Monday, January 17, 2022

Excellent Queer Fantasy Romance Books | Book Riot

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I’ve at all times liked tales about otherworldly creatures, from Bengali people tales in regards to the shakchunni – a witch who hides in timber and traps unsuspecting ladies if their hair is saved unfastened after darkish – to layered narratives just like the Arabian Nights, stuffed with magical creatures. That I’d develop as much as be somebody who loves fantasy didn’t shock anybody, however for a very long time, my concept of fantasy books was very restricted. They principally featured cis, white, straight characters – and so long as these had been good tales, I hardly ever complained. It wasn’t till I began studying extra broadly and extra intentionally that I spotted that there’s a lot extra on the market to find.

Like quite a lot of life-changing discoveries, I stumbled upon my first queer fantasy romance story unintentionally. My first brush with queer characters in fantasy started with Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments sequence. While the central focus of the sequence is the pairing between a straight couple, Clary and Jace, it was queer characters like Alec and Magnus (#Malec) who later grew to become extra essential to me than the primary couple. Soon I started to learn romance fantasy books the place the primary characters belonged to the LGBTQ+ umbrella in a method or one other and located an extended listing of rewarding titles – all of which, sadly, couldn’t make it on this listing for brevity’s sake.

Some of my early ventures of queer fantasy romance included Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, a subversive tackle the Chosen One story, and Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles. One of the issues I’ve at all times liked about fantasy romance books is that they play with actuality, embrace social commentary, make you squeal over the primary couple (is that this simply me?) and naturally, transport you to a special, immersive world. I hope these titles do the identical whereas additionally providing contemporary views.

Note: Some of the next books take care of content material that could be triggering for readers. I’ve tried to incorporate content material warnings the place I may, however please do your analysis earlier than choosing certainly one of these up.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

If you go in search of tales that characteristic queer fantasy or queer romances, it gained’t be lengthy earlier than you encounter a advice for The Song of Achilles – and for good motive. Retelling Homer’s The Iliad, Madeline Miller writes the story of Greek demigod Achilles and Patroclus, following them by way of childhood to the Trojan War. The ebook follows their bond, and we watch the 2 go from strangers, then buddies, and ultimately to lovers. If the heartfelt romance isn’t adequate bait, this sweeping story options gods and goddesses, sea nymphs and centaurs, treacherous kings, ominous prophecies, and a quest for glory that fantasy lovers will discover acquainted.

She Who Became the Sun book cover

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Shelley Parker-Chan’s debut novel reimagines the founding of the Ming Dynasty. It is 1345, and China is underneath Mongol rule. Meanwhile, two siblings of the Zhu household are given opposing fates: the eighth son, Zhu Chongba, is destined for greatness, whereas the second daughter is prophesied to nothingness. When Zhu Chongba is killed in an assault, his sister assumes his id and enters a monastery. Her journey begins as she quickly joins a insurgent military combating towards the Mongols. A historic epic fantasy sequence, this story contains a genderqueer lesbian most important character, political intrigue, warfare, and naturally, a compelling story that can have you ever ready for the sequel.

CW: warfare themes, homicide, dying, violence, little one homicide (off-page), hunger, gender dysphoria, misgendering, internalized homophobia, ableism, amputation, misogyny

Timekeeper book cover

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Tara Sim creates an alternate Victorian world the place time is much more substantial than we’re used to. Clock towers around the globe be certain that time strikes at a gradual tempo, and mechanics take care of the clock towers. When two o’clock goes lacking at a tower in a small city, Danny, a younger however gifted mechanic, is shipped to repair the issue. Danny himself is riddled with fears within the aftermath of an accident that also haunts him. This small project units the story in movement, as Danny quickly meets somebody sudden, and finds himself entangled in a plot the place all the things shouldn’t be because it appears. Timekeeper is a good looking YA fantasy about time, grief, loneliness, and two boys falling in love.

Winter's Orbit book cover

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Laid-back and fun-loving Kiem, Prince Royal of Iskat, an icy and forbidding planet, has by no means concerned himself in politics. In a bid to maintain their alliances intact, his grandmother the emperor asks Kiem to marry Prince Jainan of Thea – a planet that appears like post-apocalyptic Earth. The hitch? Jainan additionally occurs to be the widow of Kiem’s cousin, Taam. Kiem and Jainan wrangle their solution to a wedding, however simply after they suppose they’re within the clear, Jainan turns into a suspect for Taam’s homicide, throwing the alliance into jeopardy and unearthing buried secrets and techniques. Winter’s Orbit is a sci-fi fantasy novel, a romance, and a political drama all wrapped in a single. It is written in attractive prose with a various set of characters, with a world that was each stunning and immersive.

CW: home abuse

The Jasmine Throne book cover

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

Captive princess Malini grows weaker day-to-day within the magical jail her brother locked her in. Her solely hope arrives within the type of her maidservant Priya, whose forbidden energy holds the important thing to each their freedoms. Malini needs to take the throne and cease the dictatorship her brother is working and Priya is in search of her household. Told in shifting views, The Jasmine Throne explores themes of misogyny and imperialism in an India-inspired world whereas additionally delivering a considerate romance.

CW: misogyny, homicide, violence, homophobia (together with internalized), suicidal ideation, immolation, self-mutilation, familial abuse, physique horror, drug use, fireplace

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street book cover

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

Reading The Watchmaker of Filigree Street appears like ingesting a scorching cup of tea on a chilly, dreary day. Set in Victorian London, the story begins when our protagonist, Thaniel Steepleton, comes residence to discover a mysterious pocket watch. Months later, the watch saves his life. Grateful however uncomprehending, Thaniel goes in search of the watchmaker and finds Keita Mori. A Japanese immigrant, Mori spends his time creating whimsical and magical innovations in his store. Thaniel and Mori quickly discover companionship and solace in one another, when the arrival of an sudden visitor comes alongside and threatens to interrupt their fragile happiness. If you need a slow-paced novel that takes its time letting the reader discover a brand new world and all of the relationships in it, whereas filling you with each marvel and pleasure, decide this one up.

CW: bomb blasts, violence, homicide

The Taking of Jake Livingston book cover

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Ryan Douglass’s debut YA novel follows Jake Livingston, one of many solely Black children at his highschool. If his each day life wasn’t tough sufficient, fraught with microaggressions, Jake can also be set aside by his means to see the lifeless. Most of the time he catches the final moments of the deceased, enjoying in loops. When he encounters Sawyer, the ghost of a teen who shot and killed six children at his college earlier than taking his personal life, this adjustments. Soon our bodies begin turning up in Jake’s neighborhood and his total world is threatened. A creepy, fast-paced thriller that tackles points reminiscent of homophobia, racism, bullying, and abuse, The Taking of Jake Livingston is a darkish fantasy novel that ends too quickly, with the added bonus of a slow-burn romance on the facet.

CW: abuse, sexual assault, college capturing, homophobia, racism, bullying

Spellbound book cover

Spellbound by Allie Therin

Set in a reimagined Twenties New York, Allie Therin’s world is stuffed with magical artifacts known as relics. The story follows artifact collector Arthur Kenzie and scruffy paranormal Rory Flannigan. Rory has the flexibility to look right into a relic’s previous, thereby unlocking the key to activating one. Arthur could not have magic, however he makes up for it in spades together with his kindness and appeal. When a harmful relic washes ashore within the metropolis, hazard follows on its heels, throwing Rory and Arthur collectively of their makes an attempt to cease it from falling into the unsuitable palms. If you need a feel-good romance novel that makes you root for its characters whereas peppering in a bit of social commentary, Spellbound won’t allow you to down.

Downtime book cover

Downtime by Tamara Allen

When FBI Agent Morgan Nash will get caught in Victorian London on account of a spell gone unexpectedly proper, he’s not comfortable. Snarky, drained, and maybe lonelier than he realizes, Morgan is a grouch. He grouches in disbelief when he’s pulled again by way of time, then grouches some extra when he realizes that the nineteenth century isn’t so nice with heating, or electrical energy, or homosexual males (the final one, to be truthful, is atrocious). When Ezra, one of many social gathering who forged the spell – apologetic, kindly, accommodating Ezra – confesses that he can see the lifeless, Morgan decides he’s a conman and is, on prime of being sad, extremely suspicious. Then Morgan stumbles upon a newspaper article about Jack the Ripper and shortly will get caught up making an attempt to catch him. Meanwhile, Ezra’s talents appear an increasing number of convincing, and Morgan quickly finds that he’s not solely vulnerable to shedding his sanity by believing him, but in addition his coronary heart. If you need a historic fantasy romance with a grumpy/sunshine slow-burn romance, a homicide thriller, and located household themes, Downtime has you coated.

CW: violence, ugly murders, sexual abuse, mentions of suicidal ideations

Lore & Lust book cover

Lore & Lust by Karla Nicole

You can’t count on me to jot down this listing with out together with vampires, though Karla Nicole’s vampires are most likely essentially the most cultured and mental ones I’ve examine shortly. Lore & Lust follows the story of Haruka Hirano, a vampire recluse, who’s drawn out by the calls for of British society when he’s requested to witness a bonding ceremony. Along with him, one other vampire has been invited – Nino Bianchi. When Bianchi doesn’t reply to the Duke’s invites, Haruka goes to see him, hoping to persuade him to attend. What begins as a simple friendship between Haruka and Nino slowly turns into one thing extra. Nicole guarantees us a slow-burn romance and Lore & Lust doesn’t disappoint. If you need a considerate vampire romance the place characters’ cultural backgrounds are as a lot part of their story alongside their vampirism, you’re in luck.

The Wolf at the Door book cover

The Wolf on the Door by Charlie Adhara

Someone on Twitter known as the protagonist of this ebook, Cooper Dayton, a cross between a nationwide treasure and a pure catastrophe, they usually couldn’t have been extra apt. In the primary ebook of a sequence, former FBI agent Cooper will get paired with horny werewolf Oliver Park as they examine a sequence of murders. Charlie Adhara writes a neat thriller thriller alongside a slow-burn romance (are you able to inform I’m a fan of those?). The Wolf on the Door has banter, two brokers discreetly checking one another out, and social commentary on police brutality. The cherry on prime of this narrative, nevertheless, is Cooper’s character. Cooper is a bumbling mess wrapped round a core of trustworthy decency who will make you cringe whilst you root for him.

CW: homicide

The Left Hand of Darkness book cover

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Ok. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness follows Genry Ai, a human who is shipped to planet Winter to persuade its inhabitants, the Gethen, to affix the Ekumen, an alliance between worlds in house. The story begins two years into his keep, when his political standing – and life – are endangered due to the shifting powers among the many authorities. His solely ally could also be Estraven, an advisor to the king. Written as a journal, with shifting views, Genry and Estraven inform a narrative. A narrative that tells us if Genry is profitable in his mission, a narrative in regards to the Gethen – their lifestyle, their authorities, their philosophies – a narrative about friendship and a love story between two individuals, alien to one another at first, who come collectively as they’ll. Ursula Ok. Le Guin’s ebook is a considerate exploration of gender, sexuality, friendship, and love.

CW: warfare, labor camps, capturing, suicide, incest, violence

Ever for the reason that pandemic started, I’ve taken shelter by diving into comforting reads. Some of those books challenged me to consider our world and all of the totally different individuals in it, whereas different titles felt like a candy escape away from our more and more troubling actuality. Whether you’re on the hunt for one thing mentally stimulating, or in search of one thing to make you swoon, I hope you discover one thing on this listing to do one, the opposite, or each for you.

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