Rainbow Reading: July 4

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

Between June 27th and July 3rd, I read:

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale (2017)
Genre: fiction/romance
Audience: adult
Queer rep: One MC is bi and the other is a lesbian; secondary characters are bi, gay, and ace
Thoughts: I liked this a lot initially, but about two-thirds of the way through it started to get a little repetitive: Sawyer gets jealous, Vix gets insecure, they fail to communicate; their band mates force them to sort out the current problem but they don’t address the deeper issue, and repeat. The band mates were also not very fleshed out, so all the focus was on Sawyer and Vix, and their interactions ended up frustrating me.

City of Betrayal by Claudie Arseneault (2017)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: adult/young adult
Queer rep: The ensemble main cast includes gay, lesbian, bi, asexual, aromantic, trans, and nonbinary characters
Thoughts: Book two of the City of Spires trilogy. This was even better than the first book. I’m really invested in this world and the characters now, but unfortunately the final installment of the trilogy isn’t out yet so I’m going to have to suffer for a while. 😦 On the other hand, I have something to look forward to 🙂

Cucumber Quest, Vol. 1-3 by Gigi D.G. (2017, 2018)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: all ages
Queer rep: A principal secondary character has a same-sex crush on one of the main characters
Thoughts: These graphic novels are surprisingly complex. At first glance, they look like overly sweet and sappy children’s fantasy stories, but it’s the kind of children’s media that has a lot of nods to its grown-up audience. A lot of tropes are subverted and there is a lot of poking fun at itself. Very fun and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next volume, which I believe is coming in October.

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay (2015)
Genre: fiction
Audience: young adult
Queer rep: One of the ensemble main cast is gay, and another main character’s father is gay
Thoughts: This had a lot of promise but I was ultimately disappointed by the execution. Four friends who bonded over Dungeons and Dragons are going on a real-life “quest” to try to reunite one friend with his girlfriend, who has abruptly moved across the country. I liked three of the friends; I don’t think I was supposed to like Sam, but he was so unlikable I couldn’t even figure out why the other characters were friends with him. The writing style was also very simple and it got boring to read as a result. Finally, there was a violent and IMO unnecessary gay-bashing scene towards the end that really soured me on the book.

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno (2018)
Genre: magical realism
Audience: young adult
Queer rep: The MC is a lesbian, a secondary character is bi, a secondary character is aro-ace
Thoughts: I’ve seen several lukewarm reviews of this book but I thought it was absolutely charming. I was drawn in by the writing style, by Georgina’s personality, and by the magical realism elements. There’s a bit of a mystery and I thought the false leads and hidden clues were done well; I didn’t figure it out ahead of time. I also thought it had a very satisfying conclusion.

Dragon’s Winter by Elizabeth A. Lynn (1997)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Two of the ensemble main cast are in a same-sex relationship
Thoughts: This is old-school queer fantasy, where the focus is the fantasy rather than the queerness; this is not a romance. At first it seems disjointed because the narrative moves from character to character, but not quickly; we spend enough time with one character to think “okay, this is the focus” and then it switches to another character. But once it all starts to come together it does so smoothly and all the little threads join up. Short (for a fantasy novel anyway) and satisfying.

Dragon’s Treasure by Elizabeth A. Lynn (2003)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Two of the ensemble main cast are in a same-sex relationship
Thoughts: The sequel to Dragon’s Winter. This is a quieter book; there is no overarching evil to fight, no wars, no wizardry. The conflicts are on a smaller scale, a more human scale, although “human” is being used loosely since the central character is a dragon-changling and important ensemble characters are wolf- and hawk- changlings. If Dragon’s Winter is more about the world, Dragon’s Treasure is more about the people inhabiting it. I enjoyed this.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman (2018)
Genre: fiction
Audience: adult
Queer rep: One MC is gay and the other is bi
Thoughts: I didn’t like this as much as I was expecting to. There were no quotation marks, which is a pet peeve of mine as I find it hard to process dialog without it. I liked the Michael part more than the Ellis part, but both parts had a very fluid chronology, moving between the present and the past from one paragraph or page to the next and I sometimes got a little disoriented. I’m kind of the outlier here, though; everyone else seems to love this. I liked the story, but not the way it was told.

2 thoughts on “Rainbow Reading: July 4

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s