Best Queer Fantasy

By Ry Herman

By Ry Herman
Just a few of my favorite LGBTQI+ fantasy novels!

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

MELISSA BASHARDOUST

£14.99 £13.94

In far too many books, the protagonist makes mistake after frustrating mistake, driving the reader to distraction over how idiotic they're being. Much rarer is the book where the protagonist makes mistake after frustrating mistake and the reader thinks, "Yeah ... that's probably what I would have done, too." This is one of the latter books, keeping you on the side of a flawed heroine even when you want to shout at her. It's a tough trick to pull off, but this book does so admirably.

The Midnight Lie

Marie Rutkoski

£14.99 £13.94

An exquisitely written book. The prose is beautiful, and the characters compelling. I'm eager to find out what happens next.

Gideon the Ninth

Tamsyn Muir

£19.98 £18.58

If there's one thing I love, it's SFF novels that drop you into the middle of a fascinating world with minimal explanation or exposition. And when that fascinating world can be described as "queer space necromancers", well, I'm pretty much sold. The characters and plot live up to the premise; this book tells a solid, propulsive, stay-up-late-to-finish-it story.

Pantomime

Laura Lam

£9.99 £9.29

The Steel Remains

Richard Morgan

£9.99 £9.29

Sub Rosa

£16.98 £15.79

Somewhere between magical realism, stark realism, and allegory. I’m still mulling this one over in some ways, and it's good when books have you still thinking about them after you put them down.

Palimpsest

Catherynne Valente

£14.99 £13.94

The City of Woven Streets

Emmi Itaranta

£8.99 £8.36

The appearance of a mysterious mute stranger leads a weaver into a web of conspiracies. One of the best things about this book is the beautiful, poetic language it’s written in; that makes it a pleasure to read. The plot of the story moves with the logic of dream and myth; correspondences, half-glimpsed pieces, a journey to the underworld. Good stuff.

The Raven Tower

Ann Leckie

£16.98 £15.79

A narratively interesting -- as is usual for Leckie -- and engaging extended riff on Hamlet (with some shades of the Iliad in the backstory as well.) An immersive, page-turning read. And that's saying something when you consider that it's narrated by a heavily philosophical rock.

Foundryside

Robert Jackson Bennett

£9.99 £9.29

A propulsive, engaging story. And it's also a classic cyberpunk story set in a crossbow-era fantasy world, which is pretty neat.

The Unspoken Name

A. K. Larkwood

£16.98 £15.79

This was a delight. It went in directions I didn't expect, but all the parts worked together to make a seamless whole. Highly recommended.

Things We Say in the Dark

Kirsty Logan

£8.99 £8.36

A set of excellent, unsettling stories from this always-excellent author. I think my favorites were "Things My Wife and I Found Hidden in Our House" and "The World's More Full of Weeping Than You Can Understand", but all of them were intriguing, disturbing, or both.

In Other Lands

Sarah Rees Brennan

£11.99 £11.15

Well, this book was wonderful. It's a novel that gleefully inverts, interrogates, and explodes all the tropes of portal fantasy, magical boarding school fantasy, war fantasy, young adult fantasy, and fantasy centered on a male protagonist, while somehow at the same time having a stunning level of emotional realism and depth. I laughed a lot. I teared up once. Thumbs way up.

Swordspoint

Ellen Kushner

£9.99 £9.29

Crier's War

Nina Varela

£12.99 £12.08

Missing, Presumed Dead

Emma Berquist

£12.99 £12.08

Carry On

Rainbow Rowell

£7.99 £7.43

It’s hard to read Carry On without seeing it as being in dialogue with the Harry Potter series. Or, perhaps more to the point for Carry On, in dialogue with Harry Potter fanfiction, since the idea for the book originated in the slash fanfiction a fictional character wrote for an imaginary, somewhat Potter-like series that existed in the world of Rowell’s previous book Fangirl. Anyway, that allows the author to do some interesting things; essentially, for one thing, this stand-alone Chosen-One-At-The-Magic-School book is something like the eighth book in a series that doesn’t actually exist.

Ash

Malinda Lo

£7.99 £7.43

Huntress

Malinda Lo

£8.99 £8.36

The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea

Maggie Tokuda-Hall

£7.99 £7.43

This is an odd duck of a book. It has the twisty plot of a thriller, but as seen through the lens of a fairy tale. I liked it.

Karen Memory

Elizabeth Bear

£10.99 £10.22

A steampunk western about a prostitute’s fight against nefarious foes in a northwestern port town. I loved the narrator’s voice.

Out of the Blue

Sophie (Autor) Cameron

£7.99 £7.43

I really liked this book. A touching and affecting novel with great characters.

The Ruin of Angels

Max Gladstone

£18.99

Ever since the mind-blowing Three Parts Dead, I have been waiting for Max Gladstone to produce a book that equals his stunning debut. This one is definitely the closest yet to achieving that same sense of wonder and complexity.

The Mermaid's Daughter: A Novel

Ann Claycomb

£9.99 £9.29

What this book does well, it does very well indeed -- which is the use of a fantasy story to depict and examine a real-world situation. In this case, that's living with or loving someone who has a chronic, debilitating illness, whether mental or physical. The use of The Little Mermaid to examine that turns out to be a powerful way to tell the story.

Creatures of Will and Temper

Molly Tanzer

£12.99 £12.08

A riff on The Picture of Dorian Gray that wisely decides to go in very different directions from the original, changing the characters and their relationships to each other, adding a more readily apparent fantasy component, and focusing on the difference between sensualism and corruption.

The Gloaming

Kirsty Logan

£8.99 £8.36

A moody and atmospheric piece of magical realism looking at family, loss, love, leaving home, and returning to it. It's not a book that spells everything out, and I suspect it won't be everyone's cup of tea. But I liked it.

Seafarer's Kiss

Julia Ember

£15.99 £14.87

Not a retelling of The Little Mermaid so much as a book that uses The Little Mermaid as a loose jumping off point to tell a new and different story, but I rather liked that; after all, The Little Mermaid Mermaid already exists.

A Portable Shelter

Kirsty Logan

£8.99 £8.36

These elusive stories took a little while to work their way into my brain, but once they did it was definitely worthwhile. The book is at its best when it's telling stories about stories -- showing both how they reveal the truth, and how they conceal it.

Are You Listening?

Tillie Walden

£13.99 £13.01