Genre: YA Fantasy
Queer Rep: Lesbian
Warnings: Off page sexual assault and discussions of sexual assault, violence
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
My thirst for fantasy remained high while perusing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and my thirst for F/F even higher. When I found this gem—with a gorgeous cover and POC protagonist—it was love at first sight. Lucky for me, this rich, intricately woven world and believable characters made sure the love remained until the very last page.
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Queer Rep: Bisexual, Gay
Warnings: Memories of/references to homophobia
Ostracized by his family for his sexual identity, Prince Stephan is forced to flee his homeland before his older brother ascends the throne.
Stephan has been drawn to feminine things for as long as he can remember, so when the dire need for secrecy arises, he seizes the chance to don the perfect disguise. With the help of his loyal servant, Stephan picks his way through hostile territory, hiding his identity by posing as a woman. His only hope for asylum lies with the man who had been his friend and lover three years ago. But when that man also happens to be the crown prince of a rival country, things are a bit more complicated.
With war looming on the horizon, the danger of discovery grows by the moment. With all odds stacked against him, will Stephan find a safe place where he can be his true self, or is he doomed to remain a castaway?
I have been thirsty for fantasy lately, and this novella called to me from the internet. Pretty writing? Check. Decadent descriptions of palaces? Check. An undercover prince attempting to reunite with his past lover? CHECK. And of course, there’s a ball.
Queer Rep: Pansexual, Non-Binary side characters
Warnings: Minor fatphobia against an MC who absolutely does not give a shit what you think.
Princess Esofi of Rhodia and Crown Prince Albion of Ieflaria have been betrothed since they were children but have never met. At age seventeen, Esofi’s journey to Ieflaria is not for the wedding she always expected but instead to offer condolences on the death of her would-be husband.
But Ieflaria is desperately in need of help from Rhodia for their dragon problem, so Esofi is offered a new betrothal to Prince Albion’s younger sister, the new Crown Princess Adale. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.
Queer Rep: Gay and… bi/pan?? Maybe. Not positive.
Warnings: … fantasy violence?
Simon Snow is The Chosen One, and he’s absolute crap at it.
He can’t control his magic, his vampire roommate, Baz, is constantly attempting to kill him, and there’s an evil magic-eater destroying the world and wearing his face while he does it.
To top it off, his roommate-turned-nemesis hasn’t even bothered to turn up for their final year at Watford School of Magicks. Simon is sure Baz is plotting against him in some dark alley somewhere, but Simon refuses to be taken by surprise.