Five Unputdownable Fantasy Novels by Muslim Authors

Muslim authors are killing it right now. Looking to dive into a world of fantasy and intrigue and not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

The covers to the books featured in this article
Five adult and YA fantasy novels by Muslim authors, each as undeniably excellent as they are different.

Muslim authors are killing it right now. Bestselling horror novelist Mona Awad released the highly anticipated “Rouge” just in time for spooky season, and award-winning Young Adult (YA) authors Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé and Adiba Jaigirdar are teaming up on a stunning YA romance “Four Eids and a Funeral,” which will publish next year. Here at Fann, we’ve also been conducting a series of interviews with Muslim authors in the world of children’s publishing, with big names like Saadia Faruqi, Hena Khan and Aya Khalil, and even more interviews on the way.

But what if you’re not looking for horror or contemporary YA books? If you’d rather dive into a world of fantasy and intrigue, we’ve got you covered. Here are five fantasy novels by Muslim authors that you can read right now. 

  1. "The Jasad Heir" (2023) by Sara Hashem

A decade ago, the kingdom of Jasad was ravaged, its magic forbidden and its royal lineage annihilated — or so Sylvia wants people to believe. Sylvia, the hidden Heir of Jasad, strives to stay concealed, avoiding thoughts of the Nizahl kingdom's relentless pursuit of the Jasadi people and the devastation of her homeland.

But when Arin, the Nizahl Heir, stumbles upon Jasadi rebels in her village, Sylvia's secret magic is accidentally revealed, drawing Arin's attention. To ensure her survival, Sylvia must strike a risky deal with her greatest adversary: assisting him in luring the rebels to evade persecution. This marks the beginning of a perilous game where Sylvia must protect her true identity even as her feelings for Arin grow. Soon, she faces a pivotal choice between her desired life and her duty to the resurging, scorched kingdom. 

Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Thorns and Roses” (2015), this Egyptian-inspired romantic fantasy debut portrays a fugitive queen's pact with her archenemy, thrusting her into a complex game that could either resurrect her torched kingdom or condemn it to eternal ruin.

  1. "An Ember in the Ashes" (2015) by Sabaa Tahir

In a ruthless world reminiscent of ancient Rome, Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier, live without freedom. Defiance against the Martial Empire leads to death, forcing people to pledge loyalty to the Emperor or face dire consequences for their loved ones and their world.

Laia, residing in the Empire's impoverished streets with her grandparents and brother, avoids challenging the Empire's authority, aware of the consequences. However, when her brother is accused of treason, Laia makes a fateful choice. To secure her brother's rescue by rebels, she agrees to spy on the Empire from within its prestigious military academy, risking her life.

In this academy, she crosses paths with Elias, a gifted soldier who secretly yearns for freedom from the oppressive regime he serves. As their destinies become intertwined, they realize their choices will shape the Empire's future.

Sabaa Tahir’s debut YA dystopian fantasy is one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. Even eight years out from its initial release, “An Ember in the Ashes” continues to prove that it was an instant bestseller for a reason. 

  1. "The Bird King" (2020) by G. Willow Wilson

Set in 1491 during the final sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, “The Bird King” follows Fatima, the last Circassian concubine to the sultan, and Hassan, the palace mapmaker with a unique ability to shape reality through his maps.

When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive, Fatima befriends one of them, unaware that they will view Hassan's gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. To save Hassan and escape the palace, Fatima and Hassan embark on a journey through Spain with the help of a clever jinn.

This tale from the acclaimed author of the "Ms. Marvel" series (2015 – 2019) seamlessly weaves historical fiction with magical realism. "The Bird King" explores themes of love and the price of freedom at a time when the Western and Muslim worlds were not yet divided.

  1. "We Hunt the Flame" (2019) by Hafsah Faizal

In a kingdom called Arawiya, Zafira is better known as the Hunter, disguising herself as a man to provide for her people in the cursed forest of the Arz. Nasir, on the other hand, is the Prince of Death, carrying out assassinations for his tyrannical father, the sultan. Both are legends in Arawiya, but neither desires their notoriety.

As war looms and the ominous Arz encroaches, Zafira embarks on a quest to find a lost artifact that can restore magic and save her world. Simultaneously, Nasir is sent by the sultan to retrieve the same artifact and eliminate the Hunter. However, their journey uncovers an ancient evil, and the coveted prize may pose a greater threat than they ever imagined.

Hafsah Faizal’s YA fantasy that was inspired by “The Hunger Games” (2008 – 2010) and “The Lord of the Rings” (1954 – 1955) has been optioned for a TV adaptation.

  1.  "The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi" by Shannon Chakraborty

Amina al-Sirafi, a retired infamous pirate, should be content with her peaceful life with her family. However, she's offered an irresistible job by a wealthy mother: rescue her comrade's kidnapped daughter for a hefty reward. Amina sees it as a chance for one last adventure with her crew and to secure her family's future.

As she delves deeper into the mission, it becomes clear that there's more to it than she initially thought. The desire for glory and power comes with a significant risk, potentially endangering her very soul.

In her new trilogy, the bestselling author of "The City of Brass" (2017 – 2020) takes readers on a high-seas adventure filled with pirates, sorcery, forbidden artifacts, and ancient mysteries. 

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