The best gay couples to fall in love with in fantasy novels

Ginn Hale Author Of Master of Restless Shadows: Book Two
By Ginn Hale

Who am I?

As a queer fantasy author, my work strongly focuses on detailed plots and lush world-building, but as a reader, I have to admit that the things that hook me on a story are vibrant characters—particularly when they come in couples. After all, it’s the characters that explore their lush worlds and who bring detailed plots to life. One of my absolute favorite reading experiences is following a dynamic couple as they play off each other’s strengths and defend one another’s weaknesses to overcome all odds. It’s just the best feeling, in my opinion. So if you’re looking for a great fantasy book—or series—featuring gay couples, here are five of my favorites!


I wrote...

Master of Restless Shadows: Book Two

By Ginn Hale,

Book cover of Master of Restless Shadows: Book Two

What is my book about?

As a schoolboy, Fedeles Quemanor barely survived being possessed by sorcery. Now he'd gladly abandon all matters of magic to more ambitious people. His happiness lies in more simple things: riding horses, the joy of friends and family, and dancing with Ariz Plunado. But when he discovers that Hierro Fueres, the Duke of Gavado, is raising an army of enthralled assassins to seize the crown, Fedeles is shaken to the core. 

The murderous power lurking in Fedeles's shadow could be enough to secure the nation of Cadeleon. If only Fedeles can face the darkness that once possessed him. But even as Fedeles takes on the challenge, his agents, Atreau and Narsi, learn that the threat at the heart of the capital has grown beyond the bounds of their nation.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation

By Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, Marina Privalova (illustrator),

Book cover of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation

Why this book?

This is the first book in the Mó Dào Zǔ Shī series, which inspired the television series The Untamed as well as two animated series. For an English language reader, like myself, the book was a fabulous introduction to the vast world of Chinese Xianxia and Danmei novels. I loved the fact that it’s not only illustrated but includes a glossary and guides that explain any unfamiliar terms. (For example, the term cultivation in the book title doesn’t refer to farming but martial arts and spiritual practices. Thank you awesome glossary!)

When the story kicked off with the protagonist — Wei Wuxian, a widely condemned master of demonic cultivation —  already dead, I’ll admit I was a little puzzled as to where the story was going. Hilariously enough, Wei Wuxian echoed my thoughts, waking up dismayed to find himself brought back to life in the body of an ill-treated youth. His amused and inventive tone won me over right away.

But best of all, Wei Wuxian isn’t alone on the quest to resolve the mystery surrounding his death and revival. He’s joined by Lan Wangji, a reserved, refined, and deadly swordsman who brings out the very best and worst of Wei Wuxian’s playfully irreverent nature. Lan Wangji’s many pained silences manage to speak volumes and the few scenes of him drunk had me laughing out loud.

It’s the dynamics between the two of them that absolutely hooked me on this series. They’re a deeply romantic, breathtakingly courageous, and hilarious couple. 


The Sea of Stars

By Nicole Kimberling,

Book cover of The Sea of Stars

Why this book?

The world of The Sea of Stars is amazingly creative; a modern setting that flawlessly incorporates magicians, scheming courtiers, enchanted animals, and prophetic astronomy in an age of cell phones, animal activists, and labor agencies. The majority of common people are ruled over by nobles and magicians who regularly strip human beings of their souls and lock them away inside animals, thus creating a soulless human workforce as well as intelligent animal servants. As weird as that may sound, the characters are so well written that the book is astoundingly humane and moving.

I sympathized completely with Grand Magician Zachary Drake in his disdain for the ruling class and its dehumanizing practices. Though, I’ll admit, a couple of times I was so fascinated by the unexpected creativity of the world that I almost wanted to see more. And I definitely appreciated Drake’s snark and cynical commentary.  

But the story truly took off for me with the introductions of Thomas — a jaded oracle whose botched attempt at assassination has reduced him to a gritty youth — and Karl — a star athlete now forced to share a body with an aged orangutan. The details of their lives and their slowly unfolding relationship felt so real that I was racing to the end of the book to ensure that they pulled through and won their much-deserved happy ending.

Thankfully, I was not disappointed. The Sea of Stars is filled with brilliant magic as well as the intimate and insightful revelations of very different people growing to trust, love, and care for one another. 


Widdershins

By Jordan L. Hawk,

Book cover of Widdershins

Why this book?

Widdershins is the first of a whopping eleven books in the Whyborne & Griffin series.  For me, the entire series is like joining a fun—sometimes madcap— romp with an eclectic group of friends.

Set in a magical version of nineteenth-century America replete with mummies, spirits, ancient gods, and Lovecraftian monsters, the story follows shy linguist, Percival Whyborne as the mystery surrounding an ancient artifact throws him together with ex-Pinkerton agent, Griffin Flaherty. The two are polar opposites—one a quiet genius, the other a brash gunman—but their banter and slowly building romance make it obvious that they belong together.  


Witchmark

By C.L. Polk,

Book cover of Witchmark

Why this book?

The first book in the Kingston Cycle series, Witchmark is set in a magic-powered Edwardian era just after the end of a World War. I loved the balance of soaring magic and gritty realism as well as the unexpected revelations surrounding each of the characters.

Miles — a witch who is desperate to keep from being used as a power source by mages — has faked his death and lives in hiding as a military doctor. However, when Tristan Hunter brings a dying man to Miles’ hospital, Miles’ secrets are threatened. But Tristan isn’t interested in blackmailing or exposing him. Instead he needs Miles to help him to track down a murderer and uncover an epidemic threatening to destroy all the magic in their world.

Obviously, the setting and premise had me from the start but the real fun of the book was following Miles and Tristan as they tried to protect their own secrets while learning to believe in each other. They shared such courageous characters and quick minds that for me half the joy of reading the book was seeing them come to love each other as much as I adored them.  


Reforged

By Seth Haddon,

Book cover of Reforged

Why this book?

This is a book I’m particularly excited to share because I was given the chance to read it in advance of its release. And I can say that it’s fabulous fun! A swords and sorcery tale brimming with assassins, magical music, battles for a throne, and dynamic lovers!

Balen is a gallant paladin who has made tough sacrifices to win his post as the king’s personal guard. One of the most painful of those sacrifices was leaving his witty and musically talented lover, Zavrius. So imagine his shock and chagrin after a series of mysterious assassinations leave Zaverius as the sole heir to the throne and Balen sworn to never leave his side! Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it…but in the very best way — I promise!

The banter between the characters never failed to make me smile. And I adored that I could side with Zavrius for a chapter but then understand Balen’s point of view perfectly in the next chapter. Between snappy dialogue, epic battles, and more than a few heartfelt moments I couldn’t have been more happy, following along as Balen and Zavrius reclaimed their love.

(Reforged is available for preorder already and will be released on October 4th, 2022, so mark your calendars and don’t miss out!)


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay topics and characters, gay men, and reincarnation?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay topics and characters, gay men, and reincarnation.

Gay Topics And Characters Explore 90 books about gay topics and characters
Gay Men Explore 44 books about gay men
Reincarnation Explore 33 books about reincarnation

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Perdido Street Station, The Resurrectionist of Caligo, and Swordspoint if you like this list.