I was pleased to find that I read enough books with LGBT leads that they get their own post, hooray!
The Cold Commands | Richard K. Morgan
As bleak, grimdark fantasy goes, I prefer Morgan’s style to a lot of others, but this entire series is incredibly hard to follow. I love that one of the leads is a black lesbian warrior who is the last of her intellectually and technologically and culturally sophisticated race left to advise an infuriating human king. I like the mix of sci-fi and fantasy. I am emotionally invested in Ringil (and just want him to be okay). But I can barely explain to you what happened in this book, so read it, enjoy it, and then explain it to me, please?
Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness, Traitor’s Moon | Lynn Flewelling
These books are pure fantasy fun. The writing can be too over-the-top Ren-Faire at times for me, but the fantasy I read growing up was never this classic sword and sorcery stuff, so it was nice to get a taste of it. Flewelling’s choice to be incredibly restrained with the readers’ insight into her characters’ emotional journey is the biggest drawback, though. I’m reading the book for the central relationship between Alec and Seregil, and it’s rendered kind of awkwardly in many ways. I do like the political games, and the female characters are diverse, strong, and well-drawn.
Gypsy Boy | Mickey Walsh
I had been searching for a book like this for a long time. As we all know, gypsies are among the most romanticized, maligned, and controversial minority groups out there, and because their communities are so insular, it’s rare to hear their story from their point of view. So when Stephen Fry recommended this autobiography, I picked it up at the book-go-round. Warning: it’s a relentlessly heartbreaking story, since the author is gay and did not fit in with his community, and was brutally abused by his father though his entire childhood. But the reward is a fascinating insight into an otherwise opaque world, and a real-life happy ending. I recommend it to anyone interested in traveling folk and gypsies; it’s a very quick read.
Captive Prince, Prince’s Gambit, Kings Rising | C. S. Pascat
They took me a few hours a piece and were so fun. The central romance takes a while to unfold (if incredibly emotionally oblivious point-of-view characters frustrate you, this isn’t the book for you) but the background politics and world-building were a good Kushiel’s-lite. If you were thinking about reading them and hesitating like I was, go for it: they’re like candy. Stray thought: I think these are considered fantasy, but there’s no magical or supernatural element, so maybe it’s sci-fi by way of speculative fiction?