12 Female-Driven Sci-Fi & Fantasy Novels That You Definitely Don't Want To Miss
Want to escape from the ordinary? I have 12 female-driven sci-fi and fantasy novels you'll love to read, so be sure to add these new and newish adventures to your TBR, A.S.A.P., because you don't want to miss the best that genre fiction has to offer.
I have loved science fiction and fantasy stories ever since I was a child, and geeking out over great books is one of my favorite pastimes. I seize on every chance I get to recommend a speculative fiction read to a friend, so writing up lists like this one is exactly what I live for.
The 12 sci-fi and fantasy novels on the list below are all recent releases, or are the first installments in series with new releases coming this year, so you'll have plenty to read and discuss with other fans of speculative fiction. No matter what kind of science fiction or fantasy story you're looking for, you'll find something to tickle your reading tastebuds here. Best of all, these books all feature female protagonists, so you'll have a great time following your sisters through their madcap adventures.
Check out the 12 female-driven sci-fi and fantasy books I've picked out for you below:
'Children of Blood and Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi
Years after her mother was killed in a state-sanctioned purge designed to rid Orïsha of its magic, Zélie Adebola, a teenager with the power to wield forces beyond most of humanity's control, sets out on a mission to avenge her mother's death.
'The Women's War' by Jenna Glass
The first book in a new fantasy series, Jenna Glass' The Woman's War centers on two women with the power to shatter the glass ceiling. Alys is a widowed mother with an aptitude for magic in a world where only men are allowed to practice it. Ellin is a new queen, expected to marry quickly and relinquish control of her land to her husband. As Alys and Ellin fight the systems that keep them under the rule of men, a group of women discover a new source of magic in their desert exile.
'Markswoman' by Rati Mehrotra
The Order of Kali trails young women to become assassins specializing in the use of magical knives. When a woman Kyra suspects of murder assumes control of her Order, Kyra flees to the desert, where she meets the Order of Khur, and begins to train with Rustan, one of his Order's best Marksmen. But with Rustan's devotion to Khur waning, and Kyra's own allegiance to Kali shattered, their safety nets are quickly fraying.
'Binti: The Complete Trilogy' by Nnedi Okorafor
The Binti Trilogy, collected here with an all-new story, follows the eponymous Himba heroine as she leaves home for Oomza University: an elite school on a far-off planet. When a race of tentacle-y aliens attack her transport vessel, bent on revenge against Oomza U., Binti, as the sole survivor of the massacre, finds herself trapped in close proximity to her classmates' killers.
'The City in the Middle of the Night' by Charlie Jane Anders
One of 2019's most anticipated sci-fi novels, Charlie Jane Anders' The City in the Middle of the Night examines human life on a planet of extremes. With one side of the globe in constant sunlight, and the other in eternal darkness, humanity has forged ahead by building cities in the twilight between the hemispheres. Neither of the cities offers anything close to a good life, but an exiled student named Sophie might have the power to change her world for the better.
'Daughters of the Storm' by Kim Wilkins
When their father falls ill, five disparate and disconnected sisters must join forces to save his throne from their evil stepmother and stepbrother in this fantasy novel based on Norse mythology.
'Do You Dream of Terra-Two?' by Temi Oh
With the Earth quickly becoming inhospitable to humanity, 10 astronauts embark on a 23-year-long journey to the nearest planet capable of sustaining human life. Four of the crew are grizzled veterans of space-travel, but the anxieties, fears, and flaws of the six teens on board may bring the mission to absolute destruction.
'The City of Brass' by S.A. Chakraborty
Set in 18th-century Cairo, The City of Brass centers on Nahri, a trickster, who accidentally summons a djinn named Dara during a sham exorcism. Dara tells her of Daevabad, the legendary djinn city, and insists Nahri will only be safe there. As the journey to Daevabad unfolds, however, it quickly becomes clear that all is not as it seems.
'Ancestral Night' by Elizabeth Bear
Scavengers Halmey and Connla strip wrecked vehicles of saleable parts, but their latest discovery isn't a vehicle. Instead, it's the body of an alien, a member of a species long believed to be dead. Halmey contracts a parasitic infection from the creature, one that offers her multiple benefits as a space-traveler, and soon finds herself on a collision course with her own past.
'Labyrinth Lost' by Zoraida Córdova
Wishing to rid herself of her magical abilities, a powerful teenage witch named Alex accidentally disappears her entire family instead. To save the people she loves, Alex will have to team up with a brujo named Nova, but she isn't sure if she can trust him at all.
'The Priory of the Orange Tree' by Samantha Shannon
A millennium ago, a powerful, evil dragon, known only as the Nameless One, was locked away in the Abyss. The people of three nations want to keep the dragon sealed away, but fear that his return is imminent. In Samantha Shannon's sweeping new fantasy novel, three women, one from each nation, must join forces if they want to keep their world safe.
'Ninefox Gambit' by Yoon Ha Lee
Ninefox Gambit centers on Kel Cheris, a disgraced military captain, who must complete an impossible mission if she wants to find redemption. Aided by an undead madman named Jedao, Kel embarks on a quest to save the Fortress of Scattered Needles from its usurpers.