QUEER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

QUEER BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

QUEER SFF

TIMEKEEPER BY TARA SIM

GENRE: YA Historical Steampunk Fantasy Romance

FIRST BOOK: Timekeeper

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in an alternate Victorian London where time is controlled by magic clock towers. When the clocks break, time goes wrong, and if the clocks stop completely, time in their area stops, and they are sealed off from the rest of the world. Danny Hart is a clock mechanic – someone with the ability to see and repair the strands of time – one of the youngest ever, whose father is trapped in a town where time has stopped. Danny wants to be assigned to the project to build a new clock tower and free the town, which has never been attempted before. Unfortunately, Danny is suffering from PTSD after a rather terrible accident, so the lead mechanic is unwilling to trust him with any serious responsibilities. Danny is assigned to fix the Colton tower in Enfield, where he falls in love with a time spirit, which is illegal. Meanwhile, terrorists are bombing clock towers and stopping time.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, gay male side-characters, non-specific WLW side-characters 

OWN VOICES?: Not for sexuality, but for mixed-race rep (major caucasian/Indian character)

PERSONAL OPINION: My second favourite series of all time, and my favourite book romance. Danny is one of my favourite protagonists ever.

PERSONAL RATING:

Timekeeper: 5 stars

Chainbreaker: 5 stars

Firestarter: 5 stars

WARNINGS: (Books 2 & 3) Some graphic violence, torture, PTSD

LOKA LEGENDS BY JAY BELL

GENRE: YA High Fantasy Romance

FIRST BOOK: The Cat in the Cradle

LENGTH: Two books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world which is ruled by Oligarchs – mages who guard the Lokas – crystals of elemental power. Dylan is the son of Jack, the Blue Oligarch – the Oligarch of water. Someone starts assassinating the Oligarchs and stealing their Lokas, so, after scrying to work out what to do, Jack gives his Loka to Dylan, and sends him to stay with Tyjinn, the Red Oligarch, for protection. Things don't quite go to plan.

REP: Gay male protagonists, gay male love interests

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A good, fun series with some good characters and cute romances.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Cat in the Cradle: 4 stars

From Darkness to Darkness: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Minor homophobia

HALF BAD BY SALLY GREEN

PROBLEMATIC ISSUE: Sally Green is a TERF. 

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Half Bad

LENGTH: Three Books

SYNOPSIS:

A dark story set in a world with white witches and black witches. The white witches hate and persecute the black witches. Nathan Byrn is a half-code, half-white witch, and half-black witch. As such, his life is hell. The first book follows Nathan as he grows up as more and more sanctions are placed on half-codes by the white witch council.

REP: Bisexual male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest, arguably gender-non-conforming side character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A solid series with an incredibly strong protagonist. The second book drags a bit.

PERSONAL RATING:

Half Bad: 4 stars

Half Wild: 4 stars

Half Lost: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Graphic violence, child abuse, torture, racially-motivated violence, cannibalism

SIMON SNOW BY RAINBOW ROWELL

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy Romance

FIRST BOOK: Carry On

LENGTH: Currently two books. Will be three.

SYNOPSIS:

About a boy named Simon Snow, the worst chosen one ever. Simon is destined to defeat the Insidious Humdrum, a creature that sucks magic from the world. Unfortunately, Simon sucks at magic. At the same time he has to contend with his roommate, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, or Baz, who Simon hates and is convinced is a vampire. Then the ghost of a dead woman shows up in his room, looking for her son. Simon and Baz have to team up to solve the mystery of the dead woman, which they believe is related to the death of Baz's mother. 

REP: Non-specific MLM protagonist, gay male love interest, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: The first book is great, though it refuses to acknowledge the possibility Simon is bisexual, even using the phrasing “gay for [X].” The sequel rectifies this, but is terrible in every other respect. I do not recommend reading past the first book.

PERSONAL RATING:

Carry On: 5 stars

Wayward Son: 3 stars (possibly too generous)

WARNINGS: (Wayward Son) Kidnapping, toxic relationships, depression

CITY OF SPIRES BY CLAUDIE ARSENEAULT

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: City of Strife

LENGTH: Currently two books (will be four)

SYNOPSIS:

Set in the free city of Isandor, it follows the idealistic Lord Diel Dathirii as he attempts to rally the great houses of Isandor to stand up against the encroachment of the tyrannical Myrian Empire, and their vicious agent in Isandor, Master Avenazar. But before he can unite the houses, he has to contend with the grudges between them. Meanwhile, Lord Arathiel Brasten returns to Isandor after a century trapped in a place where time doesn't flow. Not knowing if his family still stands, or if they would accept him if it did, Arathiel takes shelter in the slums of Isandor. 

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM protagonists, Asexual male protagonist, Major male aromantic character, Major non-specific MLM character, Major lesbian character, Major bisexual female character, Major transgender female character, Major non-binary character, Minor non-binary character, Major polyamorous characters. Isandor’s society has no expectations of sexuality or gender identity.

OWN VOICES?: Yes, for aromantic asexual rep

PERSONAL OPINION: Absolutely incredible story with incredible characters – one of my favourite found families in fiction. Weaving of themes of class, race, gender and sexuality into the narrative is masterful. Villains are a little unoriginal.

PERSONAL RATING: 

City of Strife: 4.5 stars

City of Betrayal: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Torture, slavery, child abuse, racism, homophobia, classism, classist violence

WONDERS OF THE INVISIBLE WORLD BY CHRISTOPHER BARZAK

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

It's about a boy called Aidan Lockwood growing up in the small, sleepy town of Temperance, Ohio. Aidan is just kind of drifting through life, he has no friends, or any real hobbies or interests. Then his best childhood friend, Jarrod Doyle, returns to Temperance after years away in Cleveland, and starts talking about things that Aidan doesn't remember, but definitely should, such as the strange man in a black suit that only he could see. They decide to try to get Aidan's memories back, and along the way they discover the history of the Lockwood family.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: My favourite book of all time.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Minor homophobia

PROXY BY ALEX LONDON

GENRE: YA Dystopian Science Fiction

FIRST BOOK: Proxy

LENGTH: Two books + epilogue short story

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world where there are proxies, people who are punished for the crimes of a rich patron as a way to pay off their debts. It follows a proxy called Syd Carton who has one year of proxying left before he's free. Then the boy he proxies for accidentally kills someone, and Syd is sentenced to 14 years in a labour camp. He resolves to escape before his sentence can be carried out.

REP: Gay male protagonist, bisexual male love interest, gay male love interest

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A fun, clever series with some excellently done themes and commentary.

PERSONAL RATING:

Proxy: 4 stars

Guardian: 4 stars

Daydreamer (epilogue short story): 4 stars 

WARNINGS: Torture, slavery, moderate homophobia

SKYBOUND BY ALEX LONDON

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Black Wings Beating

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in the land of Uztar, a place where birds of prey are revered, and falconry is the main way of life. Follows a pair of twins from the Six Villages, Brysen and Kylee, who go into the mountains to capture a ghost eagle, the most dangerous bird in existence. Brysen goes to trade the eagle for the life of his lover, and Kylee goes to protect Brysen. They are followed by Nyall, who is in love with Kylee. Meanwhile, an army of religious fanatics called the Kartami are marching on Uztar, intent on wiping out the falconers and the birds that dare to obey them.

REP: Gay male protagonist, aromantic asexual female protagonist, non-specific MLM love interests, non-specific WLW side-characters, nonbinary side-character. Uztar doesn’t seem to have any expectations about sexuality.

OWN VOICES?: Yes, for gay rep

PERSONAL OPINION: Incredible world building and incredible main characters. All in all an excellent story about abuse, cycles of abuse, generational trauma and buried history.

PERSONAL RATING:

Black Wings Beating: 3.5 stars

Red Skies Falling: 5 stars

Gold Wings Rising: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Child abuse, graphic violence, slavery, blood sport, depression, PTSD, gore, torture, mutilation, animal death, animal abuse, genocide, suicidal ideation

THE STARLESS SEA BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

GENRE: Adult Urban/Portal Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

About a college student called Zachary who finds a story from his own childhood in a strange book in the university library and resolves to find out what it means.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, non-specific WLW side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Incredible book with incredible writing, great characters, fantastic worldbuilding and an intriguing plot. My favourite aspect was the metacommentary on storytelling.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Mutilation

NIGHTRUNNER BY LYNN FLEWELLING

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy 

FIRST BOOK: Luck in the Shadows

LENGTH: Seven books + short-story collection

SYNOPSIS:

Follows Alec of Kerry, a boy who is arrested for poaching. While in the dungeon, he meets a fellow prisoner called Seregil, and the pair perform a breakout. Seeing potential in Alec, Seregil takes him on as a travelling companion, and eventually an apprentice. For Seregil is part of a secret spy network and he thinks Alec has what it takes to join them.

REP: Bisexual male protagonists, non-specific MLM side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A good, fun adventure series with some great characters, and fantastic atmosphere. A few aggravating problems with the first book.

PERSONAL RATING:

Luck in the Shadows: 3.5 stars

Stalking Darkness: 4.5 stars

Traitor’s Moon: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Underage protagonist, age gap, dubious consent (not between the main characters) (scene reads like rape, but isn’t treated that way. Unsure what the author intended), graphic violence, gore, PTSD, shunning, suicide, racial slurs (invented)

RIFTER BY GINN HALE

GENRE: Adult High/Portal Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Shattered Gates

LENGTH: Ten novellas/Three bind-ups

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a man named John Toffler, who steals a key intended for his roommate Kyle, a strange man with tattoos on his eyelids and scars on his face. This turns out to be a mistake because Kyle is actually Kahlil, an otherworldly warrior who has been assigned to watch John. For John is actually the Rifter, a god destined to destroy Kahlil's world. 

REP: Gay male protagonists, gay male love interest, gay male side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Great story with fantastic worldbuilding and fantastic characters.

PERSONAL RATING: 

The Shattered Gates: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia, possibly some graphic violence

THE RULES BY F. T. LUKENS

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy Romance

FIRST BOOK: The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic

LENGTH: Two books

SYNOPSIS:

Follows a boy called Bridger Whitt who accidentally becomes the apprentice of a wizard who mediates between the magical and non-magical worlds. Meanwhile he also has to deal with his crush on his neighbour, a hot football player named Leo.

REP: Bisexual male protagonist, gay(?) male love interest

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: An incredibly fun story with some sweet romance that nails the emotional beats when it needs to.

PERSONAL RATING: 

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic: 4.75 stars

WARNINGS:

THE RUNEBINDER CHRONICLES BY ALEX R. KAHLER

GENRE: YA Post-Apocalyptic Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Runebinder

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS:

Set in a world where the return of magic brought on the end of the world. Now the world is overrun by necromancers and undead creatures called Howls, who serve the Dark Lady, the goddess of death. It follows a mage who hunts Howls called Tenn, who lets out a massive burst of power that gets him noticed by the leaders of the resistance, and also the Kin, the children of the Dark Lady.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, non-specific MLM antagonist. According to the author, every major character is queer in some way. 

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A decent story with great characters, confusing worldbuilding, and some odd phrasing choices.

PERSONAL RATING:

Runebinder: 3.5 stars

WARNINGS: Graphic violence, torture, body horror, moderate homophobia

TAPESTRY BY HALLIE BURTON

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world that was devastated by civil war. After the war, it was determined that everything that stirred strong emotions should be banned, especially music. The world is structured into different castes based on a person's talent, which creates a rather terrible class divide. It follows a boy called Tallie, a designer, who befriends a lower class and guildless person called Jonis. They have to go on the run from the militia after they accidentally discover music.

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest, gay male side-character. Their society does not place any expectations on sexuality.

OWN VOICES?: No, but the author is a queer woman

PERSONAL OPINION: A pretty good book with a cute romance. The beginning was a bit difficult to get into, and the book becomes weirdly religious, in a one-with-nature sort of way, towards the end.

PERSONAL RATING: 3.5 stars

WARNINGS: 

THE TAROT SEQUENCE BY K. D. EDWARDS

GENRE: Adult Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Last Sun

LENGTH: Currently two books. Will be nine.

SYNOPSIS:

Set in the city of New Atlantis, which was created by Atlanteans after the fall of their home. New Atlantis is ruled by the Arcana, creatures of immense magical power named after the major arcana of tarot. It follows a man called Rune Saint John, the last remaining heir of the Sun Throne, whose entire family was slaughtered when he was fifteen. Rune is hired to investigate the disappearance of another Arcana heir, Addam Saint Nicholas, the son of Lady Justice. Rune also gets roped into protecting a seventeen year-old Arcana heir, Matthias Saint Valentine, until he turns twenty-one.

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest, non-specific MLM major characters, asexual male side-character, nonbinary side-character. Atlantean society is binormative.

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: Utterly fantastic story with an incredible protagonist and an intriguing mystery. Structure of the first book was a mite repetitive.

PERSONAL RATING: 

The Last Sun: 4.5 stars

The Sunken Mall (novella): 4.25 stars

The Hanged Man: 5 stars

Scenes from Quarantine (novella): 4 stars

WARNINGS: Rape, rape/sexual abuse of minors, some gore, whipping, drug use, forced drug use, drug addiction, paedophile antagonist, brothels, sex work (that does not feel at all consensual, so it's more like sex slavery), violence towards children, referenced cannibalism, referenced torture, mind control

TEETH BY HANNAH MOSKOWITZ

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy/Magical Realism

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

Follows a boy called Rudy whose younger brother has cystic fibrosis, so their family moves to a remote island which supposedly holds a miracle cure – silver Enki fish – eating them is supposed to help with sickness, and increases the lifespan dramatically. On the island Rudy encounters a fish-boy.

REP: Non-specific MLM protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest

OWN VOICES?: No, but the author is possibly queer

PERSONAL OPINION: An utterly fantastic story with incredible characters and incredible themes. But totally horrifying in just about every way.

PERSONAL RATING: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Rape (off-page, but no less disturbing), non-graphically described bestiality, torture, some gore, mutilation

THE SONG OF ACHILLES BY MADELINE MILLER

GENRE: Adult Historical/Mythic Fantasy Romance

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

A retelling of the myth of the Iliad told from the point of view of Patroclus focusing on the romance between him and Achilles.

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Absolutely incredible in just about every way. This book made me hate Odysseus, who is my favourite Greek hero.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia, referenced rape, attempted rape

VALDEMAR: THE LAST HERALD MAGE BY MERCEDES LACKEY

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Magic’s Pawn

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a boy called Vanyel who is the son of a lord, who gets kicked out of his house by his father for failing to live up to his standards of masculinity. He is sent to stay with his aunt, a powerful mage who his father hopes will toughen him up. It doesn't quite turn out to be the exile his father expects.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interests, gay male side-characters, non-specific MLM antagonists

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A new favourite. Great characters – Vanyel is one of my favourite protagonists in fiction, great worldbuilding, great writing, a great story. Very disappointing finale.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Magic’s Pawn: 4.5 stars

Magic’s Promise: 4 stars

Magic’s Price: 3.5 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia, suicide, suicide attempt, suicidal ideation, some gore, mentioned attempted incestuous sexual assault of a minor, use of the g-slur for Romani people (not in reference to Romani people, however. A character’s hair is described as “g-dark”), rape, rape of a minor

WILLFUL MACHINES BY TIM FLOREEN

GENRE: YA Dystopian Science Fiction

FIRST BOOK: Willful Machines

LENGTH: Currently a standalone. Unknown if there will be sequels.

SYNOPSIS:

Set in a world where a rising class of artificial intelligence is oppressed by humanity, and consequently, society has started to backslide on civil rights, including a rise of racism and homophobia. The main character is Lee Fisher, who is the son of the president of the United States. His father is an opponent of AI rights and as a result, is under "terrorist" threat. Because of this, Lee has very little freedom. Then a new boy transfers to Lee's school, called Nico Medina, and Lee starts to fall for him very quickly.

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest, non-specific MLM side-characters

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A good story, but no major plot threads are tied up. Don’t bother with it until there’s news of a sequel.

PERSONAL RATING: 3.5 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia, racism

THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE BY SAMANTHA SHANNON

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

“The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.”

Also has two other protagonists; Niclays Roos, a disgraced alchemist who was banished from Inys, and Arteloth Beck, an ambassador to the Draconic Kingdom of Yscalin, which recently broke an alliance with Inys, who is trying to discover the fate of the previous ambassador, Queen Sabran’s father, Wilstan Fynch.

REP: Non-specific WLW protagonist, gay male protagonist, possibly asexual protagonists, non-specific WLW love interest, non-specific MLM side-character, same-sex marriage and relationships are common and accepted in Inys and the rest of Virtudom, no characters ever display any homophobic feelings, so it is possible the same is true of the eastern lands

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: An utterly fantastic story. The climax feels a little rushed.

PERSONAL RATING: 4.5 stars
WARNINGS: Graphic violence, referenced adoptive incestuous sexual assault, animal cruelty

WAYWARD CHILDREN BY SEANAN MCGUIRE

GENRE: YA Urban/Portal Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Every Heart a Doorway

LENGTH: Currently five books, soon to be six

SYNOPSIS: 

To the outside world, Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children is a school for traumatised children who suffer from delusions. But the truth is, these children have all found doorways into different worlds – worlds they called home – and then been cruelly thrown back into the "real" world, and are now unable to adjust to life back on Earth. Nancy is the new student at the school, recently returned from her own fantastical world. Nancy has come to this school looking to be helped, but soon after she arrives, one of her fellow students is murdered.

REP: Romantic asexual female protagonist, transgender male side-character

OWN VOICES?: No, but the author is a bisexual woman.

PERSONAL OPINION: A thoroughly enjoyable little story with fantastic worldbuilding, and interesting characters. I look forward to reading the rest.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Every Heart a Doorway: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Gore, mutilation, transphobia, referenced animal cruelty

THE FASCINATORS BY ANDREW ELIOPULOS

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Sam is the only out gay teen at his school in Friedman, Georgia. He relies on his two best friends, James and Delia, and their magic club, to keep himself sane. But recently cracks have begun to show in their group. Sam is in love with James and doesn’t know if James likes him back. Delia has been pushing herself to get into an elite magic school. And James has become involved with dangerous people that now threaten all three of them.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, non-specific MLM love interest, transgender female side-character, possible non-specific WLW side-character.

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A pretty decent book. It was one of my most anticipated books of 2020, so I found it a little disappointing. I didn’t like the romance, or understand why it ended up the way it did, and the plot doesn’t really get resolved. But I did love the themes, and the magic.

PERSONAL RATING: 3.5 stars
WARNINGS: Child abuse, child neglect, emotional abuse, homophobia, homophobic language, possible anxiety

CEMETERY BOYS BY AIDEN THOMAS

GENRE: YA urban fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world where a community of Brujxs can commune with the dead. It follows a trans boy called Yadriel who wants to prove himself as a Brujo to his transphobic community by summoning and releasing a ghost, which only males can do. In trying to summon the ghost of his recently deceased cousin, he accidentally summons the ghost of his school’s bad boy, Julian Diaz. 

REP: Transgender male protagonist, gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, transgender female side-character, lesbian side-character
OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: I absolutely adored this book. Great characters, great worldbuilding, adorable romance. Plot was a bit predictable, but that didn’t significantly detract from my enjoyment of the story.

PERSONAL RATING: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Transphobia, deadnaming (deadname is not told to the reader), referenced child physical abuse, referenced gang violence, police racism, referenced deportation

REVERIE BY RYAN LA SALA

GENRE: YA urban fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a boy named Kane who wakes up in a hospital bed with no memory of how he got there. According to the police, he set fire to a historical landmark and crashed his car into a river. Kane has to find out what happened and clear his name. But other strange things keep happening that defy rational explanation.  

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, lesbian side-characters, non-specific WLW side-characters, non-specific queer antagonist
OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: Absolutely stunning writing, fantastic characters, and extremely well-handled themes of what it means to be queer in the modern world. This book was catharsis itself, and is absolutely one of my favourite books of all time.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia, misogyny, slavery, mind control, some gore, human sacrifice, mentions of suicide

THE FELL OF DARK BY CALEB ROEHRIG

GENRE: YA urban fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in the town of Fulton Heights, a nexus of magic where vampires congregate. It follows a boy called August Pfeiffer, who begins experiencing strange supernatural phenomena, such as drawing mysterious pictures he doesn’t remember. Soon he is contacted by a mysterious vampire, who gives him a cryptic warning about the end of the world. 

REP: Gay male protagonist, pansexual male love interest, gay male love interest, polyamorous trio, lesbian side-character, non-specific WLW side-character
OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A really great, fun book, with a good plot, and a super cute romance. Worldbuilding is slightly confusing.

PERSONAL RATING: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Gore, graphic violence, implied torture, cults, mind control

A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR BY ASHLEY SHUTTLEWORTH

GENRE: YA urban fantasy

FIRST BOOK: A Dark and Hollow Star

LENGTH: Two books (?)

SYNOPSIS: 

The Fae courts exist alongside our world. In Toronto is the court of Unseelie Spring, home to the High King of the Fae. The magical world is in turmoil, as half-Fae – called ironborn for the iron in their blood – are being targeted by a serial killer, and the authorities don’t seem to be doing anything to stop it. Arlo Jarsdel, an ironborn descendant of the royal family, faces expulsion from the courts for her lack of magic. Nausicaa, a fury exiled from the immortal world for terrible crimes, investigates the source of an unsettling magic. Vehan Lysterne, prince of the Seelie Summer court, believes the ironborn murders are related to recent human disappearances, and wants to put a stop to them both. His guard, Aurelian, is forced to help him, while also dealing with a terrible secret.

REP: Pansexual female protagonist, lesbian protagonist, bisexual male protagonist, gay male protagonist, genderfluid side-character, nonbinary side-characters, non-specific MLM side-characters, non-specific MLM antagonist
OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: A good book with great characters and worldbuilding, as well as a great portrayal of trauma and mental illness.

PERSONAL RATING: 

A Dark and Hollow Star: 4 stars

WARNINGS: (Provided by the author) anger, arson, blood/gore, body horror (minor), death of a child, depression, disownment, divorce, drug use/addiction, grief/grieving, human trafficking, poverty, psychopathy, stalking, suicide (past, off-page), suicide ideation, toxic relationship/manipulation, trauma/PTSD, racism, violence/gun violence

IN DEEPER WATERS BY F. T. LUKENS

GENRE: YA high fantasy romance

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Tal is a prince, going on a coming of age tour of his kingdom, as is tradition for the royal family. Tal struggles with having forbidden magic, the same kind his great grandfather used to try and take over the world. Tal’s tour is interrupted when they come across the burning wreck of a ship. The sole occupant is a mysterious young boy chained to the deck. After being freed, the boy throws himself overboard, seemingly taking his own life. So when they dock at the next island, Tal is shocked to see the boy on land, completely unharmed.

REP: Bisexual male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest
OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A very adorable romance with great characters and a good plot. I could have done with more resolution to certain plotlines.

PERSONAL RATING: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Mild psychological torture, minor self harm (not mental health related), referenced depression

MULTI-POV SFF WITH AT LEAST ONE QUEER POV

THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST BY HOLLY BLACK

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in the small town of Fairfold, which is a tourist trap due to being heavily populated by Fae. The main attraction is a horned boy sleeping in a glass coffin, who the main protagonists, Hazel and Ben, both believe they are in love with. Then the coffin is found smashed open, the horned boy disappears, and all hell breaks loose.

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A great read with an interesting plot and some good romances.

PERSONAL RATING: 4 stars

WARNINGS:

SIX OF CROWS BY LEIGH BARDUGO

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Six of Crows

LENGTH: Two books

SYNOPSIS:

A slow, character-driven story about six dangerous criminals performing a heist on the world’s most impenetrable fortress.

REP: Two non-specific MLM protagonists, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: An utterly fantastic story with incredible character-building.

PERSONAL RATING:

Six of Crows: 5 stars

Crooked Kingdom: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Drug use, forced drug use, child death, child abuse, sexual abuse of a minor

THE RAVEN CYCLE BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Raven Boys

LENGTH: Four books

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a girl named Blue, a psychic amplifier who has been prophesised to kill her true love when she kisses him. Blue helps a group of private school boys search for the tomb of a dead Welsh king.

REP: Gay male protagonist, bisexual male protagonist, major gay male side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: One of my favourite series of all time. The characters are to die for.

PERSONAL RATING: 

The Raven Boys: 4 stars

The Dream Thieves: 4 stars

Blue Lily, Lily Blue: 5 stars

The Raven King: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Moderately graphic violence, moderate homophobia, internalised homophobia, moderate racism, drug use, kidnapping

THE DREAMER TRILOGY BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Call Down the Hawk

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS: 

Sequel to The Raven Cycle. Synopsis is spoilers.

REP: Gay male protagonist, bisexual male love interest, bisexual female protagonists

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Just as great as the original series. Much more plot-focused. Expands a lot on the lore. Do not read it before The Raven Cycle.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Call Down the Hawk: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Black market with multitudes of disturbing services, racism

FALLING KINGDOMS BY MORGAN RHODES

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Falling Kingdoms

LENGTH: Six books

SYNOPSIS: 

When Princess Cleo's fiance, Lord Aron Lagaris, stabs a wine-seller’s son in Paelsia, he will spark a rebellion that will forever change the world. Meanwhile, the mysterious Watchers in the Sanctuary are scouring the world for the Kindred, magical items of near limitless power. To find the Kindred, they first must find the sorceress, a child born under very specific circumstances, and one with the power to control the elements.

REP: Two non-specific MLM protagonists

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: It starts off strong, but the last two books are rushed, and it feels like the author stopped caring about anything other than the main couple. Also almost every single dead character got resurrected at some point. I don’t think it’s worth your time. 

PERSONAL RATING:

Falling Kingdoms: 4 stars

Rebel Spring: 4 stars

Gathering Darkness: 3.5 stars

Frozen Tides: 5 stars

Crystal Storm: 4 stars

Immortal Reign: 4 stars (probably too generous)

WARNINGS:

SHADES OF MAGIC BY V. E. SCHWAB

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: A Darker Shade of Magic

LENGTH: Three books + prequel graphic novels

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a man named Kell, who is an antari, someone with the power to cross between four different parallel versions of London. There's Red London, where Kell comes from, which is full of magic, Grey London, which is our world in the regency of King George IV, White London, a wreck where magic is dying, and the people are ruled by whoever is powerful and brutal enough to take the throne. And then there's Black London, which destroyed itself with magic and was sealed off before it could infect the other worlds. Officially, Kell is an interdimensional courier, carrying correspondence between the rulers of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler who sells artefacts from each world to people in the others, which is highly illegal. Then Kell ends up in Red London with an artefact that shouldn't exist, a piece of Black London.

REP: Bisexual male protagonists. Word of god says that none of the main characters is fully straight.

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A pretty good series with a fantastic conclusion. Kell is one of my favourite characters in fiction.

PERSONAL RATING:

A Darker Shade of Magic: 4 stars

A Gathering of Shadows: 4 stars (possibly too generous)

A Conjuring of Light: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Slavery, some graphic violence, child abuse, some homophobia

THE DIVINERS BY LIBBA BRAY

GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy/Supernatural Horror

FIRST BOOK: The Diviners

LENGTH: Four books

SYNOPSIS:

Set in prohibition-era New York City. It follows a girl called Evie O'Neill, who is sent to live with her uncle in New York after a scandal in her home state of Ohio. In New York, however, a serial killer is beginning his work, and Evie possesses a strange power that may be the key to stopping him.

REP: Gay male protagonist, homoromantic asexual female protagonist, gay male love interests, lesbian love interest, gay male side-characters, non-specific MLM side-characters, non-specific WLW side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: The first book was pretty great, but the rest of the series is utterly incredible. Leagues above any other YA I’ve ever read. Probably above most adult books too. Stunning prose, amazing characters, great themes. This series has it all. One of my favourite series of all time.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Diviners: 4 stars

Lair of Dreams: 5 stars

Before the Devil Breaks You: 5 stars

The King of Crows: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Mutilation, sexual abuse of a minor, spousal abuse, racism, homophobia, classism, homophobic violence, racist violence, classist violence, lynchings, medical malpractice, depression, alcoholism, gore, referenced paedophilia, rape, human trafficking, forced prostitution, referenced drug use, torture, animal death, child death

THE SMOKE THIEVES BY SALLY GREEN

PROBLEMATIC ISSUE: Sally Green is a TERF. 

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Smoke Thieves

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS:

Set across three major kingdoms: Brigant, Calidor and Pitoria. Princess Catherine of Brigant is under the thumb of her father, and dreads her upcoming marriage to Prince Tzayn of Pitoria. Her guard, Sir Ambrose, investigates the truth of his sister’s execution, and risks being branded a traitor. In Calidor, March, one of the last remaining Abask people, and servant of Prince Thelonius, seeks revenge against the prince for betraying his people. In the frozen north of Pitoria, Tash helps Gravell hunt demons for their smoke, a potent and highly illegal drug. Meanwhile, Edyon Foss, bastard son of a trader, seeks the help of a fortune teller. Her predictions for his future are deeply troubling.

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM protagonist

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Absolutely stunning plot and writing with some great characters, and some not so great ones. Didn’t really like the romance.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Smoke Thieves: 4.25 stars

WARNINGS: Misogyny, homophobia, genocide, some torture, some graphic violence, drug use

THE GILDED WOLVES BY ROSHANI CHOKSHI

GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Gilded Wolves

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world where magic, known as forging, is controlled by the Order of Babel, a secretive organisation that guards the location of Babel Fragments, which are said to be pieces of the Tower of Babel bestowed on humanity by God to give them the gift of forging. It follows a group of friends – thieves who perform heists on the Order for forged artefacts – a man named Séverin, deposed heir to one of the houses of the Order who seeks to reclaim his inheritance. Laila, a girl with a dark secret that allows her to read the history of objects, who seeks the location of an ancient book. Enrique, a Filipino historian who desperately wants to be part of his people’s revolution against Spain’s colonisation. Zofia, a Jewish girl, and genius forger. And Tristan, Séverin’s adopted brother. They become involved with Hypnos, patriarch of House Nyx of the Order, after one of their heists reveals secrets that no one should know.

REP: Bisexual male protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest

OWN VOICES?: Not for sexuality, but for Indian and Filipino rep.

PERSONAL OPINION: Pretty good. There are a lot of great aspects, but also some that are very frustrating. The characters are great, as is the depiction of the impact of colonialism.

PERSONAL RATING: 

The Gilded Wolves: 4.25 stars

WARNINGS: Racism, colonisation, cultural erasure, torture, psychological torture, self-harm (not mental health related), minor animal abuse, ableism, some gore, minor body horror

THE SHADOW GAME BY AMANDA FOODY

GENRE: YA AU Urban Fantasy (?)

FIRST BOOK: Ace of Shades

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS:

Enne’s mother’s last words to her before she leaves for New Reynes, the infamous City of Sin, are “if I’m not back in two months, I’m dead.” It has been four months since then. Enne travels to New Reynes to search for her mother, her only lead being a contact of her mother’s, a man named Levi Glaisyer. Levi is a gangster, and a con artist, trapped in a failing investment scheme that may end up costing him his life. When Enne arrives in New Reynes looking for him, he decides she may be the key to solving his problems. 

REP: Bisexual male protagonist, genderfluid lesbian side-character, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Pretty good. The characters are great and the atmosphere of New Reynes is incredibly well-realised, but the magic system makes no sense. Also there were a couple of contrivances in the plot development.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Ace of Shades: 3.5 stars

WARNINGS: Paedophile antagonist, some graphic violence, drug use, forced drug use, slavery, sexual harrassment

THE GREEN BONE SAGA BY FONDA LEE

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Jade City

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS:

Set on the island of Kekon, where jade is a substance that allows certain people to access magical abilities. The city of Janloon is controlled by two criminal families, the No Peak clan and the Mountain clan. A new drug has been developed that allows anyone to wield jade, and this sparks the beginning of a clan war. It follows the No Peak clan’s leaders, the Kaul family. Lan, the Pillar, is the leader of the clan, who struggles to keep the peace. Hilo is the Horn, No Peak’s enforcer and Lan’s brother. Shae is their estranged sister, recently returned to Janloon and uninterested in getting involved in clan business. Anden is a student, a cousin of the Kauls, who struggles with his mixed heritage, and his family history. There is also an unaffiliated thief named Bero, who hungers for jade.  

REP: Gay male protagonist, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Incredible. The characters are to die for and are so well-developed, and the story is great. Could have done with more explanation for the magic system before it became significant in the story.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Jade City: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Drug use, drug dependency, drug addiction, graphic violence, some gore, mutilation, referenced torture, referenced rape, referenced minor homophobia, dementia, referenced suicide, referenced child abuse

A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: A Game of Thrones

LENGTH: Currently five-ish books, depending on where you live + prequel novellas and companion books

SYNOPSIS: 

Powerful families struggle for the throne of the kingdom of Westeros. Meanwhile, a horde of ice zombies threatens to make their petty human squabbles irrelevant by means of icy death.

REP: Gay male protagonist (introduced in book 5), gay male side-characters, bisexual male side-character, bisexual female side-character, intersex side-character, potentially transgender male/genderfluid side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: An utterly fantastic series with an incredible plot, incredible worldbuilding and incredible characters.

PERSONAL RATING:

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (prequel): 4 stars

A Game of Thrones: 5 stars

A Clash of Kings: 5 stars

A Storm of Swords: 5 stars

A Feast for Crows: 5 stars

A Dance with Dragons, Part 1: Dreams and Dust: 5 stars

A Dance with Dragons, Part 2: After the Feast: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Rape/sexual assault, paedophilia, incest, spousal abuse, violence towards children, graphic violence, slavery, torture, mutilation, castration, dismemberment

SFF WITH QUEER SIDE-CHARACTERS

MAGISTERIUM BY HOLLY BLACK AND CASSANDRA CLARE

GENRE: Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Iron Trial

LENGTH: Five books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world with a magic school called the Magisterium. It follows Callum Hunt, the son of a wizard, who is told by his father to try as hard as he can to fail his entrance exam to the Magisterium.

REP: Gay male side-character, non-specific MLM side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Starts off strong but goes downhill. It’s a decent series, but not great and it has a disappointing ending.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Iron Trial: 4 stars

The Copper Gauntlet: 4 stars

The Bronze Key: 4 stars

The Silver Mask: 4 stars (possibly too generous)

The Golden Tower: 2 stars

WARNINGS:

SHADOW AND BONE TRILOGY BY LEIGH BARDUGO

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Shadow and Bone

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in the Russian-inspired country of Ravka, it follows Alina Starkov, an ordinary soldier in a Ravkan regiment. But when Alina’s regiment is attacked in the Shadow Fold – a place of darkness that splits Ravka in two – she reveals a dormant power that may be the key to destroying the Shadow Fold forever.

REP: Non-specific WLW side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A decent series, but nothing special.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Shadow and Bone: 4 stars

Siege and Storm: 4 stars

Ruin and Rising: 4 stars

WARNINGS: 

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS BY LEIGH BARDUGO

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

A collection of Grimm-esque fairy tales set in the Grishaverse.

REP: Non-specific MLM protagonist, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A pretty strong collection with some interesting stories.

PERSONAL RATING: 4 stars

WARNINGS:

WARCROSS BY MARIE LU

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

FIRST BOOK: Warcross

LENGTH: Two books

SYNOPSIS:

Set in the near future, where the majority of the world plays a virtual reality game called Warcross. The protagonist is Emika Chen, a bounty hunter who accidentally hacks her way into the Warcross championships. Rather than penalise her, the CEO of Warcross hires Emika to investigate attempts to sabotage the game.

REP: Major non-specific MLM side-character, non-specific MLM side-character, non-binary side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A fun duology with a slightly disappointing ending. The first book is a little predictable, but the second is intriguing.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Warcross: 5 stars

Wildcard: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Kidnapping, child abuse, human experimentation

LEGEND BY MARIE LU

GENRE: YA Dystopian Science Fiction

FIRST BOOK: Legend

LENGTH: Originally three books, a fourth was released much later

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in the Republic of America, a military dictatorship at war with the American Colonies. Follows Day, a boy who is public enemy number one, and June, an officer of the law who wants to catch him.

REP: Non-specific MLM side-characters, gay male side character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A great series with some fantastic, cinematic action.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Legend: 4 stars

Prodigy: 5 stars

Champion: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Plague, minor homophobia, human experimentation

THE NIGHT CIRCUS BY ERIN MORGENSTERN

GENRE: Adult Urban Fantasy/Magical Realism Romance

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a magical circus which is the backdrop for a battle between two wizards. Celia and Marco are supposed to be competing – why and how, they don't know. Unfortunately, they fall in love.

REP: Non-specific WLW side-character

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Incredible writing with interesting side-characters. I remember nothing about the main protagonists though.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars (possibly too generous)

WARNINGS:

THE GREAT LIBRARY BY RACHEL CAINE

GENRE: YA AU Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Ink and Bone

LENGTH: Five books

SYNOPSIS:

Set in an alternate universe where the Library of Alexandria never burned down, and went on to take over the world. The private ownership of books is banned, and there is a black market for rare texts. Follows Jess Brightwell, the son of a book dealer, who is sent to the Library to become a scholar.

REP: Major gay male side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A very solid series with some interesting characters and themes.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Ink and Bone: 4 stars

WARNINGS: 

WARCHILD BY KARIN LOWACHEE

GENRE: Adult Space Opera

FIRST BOOK: Warchild

LENGTH: Three books (companion novels)

SYNOPSIS:

Set in a galaxy where humanity is at war with an alien race called the strits, and there are merchants stuck in the middle, and pirates exploiting the war for their own gain. Follows a boy called Jos, whose parents, and the entire crew of his spaceship, are slaughtered by pirates, and the children are sold into slavery. The captain of the pirates decides to keep Jos for himself.

REP: Non-specific MLM side characters, possible asexual protagonist, possible non-specific MLM protagonist (not confirmed)

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Utterly incredible. Fantastic characters, fantastic worldbuilding, fantastic writing, frantic and confusing action that actually feels like a warzone, cinematic space battles. Just superb.

PERSONAL RATING:

Warchild: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Implied paedophilia, referenced sexual abuse of a minor, referenced forced prostitution, some gore, some graphic violence, torture, possible on-page rape (very unclear)

SAGA BY BRIAN K. VAUGHAN AND FIONA STAPLES

GENRE: Adult Space Opera Fantasy Graphic Novel

FIRST BOOK: Saga Vol. 1

LENGTH: Currently nine volumes. On hiatus.

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows two members of warring races, Marko and Alana, who fall in love and have a child. Now their races want them dead.

REP: Major non-specific WLW character, major gay male side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A very good series with some great characters and fantastic art.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Vol. 1: 4 stars

Vol. 2: 4 stars

Vol. 3: 5 stars

Vol. 4: 4 stars

Vol. 5: 5 stars

Vol. 6: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Graphic violence, child abuse, slavery, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, paedophilia, drug use, racism, homophobia

THE MERCIFUL CROW BY MARGARET OWEN

GENRE: YA High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Merciful Crow

LENGTH: Two books

SYNOPSIS:

Set in a world where the people are divided into a caste system based on birds. Each caste has a specific ability associated with them. Crows, the lowest of the low, are immune to the plague that sweeps through the land. Fie is the daughter of a Crow chief, whose band is called in to deal with the bodies of the crown prince and his bodyguard. But, as it turns out, the two boys are very much alive, and faking their deaths to flee assassination attempts. Fie strikes a deal to take them to their allies.

REP: Pansexual love interest, major gay male side-character, non-binary side-character, non-binary deity

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: A pretty great story with some really unique worldbuilding and magic, and great characters

PERSONAL RATING: 

The Merciful Crow: 4 stars
WARNINGS: Lynching, racism, classism, child abuse, referenced rape, attempted rape

LONG SFF SERIES WITH EVOLVING QUEER REP

THE SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES BY CASSANDRA CLARE

GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy (sometimes Historical)

FIRST BOOK: City of Bones

LENGTH: Currently eighteen books + a few companions

SYNOPSIS:

The Shadowhunter Chronicles follows the Shadowhunters, a race of half-angelic warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons.

The Mortal Instruments: Follows a girl called Clary Fray who is the witness to a murder nobody else in the room can see.

The Infernal Devices: Set in Victorian England. Follows a girl called Tessa Gray who is kidnapped by mysterious figures who unlock a strange power she didn’t know she possessed, and force her to train it.

The Bane Chronicles: Follows the adventures of the warlock Magnus Bane, a significant character in the rest of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy: Set after The Mortal Instruments series. Synopsis is a spoiler.

The Dark Artifices: Set five years after the end of The Mortal Instruments series, it follows Emma Carstairs as she investigates the mysterious deaths of her parents from five years ago.

The Eldest Curses: Follows Magnus and Alec during The Mortal Instruments series as their holiday in Paris is interrupted by the fact that when he was younger, Magnus started a cult, who are now up to terrible things. They have to hunt down the leader of the cult and stop them, or Magnus will be punished for it.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market: Follows a character called Brother Zachariah as he investigates the magical markets of the world.

The Last Hours: Follows the children of the characters from The Infernal Devices. About a character called Cordelia Carstairs, who moves to London and attempts to ingratiate herself with powerful Shadowhunters for political reasons. When she arrives, however, a new type of demon appears which has the ability to walk in daylight and carries a deadly plague.

REP: 

The Mortal Instruments: Gay male protagonist, bisexual male protagonist, lesbian side-character, bisexual female side-character, aromantic asexual male side-character (not revealed yet), pansexual female side-character (not revealed yet), gay male side-character (not revealed yet)

The Infernal Devices: Bisexual male side-character, gay male side-character

The Bane Chronicles (co-written with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson): Bisexual male protagonist, gay male love interest, non-specific MLM side-characters, aromantic asexual male side-character (not revealed yet)

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy (co-written with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman): Lesbian side-character, bisexual male side-characters, gay male side-character (not revealed yet)

The Dark Artifices: Bisexual male protagonists, gay male protagonist, polyamorous trio, major female transgender side-character, major lesbian side-character, major bisexual female side-character

The Eldest Curses (co-written with Wesley Chu): Bisexual male protagonist, gay male protagonist, lesbian side-character, bisexual female side-character, gay male side-character, aromantic asexual male side-character

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (co-written with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link and Robin Wasserman): Major bisexual male characters, major genderqueer lesbian character, lesbian side-character, gay male side-characters, aromantic asexual male side-character, major gay male characters, pansexual female side-character

The Last Hours: Major bisexual male character, major gay male character, gay male side-character, lesbian side-character, genderqueer lesbian side-character, non-specific WLW side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: I love this series, especially The Dark Artifices. The beginning of The Mortal Instruments is rough, but if you can push past it, the rest of the world is great.

PERSONAL RATING:

City of Bones: 3 stars

City of Ashes: 4 stars

City of Glass: 5 stars

Clockwork Angel: 4 stars

City of Fallen Angels: 4 stars

Clockwork Prince: 4 stars

City of Lost Souls: 4 stars

Clockwork Princess: 5 stars

The Bane Chronicles: 4 stars

City of Heavenly Fire: 5 stars

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy: 4 stars

Lady Midnight: 5 stars

Lord of Shadows: 5 stars

Queen of Air and Darkness: 4 stars

The Red Scrolls of Magic: 5 stars

Ghosts of the Shadow Market: 4 stars

Chain of Gold: 3.5 stars

The Lost Book of the White: 4.5 stars

Chain of Iron: 4.25 stars

The Shadowhunter’s Codex: 4 stars

The Mortal Instruments: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1: 3 stars

An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of Downworld: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Some graphic violence, drug dependency, homophobia, racism, sexual assault, torture, slavery, mind control, sexism, incestuous feelings, child abuse, grooming, alcoholism, child neglect, toxic relationships

SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT BY DEREK LANDY

GENRE: Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: Skulduggery Pleasant

LENGTH: Thirteen/Fourteen books (depending on how you count it) + a short-story collection.

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a girl called Stephanie Edgely, whose uncle Gordon, a famous and wealthy author, dies suddenly. Much to the rest of the family's shock, he leaves his house, possessions, and entire fortune, to Stephanie. Events conspire to leave her alone in Gordon's house after a flood blocks the roads, and a man breaks into the house searching for a "key." Stephanie is rescued by Gordon's friend, Skulduggery Pleasant, a magical detective who just so happens to be a reanimated skeleton.

REP: Much of the queer rep is not revealed until much later in the series, however: bisexual female protagonist, major female bisexual character, minor non-specific WLW characters, arguable male transgender character, major genderfluid character, major non-specific MLM characters, non-specific MLM side-character, minor female transgender character, non-binary species. Sorcerers in general stop seeing gender as a barrier over the centuries.

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: My favourite series of all time. The characters are incredible, the plot is intricate and complex. It’s witty and dark – this is the only series to ever make me laugh out loud, and the first to make me cry.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Skulduggery Pleasant: 4 stars

Playing with Fire: 4 stars

The Faceless Ones: 5 stars

Dark Days: 4 stars

Mortal Coil: 4 stars

Apocalypse Kings: 4 stars

Death Bringer: 5 stars

Kingdom of the Wicked: 4 stars

Tanith Low and the Maleficent Seven: 4 stars

Last Stand of Dead Men: 4 stars (possibly too low)

The Dying of the Light: 5 stars

Armageddon Outta Here (short story collection): 4 stars

Resurrection: 4 stars

Midnight: 4 stars

Bedlam: 5 stars

Seasons of War: 5 stars

Dead or Alive: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Graphic violence, torture, gore, body horror, human experimentation, PTSD, self-loathing, drug use, self-medication, theocracy, thought police, police brutality, police corruption

RICK RIORDAN’S MYTHOLOGY UNIVERSE

GENRE: Middle Grade/YA Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Lightning Thief

LENGTH: Currently 21 books + short-story collections

SYNOPSIS: Set in a world where the gods of all mythologies are living beings who sometimes have children with mortals. These children are called demigods.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Follows Percy Jackson, the son of a Greek god.

The Kane Chronicles: Follows Carter and Sadie Kane, who are the children of magicians who worship the Egyptian gods.

The Heroes of Olympus: Sequel to Percy Jackson. Follows a group of demigods who are the children of Greek and Roman gods.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Follows Magnus Chase, the son of a Norse god.

The Trials of Apollo: Follows the god Apollo who, after the events of The Heroes of Olympus, is stripped of his powers and banished to Earth by Zeus, and has to prove himself worthy of becoming a god again.

REP:

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Has queer characters, but they are not revealed to be queer in this series.

The Kane Chronicles: Arguable polyamory rep

The Heroes of Olympus: Major gay male side-character, minor gay male side-character

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Bi/pansexual male protagonist, genderfluid love interest, implied MLM side-couple

The Trials of Apollo: Bi/pansexual protagonist, gay male side-characters, non-specific WLW side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: I absolutely adore this world. It has some fantastic characters and great humour.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Lightning Thief: 4 stars

The Sea of Monsters: 3 stars

The Titan’s Curse: 3 stars

The Battle of the Labyrinth: 5 stars

The Last Olympian: 5 stars

The Demigod Files: 3 stars

The Red Pyramid: 4 stars

The Throne of Fire: 4 stars

The Serpent’s Shadow: 4 stars

Demigods & Magicians: 4 stars

The Lost Hero: 4 stars

The Son of Neptune: 4 stars

The Demigod Diaries: 4 stars

The Mark of Athena: 5 stars

The House of Hades: 5 stars

The Blood of Olympus: 5 stars

The Sword of Summer: 4 stars

The Hammer of Thor: 4 stars

The Ship of the Dead: 5 stars

The Hidden Oracle: 4 stars

The Dark Prophecy: 5 stars

The Burning Maze: 5 stars (possibly too generous)

The Tyrant’s Tomb: 5 stars (possibly too generous)

The Tower of Nero: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Child abuse, emotional abuse, grooming, dismemberment

THE REALM OF THE ELDERLINGS BY ROBIN HOBB

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy
FIRST BOOK: Assassin’s Apprentice
LENGTH: 16 books + short stories
SYNOPSIS: 

The Farseer Trilogy: Follows the bastard son of a prince. The boy’s peasant family get tired of raising him, so his maternal grandfather brings him to the royal family for the prince to raise. This causes the prince to abdicate the throne and leave. The king decides to make use of the boy by training him as an assassin.

REP: Genderfluid side-character
OWN VOICES?: No
PERSONAL OPINION: Great characters and great worldbuilding, but with a bit of a lacklustre story, and a writing style I found difficult to get into.
PERSONAL RATING:

Assassin’s Apprentice: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Graphic violence, child abuse, animal death, depression

IMPLIED QUEER SFF

THE HOUSE OF MOUNTFATHOM BY NIGEL MCDOWELL

GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

Set during the Irish revolution. It follows Luke Mountfathom, the son of the most powerful wizards in Ireland, as he grows up in a world where magic is becoming less and less important. 

REP: Implied non-specific MLM protagonists

OWN VOICES?: Don’t know

PERSONAL OPINION: A very good book with a disappointing ending. The characters and the relationship between the protagonists are incredible.

PERSONAL RATING: 3.5 stars

WARNINGS:

THE BARTIMAEUS SEQUENCE BY JONATHAN STROUD

GENRE: YA AU Urban Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Amulet of Samarkand

LENGTH: Three books + a prequel

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world ruled by magicians. Their power comes from the spirits they enslave. Bartimaeus is one such spirit, a djinni of the fifth level, who is summoned by a child to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from a powerful magician called Simon Lovelace. 

REP: Implied non-specific MLM protagonists, implied major non-specific MLM side-character, implied polyamory

OWN VOICES?: Don’t know

PERSONAL OPINION: One of my favourite series of all time. The characters are some of the best I’ve read about, and the themes are worked masterfully into the plot.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Ring of Solomon (prequel): 4 stars

The Amulet of Samarkand: 4 stars

The Golem’s Eye: 4 stars

Ptolemy’s Gate: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Slavery, classism, classist violence, minor body horror

THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVE BY BRANDON SANDERSON

GENRE: Adult High Fantasy

FIRST BOOK: The Way of Kings

LENGTH: Currently four books + novellas. Will be ten books

SYNOPSIS: 

Set in a world ravaged by storms and periodical Desolations – massive wars that almost destroy the world. After the assassination of King Gavilar Kholin of Alethkar, the Alethi people wage war against his killers, a race of people called the Parshendi. Kaladin is a former soldier who has since become a slave for reasons that are unclear. Dalinar, the brother of Gavilar and uncle of the new king, Elkohar, is one of the ten Highprinces engaged in war against the Parshendi – Dalinar is past his prime, and he and his son, Adolin, fear he may be going mad, as he experiences strange visions whenever a storm hits. Shallan Davar is the daughter of a minor noble who seeks to become the ward of Princess Jasnah, sister of the king, and a renowned scholar. Secretly she works towards her own mysterious agenda.

REP: Implied bisexual female protagonist (confirmed by word of god), male POV character also reads as bi to me, but it’s much more tenuous. There are MLM side-characters but that’s not confirmed as far as I’ve read.

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Utterly incredible. I was a naysayer who expected this to be overhyped, but it definitely wasn’t. The characters are incredible, and the foreshadowing is really well-done, but not so obvious that it feels predictable, rather you feel clever for working it out. I do wish it did more to criticise the colonialist, genocidal narrative, but I’m sure that will be tackled in later books. Physical description of female characters is also a bit uncomfortable.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Way of Kings: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Slavery, classism, classist violence, racism, racist violence, genocide, some gore, child death, depression, PTSD, attempted suicide, suicidal ideation, sexism

QUEER REALISTIC FICTION

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA BY BECKY ALBERTALLI

GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone (has a companion novel featuring an F/F relationship, but I have no intention of reading it)

SYNOPSIS: 

Follows a closeted gay kid called Simon Spier. Simon has an email relationship with an anonymous boy named Blue, who he knows is also closeted and goes to his school. Simon accidentally leaves his email logged in on the school computer and this leads to him getting blackmailed.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, bisexual male side-character, non-specific MLM side-characters

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: I love it. It’s an incredibly cute, fluffy read with an adorable romance, and some very emotional parts.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia

ALL FOR THE GAME BY NORA SAKAVIC

GENRE: New Adult Contemporary Crime Thriller

FIRST BOOK: The Foxhole Court

LENGTH: Three books

SYNOPSIS:

Follows a boy named Neil Josten, who is the son of a mobster in hiding from the Moriyama crime family. All Neil really has left is his love of Exy, a fictional sport similar to lacrosse. Neil is scouted by the Foxes, a team of Exy players made up of juvenile delinquents who are being given a second chance. Because the sport is all he has left, Neil agrees to join on the condition that he can quit before he can become involved in any tournaments and come face to face with Riko Moriyama, a famous Exy player and heir to the Moriyama family.

REP: Demisexual male protagonist, non-specific MLM protagonist, non-specific MLM love interest, gay male side-character, possible polyamory rep

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: Dark and horrifying, and pure unrealistic trash, but I eat it up.

PERSONAL RATING:

The Foxhole Court: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Graphic violence, slavery, trauma, sexual assault, drug use, forced drug use

I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN BY JANDY NELSON

GENRE: YA Contemporary

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

It’s about a pair of twins, Noah and Jude, whose relationship fell apart after their mother's death. The plot follows two perspectives, Noah before, and Jude after she died, and unravels the story of how their relationship fell apart, and how it could be fixed.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest

OWN VOICES?: No

PERSONAL OPINION: An incredible exploration of grief and sibling bonds.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: 

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME BY ADAM SILVERA

GENRE: YA Contemporary

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

Follows a boy called Griffin Jennings whose ex-boyfriend and love of his life, Theo, dies in a drowning accident. The only one who can understand Griffin's grief is Jackson, Theo's last boyfriend before he died, who Griffin hates.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interests, bisexual male side-character 

OWN VOICES?: Yes. Also own voices for OCD rep.

PERSONAL OPINION: A great exploration of grief. Has a very hopeful tone. 

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS:

WHAT IF IT’S US? BY BECKY ALBERTALLI AND ADAM SILVERA

GENRE: YA Contemporary Romance

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

Follows two boys who meet in a post office. They both like each other, but they fail to get each other's numbers or anything that might lead them to one another before they part ways. They can't stop thinking about each other, so they each start to look for the other one.

REP: Gay male protagonists, gay male side-characters

OWN VOICES?: Yes, partially. Adam Silvera is gay.

PERSONAL OPINION: A really typical contemporary romance with nothing special about it. I don’t think it’s worth your time.

PERSONAL RATING: 3 stars

WARNINGS:

WE ARE THE ANTS BY SHAUN DAVID HUTCHINSON

GENRE: YA Contemporary with a Science Fiction twist

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

It’s about a boy called Henry whose life is terrible. His mother is neglectful, his grandma has alzheimers, his father left them when he was a kid, he's bullied at school, and his older brother is outright abusive. The one good thing he had was his boyfriend, Jesse. Then Jesse committed suicide. Understandably, Henry suffers from pretty severe depression. And on top of that, he's been routinely abducted by aliens for his entire life. Then the aliens abduct him with a warning: the world will end unless he presses a button to save it. The only problem is he's not sure the world is worth saving. He has 144 days to decide.

REP: Gay male protagonist, pansexual male love interest, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: Utterly fantastic book. Deep and introspective exploration of mental illness with a hopeful overtone.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Depression, mentioned suicide, suicidal ideation, child neglect, child abuse, mentioned domestic abuse, sexual assault

AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE BY SHAUN DAVID HUTCHINSON

GENRE: YA Contemporary with a Science Fiction twist

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: Follows a boy called Ozzie, whose boyfriend disappears, and Ozzie is the only one who can remember he ever existed. Meanwhile the universe is shrinking.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, bisexual male love interest, genderfluid side-character

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: Fantastic story, but not as good as We are the Ants.

PERSONAL RATING: 4.5 stars

WARNINGS: Discussion of mental illness, sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, date rape, forced drug use, suicidal ideation, self-harm, child abuse

SOMETHING LIKE BY JAY BELL

GENRE: New Adult Contemporary

FIRST BOOK: Something Like Summer

LENGTH: Eleven books (companion novels)

SYNOPSIS: 

The first book follows a boy called Ben who has a crush on another boy at his high school. Years later, when Ben is in college, they meet again.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interests

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: It started so well but went so wrong. Book one, at least, is not worth your time. Ben is an asshole, Tim is an asshole, and Jace is a doormat. The ending is ridiculously contrived. I still intend to read the rest of the series eventually though, as later ones follow different characters.

PERSONAL RATING: 

Something Like Summer: 3 stars (possibly too generous) 

WARNINGS: Moderate homophobia, cheating

RELEASE BY PATRICK NESS

GENRE: YA Contemporary with a Fantasy twist/sort of Magical Realism

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS:

Follows a boy called Adam Thorn who is the closeted son of a pastor going through a terrible day. Meanwhile the ghost of a murdered girl rises from the lake her body was found in.

REP: Gay male protagonist, gay male love interest, gay male side-character

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: Adam’s story is great. The girl’s story is weird and honestly totally irrelevant. The book would be better without it.

PERSONAL RATING: 4 stars

WARNINGS: Homophobia, drug use, some gore

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE BY BENJAMIN ALIRE SáENZ

GENRE: YA Historical

FIRST BOOK: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

LENGTH: Currently a standalone. Will be two books

SYNOPSIS: 

“Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”

REP: Gay (possibly bisexual) male protagonist, gay male love interest, non-specific MLM side-character

OWN VOICES?: Yes

PERSONAL OPINION: An utterly fantastic and captivating book.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars

WARNINGS: Minor animal abuse, drug use, homophobic violence

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE BY CASEY MCQUISTON

GENRE: Adult Contemporary Romance

FIRST BOOK: N/A

LENGTH: Standalone

SYNOPSIS: 

Love story about the son of the president of the United States falling in love with the Prince of Wales.

REP: Bisexual male protagonist, gay male love interest, lesbian side-character

OWN VOICES?: Sort of. The author is bisexual, but not a man.

PERSONAL OPINION: Great story with some great characters and adorable romance. I have a couple of problems with the stereotypical portrayal of British people, and of the dynamics of MLM relationships.

PERSONAL RATING: 5 stars (possibly too generous)

WARNINGS: Homophobia, invasion of privacy, referenced sexual assault

BOOKS WITH BURY YOUR GAYS ENDINGS (SPOILERS FOR SOME BOOKS LISTED ABOVE)

Half Bad by Sally Green

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (accurate to the original myth. They are reunited in the afterlife)

Valdemar: The Last Herald-Mage by Mercedes Lackey (They are reunited in the afterlife)

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin has killed off most of its queer characters. The gay protagonist has a terminal illness.

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