I can’t resist a Top 5 list! The folks over at the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group host this weekly feature, and even though I did a different Top 5 post yesterday, I couldn’t resist this one, as the topic is so good.
I love science fiction and fantasy: they’re the genres that made me fall in love with reading when I was kid. These hidden gems are mostly recent, with one lovely book from all the way back in the 1990s. Enjoy!
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
I’m really not sure how to describe this lush fantasy novella, other than that reading felt like having a spell cast on me. I didn’t want to come up for air. It’s unapologetically queer, the writing is gorgeous, it’s thoughtful and introspective but it also has moments of serious heart-pounding action. The characters felt breathtakingly true. This is one of two novellas Yang published last year. There’s another one set in the same world coming out this summer and I CANNOT WAIT.
Peter Darling by Austin Chant
It’s a queer retelling of Peter Pan where Peter is a trans man. It is so good. Just, so good. And the ending is perfection. Sometimes I just stop whatever I’m doing and think about that ending and smile and feel delighted that it exists in the world. Peter Darling is a quick read, equal parts action and romance. I promise you will not regret it.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie
I can’t remember where I heard about this book or how much buzz it got when it came out, but not enough, in my opinion. It’s a queer feminist pirate adventure in a dystopian California/Pacific Ocean. There are fascinating genetically engined sea monsters. There is a truly excellent queer romance that is honest and thoughtful and utterly believable. The world building is superb.
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
This book is a little rough around the edges, but it is so, so worth it. I actually wrote a whole post about how I almost gave up on it, and then didn’t, and was rewarded with an ending that totally changed the whole nature of the book. The writing was not always incredible, but this is one I’m still thinking about, a year later. That’s a ringing endorsement for a book I almost DNFed.
Point of Hopes by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett
Published back in 1995, this one isn’t new or shiny. What it is: an utterly readable magical police procedural. Astreiant is the kind of fantasy world I think about when I think about classic fantasy worlds that I just want to fall inside and curl up in. There’s politics, there’s magic, there’s pubs that serve onion pie. Characters are constantly unwrapping baskets of cheese and ale. The world building is seamless. Even better, this is the first book in a series of what are, essentially, magical murder mysteries, staring two gay detectives who also happen to be in love. This is serious fantasy comfort reading, folks.