In the whole wide world of queer fantasy books, there are so many options to choose from. Not only do you have all the deliciously different fantasy sub-genres there are on offer, you also get to experience a wide range of LGBTQ identities. From sapphic fantasy romance books to m/m historical fantasies and bisexual adventures, there’s a little something for everyone. Personally, I love a queernorm fantasy world where gender and sexuality are never even questioned. But whatever your preferred queer fantasy sub-genre, these queer fantasy books have a story just for you.
While I often — and still occasionally — have looked to fanfiction to supply all the queer identities I’m missing from my favorite shows and movies, so many LGBTQ books are making their way into the publishing world now that it’s easy to find mainstream queer fantasy books that make you feel seen. Getting to see yourself reflected in the stories you love is a feeling like no other. These stories inhabit worlds that are a little like ours or entirely different, but they still center the things that matter most: family, friends, love, acceptance, feeling seen, and being true to yourself. So, let’s take a journey together into the wonderful world of queer fantasy books to find your next favorite read.
The best queer fantasy books
To Shape a Dragon’s Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose
When a girl on a remote island discovers a dragon egg, her people rejoice and revere her as “Nampeshiweisit,” or a person with a special relationship with a dragon. But the Anglish colonizers of her land have different ideas about how a dragon should be raised and who should be raising them. If Anequs can’t succeed at the mainland dragon academy they send her to, they’ll kill her dragon. The Anglish want Anequs to assimilate, but that’s not going to happen. She may be determined to succeed, but she’s going to do it her own way. She’s going to make her dragon and her people proud.
Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee
A pacifistic painter is blackmailed into working for the occupying government when their sister — a rebel fighter — is threatened. The government has set their sights on Jebi. Now, in order to keep their sister safe, Jebi must use magical pigments to help bring the government’s war machines to life. A mechanical dragon who has gone rogue before is at the top of their list to bring under control. But as Jebi develops an unlikely relationship with both the dragon, Arazi, and the military’s master duelist, they must decide who their allegiance truly belongs to — and whether sometimes, even for a pacifist, it’s worth the fight.
For the first time Jebi must decide who their allegiance truly belongs to.
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
A shy prince falls for his new bodyguard in this Ottoman-esque fantasy romance. After a humiliating incident at court, Prince Kadou must prove his loyalty to his sister, the queen, by investigating a recent break-in at the guild. Alongside his newly appointed bodyguard, the standoffish Evemer, he discovers a counterfeit conspiracy that could ruin a nation that prides itself on its princes who can touch-taste precious metals.
When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb
If you’ve ever wished Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens were actually a confirmed couple, this gorgeous tale of Jewish angels and demons is for you. Uriel and Ashmedai have long been the only supernatural creatures in their shtetl. Together, they study torah and barely notice the centuries going by. But when a girl from their community goes missing, their search to find her takes them all the way to America and introduces them to the best and worst the world has to offer. Through it all, it’s their friendship and love for each other that keeps them going.
Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
In this novella from the author of The Red Scholar’s Wake, a princess, returned to her mother’s court after years away as a foreign hostage, is torn between her feelings for a former flame, a desire to prove herself in politics, and a supernatural force that’s surrounded her for years. Her engagement to Eldris of Ephteria could provide her with the power and stability she longs for — but at a steep cost. As she struggles to prove her political savvy to her mother, the fires that have followed her for years encourage her to reclaim herself — even if it means giving up the love she thought she wanted.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
The first book in Rebecca Roanhorse’s brilliant new fantasy series follows a ship captain bound for the holy city of Tova on the eve of a winter solstice celebration. But aboard her ship is a supposedly harmless young man with a destiny to fulfill. Xiala knows enough about destiny and supposedly harmless young men to know he is certainly anything but. The series is inspired by the pre-Columbian Americas and is full of prophecies, intrigue, and magic.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
It’s just another day as a case worker for the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth when Linus Baker is assigned to visit Marsyas Island Orphanage and determine whether its six highly dangerous charges are likely to bring about the end days. Considering one of the children is the Antichrist, it might not be as unlikely as you’d think. But despite the professional detachment Linus has so carefully maintained throughout his career, he can’t help but be drawn to these strange children and their magnetic caretaker, Arthur Parnassus. For the first time, Linus finds himself asking who it is he’s meant to help: the government he works for or the children he’s tasked with overseeing? The answer just might change his life for good.
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark
Determined to see her uncle dethroned, Luca is in search of someone willing to betray their nation — for the right reasons. Touraine was kidnapped as a child and trained as a soldier. The only loyalty she knows is to her fellow conscripts. But when the empire sends her back to her homeland to help quash a rebellion, she finds her loyalty tested in ways she never knew possible. She might be exactly the person Luca needs to help her take back the nation.
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
Inspired by Indian history and epics, the first book in this new fantasy trilogy follows a captive princess and her maidservant in possession of forbidden magic as they set out on a journey to take down the princess’s traitorous brother. When Malini inadvertently witnesses Priya’s magical abilities one night, she knows that together the two can change everything. Malini wants to take back her kingdom. Priya just wants to find her family. But together, they will change the fate of their world.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
Cozy fantasy meets all your coffee shop fanfiction dreams in this breakout hit from Travis Baldree. Tired after years of adventuring, Viv decides to create a new life for herself in the city of Thune. The first step: opening up the city’s first ever coffee shop. But considering most people here have never even heard of coffee, that might be more challenging than she originally expected. With the help of some surprising new friends, Viv’s dream starts to come to life. Unfortunately, some bad players from her previous life — and extortionists in the city — are hellbent on destroying everything Viv has worked so hard to create.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
A queen desperate to conceive a child, but beset by assassins; a loyal lady-in-waiting using illicit magic to protect her queen; and a dragonrider living across the sea and forced to make a choice that will change her life forever. The stories of these women intertwine as they each face the threat of the dragon known as the Nameless One. If the East and West can’t stand together and set aside their differing opinions over dragons, the Nameless One will return, and it will destroy everything.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
Rumors about the “wild man” in the Greenhollow wood have long kept people away. That’s just fine with Tobias, who has long since accepted his fate tethered to the trees. But when Greenhollow Hall’s curious new owner takes a liking to him, Tobias’s life is completely changed. What does it mean to be a man outside of time when a man in this time seems to love you? What does it mean to be a man of the wood when the woods finally let you go?
The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
A former pirate is forced back into her old life when she’s blackmailed by a woman whose granddaughter has been kidnapped by a man dabbling in the supernatural. Amina Al-Sirafi would do anything for her daughter. She gave up a life of piracy for her, and now she’ll take it back up again, all to keep her beloved daughter safe. And if she enjoys her life back on the sea? Well, she still misses her daughter, so let’s leave it at that. But her daughter isn’t the only reason she left her old life behind. When a dangerous figure from her past — a man she thought she had killed — returns, she must determine who among her friends and crew will accept the truth of all that happened in their past.
A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske
This gorgeous historical fantasy novel, alongside its sequel companion novels A Restless Truth and A Power Unbound, depicts an alternate Edwardian England where magic lurks just beneath the surface. When an administrative error lands baronet Robin Blythe as the newest liaison to this magical community, his entire life is flipped upside down. Within the course of a day, he learns magic exists, meets the world’s most disagreeable coworker, and is cursed by a band of errant magicians. Now, in order to undo the curse, he’ll have to work alongside the insufferable Edwin Courcey. But when they unearth a dangerous plot affecting all of Britain’s magical inhabitants, they realize their quest goes far beyond curses and Robin himself.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
A desperate deal with a devil saves Adeline from an unwanted marriage, but curses her to a life without anyone by her side. With no one from her past, present, or future able to remember her, Addie soon finds out there are fates worse than a terrible marriage or even death. Death would be a relief. But centuries of going unremembered have taught Addie how to make the best of things — until she meets a man who remembers her. They’re each the answer the other has been searching for. But the reason Henry can see her is also the reason their love story will end in heartbreak, once again.
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
A renowned violin instructor paying off a deal with the devil finds her perfect final sacrifice: a runaway trans music prodigy. But as her fondness for her new protegee grows, she also meets a family of alien refugees running from an intergalactic war. Soon, she’s questioning what sacrifices she’s willing to make to protect the people — and the life — she’s growing to love. Light from Uncommon Stars is a gorgeous story of found family unlike any other.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
Inspired by a song of the same name, The Deep explores the underwater world of the descendants of pregnant women who drowned during the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. To protect everyone from the horrors of their collective past, Yetu holds the memories of her people. But the burden is destroying her. Fleeing to the surface is her only escape. But what she discovers there — a world her people have never known — teaches her far more about the past and future of her people than she ever could’ve imagined.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
The first full-length novel in Clark’s Dead Djinn Universe follows a young detective with the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. When someone murders all the members of a secret society dedicated to al-Jahiz, the man who lifted the veil between the natural and supernatural world, Fatma el-Sha’arawi is on the case. Only the murderer is claiming he is al-Jahiz, returned to condemn social injustice in the modern age. And his dangerous magical abilities threaten to cause unrest on a global scale. Can Agent Fatma, alongside her fellow ministry employees and her clever girlfriend, get to the bottom of who this man is before it’s too late? Or will their investigations instead prove that he’s exactly who he claims to be?
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
A secret society of magical academics known as the Alexandrian Society consider only the six most talented magicians in the world to join their ranks. This chance comes around only once a decade. The six newest recruits are given access to everything in the Society’s archives in order to prove themselves worthy. Five will be initiated. One will be eliminated. And with only themselves, their magic, and their wits to rely upon, it will be a deadly magical contest to the very end.
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
When Jess moves back to Malaysia with her parents, the stress of the move has her hearing voices. Or at least, that’s what she assumes. But the presence of her dead Ah Ma soon makes itself known. It’s not voices Jess has been hearing; it’s spirits. Jess’s Ah Ma isn’t interested in helping her granddaughter succeed, though. No, the old woman made a deal with a dangerous deity — and now she wants Jess to finish out the terms of their agreement, whatever the cost.
The Untimely Undeath of Imogen Madrigal by Grayson Daly
At the Sisterhood of Good Death, a convent shepherding lost souls on to the afterlife, death is just a daily ritual. But when a famous poet returns not in spirit but in the flesh, she recruits Maeve’s help in obtaining justice for her wrongful death. Bored of her quiet life, Maeve agrees to help, and soon the two are fully enmeshed in the Poet’s Court, where heretics and hedonists run amok.
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia
In the queernormative, Persian-inspired world of Qilwa, a young nonbinary healer works in a free clinic, helping refugees and hiding the origins of their own magic. As a practitioner of blood magic, Firuz could face persecution — or worse — in their new home of the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa. They know this all too well, having fled slaughter in their homeland. But now a terrifying new plague is sweeping across the city — one that it is clear to Firuz has its origins in blood magic. Can they continue to heal others and discover the source of this new infection without sacrificing their own safety?
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
As the daughter of an old book eater family, Devon has learned all too well her place in life — and in the Family. When her son is born with an appetite for brains, not books, she makes a deal to save his life that could trap her within her family for good. But Devon isn’t the only one dissatisfied with the book eater way of life. When she meets another book eater on the outs with the Family and searching for a way out, she might finally have the final piece in her plan to escape from her fellow book eaters for good.
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner
A hard-drinking thief talks her way into a team of female bodyguards being hired to protect a young lady from assassination attempts. When a series of attacks takes place, Delly realizes the risks were not at all exaggerated. Soon, she’s falling for a fellow bodyguard, and the two look for answers about a magical enemy with an unsettling number of allies.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
When cities reach a certain level of myth in the public consciousness, they can evolve. Into what? Well, that’s what the newly awakened avatars of New York City — represented by the five boroughs — are trying to figure out. The highly diverse group will have to find each other and figure out some way to work together first, though. Even once they do, the evil forces that kept New Orleans and other great cities from evolving are doing everything in their power to destroy the city before it can come into its own.
The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai
Two young women from very different backgrounds struggle for the rights of women — and their use of elemental magic — in this Egyptian-inspired fantasy novel. A waterweaver forced into marriage to settle her father’s crushing debts and an earthweaving bookseller with no prospects find solace in each other and a group of radical women’s rights activists fighting for women to get a say in their own lives. But even as they fight for rights in their home country, war with a neighboring nation looms on the horizon — and this country wants to wipe out elemental magic and those who use it entirely.
Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall
Prolific author of excellent queer stories Alexis Hall is here with a 19th-century fantasy novel full of fairies, sorcerers, and young ladies hindered by bothersome curses. Miss Maelys Mitchelmore is doing her best to enter high society when a curse begins to ruin her life and all her chances of keeping her reputation intact. In order to free herself from the curse’s increasingly dangerous clutches, she’ll have to look to unsavory sources. Sources like the infamous Lady Georgianna Landrake, rumored to have murdered her father and brothers and be some sort of enchantress. But with Lady Landrake’s assistance into matters of the magical and otherworldly, it’s more than just Maelys’ life and reputation at stake — it’s also her heart.
The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang (August 22, 2023)
In this novel inspired by a martial arts classic, a band of ruthless outlaws who defy expectations and gender norms are prepared to remake history in an empire who views them as dangerous outsiders. Betrayed and disgraced, the Emperor’s former arms instructor is recruited by the Bandits of Liangshan, a group of mountain outlaws who refuse to accept the Empire’s hierarchical class structure, even if it means becoming criminals and murderers. The Empire would destroy them — but only if they don’t destroy the Empire first.