouble when their spells backfire.
This series includes a variaty of magical beings like brujas, werewolves, vampires, fairies, zombies and so much more. All of them as well as a lot of the mythology in this book are steeped in Latin American culture and mythology. And that’s one of the main things that’s wonderful about this book: how unapologetically Latinx it is.
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
This book tells the story of Xochital, a girl who has been the Cuentista of her community, she takes the stories involving secrets, lies and deceit that produce feelings like guilt and she gives them back to the land so people can be forgiven by their god. If this process doesn’t take place, the stories manifest themselves as Pesadillas – monsters out of nightmares.
Each of Us a Desert is a quiet fantasy book about the role of stories in our lives and in our communities and the link between the stories we are told and the things we believe in and have faith in. This is a character-driven book with a loose plot but with strong thematic elements.
Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
This book follows Renata, who thanks to her unique magical power was kidnapped and forced to work for the King only to escape and join the rebels. But when the commander of her unit is taken captive, Renata has to return to the palace under cover and complete his top secret mission.
One of the stronger aspects of this story is that it feels like like something bad is about to happen at any moment because Renata is living in the midst of enemies and there are so many secrets and interests at play.
Incendiary has an intricate magic system, vivid characters, twist and turns that will keep you at the edge of your sit and an ending that will leave you wanting more