Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books with Non-White Protagonists


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature run by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books that fit with the theme. All the details and how to join are available here.

Today’s TTT is a freebie – so I’ve gone for Top Ten (Fantasy) Books with a non white/ mixed race protagonist.


1. Shara – City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

My love for this character runs deep. Shara’s a stone cold spy with a historian’s mind and an idealistic soul. When I first read this book I was absolutely blown away by her. RBJ’s created such a layered and complex personality, she feels real and so do all her actions – it’s very rare that you can say that. As I’ve just finished my first year of PhD study I’m trying to work my way through all of my library books. It should probably say something that City of Stairs is the book I’m planning to read at the end of this, as some sort of reward to myself. Just wonderful.


2. Ehiru – The Killing Moon by N.k. Jemisin

Now here is a man that will break your heart, a complex, equisitely drawn character. I only read The Killing Moon last week, so my review isn’t up yet, but it was an absolute corker. This was the first Jemisin book I’ve ever read, but it had a profound impact on me. Despite the fact that this novel deals with some incredibly broad themes it’s still such a personal journey and Ehiru’s struggle is at the heart of it. Now I just need to go and read pretty much everything Jemisin’s written.

100 nights

3. The unnamed narrator – A Thousand Nights by E. K. Johnston

She’s just marvelous. The sheer sisterhood in this book – is such a pleasure to read. I’ve sung this novel’s praises pretty much constantly since I received the eARC last year and she’s the main reason for that. Nameless and pretty much faceless, she still makes a helluva impact.

The Palace Job

4. Loch – The Rogues Republic by Patrick Weekes

Loch is resourceful and sneaky and has tricks so far up her sleeve she could wear them as a scarf. She’s an incredibly fun character and Weekes allows you to get wrapped up in her antics, then suddenly hits you in the face with the terrible history of her country, the subjugation of her race. There’s a scene in the later books when they’re in a museum and the truth is revealed which is very powerful.

The Goblin Emperor

5. Maia – The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Ok, yes, Maia is in fact half-elf half-goblin. Not a conventional choice, but in his world he would be considered non-white. He is ‘not the norm’ amongst his court, a grey skinned half-blood amongst a sea of alabaster nobles. His struggle to be accepted as who he is is at the centre of the book, but the struggle to embrace it himself is the most powerful driving force for character development.


6. Nix – The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

I’ve never read a book where the events are based in Hawaii before, but after this I would be eager to read more. There were so many different ways of life blended together in this small space and Nixie herself is a blend of multiple cultures. A Chinese-American raised by a motley group of time-travelling sailors.


7. Cinder – The Lunar Chronicles by Marisa Meyer

I don’t think it’s ever explicitly stated, but amongst readers I think Cinder is generally agreed to be mixed race. She’s also *SPOILERS* at least half lunar and quite a large portion of her is also cyborg. That’s about as far away from the ‘norm’ as you can get.

Anansi Boys

8. Fat Charlie – Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

I know a lot of people prefer American Gods, and don’t get me wrong I love Shadow and his complex relationship with Mr Wednesday, but Anansi is the best of the two for me. It’s not as dark as AG, displaying a level of charm and humour that has always appealed to me. It’s also got one of the best book endings for me, especially when it comes to character development.

PC Grant

9. PC Peter Grant – The Folly Series by Ben Aaronovitch

A series of books that revels in Peter’s heritage – his healthy respect and fear of his mother and other female relatives is, frankly, hilarious. I love to see his family interacting and the way his heritage seeps into everything. It’s also such a pleasure to see how Aaronovitch portrays the magical community as this multicultural melting pot of belief systems.


10. Meche – Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The only Latin-American on my list, Meche is a very special character. She’s not always likable, in fact there are moments when she can be downright cruel – as many teenagers are. But she’s always extraordinarily human. Dual timelines very rarely work for me, but having the opportunity to watch Meche develop and grow made it so worthwhile.


8 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books with Non-White Protagonists

  1. I wasn’t a huge fan of Cinder (the book) but did really like Scarlet (although I like Cinder better as a character). I loved The Goblin Emperor.

    My TTT


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