Rainbow Reading: August 16

My thoughts on the LGBTQ books I’ve read in the past week. All titles are linked to their Goodreads page.

Between August 9th and 15th, I read:

Winterwode by J. Tullos Hennig (2015)
Genre: fantasy/historical/retelling
Audience: adult
Queer rep: One main character is gay, another is bi, and a significant secondary character is gay.
Thoughts: Book 3 of the Wode series, which is a queer Robin Hood retelling. Hennig’s writing is wonderful and the language does a great job of evoking the time and place of Robyn and Gamelyn and the Shire Wode. This is book 3 in the overall series (Greenwode and Shirewode being the first two) but it is the first book of a new arc.

Summerwode by J. Tullos Hennig (2017)
Genre: fantasy/historical/retelling
Audience: adult
Queer rep: One main character is gay, another is bi, and a significant secondary character is gay.
Thoughts: Book 4 of the Wode series. Does a really great job of tying things together. I am anxiously awaiting book 5 and the conclusion of this arc. This series is seriously underappreciated! Everything about these books is great.

Where There’s Smoke & Where There’s Fire by Cari Z. (2015)
Genre: fantasy/superhero
Audience: adult
Queer rep: The two main characters are gay, as is a secondary character
Thoughts: These are two novellas that start the Panopolis series. Edward moves to Panopolis, the city teeming with supers both hero and villain, and inadvertently gets caught up with the Mad Bombardier when he robs the bank Edward works at. Edward’s voice is great and the world-building is interesting. A nice twist on the usual superhero story.

Where There’s a Will by Cari Z. (2016)
Genre: fantasy/superhero
Audience: adult
Queer rep: The main character is gay as are several supporting characters
Thoughts: A full-length entry in the Panopolis series, the focus moves from Edward to Craig, a.k.a. Freight Train. I liked Edward’s story so much I wasn’t sure how I felt about the shift in POV character, but I ended up liking this the most of the three. I could empathize with Craig a lot and his voice was just as engaging as Edward’s.

A Door into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski (1986)
Genre: sci-fi
Audience: adult
Queer rep: lots of WLW, some interesting gender questions
Thoughts: Much of the plot centers around what to do with the Ocean Moon, called Shora by its inhabitants, now that the Shorans are coming into more contact with their moon’s planet, Valen. Shora is an all-water, all-female world; Valen is a more Earth-like environment. A Door into Ocean explores questions regarding war, civilization, humanity, technology, morality, and more. I plan to pick up the rest of the series, the Elysium Cycle.

We the Animals by Justin Torres (2011)
Genre: realistic/contemporary
Audience: adult
Queer rep: the main character/narrator is gay
Thoughts: This is a very short novel, maybe technically a novella (128 pages). It tells the story of three boys growing up in Brooklyn with their white mother and Puerto Rican father in short chapters that focus on a particular incident or moment. I liked it but it didn’t live up to the hype for me.

Mongrel by K.Z. Snow (2010)
Genre: paranormal/mystery/romance
Audience: adult
Queer rep: The two main characters and two important secondary characters are gay.
Thoughts: An interesting world with pure humans and Mongrel human/other mixes, a mechanical circus, ghosts, and vampires. The first few chapters are very interesting, with the world-building and introducing the MCs – one of which is bipolar. But after that… I could’ve done with more world-building and more plot and less sex. I liked this well enough but not enough to have any interest in the rest of the trilogy. This was very self-contained – there isn’t a clear need-to-know-more to prompt a sequel – and it was enough for me.

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