Welcome back to my series A Thousand Lives, where every week I recommend seven fantasy books for you! This week’s theme, so to speak, is fantasy books with LGBTQ+ representation. Therefore, these following books are either written by LGBTQ+ authors or feature LGBTQ+ characters at the forefront.
Whether you identify as LGBTQ+ yourself or just consider yourself an ally, I guarantee you’ll be tempted to add these amazing books to your TBR! The fascinating characters featured in fantasy are definitely a significant aspect of the genre, and part of what draws readers to read these stories. One of the greatest perks of reading is identifying with certain characters who remind you of yourself, whether its regarding your personality, habits, ideals, life experiences, or simply who you are (or aren’t) attracted to.
Without further ado, here are seven recommended LGBTQ+ fantasy novels!
The Queens of Innis Lear – Tessa Gratton
Three queens must battle for one crown in this stunning adult fantasy. Gaela believes she is the one true heir of Innis Lear. She refuses to stand aside and let her mother’s murderer get off without any consequences. Regan must produce an heir to secure her place on the throne. No matter what it takes, she’s determined to “wield the magic of Innis Lear.”
Finally, there’s Elia. While her sisters lurk in the shadows awaiting to move against the ailing king, Elia will protect him at all costs, even if it means she must marry a total stranger.
Any lover of fantasy won’t want to miss this enchanting and mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy King Lear!
The Unspoken Name – A.K. Larkwood
Csorwe knows exactly when and how she will die. She’ll scale the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and sacrifice herself.
However, the day she’s supposed to die, a powerful mage comes to Csorwe and offers her a choice. If she leaves with him, she’ll live. Turn away from destiny and the god she’s always known and “become a thief, a spy, and assassin.” She could create a new name for herself: “the wizard’s loyal sword.” If she accepts, she’ll also help this wizard destroy the empire and “reclaim his seat of power.”
Soon enough, Csorwe will realize that the gods always remember and sooner or later everyone must pay their debts.
Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan
Lei belongs to the Paper caste, made of the “lowest” and “most persecuted” people of Ikhara. She and her father live in a remote village, haunted by the memories of the day Lei’s mother was snatched away by the castle guards. To this day, Lei never learned why. Now, after the king hears of Lei’s beauty, he sends his guards after her.
Lei then undergoes weeks of intensive training in the “opulent” and “oppressive” palace with eight other girls, who all learn the skills and strategies it takes to charm the king. While at the palace, something happens to Lei that she did not foresee: she falls in love. Her forbidden romance collides with a dangerous plot that could potentially throw Lei’s life into chaos. Lei must now decide how far she will go for both justice and revenge.
The Affair of the Mysterious Letter – Alexis Hall
In this Sherlockian reimagining, Captain John Wynham has returned to Khelathra-Ven after spending five years fighting a war in another universe. While searching for a place to live, he finds himself at 221b Martyrs Walk. John’s new housemate is a sorceress named Shaharazad Haas, who has a dark reputation and a volatile temperament.
Soon after moving in, John finds himself involved in one of Shaharazad’s cases. She must solve a blackmail case against one of her former lovers: Miss Eirene Viola. John is suddenly on an adventure unlike anything he’s ever experienced before. He encounters criminals, pirates, vampires, and even gods. The longer John and Shaharazad spend on this case, the more impossible it seems.
However, reality is variable in Khleathra-Ven, “and the impossible is [Shaharazad’s] stock-in-trade.”
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. However, she’s no beginner; thanks to her, she helped stop the destruction of the universe last summer.
“When someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz,” Fatma is on the case. Forty years ago, al-Jahiz changed the world when he opened the veil between the magical and ordinary realms, then vanished.
Fatma’s murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, ordered to “condemn the modern age for its social oppressions.” Al-Jahiz’s magical powers create unrest and chaos in the streets of Cairo, and could very soon draw the attention of people around the world.
Fatma must figure out who this murderer really is, with the help of her colleagues and an old acquaintance. Or, she must face the truth that al-Jahiz really has returned and is “exactly who he seems” to be.
The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student who happens upon a strange book hidden among others. As he flips through the pages, he reads about “lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes.” Suddenly, he comes across something remarkable and unsettling: a story from his childhood. Zachary is stunned and decides to figure out how this story became recorded in the book.
After discovering some clues, Zachary is led to a masquerade party in New York, then to a secret library miles below the earth. There, Zachary discovers “lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead.” He also meets those who sacrifice so much to preserve this sacred place, and those who would destroy it. He befriends Mirabel and Dorian, who will journey with Zachary as he ventures through this “magical world” as he attempts to understand his purpose in the book he found (and in his own world).
In the Ravenous Dark – A.M. Strickland
The ones gifted with magic are given undead spirits to protect (and control) them in Thanopolis. Rovan has been hiding her magic ever since her father died trying to save her from this fate. However, she accidentally reveals her powers one day and then has one of these spirits assigned to her. Suddenly, she finds herself in a world full of “palace intrigue and deception.”
Rovan soon develops strong feelings for two individuals she cannot entirely trust. The first is Lydea, “a beguiling, rebellious princess.” The other is the spirit who can literally control Rovan’s body and soul: Ivrilos.
The three come across a secret that is fatal for Thanopolis. Rovan must form a rebellion in Thanopolis and the underworld to save her people. She must also find a way to trust Lydea and Ivrilos…as long as she doesn’t betray them first.
Want to purchase any of the books mentioned above? Just click on the title!
Check out my previous recommendation lists below: