I am sandwiched in the middle of a basketball team sized family of brilliant siblings so I am, generally speaking, pro-sibling, and perhaps for that reason I love finding portrayals of this unique relationship in SFF. But while it’s common to find children’s books with siblings as joint protagonists, working together, this natural grouping seems to die out abruptly in YA and adult novels. Our protagonists fight and magic and politick their way through realms of fantastic worlds and alternative futures but more commonly they do so as loners, or with friends or romantic partners, rather than with family. Amidst all the orphans and only children and protagonists whose families have been killed off off-screen, where do all our siblings go when we grow up?
Obviously having your protagonist out on their own can be convenient from a narrative point of view, but leaving siblings in to support, antagonise, frustrate and really know our protagonist opens up all kinds of excellent potential for fascinating, nuanced relationships that add to the story even as they complicate it. Here are five SFF books that take on this challenge and run with it.