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5 SFF Books Featuring Teenaged Reincarnated Deities

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5 SFF Books Featuring Teenaged Reincarnated Deities

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5 SFF Books Featuring Teenaged Reincarnated Deities

Here are five young adult novels featuring teenagers who are reincarnated gods. 

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Published on July 2, 2024

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Collection of 5 books featuring reincarnated gods

By virtue of their age and station, teenagers are relatively powerless. Parents and authority figures dismiss them as trivial, silly, or frivolous. Politicians and leaders use them as pawns to wage proxy wars with no thought of the consequences. 

As a writer of fantasy books for teenagers, I must confess that I am guilty of veering to the opposite extreme—putting my characters in circumstances and positions of power vastly outside their realms of competency. I give my seventeen-year-olds swords and send them to the frontlines of the battlefield, put crowns upon their heads, and even place the success of entire religions on their shoulders (it’s about the stakes). Youth does not diminish a teenager’s ability to speak, to assemble, to plan, and to dream, after all.

But in the Betrayal Prophecies duology, I wade even further into the chasm between expectations and abilities by offering a teenaged character impossible power as they discover they are actually a reincarnated deity. 

This adds another layer to the standard coming-of-age narrative. In this context, an ageless god, accustomed to unlimited power is now restricted by the societal expectations placed on a teenager. What happens when a child, only just learning who they are, must also grapple with the legacy of who they were before? Who emerges triumphant when less-than-nobly minded adults seek to control that god for their own gain?

When an all-powerful deity is asked to submit to the existing structures around them due to the body they inhabit, the confines of society become another layer of antagonism. The Betrayal Prophecies duology is not the only series to have teenagers navigate this fine line of past and present. Here are five other young adult novels featuring teenagers who are reincarnated gods. 

The Ravensong duology by Cayla Fay

The Ravensong duology by Cayla Fay

In this sapphic duology, our reincarnated deity teen, Neve, is stuck in high school. One of the Morrigan—a triad of Irish war gods—she is used to defending the mortal world against the legions of hell with her two sisters. But until she turns eighteen, Neve can’t access her power. This puts her in a pretty vulnerable position (especially when she meets Alexandria, and her heart is suddenly involved). But when something in Hell wants Alexandria, Neve and her sisters must save her before it’s too late. As Neve works to save the world and the girl she loves, she must also grapple with her past lives—what she has done and perhaps more importantly, what she can no longer remember. Torn between the past and present, Neve struggles to align who she was with who she is, even while the world hangs in the balance. 

As a kid, I was obsessed with folklore, and Fay’s Irish-mythology-inspired duology filled me again with that childlike sense of wonder. Her take on the Morrigan was freshly modern while still offering a strong nod to the source material (and giving me plenty of things to Google once I finished reading). Neve’s relationship with her sisters was my favorite dynamic in the books (apart from the grumpy/sunshine sapphic romance, of course). Sibling lore is rich enough when you’ve only lived one life, but due to their shared history, the sisters’ bonds were so strong it’s no wonder they were able to make it through Hell and back again. 

The Ouroboros duology by H.E. Edgmon

Book covers of the Ouroboros duology by H.E. Edgmon

In this duology, our reincarnated deity is Gem Echols, a nonbinary Seminole teen living in the tiny town of Gracie, Georgia. Haunted by dreams and visions of magic and violence that have always felt too real, Gem starts to question everything when a new girl seems to know a little too much about them. After saving Gem’s life, she reveals they are reincarnated gods who’ve known and loved each other across lifetimes. But Gem – or at least who Gem used to be—hasn’t always been the most benevolent deity. They’ve made a lot of enemies in the pantheon. Enemies who keep coming. As Gem encounter past gods, their world is thrown into chaos—and so is the pantheon. Gem’s past is catching up to them, and they’ll have to examine who they were and the choices they made in order to survive.

Rage is not an emotion often explored in young adult novels, but Edgemon deftly navigates Gem’s visceral, raw anger. Gem has undergone so much suffering, both as a god, and as a queer teenager that it’s no wonder they have their sights set on revenge when the past catches up with them. These books are a reckoning—brutal, chaotic, and filled with queer characters who love something fierce. That’s pretty much all of my favorite things. 

Forgotten Gods duology by Marie Rutkoski 

Book covers for the Forgotten Gods duology by Marie Rutkoski 

Set in the same world as The Winner’s Curse series, this sapphic duology is a caste-based world where pleasures are reserved for the High Kith, and the Half Kith are kept behind a wall in the Ward. But Nirrim, a girl of low status, has memories she can’t seem to place. She sees glimpses of the past. She dreams of what the world once was. As Nirrim escapes the confines of the Ward, meets a girl from faraway named Sid, and experiences the world of the High Kith firsthand, she begins to witness magic. And then, when faced with the forgotten gods, Nirrim makes a sacrifice in order to allow people to remember. But with those memories come power, recklessly wielded and not fully known. And when the Gods wage war, Nirrim will face much more than she bargained for. 

The Midnight Lie is one of my favorite young adult fantasy novels. I adore Rutkoski’s lush prose, her precise worldbuilding and the way this world touts magic as a privilege rather than a power, but most of all, I love Nirrim and Sid. Sid upends Nirrim’s life in the most extraordinary way, and as their relationship grows, so does Nirrim’s view of the world, other people, and herself. Sid changes the way Nirrim understands love, and with that understanding comes the courage she needs to break free of the confines of her life and remember

A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow

A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow

While A Song of Salvation can be read as a standalone, this space opera exists in the same universe as Dow’s first two YA novels The Sound of Stars and The Kindred. Zaira Citlali is Indigo reborn, the god whose song created the universe and unified people across galaxies to banish the god of destruction. Unfortunately, she cannot currently access any of his powers, which is especially concerning because the Emperor wants to sacrifice Zaira in Indigo’s honor. This is not what Zaira wants, and when she manages to escape and crosses paths with a grumpy pilot named Wesley, they’ll have to work together to make it to earth (alongside a beloved space DJ) and unlock Zaira’s powers, all while an intergalactic war wages on around them. 

I am such a fan of the Alechia Dow sci-fi universe. Her worldbuilding is meticulous and vast, the intergalactic politics and critique of colonialism thoughtfully handled, and her characters well-rounded. I especially love a found family trope, and Zaria, Wesley, and Rubin fit the bill here—stronger together and because of each other. 

The Divine Traitors duology by Kamilah Cole

Book cover of So Let The Burn by Kamilah Cole

While Faron Vincent isn’t technically a reincarnated deity, she can harness the power of the gods. A former “chosen one,” Faron helped liberate her country at thirteen, and now, five years later, she has power, but no war to fight. Then, her sister Elara bonds with the enemy empire’s dragon and the gods tell Faron the only way to break the bond is to kill her sister. Faron grapples with the choices that she made as a child—and now as a teenager—with boundless power. When she was helming a war, it was one thing. But now, Faron will be forced to choose between saving her sister or protecting her homeland.

So Let Them Burn explores the aftermath of victory, contending with the responsibility and impossible pressure of power. This is book about bonds: between warrior and country, rider and dragon, chosen one and the gods, and, perhaps most importantly, the complicated yet impenetrable bond between sisters. Cole’s debut offers a skillful commentary on colonialism, characters that grip you by the throat, and an immersive world filled with dragons, danger, and deception. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, due out in 2025.

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About the Author

Adrienne Tooley

Author

Adrienne Tooley is the author of The Third Daughter; Sweet & Bitter Magic; as well as the Indie Next List selection Sofi and the Bone Song. In addition to writing books, she is a singer-songwriter and has released several EPs which are available on Spotify & other streaming sites. Adrienne, her wife, and their dog live in Brooklyn.
Learn More About Adrienne
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