Five SFF books on warring families

Ah, family feud. Perhaps the most powerful source of conflict since the dawn of time, to be a little dramatic over it, but who does not like a bit of mutual battles reinforced by the responsibility of defending your blood ties? I wrote a Romeo and Juliet-inspired duology about a feud between two warring families because I have always been so interested in the question of ideals and beliefs. At what point do you pick up a sword to correct a clock committed against you near blood? Is anyone more entitled to act fairly if they do so in the name of the family?

Here are five books that examine what is and is not enough to create a quarrel between families.

Chain of iron by Cassandra Clare

There are many Shadowhunter families in the world of The Last Hours series, so we start this list by going into conflicts that pull in multiple factions. The Blackthorns work in the shadows against the Carstairs and Herondales and set the stage for an upcoming battle between those who fight for good and those who are in line with evil. All of the Shadowhunter books are particularly good at telling intergenerational stories, so it’s no surprise that Chain of Iron will continue on this path of putting family against family, of course with a little more demonic activity in the mix. I’m so excited about how this conflict will play out that I might have to wrap myself in protective gear before the third book comes out so I do not get hurt. But we all know I will.

Jade by by Fonda Lee

In an environment where our main characters belong to one of two large warring families, this adult fantasy is an excellent example of family feuds between the generations. How does it feel to be born with a fidelity to something? What is it like to want something else but to know that it would go against everything you were brought up to believe by the people you trust the most? With battle scenes on the edge of the seat and dynamic, complicated sibling relationships, the story pulls the caulk through a war that will determine their world, and there is simply no way to look away. All good violence is dosed with some good old Godfather-like threats, and perhaps, just maybe, the most intense violence comes from those we thought would not hurt us.

Dark Rise by CS Pacat

Okay, so technically our protagonist Will is trapped in a world torn between Light and Darkness rather than two specific families, but generations ago this used to be a conflict split between families who chose their side, so I count it! This is a book that has so much more rear end just below the surface, and just as you think you know what the story does with its familial lines and relationships, it will shock you right to your core. War is coming, and now these descendants of the original conflict are drawing the battle lines again. Family feuds already get me right in the stomach, but also throw in reincarnation ?! Excellent. One of my favorite tropes of all time is “Maybe in another life”, and the conflict here definitely breathes with that mood.

The Jasmine throne by Tasha Suri

This book is more about an intra-family feud than about warring families, but it has the same suspense and heartbreaking anxiety that it belongs on this list. After her brother takes the throne and puts Malini in an isolated temple, she must gather her forces and take back the empire for her own means. Filled with the most beautiful writing and a world that exudes atmosphere (seriously, you will feel like you have been drawn right into the busy streets and eerie temple corridors of history), The Jasmine Throne is a master class in craftsmanship. Without giving too much away, let’s just say that this family conflict also unfolds in a way that made me scream and flutter at easy speed so I could figure out how it all unfolds … but it will not be so easy, because this The book is the first in a trilogy!

Sweet black waves by Kristina Pérez

Inspired by the story of Tristan and Eseult, this book follows Branwen, caught in a conflict between two kingdoms at war: or otherwise, two families who keep secrets about the bloody story between them. The classics are retold again and again for a reason, just as stories about family conflicts have also been played out since the dawn of time, wink wink. The idea of ​​star-crossed lovers colliding with their very family to be together is infinitely fascinating, and this book begs all the juicy questions of loyalty and love.


And there is my list! Hopefully one of these will saturate you, dear reader, with the perfect level of familial anxiety.

Originally released November 2021.

Chloe Gong is New York Times bestselling author of These violent joys and its successor, Our violent ends. She is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she has a double major in English and international relations. Born in Shanghai and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Chloe is now based in New York and pretends to be a real adult. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok under @TheChloeGong or see her website at

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