A Phoenix First Must Burn

Patrice Caldwell

fiction fantasy short stories
adventurous emotional mysterious medium-paced

368 pages | first published 2020

Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.

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adventurous 92%
emotional 61%
inspiring 59%
hopeful 52%
mysterious 33%
reflective 30%
challenging 23%
dark 21%
funny 19%
tense 14%
lighthearted 11%
informative 7%
sad 7%
relaxing 4%


medium 61%
fast 38%

Strong character development?

It's complicated: 47% | Yes: 29% | N/A: 20% | No: 2%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 54% | It's complicated: 37% | N/A: 8%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 100%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

It's complicated: 40% | Yes: 40% | N/A: 15% | No: 3%

Average rating