Hi everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! Today’s one of the hottest days of the year here in Scotland at a scorching (mild sarcasm here!) 23°C, and I got hit with my period today so I’ve had a hot water bottle glued to me for the past ten hours – I’m positively sweltering! But today I’m back with some recommendations for fantasy books with nonbinary main characters and/or love interests! There are still so few books with nonbinary main characters, but I thought, why not share some exciting ones with you all, particularly for those of us who adore fantasy (with maybe a few sci-fi books here and there too)!
So, starting off with some shorter reads, we have Finna by Nino Cipri, which is a super fast read at only 92 pages! This one sounds like an absolutely wild ride as it follows two employees at an, I guess you could call it Ikea, who have to go on a multi-dimensional hunt for an elderly customer after she falls through a portal – oh, and the two employees are also exs! Of course, I have to mention Zen Cho’s wuxia fantasy novella, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, which follows a young votary as she gets swept up into a band of thieves to protect a sacred object. Upright Women Wanted is one of Sarah Gailey’s most well known works, and it follows Esther who has stowed away on a librarian’s book wagon to escape an arranged marriage to a man who was previously engaged to her best friend whom Esther was in love with, and who has just been executed for owning resistance propaganda! When you mention fantasy books with nonbinary main characters, of course you have to mention Nghi Vo’s gorgeous Singing Hills Cycle, beginning with The Empress of Salt and Fortune! This series of novellas follows the cleric, Chih, and their adventures, this first instalment surrounding a handmaiden who befriends an exiled empress. Next up is perhaps the longest of these novellas – The Vela, The Complete Season 1 by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon and S.L. Huang. And if that group of authors isn’t enough to sell you on it, it’s an amazing sci-fi novella featuring a nonbinary main character and a disabled trans women main character on a search for a missing refugee ship! I read an ARC of this one and I can assure you that it is as good as it sounds! Finally, an upcoming 2021 release is In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu – set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world this follows Anima who is tasked with watching over the citizens of aer city, Ora, until a mysterious visitor enters carrying a cabinet of curiosities and Anima begins to question everything.
Young adult is one of the hardest genres to find trans and nonbinary main characters in, never mind solely in fantasy, but here are some wonderful ones that I did manage to find! A. R. Capetta is truly killing it with the amount of nonbinary and trans rep in their books in general, and The Brilliant Death is no exception! This is set in an Italian-inspired fantasy world with genderfluid, shape-shifting main characters who must work together to save Teo’s father after he is sent a poisoned letter. Spell Hacker by M. K. England is another book that is packed full of wonderful queer rep, and specifically a nonbinary love interest! If you love books about heists and dying magic then this is the perfect book for you! Back to A. R. Capetta we have one of my most anticipated books of the year because it’ll be the first time I’ll have ever read a book with an agender main character – The Heartbreak Bakery!! With several trans main characters, this follows Syd who works in a bakery and who bakes breakup brownies – whoever eats them…breaks up with their significant other! And that includes the owners of the bakery, and their split might just mean the end of the Proud Muffin. Night Shine by Tessa Gratton is a really well loved 2020 release with a nonbinary love interest and it sounds perfect if you’re a big fan of more traditional high fantasy! It follows an orphan called Nothing who must save her best friend, and heir to the throne, after he is kidnapped and all sources point to the culprit being the Sorceress Who Eats Girls! For lovers of queer pirates, you should definitely check out The Mermaid, The Witch and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. This has pirates, witches and mermaids and a Black genderfluid main character! Finally, a new release that I’m really excited about is All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue – it’s filled with scarily accurate tarot card readings and missing ex-best friends, as well as a sapphic main character and a bi genderfluid love interest!
Starting off with a book that is definitely not for the faint hearted, we have Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon, which is a fantasy horror novel with a nonbinary, intersex Albino main character on her escape from a cult where she gives birth in the woods and is tracked down by the Hunter, all the while her body is going through some strange changes. Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa features a sapphic main character and a nonbinary love interest, and is an exciting west-African inspired fantasy tome featuring magic that shouldn’t exist and a city’s history under wraps! The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis is another book that is well-loved by readers. This is a complex sci-fi fantasy with multiple points of view and exciting plot twists, and of course a nonbinary main character (with some other great rep thrown in there too!). Phoenix Extravagant is Yoon Ha Lee’s second book in this post, and this one is all about a revolutionary painter who is determined to steal the ministry’s giant dragon automaton and fight back against corruption! Dead Space by Kali Wallace is a mix of sci-fi, mystery and horror and follows a disabled main character, stuck in a dead-end job on a mining asteroid when one of her old friends is killed and she must join the search to find the killer. Finally, if you’re looking for a fantasy novel with a strong romance at the heart of it, check out The Devotion of Delflenor by R. Cooper! This is an exciting fantasy f/nb fantasy novel with two knights as main characters who must travel the land in search of someone to take the position of chevetein before time runs out!
I hope that this post helped you find some new fantasy books to add to your TBR – I know I’m super excited to read the ones I haven’t managed to get to yet! As always, stay safe and see you again tomorrow!