Like antiheroes, morally gray characters, and vibes reminiscent of "Killing Eve" all jam-packed in a dark Jamaican-inspired fantasy book exploring the duality of heroes/villains? Ciannon Smart's evocative debut is for you.
Malice by Heather Walter (Malice #1)
Malice proves itself a darkly addictive, fast-paced reimagining of Sleeping Beauty that shreds the classic's beauty and innocence to forge a new life from its poisoned remains.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (The Radiant Emperor #1)
She Who Became the Sun offers a dazzling and exciting re-imagination of Chinese-Mongolian history, yet it stays true to its dark, blood-soaked roots. Parker-Chan deftly blurs the boundary between sweeping fantasy epic, historical fantasy, and literary fiction as she pushes the limits of said genres.
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark (Magic of the Lost #1)
The Unbroken is a slow-burn military fantasy unlike typical entries in the genre; but it overcompensates (in a good way) for its lack of big set-piece action with a deep and emotionally engaging exploration of the personal marks colonisation leaves through the lens of a flawed protagonist, and an equally compelling character-driven romance. This is a debut quite unlike any other with devastating effect.
One of the Good Ones by Maika and Maritza Moulite
One of the Good Ones is a timely book long overdue, questioning how society views the worth of Black lives and their legacy.