For you today, Gentle Reader, I have some super fun queer fantasy book recommendations. A favorite genre of mine!
You can LISTEN to this blog post if you’d prefer…
I like my books cheerful, charming, and happy with a strong romance thread. So that’s what I’ve chosen for you today (mostly). However, there is a whole glorious mess of fabulous queer fantasy out there that deals in darker themes and has more violent tenancies.
If that’s your jam then happy hunting, meanwhile can I interest you in the sunny side?
Fantasy Books with Queer Romance in ‘em
1. The Lightning-Struck Heart by T.J. Klune
This book has so many things I adore in a fantasy. Extremely snarky gay boy main character. Lots of awesome magic. Horny hornless unicorns with a thing for scarves and dragon BDSM. Okay maybe I didn’t know I wanted that last one, but I do now!
Honestly, this book is hilarious. No really, I was reading it and actually crying with laughter, it’s that funny. This is basically my nerdy-heart’s ideal beach read.
Are you looking for Pratchett only gay and a touch crude? Well, here you go.
2. Sword Masters by Selina Rosen
This is the story of a woman with a very particular set of skills and some seriously dangerous secrets. Tarius infiltrates not only a school for swordsmen but a foreign culture, in an effort to build alliances and defeat a common enemy. Disguised as a man she is forced, eventually, to marry a woman, and must face the consequences of her own lies on a personal, as well as a professional, level.
So yeah, killer lesbians with lots of sword fighting and bonus cross-dressing!
3. Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell
Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell is one of my comfort reads. This is a classic old school fantasy romance, with soldiers and wizards, kings and crowns, and magical beasts… only gay. The setting, cold and harsh, becomes a character itself that folds around and supports the honor and standing of those who chose to live bleaker lives.
It gets a bit sexy at times, but if that’s okay with you, this is a deft handling of atmospheric fantasy meets older men falling in love.
4. Knight of Ghosts and Shadows by Mercedes Lackey (OP no digital edition)
This was one of the very first books I ever read that had a poly-amorous triad at its heart. Lackey wrote urban fantasy before it was cool, and did it with her usual charm and aplomb (not to mention a few subtle jabs at various dominant cultural paradigms).
Want your elves in LA and bumming about the Renaissance Faire? Then this book if for you. The romance is very light, but still present, and this book may have the most romantic ending ever scribbled.
5. A Demon for Midwinter by K.L. Noone
This is a sweet and charming gay paranormal romance set in a well conceived urban fantasy world. For those of us who like a solid romance with our UF this one features some stand up tropes (May/December, hidden identity, rockstar, AND boss/employee). So yeah, get your trope on!
What can I say except that this is one of those stories where I spent the second half of the book grinning like a lunatic. Gotta recommend it.
6. Hell & High Water by Charlie Cochet
Cochet’s Thirds series features genetically altered shifter humans (mostly cats) and their various romances in an elite military task force in an alternate world urban fantasy. The hero of the first book is Dex, a normal human cop obsessed with gummy candy. I can’t imagine anyone not loving Dex, as he bring ridiculous banter to a whole new level.
The concepts (and consequences) behind the emergence of shifters are thoroughly explored and very well drawn, plus there are mysteries to be solved, identities to explore, and battles to be fought. This series can get pretty rough and violent, and also very erotic, so trigger warnings all round.
7. Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford
Kai is my favorite type of main character – the tough, scrappy, outcast, snark-monger extraordinaire. He is swimming in snark, splashing about happily and not caring if he drowns everyone (including himself) with his vicious wit. He’s also bisexual, or pansexual, or species sexual.
The world building in this series is based on a clear and simple concept: That the fae realm and ours collided, destroying much of each and leaving behind a weird post apocalyptic California filled with vicious dragons and other magical pests, and lost elf cities merged on top of (or inside) our own. This leaves behind humans who are only just surviving, elves who are slowly fading away, with each becoming a fetish for the other. Of course, this world is a metaphor for Kai himself ~ a merged creation, annihilated and mutilated in the act of birth, but possibly greater than the sum of his parts.
8. Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee
Want your fantasy with a dose of superhero? Or should I say, a not quite maybe superhero? Jess has no superpowers (despite her heritage) and so she takes on an internship to get her college applications in order. Unfortunately, said internship is with the local supervillain. Fortunately, it’s also with her crush, Abby.
Everyone has super secrets and unexpected depth in this charming YA.
9. Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson (no print book but the ebook is FREE on Amazon)
This is gay romance meets high fantasy. Literally “high” as half the setting is a series of floating islands way up in the air over the ocean. Which made it feel almost but not quite steampunk.The setting is spine tingling and glorious, and the romance is delightful.
This enemies-to-lovers romance is deceptively simple, because it’s actually full of delicately handled themes like PTSD, the politics of invasion, arranged marriages, and the handling of refugees.
- 50 Must-Read LGBT Fantasy Books (BookRiot)
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Book de Jour!
The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).
Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.
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Quote of the Day:
Where is the GMAIL suggested reply for “I’m distracted by this trope I’ve just decided is my new favorite thing, so now I have 40 books to read and I’ll get back to you maybe by the end of the year”?
~ Self on TwitterGail Carriger Recommends, Supernatural Society