Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Books I Wish Were More Diverse

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Diversity is super important as I'm hoping you all know by now, but there could always be more. I've read excellent books that have been severely lacking in diversity. Plus sometimes there are books that try to be diverse but aren't doing it quite right. Obviously there's no changing what's already been published, only improving with future books. But I can't help but think 'only if' sometimes. So with that, here's a mix of a list of books I've loved and some I haven't and how I think in an alternate universe they could be more diverse.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
I really loved this graphic novel, but it could have done without the implication that characters were LGBT and just said it outright. There was no need to suggest it when the story would have made perfectly good sense that these two characters had feelings for one another.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
I didn't enjoy this one at all because I was bored the whole way through with pretty much everything. But the problem with diversity didn't hit me until a little later. I know the book is Middle Eastern 'inspired' but there was absolutely nothing to imply that other than the word 'sultan' dotted here and there and a bunch of sand. I didn't feel angry, but being Iranian I wasn't thrilled either.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Everyone knows I love this series to pieces. Plus it has a couple of really awesome LGBT characters. But the reason it's on this list is because it was very white. This is something Maggie has acknowledged too, and she said she'll try to do better with future books which I respect. Also I hate to talk any ill of this book, but it doeeesss fall into that category of not saying the word bisexual. I guess it didn't need to be said, but it's mainly an issue because no book or show ever seems to say the word.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I've spoken about this before, so I'll keep it short and simple: the only person of colour in this series was brutally murdered in order for the white female lead to work out her destiny. This is a trope I hate regardless, but the fact that it was a black woman made it worse. I'm tired of seeing POC reduced to plot devices and then killed off when there's no more need for them. I like this series, but I get a little frustrated when people try to defend or simply outright ignore that this is an issue.

The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
Also kills off the only black character as a plot device. For a series that is so focal on giving minority people a voice, it seems to forget that POC have voices too. Also as much as I'd like to believe 'olive skinned' meant Katniss was intended to be a woman of colour, I don't imagine that was the intention.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Another series I love to pieces so I hate to criticise. But it's pretty white. I know Hermione could have been black but that doesn't count as diversity, and as lovely as J.K. Rowling is, she shouldn't get credit for that. Basically I'm not big on implied diversity because I don't think it counts.

Fantastic Beasts by J.K. Rowling
I haven't read the screenplay so I'm just going to base this on the movie. Like Harry Potter before it, also very white. Discrimination of wizards is such a prominent theme that reflects segregation issues of the 20s big time. I'd never want the following movies in the franchise to have diversity FORCED upon them because that would be ingenuine and possibly worse than nothing at all, but it's just something to be aware of.

All the Shadowhunters Books by Cassandra Clare
I grew up with this series along with The Infernal Devices. I feel like I'm done with reading about the Shadowhunter world, but I have to comment on how every book is led by a white girl. I know there's a lot of other diversity aside from the protagonists, but when I found out Clare would create a 3rd Shadowhunter series I was surprised that Emma Carstairs was blonde. I know she's meant to be like a mini Jace but she has branches of family in China and Iran. And sure, that's not to say she couldn't have been a different race. But you could've had a really popular franchise finally led by a WOC and that wasn't the case (which makes me super sad especially since I am Iranian and I would've loved to see someone like me in these books).

Are there any books you wish made a greater effort to be diverse? Or worse, are there any examples of poor representation I should stay clear of? On a more positive note, rec me some of your super diverse faves!


  1. Fantastic topic! I've read ToG, the first Raven Cycle book, and THG and I couldn't agree more with what you said. The POC getting killed as a plot device does seem to happen an alarming amount. I always think of HP as being diverse, but you're right, none of the MCs were obviously POC. Great list!
    My Top Ten

    1. Thanks! They're all great books but I'd much rather there be no diversity than to see this trope again. Authors shouldn't get credited for representation when that happens.
      I get what you mean about Harry Potter feeling diverse - we have Cho and a couple of other side characters, plus themes of imbalance based on background are pretty prominant and they can definitely relate to racial imbalance. Really I'm not too judgy with Harry Potter's lack of diversity - I only take issue when people say it's so racially diverse when it's definitely not.
      Thank you - I'm glad you liked it!

  2. I also said Harry Potter and THG as books that could have used more diversity. Here's my list: http://poemsbyayoungartist.blogspot.com/2017/02/top-ten-tuesday-33-more-diversity-please.html

    1. Yay for matching topic choices! Also yes, HP and THG could've definitely had more diverse rep.

  3. I agree completely on all these scores. I've been meaning to read Nimona and honestly part of it was thinking it was LGBT. It's so disappointing to hear it's just more implications. Queer baiting is just so annoying on every level...

    1. Yeah I was a little disappointed with Nimona on that front too, although I did know before I picked it up that it wasn't explicitly LGBT. It's a cute story but not diverse. At least the m/m romance was pretty obvious, but I can't stand queerbaiting.