Book Recs: Lesbian Adult Fantasy

In keeping with the fact it’s Lesbian Visibility Week this week, today’s rec list is going to be one of solely lesbian adult fantasy recs (as requested by Anna). And I mean specifically lesbian, rather than sapphic in general (of which I have an old list here), so we’re talking characters who are attracted to women, but also are completely not attracted to men (simplistically put).

A couple of disclaimers: firstly, I’m fairly sure I’m right in reading these characters as lesbians. But obviously, since it’s fantasy, you don’t tend to get the word itself used, or even hedged around like in contemporary. As such, these are to-the-best-of-my-knowledge recs. Secondly, yeah, a lot of these are upcoming ones. Turns out I haven’t read all that many sapphic adult fantasies that you can pinpoint as lesbian. Something to work on.

All that aside, though, here are ten books you absolutely need to read. Call it lesbian canon, if you will.

inbtwn

She Who Became the Sun

36952594

Shelley Parker-Chan
Goodreads
Rep: Chinese nonbinary lesbian mc, Chinese lesbian mc, Chinese gay mc, Mongolian bi mc
CWs: violence

Why Should I Read It?

Obviously, I have to open this list with a book that absolutely steamrollered me. One of my favourite things about adult fantasy is the way it consumes you—you basically live in the world while you’re reading it—and nowhere* is that played out better than in this book. Not to mention it’s a book that’ll leave you desperately yearning for more. I read it way back at the end of last year and I’ve been in despair ever since.

*I may perhaps say this again about a few more books on this list, I would like to invite you to pretend you don’t see that repetition.

inbtwn

The Unbroken

39863498

C. L. Clark
Goodreads
Rep: Black lesbian mc, bi mc with physical disability due to past injury
CWs: violence, gore, past attempted rape, threats of rape, torture

Why Should I Read It?

The Unbroken is a tour de force of a book (a Touraine de force even perhaps). If you want my full review of this book, you can find it here, but in short, it’s one of the many (excellent) sapphic fantasy books this year that tears apart ideas of empire and colonialism. Perhaps you’re used to seeing the conquerors or the rebels in fantasy empires, but this one takes a look at those in between, and all the complicated feelings they might have besides.

inbtwn

The Jasmine Throne

20521670

Tasha Suri
Goodreads
Rep: Indian-coded lesbian mcs
CWs: homophobia, gore, violence, execution by burning, forced drug use

Why Should I Read It?

You must have known this one was coming. I mean, what is this list if I don’t include The Jasmine Throne which ought to be the standout fantasy of the year, in my opinion. It’s a book that will wreck you and you’ll be so grateful for it. It’s a book that I devoured within a few hours (and set aside everything I was reading at the time to get to it) and came out of it feeling wrung out. If this isn’t already on your radar, oh God, what are you doing?

inbtwn

Fireheart Tiger

Aliette de Bodard
Goodreads
Rep: Vietnamese-coded lesbian mc
CWs: implied domestic abuse, sexual assault

Why Should I Read It?

Switching tack a little here to offer you this novella as my next rec. You know how some authors have such skill in building the world, you barely even notice they’re doing it? That’s how this novella is. And it’s such an immersive world at that. I think Aliette de Bodard is one of those authors I could read forever, based on worldbuilding skill alone. It’s also an excellent story about rediscovering and reclaiming oneself. Basically, perfect all round.

inbtwn

The Traitor Baru Cormorant

36042389._sx318_

Seth Dickinson
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mc with hemilateral neglect, bi mc, nonbinary mc
CWs: homophobia, implied corrective rape, violence, gore, descriptions of brain surgery

Why Should I Read It?

Here’s another you really should have seen coming, I’m sure. I don’t quite know how to describe this series. Sanderson’s books aside, it’s probably one of the most in-depth and considered fantasy series I’ve ever read. There’s so much detail to everything about it, while maintaining such an expansive scope… I honestly don’t think there’s anything like it. And, of course, it’ll tear your heart to shreds throughout.

inbtwn

City of Lies

43062525._sy475_

Sam Hawke
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mc with chronic pain, bi mc with OCD

Why Should I Read It?

I am once again begging you to read this duology!! If you like political fantasies, if you want a series that turns patriarchal fantasies on their heads, if you want characters that you will latch onto from page one and love with all your heart…this series truly has everything. If you trust me on any recs, if you pick up any book on this list, please let it be this one. It’s an absolute travesty that this series has barely over 2000 ratings overall.

inbtwn

Burning Roses

33151756._sy475_

S. L. Huang
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mc, Chinese trans lesbian mc
CWs: past abuse

Why Should I Read It?

Novella number two on this list is a tale of two older lesbians, hunting down one’s old apprentince in a story of atonement and forgiveness. What I loved most here is that it’s a very character-driven story, with the focus being on past mistakes and rectifying those, and coming better.

inbtwn

A Master of Djinn

32620417

P. Djèlí Clark
Goodreads
Rep: Egyptian lesbian mc, sapphic li

Why Should I Read It?

If you haven’t already joined the Fatma el-Sha’arawi fanclub, now is your time to prepare yourself by reading the two prequel novellas to this book before its release! What you’ll be getting yourself in for is a dapper butch lesbian mc, her [redacted for spoilers] girlfriend, and a mix of magical steampunk worldbuilding. Which, let’s be real, is pretty much the sum total of everything you could want in a book.

inbtwn

Ashes of the Sun

27969087._sy475_

Django Wexler
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mc, bi, sapphic & achillean characters

Why Should I Read It?

Ashes of the Sun is a fast-paced and action-packed whole lot of fun, first and foremost. It’s length is a little intimidating, perhaps, but it has a plot that throws you straight into the thick of things, and doesn’t let up. And it centres on a sibling relationship where each is on opposing sides of an approaching war. Add into the mix the lack of homophobia in the world, and you have something approaching perfection for me.

inbtwn

The Unspoken Name

52339313._SX318_SY475_

A. K. Larkwood
Goodreads
Rep: lesbian mcs, gay mc, bi side character

Why Should I Read It?

The Unspoken Name is a mix of science fiction and fantasy, which is truly my favourite sort of fantasy (although, given that I say this about a lot, I’m not sure you should trust me). It also features a non-human main character, and I think you should read it for that alone. And the opposite of gay/lesbian solidarity in Tal and Csorwe (gay/lesbian antipathy? Gay/lesbian reluctant allies? Who knows, but it’s good).

inbtwn

What would you rec?

If you like this post, please consider supporting me on ko-fi.

charlotte

12 Replies to “Book Recs: Lesbian Adult Fantasy”

  1. I loved reading this post, so many great recommendations. I recently bought the Unbroken, and I can’t wait to read it. The Jasmine Throne sounds amazing, and Ashes of the Sun sounds intruiging as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Unbroken I loved, The Jasmine Throne is next on the review list, and I’m hoping to land a copy of She Who Became the Sun. A Master of Djinn sounds fantastic, and I really need to catch up with Ashes of the Sun.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s