Pride 2021 is in full swing, and what better way to celebrate than with some excellent queer books? The following six titles all feature lady warriors that love ladies. Most of them are hopeless romantics but still formidable with a sword and always ready to protect those they love. So let’s dive into our favorite books featuring queer lady warriors we think you should be reading!
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso
Ryx, our first queer lady warrior, is an outcast who spends her days as Warden of Gloamingard, guarding the Door that must never be opened. When she accidentally kills a visiting diplomat, she does exactly that with dire results. Teaming up with a group that investigates and eliminates magical threats, Ryx finds herself with friends for the first time, even if the circumstances aren’t ideal. There is, of course, romantic tension with some very cool ladies, gentlemen and nonbinary folks.
However, while Ryx is figuring out what she’s interested in, she never lets a pretty face impair her judgment. She’s relatable, easy to root for and complex, socially inept, but supremely politically savvy. If you’ve been looking for fantasy with a wonderful bi/pan protagonist, Melissa Caruso‘s The Obsidian Tower is perfect for you!
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
You need to know upfront that C.L. Clark‘s The Unbroken might break you. It’s about a conscripted soldier returning to the home she was stolen from and the heir to the throne trying to sway rebels towards peace so she can assume her rightful place and power. It takes place in a queernorm world; the two lead characters are queer women, and there are other lesbian, gay, bi and trans characters.
Touraine is both a high-ranking soldier and an absolute mess. She’s strong and skilled and a great tactician but has no clue what to do when thrown into the world of diplomacy. And look at that cover; the illustrator said, “sun’s out, guns out,” and I am here for it!
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood
The Unspoken Name‘s lead character and orc priestess Csorwe starts her journey out as the sacrificial wife to an ancient god. Before she is ritually killed, a powerful wizard steals her into a new life, training Csorwe to become a spy and assassin. Her new skills make her a tough and dangerous swordswoman, and she travels the world fighting battles for the mage. Csorwe finds common ground with Shuthmili, a young mage Adept. Both are dealing with the aftermath of escaping cults that saw them as sacrifices, and A.K. Larkwood‘s portrayal of their friends-to-something-more romance was easy to root for.
Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Gearbreakers doesn’t come out until the end of the month (June 29, to be exact), but it sounds incredible. Two girls on opposing sides of a war discover they might be fighting for the same reason, and of course, start to fall in love. Zoe Hana Mikuta‘s debut has everything: cyberpunk weaponry, giant mechas, enemies-to-lovers ladies and a fantastic found-family narrative. The book’s official blurb describes it as “perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown‘s Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu‘s Legend series.”
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Gideon, oh Gideon. I feel like you only need to read Tamsyn Muir‘s first line for yourself to truly understand what you’re getting yourself into with this queer lady warrior:
In the myriadic year of our lord — the ten thousandth year of the King Undying, the kindly Prince of Death! — Gideon Nav packed her sword, her shoes and her dirty magazines, and she escaped from the House of the Ninth.
Gideon reminds me of The Unbroken’s Touraine in that she’s an absolute badass while still making choices that made me want to scream at her. As reluctant cavalier to Harrowhark Nonagesimus (heir to the Ninth House and Gideon’s tormentor), she’s incredible with a sword and quick with a quip. She also falls in love with every pretty girl that looks her way. Gideon is as relatable and gay as you can possibly find in a book like Gideon the Ninth, full of space necromancers, swordfights and murder mysteries.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
You may not know it at first because The Priory of the Orange Tree is a slow burn (clocking in at an enormous 848 pages!), but almost no one in this book is straight. Samantha Shannon has pulled off feminist fantasy at its finest, with a queen in a time of turmoil and unrest and the warrior mage assigned to protect her. Ead, the mage in question, is formidable, loyal and brave, and I was obsessed with how her relationship with Sabran grew.
There you have it! This is just a small sampling of the fantastic queer lady warriors in literature. All of these books are available for purchase or preorder at your local indie bookstore or at Bookshop.org. Did your favorite make the list? Let us know below!
This article was originally published on 6/13/21
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