Rainbow Reading: November 6

Bite-sized reviews of the LGBTQ books I’ve read in the past week. All titles are linked to their Goodreads page.

Between October 30th and November 5th, I read:

The Wicked + the Divine, Vols. 1-9 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson (2014-2019)
Genre: fantasy/graphic novel
Audience: adult
Queer rep: Pretty much the entire main cast is queer – gay, bi, lesbian, pansexual, transgender, genderqueer, asexual – and so are a lot of secondary and minor characters
Thoughts: I’ve been reading this series for years and the final volume just came out, so of course I had to sit down and read the entire thing from the beginning, because it is a very complicated story. I was shocked how much I’d forgotten! The premise is: every ninety years, twelve gods are incarnated as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The series explores morality, mortality, divinity, conspiracy, and more. Every single character in the sprawling cast is fully realized, the art is fantastic, the story is gripping, and basically I think everyone should read it. There are lots of twists and turns and the ending was not what I was expecting, but it really tied everything together nicely.

Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield (2018)
Genre: sci-fi/novella
Audience: adult
Queer rep: The MC is in an f/f relationship, some queer secondary characters
Thoughts: This is a fun time-travel novella. Alice Payne is living a double life in 1788, moving between demure daughter of the local aristocracy and notorious highway robber (a profession she took up to pay down her father’s debts). Prudence Zuniga is living multiple lives as she travels through time as part of the battle to correct history. But she’s disillusioned. She’s decided the only way to win the war is to stop it – and she needs someone unaware of time travel to bring her plan to fruition. Enter Alice Payne. I liked this a lot and I’ve put the next Alice Payne book on hold.

The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake (2017)
Genre: fantasy/romance
Audience: young adult
Queer rep: The two MCs are gay, a pair of secondary characters are bi
Thoughts: Another one I liked a lot. Luke can break any curse – called a crossing – while his twin sister can cross anyone. Their family does some work for the dangerous Kovrov family, one of the magical dynasties that controls New York, and the working relationship between Luke and Jeremy Kovrov, the heir to the dynasty, starts to turn into something more. Jeremy’s had a crush on Luke since they were kids, but Luke has been warned away from the Kovrovs. And when he discovers Jeremy has a serious crossing on him, one that not even Luke may be able to break, deadly secrets start to come to light, and soon the city is on the brink of a magical war. I liked pretty much everything about this book – the way the secrets were revealed and how each one only raised more questions; the way Luke and Jeremy tried to find out who they were as individuals, separate from their family legacies; the way the lines between hero and villain blurred and no one was one-dimensional; the writing; everything. This is definitely going to be one I reread.

Castle of Lies by Kiersi Burkhart (2019)
Genre: fantasy
Audience: young adult
Queer rep: One POV character is demisexual, one POV character is bi, one POV character is nonbinary (they/them); multiple secondary and minor characters are queer
Thoughts: This was… a little uneven. The premise promised all sorts of political intrigue: Thelia is not in line for the throne, but is scheming to take power; Bayled, the heir, doesn’t want to be King; an elven invasion is coming, and Sapphire, a warrior, is starting to doubt the purity of their purpose; Parsival, Thelia’s cousin, develops a sudden talent for magic that could help in the war – or only make things worse. Unfortunately, it ended up being a lot more teenage-drama focused than war-and-intrigue focused, and a lot of the characterizations were shallow. It was a quick read, and it was better than I was expecting based on some of the reviews for it, but it was only OK in the end.

Goalie Interference by Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn (2019)
Genre: fiction/sports/romance
Audience: adult
Queer rep: One MC is gay and the other is bi, several secondary characters are gay or bi, one MC has a married lesbian aunt
Thoughts: This is book two in the Hat Trick hockey romance series. I liked but didn’t love the first book, and the same is true of this one. I wanted to like it – I liked Gale’s other hockey romance series – but I don’t know, it just isn’t working for me. The characters feel a little shallower and there’s less of a focus on the sport; it’s more heavily romance-focused with only some minor sports flavoring. A lot of other people really like these books, but sadly I think this is the last one I’m going to try in this series.

~Bonus book: Mermaid in Chelsea Creek by Michelle Tea (2013) has a secondary genderqueer character

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