The most recommended gay fantasy books

Who picked these books? Meet our 86 experts.

86 authors created a book list connected to gay fantasy, and here are their favorite gay fantasy books.
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Book cover of The Unspoken Name

Gillian Grant Author Of Where the Shadows Beckon

From my list on fantasy with worlds to get lost in.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always sought to escape this world for another; one more exciting. Whether it was reading, or playing D&D, I constantly looked for new places to explore. Building my own has become one of my favorite things about writing. What starts as a simple ‘What if...’ turns into a place I find myself in daily. I’m no longer just an explorer, but a builder, and my craving for unique worlds hasn’t gone away. I’m still learning, still creating new worlds beyond my first, and always still walking new ones. I hope you love escapism as much as I do, because these books will transport you.

Gillian's book list on fantasy with worlds to get lost in

Gillian Grant Why did Gillian love this book?

Why have one world when you can have multiple? The Unspoken Name took me by surprise when our main character was taken from her death cult and whisked through a gateway that would lead her to many worlds all connected by a misty maze. Dead worlds and gods, flying ships, undead cities, and a revenge plot that twists into something far bigger, The Unspoken Name feels like three stories in one, but in the best way. The various worlds and their cultures are intricate and vibrant, brought to life by the lovely cast of characters the story is told through. From an orc mercenary outrunning a god, to a wizard with godlike ambitions, the cast is phenomenal and diverse in both race and sexuality, something I love reading in fantasy. 

By A. K. Larkwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unspoken Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood is the incredible first epic fantasy in the Serpent Gates duology.

'An astounding debut . . . unlike anything I've read before' - Nicholas Eames, author of Kings of the Wyld

Does she owe her life to those planning her death . . .

Csorwe was raised by a death cult steeped in old magic. And on her fourteenth birthday, she'll be sacrificed to their god. But as she waits for the end, she's offered a chance to escape her fate. A sorcerer wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin. As this…

Book cover of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps

Polly Schattel Author Of The Occultists

From my list on modern fantasy for people who dislike modern fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Polly Schattel, and I’m a novelist, screenwriter, and film director. I wrote and directed the films Sinkhole, Alison, and Quiet River, and my written work includes The Occultists, Shadowdays, and the novella 8:59:29. I grew up loving fantasy—Tolkien, Moorcock, Zelazny—but phased out of it somewhat when I discovered writers like Raymond Carver, EL Doctorow, and Denis Johnson. Their books seemed more adult and more complex, not to mention the prose itself was absolutely transporting. In comparison, the fantasy I’d read often felt quite rushed and thin, with get-it-done prose. I drifted away from genre fiction a bit, but dove back to it with my first novel, the historical dark fantasy The Occultists.

Polly's book list on modern fantasy for people who dislike modern fantasy

Polly Schattel Why did Polly love this book?

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Wilson’s debut work, is another wonder among wonders.

It feels like an epic fantasy, but instead of following more Viking-blonde heroes with their magical swords, we’re following hired mercenaries to escort a caravan through dangerous lands.

And instead of the usual fantasy worlds descended from the Western European Middle Ages, we’re in one influenced by re-colonial Africa.

There are magical jungles and magical tigers, and violence and death, and an LGBT love story between smart, dedicated men.

It’s a character study worthy of a literary novel, but the love of words, and the masterful inclusion of various dialects, particularly a kind of medieval hip-hop slang, makes this a truly fascinating read.

By Kai Ashante Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of Wired's Twenty-Five All-Time Favorite Books

Critically acclaimed author Kai Ashante Wilson makes his commercial debut with this striking, wondrous tale of gods and mortals, magic and steel, and life and death that will reshape how you look at sword and sorcery.

Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors' artifacts in hand, the Sorcerer follows the Captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight.

The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will…

Book cover of The House in the Cerulean Sea

Sherry Roberts Author Of Up There

From my list on magical realism books that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Minnesota writer of cozy mysteries and contemporary fiction. I love the magical and care deeply about nature, the environment, and what is happening due to climate change. My novel was a chance to combine both interests. I wrote the first draft of Up There during the pandemic. While we were locked down, I spent time with a character who could fly. But while she was free, I discovered she was still lost. I spent so much of that year walking in the woods—thinking about how our world is changing, how confusing it is, and how we all are a little lost in these times.

Sherry's book list on magical realism books that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary

Sherry Roberts Why did Sherry love this book?

I fell in love with this book from the very beginning.

When by-the-book case worker Linus Baker from the Department in Charge of Magical Youth comes to investigate a home for six dangerous magical children, he discovers an unlikely family in an unexpected place. As a mother, I was smitten by the insecure yet powerful children and was cheering for Linus to save them. I’ve been out of my element with kids too, Linus; I understand.

Best of all, I could feel the compassion and love on the pages of this amazing book.

By TJ Klune,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked The House in the Cerulean Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not…

The Woodland Stranger: A Fairy Tale with Benefits

By Jane Buehler,

Book cover of The Woodland Stranger: A Fairy Tale with Benefits

Jane Buehler Author Of The Ocean Girl

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Storyteller Introvert Romantic Norm avoider Backyard birdwatcher

Jane's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Burne’s been hiding out in the forest since deserting the King’s Guard. Each time he tries to return to the village, he begins to panic. And then one day, he encounters a handsome stranger picking flowers and hides behind a tree instead of talking.

He wants to be braver—and he’s about to get another chance. Because the stranger is Gray, a fairy and master of illusions who’s now following Burne home. And Gray’s got more on his mind than talking. Would a fairy that beautiful ever want someone like him? Stranger things have happened.

The Woodland Stranger: A Fairy Tale with Benefits

By Jane Buehler,

What is this book about?

Whoever said, Don't talk to strangers?

Burne hid behind a tree. He wanted to talk to the handsome man picking flowers at the edge of the forest, but he'd only flub it if he tried-he'd stumble over his words and blush bright red. And now the man is gone.

He tries to continue on to the village, but the same thing happens as always: his hands start shaking and panic wells up inside him. What if he runs into the bullies who tormented him in the King's Guard last spring? Ever since he deserted, he has hidden out in the…

Book cover of White Trash Warlock

Amara Mae Author Of Pack of Secrets

From my list on urban fantasy with kick-ass world building.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a bit of an anomaly in the author world because I didn’t find my passion for reading until I was a newly married adult. My husband, who is the coolest geek ever, introduced me to the DragonLance Chronicles, opening my eyes to the wonder that is the fantasy genre and turning me into an insatiable reader. It’s taken more than ten years to craft my own urban fantasy world, outline my first 6-book series in the world, and write the first book, but none of that would have been possible without the urban fantasy trailblazers listed above. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have! 

Amara's book list on urban fantasy with kick-ass world building

Amara Mae Why did Amara love this book?

Although White Trash Warlock has fantastic world building and a fresh, unique take on supernatural people and creatures, it was the feels in this book that did it for me. I love a wounded protagonist, and the way Adam fights to live life on his own terms while still helping the family that doesn’t support his sexuality or his magic tugs on all my heartstrings. 

By David R. Slayton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Trash Warlock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the Colorado Book Award

Reading the West Book Award Nominee for Debut Fiction

“The complex world-building, well-shaded depictions of poverty, emotional nuance, and thrilling action sequences make this stand out. Slayton is sure to win plenty of fans.”--Publishers Weekly (starred review) on White Trash Warlock

Not all magicians go to schools of magic.

Adam Binder has the Sight. It’s a power that runs in his bloodline: the ability to see beyond this world and into another, a realm of magic populated by elves, gnomes, and spirits of every kind. But for much of Adam’s life, that power has…

Book cover of Summer Sons

Xan van Rooyen Author Of My Name Is Magic

From my list on LGBT+ reads for spooky season.

Why am I passionate about this?

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fan of horror, I have recently found myself drawn to darker books—especially at this time of the year with Halloween just around the corner. As a bisexual non-binary person, I love finding books with diverse LGBT+ rep in them, so these are just a few of the spookier LGBT+ books I think would make for great autumnal reading. Plus, my own book—My Name is Magic—features all kinds of mythological werebeasties and a race to save the day before the traditional Finnish Kekri festival, an equivalent of Halloween, although it involves less candy and more fire.

Xan's book list on LGBT+ reads for spooky season

Xan van Rooyen Why did Xan love this book?

To be honest, I was a little nervous of the blurb given the emphasis on fast cars and hard drugs, but this book ended up being the sweaty, sultry, sexy, Gothic horror book I didn't know I needed, way more dark academia than drag-racing drug-gang. I particularly appreciated the messy and authentic way in which the main character was allowed to grapple with his identity while processing his grief. I quite liked that no explicit labels were ever applied and that there was a more fluid approach to identity and sexuality in this book. So, if you're into slow-burn southern Gothic horror with lush and vivid prose and don’t mind a gruesome ghost or two, this book is for you!

By Lee Mandelo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summer Sons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lee Mandelo's debut Summer Sons is a sweltering, queer Southern Gothic that crosses Appalachian street racing with academic intrigue, all haunted by a hungry ghost.

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom that hungers for him.

As Andrew searches for the truth of…

Book cover of Blackfish City

Stephanie Feldman Author Of Saturnalia

From my list on fantastical cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I decided to set my new novel, Saturnalia, in Philadelphia, I was excited to draw on my experience as a native and current resident of the City of Brotherly Love. But I also love magic and the supernatural as much as I love research—my Philadelphia had to be a fantastical one. I drew on real landmarks, real history, and real social dynamics, but added wild festivals, secret societies, and an occult history to create a place all my own. Fortunately, I had a number of fictional fantasy cities to guide my world-building.

Stephanie's book list on fantastical cities

Stephanie Feldman Why did Stephanie love this book?

Qaanaak, Blackfish City’s floating Arctic city, is science-fictional—it’s maintained by artificial intelligence and other futuristic technology—but it’s built with all the world-building care the fantasy reader desires, including a text-within-a-text that explains the city’s origins. What most inspired me, though, is how Qaanaak exposes a city’s class structure, and questions what makes a city worth saving.

By Sam J. Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blackfish City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'A remarkable work of dystopian imagination' - Starburst

'Incisive and beautifully written . . . Blackfish City simmers with menace and heartache, suspense and wonder' - Ann Leckie, Hugo, Nebula and Clarke Award-winning author


After the climate wars, a floating city was constructed in the Arctic Circle. Once a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering it is now rife with corruption and the population simmers with unrest.

Into this turmoil comes a strange new visitor - a woman accompanied by an orca and a chained…

Book cover of Dark Factory

Seb Doubinsky Author Of The Invisible

From Seb's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Reader Father Anarchist Sunday daoist

Seb's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Seb Doubinsky Why did Seb love this book?

Dark Factory is a very strange object, as it is both a book and an electronic device, as you can scan QR codes and click on links in order to get extra information through bonus chapters.

A tale of electronic music madness and extreme clubbing, Dark Factory focuses on the personalities and motives of a few central characters dedicated to starting a total revolution of the senses through their “art total” experiment.

This book really tickled me in all the good places as it tackles themes that readers can find in my own city-state novels, such as power, subversion, and the methodical destruction of reality.

By Kathe Koja,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark Factory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to Dark Factory! You may experience strobe effects, Y reality, DJ beats, love, sex, betrayal, triple shot espresso, broken bones, broken dreams, ecstasy, self-knowledge, and the void. Dark Factory is a dance club: three floors of DJs, drinks, and customizable reality, everything you see and hear and feel. Ari Regon is the club's wild card floor manager, Max Caspar is a stubborn DIY artist, both chasing a vision of true reality. And rogue journalist Marfa Carpenter is there to write it all down. Then a rooftop rave sets in motion a fathomless energy that may drive Ari and Max…

Book cover of Wave Goodbye to Charlie

Kevin Klehr Author Of Winter Masquerade

From my list on gay themed not about romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I usually write queer fiction with an urban fantasy or magic realism bent, although I’ve dabbled in dystopian novels and a couple of romance novellas. I have an interest in bringing to light modern queer works that aren’t rooted in erotica or romance because I know firsthand the misconceptions that are placed on writers of gay fiction. And too often I’ve had to find tactful ways to explain what I write when people assume I’m limited by genre.

Kevin's book list on gay themed not about romance

Kevin Klehr Why did Kevin love this book?

Charlie is homeless and lives in an abandoned carnival, just one of the places full of wonder and mystery in this novel. He is sometimes fed by a mature-aged gay couple and has an unrequited love. But he dies and we continue reading his story in a surreal version of the world he inhabited while alive. Yes, Charlie is a ghost. The carnival he still lives in has a life of its own, and he needs to protect the living who showed him kindness. A truly beautiful tale.

By Eric Arvin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wave Goodbye to Charlie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

My name’s Charlie. I’m many things, though none of them having to do with any real talent. I’m a runaway, a hustler when I need to be, a ghost when I have to scare hoodlums away from my home, and a loner who maybe reads too much. But most of all, I’m the keeper of the carnival. That’s how I see myself. I look after the place ’cause even dying things need to be cared for. Maybe it’s illegal. Maybe that rusty metal fence around the carnival is supposed to keep me out too. Or maybe me and this place…

Book cover of Silver in the Wood

Elizabeth Wambheim Author Of More Than Enough

From my list on queer fairy tale retellings for teens.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fairy tales are some of my favorite stories: each time we touch them, we change them. Before we began writing them down, fairy tales were passed from speaker to listener, always changing with the teller, the audience, the culture. I’m fascinated by how often we revisit them, by what we change, and what we decide to keep. I think there are as many ways to tell a story as there are folks who are interested in telling it, and I like to see what authors and illustrators will cook up from our communal pot of stories.  

Elizabeth's book list on queer fairy tale retellings for teens

Elizabeth Wambheim Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This novella has some of my favorite descriptions of the natural world and I love how it plays with its protagonist’s sense of time.

The lead character and his relationship to the forest draw from the mythology of the Green Man, and it’s a fantastic example of how much the narration style can be affected by the viewpoint character.

Tesh’s pose is dreamlike and slow, and all of its elements—the plot, the characters, the relationships—unfold slowly, like winter melting into spring.

Stories rife with forest magic and characters who learn to let go of past hurts are two of my favorite things, and Silver in the Wood executes both beautifully. 

By Emily Tesh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Silver in the Wood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2020 World Fantasy Award!

From Astounding Award winner and Crawford Award finalist Emily Tesh

An ALA RUSA Reading List Selection

"A true story of the woods, of the fae, and of the heart. Deep and green and wonderful.”—New York Times bestselling author Naomi Novik

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely…

Book cover of Lord Mouse

Reni Stankova Author Of The Enemy of Heaven

From my list on MM fantasies in alternate worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been an avid reader of MM literature in all its genres and sub-genres, since I was a teenager. Even now, MM fantasy titles are some of my favorite books of all time. I’d love to share my preferences with other readers so they could see the magic I see.

Reni's book list on MM fantasies in alternate worlds

Reni Stankova Why did Reni love this book?

Mouse is a master thief who is given a job to free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke, arrested on trumped-up charges in a rival duchy.

It’s nothing he hasn’t done before, but how would he know this mission would change his life? We follow Mouse’s mission and his escape with Garron along with their inevitable falling in love with each other.

Admittedly, it took some time for Lord Mouse to warm up to me, but once it did, I couldn’t let go of the book. It’s one of those books, you read in one go and can’t stop until you get your happy ending.

Mouse was a sweetheart and Garron was his perfect partner to compliment his flaws and virtues. Another captivating opposites-attract kind of couple, you’d love to follow from beginning to end.

By Mason Thomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lord Mouse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scoundrel by nature and master thief by trade, Mouse is the best there is. Sure, his methods may not make him many friends, but he works best alone anyway. And he has never failed a job. But that could change. When a stranger with a hefty bag of gold seduces him to take on a task, Mouse knows he’ll regret it. The job? Free Lord Garron, the son of a powerful duke arrested on trumped up charges in a rival duchy. Mouse doesn’t do rescue missions. He’s no altruistic hero, and something about the job reeks. But he cannot turn…