The best feelgood fantasy with rainbow characters that will make your heart sing

Kate Haley Author Of Welcome to the Inbetween
By Kate Haley

The Books I Picked & Why

Good Omens

By Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

Book cover of Good Omens

Why this book?

Good Omens has to be on this list simply because it’s my favorite book of all time and any list of books I was going to recommend had to include it. By now the story of Aziraphale and Crowley trying to save the world has become quite popular, and they are internationally recognized as a disaster couple of possibly asexual ethereal beings. Their entertaining shenanigans aside, this has to be one of the cleverest books I have ever read. Terry Pratchett is my favorite author and his wit and charm shine through beautifully, perfectly tempered by Gaiman’s creativity. Absolute masterpiece. I cannot rave about it enough. If you like hilarious satire that will somehow restore your faith in the universe, check it out.

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In Other Lands

By Sarah Rees Brennan

Book cover of In Other Lands

Why this book?

A huge part of why I write is that I struggle to find books I like written by other people, yet this one came out of left field and bowled me over (Elliot would probably hate that I used a sports metaphor for that). Elliot is the protagonist of this book and he is a walking queer disaster. I love him, I hate him, and I became strangely, desperately invested in him. The book doesn’t have what I would describe as a conventional plot, but Brennan does a fantastic job studying her characters with a depth that got me obsessed. During the few days it took me to read this book (when I had to put it down and do life things) I would huff around the house muttering ‘FFS Elliot!’ under my breath. If you want to know why, I recommend giving it a go.

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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

By Rick Riordan

Book cover of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Why this book?

Technically a trilogy, I know, but I can’t in good faith add the first book of the trilogy to this list, and it just seems wrong to recommend the third book without recommending the first two – especially when the third one is arguably the weakest. However, the third book also includes one of the greatest written scenes my eyes have ever perused. Drip. Drip. (If you know, you know. If you don’t, you oughtta). Also, Riordan warrants a mention for doing fun mainstream fantasy for kids that has really stepped up to try and include minority representation. If you’re into that kinda thing it is delightful cotton candy fluff for the brain.

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The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune

Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Why this book?

This one feels like another ‘must mention’. As I’m writing this, it’s currently sitting in the #1 spot on Amazon’s LGBT fantasy list, so I feel like I’d get a direct talking to if I made a rainbow fantasy list and didn’t include it. It’s another interesting children’s tale in that while it has a perfectly formulaic plot, it’s middle-grade fiction with a middle-aged protagonist. An uncommon occurrence, but one I would argue shouldn’t be – especially given the message Klune is trying to push for normalizing portrayals of beautiful queer families. Mostly this book is worth it for Lucy, and it would seem I’m discovering I have a fondness for antichrists. They’re just such delightful people.

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The Starless Sea

By Erin Morgenstern

Book cover of The Starless Sea

Why this book?

Erin Morgenstern is one of those authors who borrows words to create Art. Yes, that’s capitalized for a reason. She doesn’t so much construct prose as assemble a silent symphony that plays privately in the head of anyone who graces their eyes with her words. So, if you’re scrolling this list looking for the point where rainbow fantasy meets literature, congrats, you’ve found it. At some points, the story feels like it’s trying to be a bit too clever for its own good, but it does it so gracefully you might not mind. If you have a penchant for things as elegant and mysterious as a starless sea, grab a copy and find out why it made the list for yourself.

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