Fantasy PRIDE

Read Feed

Fantasy PRIDE

Fantasy Novels Featuring LGBTQ+ Characters

Nerd culture is all the rage these days, and it’s never been cooler to be into science fiction, horror, and fantasy than it is right now. Fans are diving deep into mythologies and histories of invented worlds, finding themselves in the sword-fighting, spell-casting, dragon-riding, and laser-shooting heroes that dominate our media. But what if you’re a queer lover of space opera and epic fantasy and superhero smackdowns? LGBTQIA+ representation in speculative fiction is growing, but it can still be difficult to find queer characters who aren’t just comedic relief or sidekicks; so, in honor of Pride Month, here are just a few titles of adult and YA fantasy (and one sci-fi) featuring queer characters in main or strongly supporting roles.
 
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
In a nation born of angels, an enslaved woman will unknowingly gain access to the secrets of the realm. Phedre no Delaunay is sold into indentured servitude as a child. When her bond is purchased by an enigmatic nobleman, she is trained in history, theology, politics, foreign languages and the arts of pleasure. An exquisite courtesan and talented spy, Phedre soon stumbles upon a plot that threatens her homeland, and has no choice but to make a harrowing escape and an even more harrowing journey to return to her people and deliver a warning of an impending invasion. That proves only the first step in a quest that will take her to the edge of despair and beyond. Well-loved among queer and feminist fantasy readers, Kushiel’s Dart is the first of a trilogy of trilogies set in a noble world of political intrigue, scheming villainesses, courtly poets, traitors and lovers of all varieties.
 
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy. It also becomes extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime, tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. It’s lucrative, but risky, and risk wasn’t part of Rosemary’s plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew finds themselves confronting a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe. Full of aliens that upset the gender binary, characters spanning the spectrum of sexual identity, and an underlying message of hope and anti-prejudice, this debut from a rising sci-fi star is warm, welcome and wacky.

Ash by Malinda Lo
In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. But the day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love. A queer retelling of Cinderella, Ash is empowering and romantic, exploring the complicated connections between life, love, grief, isolation and death.
 
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Ancient Greece. The Age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. A queer rendering of the Trojan War, The Song of Achilles is equal parts epic clash between gods and kings, and devastating love story that cuts to the core of what it means to be human.
 
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been…well, Chosen. That’s what his roommate, Baz, says at least. Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but in this case, he’s probably right. Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up. Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. There’s coming out and coming of age and coming to terms with irritating prophecies. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.