Book Recs: Adult Fantasy

Full disclosure, this year has been bad for me in terms of reading and loving YA fantasy. Yes, I have loved some, but also I’ve been bored as anything by others. So I’ve turned a fair bit to adult fantasy β€” mostly avoiding all the white cishet men writing it, of course.

This is not a definitive list of all the LGBT adult fantasy novels I have loved, of course. I went to write down possible entries to this list and ended up with about twice as many that I loved, and maybe three or four times as many that I would rec. But these are ten of my favourites.

So, dive in, and I hope you find something to enjoy here!


The Traitor Baru Cormorant


Seth Dickinson
Rep: lesbian mc
CWs: violence, gore, colonialism, homophobia, racism

Why Should I Read It?

I’m starting this list off with a book that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I’ll freely admit. If you like your fantasy on the slow-moving, densely political spectrum, however, then this book (and series) is for you. And then, once you’ve finished it, you’ll need a good few days just to absorb everything and think it through. Which, to me, is the sign of a great book.


The Empress of Salt and Fortune


Nghi Vo
Rep: Vietnamese nonbinary mc, wlw characters

Why Should I Read It?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but this is probably one of the best books I read last year (in fact, it is one of the ones I picked in our 2019 roundup). And did you know it’s also getting a sequel in December? It’s just a sign that you really need to read it, to be honest.


The Bone Shard Daughter


Andrea Stewart
Rep: lesbian mcs

Why Should I Read It?

Charlotte, you say, this one is a cheat. And okay, so it’s not out yet, but if this is a rec list of ones I’ve read… well I’ve read this and I can tell you right here and now you do not want to miss out on it. And besides, it comes out in less than 3 weeks! It’s basically already out.


Phoenix Extravagant


Yoon Ha Lee
Rep: Korean-coded nonbinary mc, bi li, lesbian side character, side polyamory
CWs: colonialism, violence, torture

Why Should I Read It?

Okay, this one I will accept as more of a cheat, since it’s not out until late October. But hear me out. A nonbinary artist who doesn’t want to be a rebel, not really, but is almost shoved into it when all they want to do is paint. And there’s a talking automaton dragon.


The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps


Kai Ashante Wilson
Rep: Black bi mc, Black gay li
CWs: casual homophobia, descriptions of gore

Why Should I Read It?

I don’t quite know how to put into words how much I love this book. It kind of throws you into the middle of things, but books which trust you to pick up on the worldbuilding without long expositions are probably my favourite sorts. And I really did love the worldbuilding here. Combine that with Kai Ashante Wilson’s excellent writing? I think if I told you to read a single book on this list, it may well be this one.


Dominion of the Fallen


Aliette de Bodard
Rep: Vietnamese bi mc, gay mc, Black lesbian mc, trans lesbian mc, mlm and wlw side characters

Why Should I Read It?

Combine a fantasy with a historical and I’m there. Combine that with a murder mystery and there’s no way you could stop me reading it. I binged this whole series in about three days, it was that good. Oh and, in case this isn’t reason enough to read it, the second and third books feature a dragon prince and his fallen angel husband.


The Fire’s Stone


Tanya Huff
Rep: gay mc, bi mc
CWs: incest between cousins

Why Should I Read It?

1970s-1990s LGBT fantasy just hits differently, to be quite honest. And if you haven’t read any to test this theory out, then let these next two books be your introduction. This first one features a forced proximity found family which, yes, is as good at it sounds.




Elizabeth A. Lynn
Rep: gay mc, lesbian side characters

Why Should I Read It?

This is a slightly quieter fantasy than you might be used to reading, I’ll admit. But sometimes, you don’t want characters on an adventure to save the world, you just want them trying to get their home back. And that’s exactly what happens here. Also if (when) you read it, please come back to talk to me about that ending, I’ve already got a fix-it fic planned out.


The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water


Zen Cho
Rep:Β Malaysian-coded nonbinary mc, gay side characters

Why Should I Read It?

You didn’t think I would get through a rec list of adult fantasy without mentioning Zen Cho, did you? This one is described as a “found family wuxia fantasy” and, yes, it is as amazing as it sounds. It’ll make you laugh out loud at points and, when the ending comes, you’ll realise that all you want to do is go back to the start and relive it again.


Night Flowers Shirking from the Light of the Sun


Li Xing
Rep: Chinese lesbian mcs, gay and nonbinary side characters

Why Should I Read It?

The final book on this list is a self published one (which you can read here for however much you want to pay). Apparently, it’s based on that demonic grandmaster show that I have never seen (and do not have huge amounts of interest in seeing), which proves also that you do not have to have seen it to enjoy this book. And, honestly, you will have so much fun with this one. I mean, the author describes it as “idiots to lovers” and “tall hot and murderface/disaster dumbass”. What’s not to love.


What would you rec?


15 Replies to “Book Recs: Adult Fantasy”

  1. Oh, I really need to read Night Flowers! It sounds so good and I’m actually into grandmaster of demonic cultivation so it should be right up my alley.
    I literally just started Phoenix Extravagant and I hope I’m going to love it (the mecha dragon should do it) dkdhddk
    I still haven’t tried any older queer fantasy book and I think it’s exactly because I’ve always feared what you said, how different it hits sldhdkdj it’s probably going to make me really emo isn’t it?
    Anyway I got a few more of these on my kindle and I can’t wait to get to them soon. And as always great post! πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. night flowers was so fun, i hope you enjoy it!! i’m interested to hear your thoughts about phoenix extravagant bc yoon ha lee has a very distinct style, that i think possibly works better for sci fi than fantasy, as much as i do love all of his books. & yeah, if u read older ones you’ll probably be sad, tho tanya huff’s do have happy endings!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I thought I’d share some more LGBT adult fantasy books I’ve read !

    – The Chronicles of Ghadid trilogy by K.A. Doore: multiple mlm, wlw and nb poc mcs/sc/li throughout the series
    – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: wlw poc mc, wlw sc, f/f romance
    – Fatemarked series by David Estes : bi male mc, bi male sc
    – The Founder’s trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennet : wlw poc mc, wlw sc
    – The Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams : lesbian mc, gay sc

    + some other series with lgbt side characters

    – Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab : bi and gay scs
    – The Jealousy of Janice by Jesse Nolan Bailey: gay male scs, nb scs
    – Raven’s Mark trilogy by Ed McDonald : gay male sc

    Thanks for this list !

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So many on this list I’m very excited to read, especially Bone Shard Daughter, Sorcery of the Wildeeps and the Dominion of the Fallen series… Superb recommendations 😍😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So many of these looks so good! I love complicated worldbuilding so adult fantasy is a big love for me. A couple adult fantasy books I read recently that have some good rep in was The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin (although it’s more urban than high) and Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett


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