June is Pride Month and the time is right to jump into authors writing for the LGBTQIA+ community. There are plenty of well-written, heartfelt books that fly under the radar. This is especially true when it comes to fantasy fiction, which tends to reach a smaller audience in general. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the topic – there is something for everyone on this list. Let’s take a look at some of the best LGBTQIA+ fantasy novels to check out for Pride!
Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells is a timeless novel about love, loss and conquering the odds. Maren’s goal in life is a simple one: to live a long, happy life with her girlfriend Kaia. When Kaia is abducted into the ranks of the emperor’s agents, that dream is thrown into great peril. Unwilling to watch her partner be forced to live a life that goes against the core of her being, Maren takes matters into her own hands. What follows next is a dramatic rescue plot involving dragons, prophecies, and royal secrets that could tear the couple, not to mention their country, apart forever.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Crier’s War by Nina Varela is an engrossing tale of romance, revenge, and the social mores that drive human behavior. The kingdom of Rabu has been ravaged by a war that saw humanity bent to the will of the less-than-hospitable overlords known as the Automae. Society is in turmoil as families are separated, some never to be made whole, and victims seek justice for their fallen loved ones.
Ayla is a human servant who has vowed to seek revenge for her family’s murder by killing Lady Crier, the Sovereign’s daughter. She did not anticipate Lady Crier’s impact upon her morally and romantically, however, and the story ultimately shifts gears into one that explores the difficulty of facing injustice that threatens to tear relationships apart.
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire is no stranger to the fantasy genre, and Every Heart a Doorway showcases her experience with an impressive level of polish. The story explores a world where the titular doorway guards alternate worlds that are dangerous and magical in equal parts. Walking through the door permanently changes people, most of whom are young girls, and leaves them somewhat ill-equipped for returning to their homelands and picking up where they left off. This is where Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children comes in.
Nancy is a young girl who has returned from her travels beyond the doorway and is placed at the Home, a shelter for those who have experienced what lies behind the door and have lived to tell their tales. Just as she arrives to the refuge, however, tragedy strikes. It is up to Nancy and her new schoolmates to get to the bottom of the murders and save the Home as well as each other. At its heart, the story is about finding a family that supports you and standing up to opposition to better reality.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia is a coming-of-age story that follows Daniela Vargas as she prepares to graduate from the Medio School for Girls, a finishing school that gives privileged young women the skills to raise their husbands’ children and run their households. This comfortable life is a far cry from the poverty-stricken lives that the ‘lower class’ lead, and Dani’s parents sacrificed everything to secure her a chance at that future. Her pedigree is fake and, should her true history be discovered, Dani will end up back on the fringes of society.
This story explores the difficulty, but ultimate triumph, in shirking comfort for truth. Dani must decide between clinging to the life her parents imagined for her – the life they sacrificed to secure – and following her own sensibilities and seeking a destiny that rings true. The process is not an easy one, but the journey is enthralling and allows readers the opportunity to perhaps see their way through confusion and strife as they make their way in the world.
These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
Set in modern-day Salem, Massachusetts, These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling is an exciting urban fantasy title that explores the experience of living a ‘double life’ while pursuing something that many do not believe is real. Hannah is an elemental witch with the ability to control air, water, earth and fire, and she is good at what she does. There is one catch, however: using magic is a secret, and if any non-witch discovered her secret, Hannah could lose it forever. She spends most of her time laying low and avoiding her fellow witch, ex-girlfriend Veronica.
Hannah’s ability to live a quiet life is hindered when Salem’s witches begin to experience troubling attacks that seem to originate from a blood witch. Unfortunately, her coven is less convinced of this than she is, and so Hannah is left with no other choice but to team up with Veronica in a race against time to save the city’s witches once and for all. The tale is an exciting one that manages to blend the fantastical with the mundane to create a journey that feels ‘authentic’. The protagonist’s struggle to fit in while still being true to herself and her talents is a highly relatable one that people of almost any age will recognize.
The LGBTQIA+ literature community might be frequently underrepresented, but it has more than its fair share of talent. These are only a few of the exciting reads just waiting to occupy your time the next time you break away from your favorite game and grant you some insight into less ‘traditional’ lives at the same time. If you did not find the perfect title to pick up, in other words, don’t worry – there is definitely a good fit for your needs. Take a moment to jump into the fantasy community and find your next favorite author!