The 9 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books Written By Women In 2017, According To Amazon
While the last year has been rough for women around the country — we lost protections for equal pay, reproductive rights have taken a serious hit, among other things — we have made significant strides in the face of increasingly obvious systemic sexism and misogyny. Cardi B became the first solo female rapper to top the singles chart in 19 years, Patty Jensen's Wonder Woman maintained the best box office success of any superhero in 15 years, women are running for and winning political appointments in record high rates. Does that mean it wasn't the worst year ever? Probably not, but at least there are a few silver linings.
Fantasy and sci-fi in particular are genres that don't have the best reputation for being inclusive when it comes to both content in the book and the name of the author on the book. For generations, they were dominated by white men who repeated the same narrative for the same audience, and over time, they garnered a particular unsavory reputation for being sexist and exclusionary to women, particularly women of color.
In 2017, Amazon's Best Books list is telling a different story. Out of the 20 selected titles in the category of sci-fi and fantasy, nine of the authors were women. Less than half of those featured women authors were people of color, which highlights the fact that these genres still have progress to make on behalf of equality for all, but the strides women have made can't be overlooked.
It's true that 2017 has officially been the worst and most of us can't wait until it's over, but these nine women who are dominating science fiction and fantasy will make you glad you didn't move to Canada after all.
'The Power' by Naomi Alderman
Naomi Alderman is an award winning author whose latest work of speculative fiction took home the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. The Power weaves a dark tale about a fierce future where teenage girls have dangerous powers that make them capable of causing severe pain or death. A fascinating exploration of power, gender, identity, and control, this rich and lyrical work once again proves Alderman is at the top of her game.
'The Stone Sky' by N.K. Jemisin
Since the launch of her The Broken Earth trilogy, N.K. Jemisin's name has been on the lips of every sci-fi lover, and this year is no different. Her stunning series conclusion, The Stone Sky, topped 2017's "Most Anticipated" lists and is sure to be showing up on even more best-of round ups. A powerful and evocative epic fantasy that challenges the standard good versus evil narrative, this book takes after its author: it's a force to be reckoned with.
'A Conjuring of Light' by V.E. Schwab
Bestselling author V.E. Schwab first made waves in the fantasy world with her publication of A Darker Shade of Magic, the first in her thrilling series of fantasy adventures. In A Conjuring of Light, Schwab's unforgettable characters return to fight on behalf of good against evil magic one last time. Expertly plotted and imaginative as ever, this fitting conclusion will make you love Schwab and her beloved series even more.
'The City of Brass' by S.A. Chakraborty
She may be a debut author, but S.A. Chakraborty is already making a name for herself in the sci-fi and fantasy world. Her stunning first novel The City of Brass tells the story of Nahri, a con woman whose trickery turns out to be real magic when she accidentally summons the mysterious djinn warrior Dara. Together, they travel to Daevabad, an enchanted brass city brimming where magic and danger lurk around every corner. A lush and irresistible tale, The City of Brass will leave you wanting more from this first-time author.
'Strange the Dreamer' by Laini Taylor
An author who appears on not one but two of Amazon's Best Books of 2017 lists, Laini Taylor is no stranger to critical or commercial success. Her Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy is a global hit, but it's this year's stand alone novel that has readers cheering her name. Strange the Dreamer is a sweeping epic fantasy that follows a war orphan and junior librarian into the world of Weep, a strange and mysterious lost city filled with magic, adventure, and danger. A binge-worthy fantasy teens and adults will love, this book should be on everyone's 2017 must-read list.
'The Hundredth Queen' by Emily R. King
Another debut author who is making a splash in the fantasy scene is Emily R. King whose series starter is as exciting as it is addicting. The Hundredth Queen follows a young orphan girl on an unforgettable journey filled with danger, adventure, empowerment, and even the possibility of love.
'The Bear and the Nightingale' by Katherine Arden
It seems like 2017 is not only the year of female sci-fi and fantasy writers, but the year of debuts. In her bestseller, first time novelist Katherine Arden weaves a darkly beautiful fairy tale that will leave readers spellbound. In The Bear and the Nightingale, a young Russian girl faces evil in her wintery village on the edge of the woods. For fans of myths, fantasy, and old-fashioned fairy tale, this truly enchanting story can't be missed.
'All Systems Red' by Martha Wells
The author of several fantasy novels, Martha Wells proves she has mastered science fiction as well with her latest sci-fi adventure. In All Systems Red, a dangerous android becomes self aware and potentially murderous, but he also becomes one team of scientists' only hope for survival. Smart and thought-provoking, this exploration of consciousness will have you looking at humanity in a whole new light.
'The House of Binding Thorns' by Aliette de Bodard
Much to fans delight, multi-award-winning author Aliette de Bodard continued her Dominion of Fallen saga this year with The House of Binding Thorns, a magical gothic masterpiece bursting with mystery, thrills, and plenty of emotion. Bold and evocative as ever, this latest installment will remind you why de Bodard is both critically acclaimed and commercially loved.