10 Queer Indie SFF Books to Read for Pride Month

Queer Indie SFF books

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas… It’s Pride Month babyyyy! And you know what that means, time to celebrate by sharing some of my favourite indie SFF books that spread the queer joy and embrace queerness in all its messiness and beauty.

Now, if you are still wondering why queer representation in books is so important and invaluable, I will just point you to this thread by Dani Finn (whose books are also gloriously queer, definitely give them a shot). No more words needed.

For the recommendations I am bringing you today, I decided to combine two of my favourite things in the world: indie SFF and queer love! Each of these books made me feel seen or helped me become more understanding of other experiences from people under the queer umbrella, while also taking me on a wonderfully imaginative and exciting fantasy adventure that provided a comforting escape from real life.

Whether you are part of the LGBTQIA+ family or just an ally curious to learn more, I personally think these authors are so skilled that the stories they tell will resonate with anyone on a deep emotional level. I tried to highlight the stories told by diverse voices and those that showcase the wide range of unique experiences from all across the wide spectrum of queer love and identity, so I hope you find a tale that speaks to your soul. Enjoy!

Legacy of the Vermillion Blade by Jay Tallsquall

Legacy of the Vermillion Blade is a book that intrigued me with its premise of a character-driven high fantasy tale with authentic ace representation and delightful queer-normative world building. And as someone who is questioning their sexuality and leaning towards the ace spectrum, this story meant more to me than I can say.

Talon’s journey of self-discovery (which is semi-autobiographical for the author) was equally tragic and beautiful to witness. The message of “it is never too late to embrace your true authentic self” really hit home and made this story so emotionally impactful. I really appreciated how Talon is allowed to be vulnerable, flawed and messy in his relationships, because that made him such a sympathetic and relatable character.

Legacy of the Vermillion Blade is first and foremost a deeply intimate character study, but the fantasy elements provide such a comforting, lush, and safe backdrop to Talon’s emotional journey. I am so glad that this story exists and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants their fantasy to be character-driven, diverse and full of emotional turmoil. This is a fantasy journey I won’t soon forget.

Read my full review here. 

Breaker of Fates by Vaela Denarr & Micah Iannandrea

Mixing the rich world building, hysterical humour, and queer messiness of A Chorus of Dragons with the deeply emotional trauma and healing themes of The Tithenai Chronicles, Breaker of Fatesis a brand new own-voices queer epic dragon fantasy that will make your queer heart scream and drag you across the entire spectrum of emotions!

Now, Breaker of Fates is not a romantasy or erotic fantasy, contrary to the vibes the cover might give off. Instead, it offers a refreshing and delightfully diverse twist on epic dragon fantasy and transports you into an unapologetically queer-normative world, where all types of genders, sexualities, pronoun preferences, disabilities, races, and cultural backgrounds are represented and embraced. Though all that is not to say that this story glamourises queerness, quite the opposite in fact. Here, the queers are nuanced. They are both heroes and villains, and we get to explore queerness in all its beauty and tragedy through the eyes of our lovable yet deeply flawed protagonists.

Dangerously seductive and effortlessly funny characters, complicated feelings, beautiful polyamourous love, found family vibes to die for, and raw explorations of queer grief, trauma, and healing; what’s not to love?

Read my full review here.

The Switchboard by Christina K. Glover

Filled with endearingly oblivious chaos queers, unexpected found family vibes, lots of magical mayhem, and plot-necessary pasta breaks, The Switchboard is a delightfully quirky and highly imaginative low-fantasy romp perfect for fans of T. Kingfisher and Good Omens (the show).

See, Henley and Kit are both just a certified Hot Mess in their own way, and I absolutely love them for it. Not only do they both have an extremely compelling backstory that we slowly get to uncover and dig into, but their tentatively developing friendship (and maybe more?!) was also just so heartwarming. THIS is how you do a delicious slooooow (like, agonisingly slow)-burn, the tension was killing me (just accept it and KISS already!!) and I was eating up all the emotional turmoil!

And this might not be a chunky book, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that it lacks substance in any way. Especially the exploration of memory and trauma through the memory-exchange magic system is quite powerful, adding a touch of tragedy that beautifully balanced out the more ridiculously fun moments. Every single aspect of the story is just so seamlessly interwoven, resulting in a shockingly spectacular and brutally bittersweet climax sequence that left me desperate for the sequel in the best way possible.

Read my full review here.

The Fall Is All There Is by C.M. Caplan

The Fall Is All There Is is a wonderfully weird, unapologetically unhinged, and darkly entertaining gendreblendy gem of a book. It throws all genre conventions and reader expectations straight out the window, and that is exactly where its irresistible charm lies.

Within a couple of pages I just knew that The Fall Is All There Is was going to be a book for me. Petre’s intoxicating and disturbingly intimate first person narration immediately pulled me in, and he has quickly shot up to the top of my list of favourite SFF protagonists. As a neurodivergent gay man who lets his emotions rule his actions and who acts before he thinks, he is not the most conventional or even likeable fantasy protagonist. But dammit, if I didn’t love him with all my heart!

Caplan did an absolutely magnificent job of portraying Petre’s chaotic and frenetic headspace, and I loved the moments of quirky writing where Petre almost breaks the fourth wall and asks you directly if you know what he is feeling. He demands you to place yourself in his shoes, and that did absolute wonders for my investment and immersion. The panic, the fear, the anxiety, the hyperfixations, the frustration, the hysteria, the bewilderment, the anger, the paranoia; I related way more deeply to Petre’s intense emotions than I would probably like to admit, and I was honestly revelling in the chaos of it all.

I honestly thought I would never find another reading experience that would come close to Tamsyn Muir’s The Locked Tomb series, but The Fall Is All There Is might have just done so. And trust me, that is the highest of high praise for me.

Read my full review here.

Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn

You know those authors whose writing and stories just speak to you on a deep emotional level? Yeah, Sarah Chorn is absolutely one of those authors for me.

Of Honey and Wildfires is a delightfully unconventional fantasy western following three characters across several timelines, which all converge beautifully in the end. They live in a world where a magical oil called Shine is a much sought-after commodity, even though it can do more harm than good if you are not careful.

As with all of Chorn’s works (also HIGHLY recommend The Necessity of Rain), this world and its characters are just wonderfully and casually diverse, in all aspects. Race and queer identity are big yet subtle themes in this story, with trans representation and sapphic love being woven into the narrative in the most authentic ways.

All the representation is handled with so much love and care, and I especially appreciated how sexuality and gender never become a main point of contention in the story. It’s just part of the human experience, which is what this book is all about. Whether you can personally relate to these characters’ experiences or not, you will undoubtedly empathise with them and feel for their struggles. Chorn just knows how to capture raw human emotion in an achingly beautiful way, tugging on your heartstrings in ways you won’t be ready for.

Read my full review here.

Breeze Spells & Bridegrooms by Sarah Wallace & S.O. Callahan

In Breeze Spells and Bridegrooms, Sarah Wallace and S.O. Callahan take all the best elements from Bridgerton (the show), except make everything a bit more magical and a lot more queer! Allow yourself to be transported to a delightfully queernormative Regency London in this cozy, diverse, charming, dazzling, and highly amusing historical fantasy romance!

What starts out as a tentative alliance full of snarky remarks and exasperated sighs between an anxious academic and a (seemingly) haughty, arrogant Fae soon builds into a very tender, passionate, supportive, and heartwarming dynamic that will just light your heart on fire, even if it stays very low spice (thank all that is holy!).

I just adored how wonderfully and casually diverse the world and cast of characters in Breeze Spells and Bridegrooms is; not only in terms of gender and sexuality, but also in terms of body types and mental health issues. The beautiful and authentic plus-size, demisexual, neurodivergent, non-binary, and social anxiety representation were all just so lovely to see, and I also appreciated that there is little to none miscommunication in this entire story. Like, you can actually talk to each other about your fears, doubts, and anxieties, what a concept?!

So, if you are looking for a diverse, slow-burn, and low-spice queer historical fantasy romance with endearing characters, silly Regency Era sensibilities, steaming cups of tea, juicy gossip, and a dash of magical light academia, then I can’t recommend Breeze Spells and Bridegrooms highly enough!

Read my full review here.

Legacy of the Brightwash by Krystle Matar

Yes, get your bingo cards out, I am gushing about Legacy of the Brightwash again. This story is part of my DNA at this point, and I will never stop pushing this book in everyone’s faces.

Legacy of the Brightwash is easily one of the most compelling and emotionally engaging books I have ever read. Every single element of this genre-blendy gem of a book just works for me. The gaslamp atmosphere and grimy city setting, the murder mystery, the extremely flawed and complex characters with their messy and complicated relationships, the political scheming, the hard-hitting themes, the slow-burn romance, the found family vibes, the casual queerness, the soul-stirring prose… this book is just perfection to me. Absolute perfection.

Though set-up as a fantasy murder mystery, at its core Legacy of the Brightwash is a very introspective and character-driven story about the brutality and (ironic) injustice of a justice system, about the cost of convenience, about fighting back against the system, and most of all, it’s a story about love and the hope for redemption.

Oh and what’s even better, the sequel, Legacy of Brick and Bone, is even more gloriously gay. I truly cannot recommend this series highly enough, it is at the top of my all-time favourites list for a very good reason.

Read my full review here.

Merchants of Knowledge & Magic by Erika McCorkle

Merchants of Knowledge and Magic is a story of truly epic proportions, and to say it is unique would honestly be the understatement of the year. Filled with diverse and slightly unhinged characters, interdominional travel, dangerous secrets, riveting mysteries, page-turning intrigue, and breathtaking world building, this is the diverse and refreshing dark epic sci-fantasy you didn’t know you needed.

As an aroace, intersex, human-dragonfly hybrid Merchant of Knowledge, Calinthe is not your typical run-of-the-mill fantasy protagonist. Together with her closest companion Zakuro, whose illusionist magic keeps her ‘abominable’ gender hidden, she travels the various planes of the Dominion to gather the most valuable secrets for her demonic employer.

Seriously, the character work and development of the interpersonal relationships in this book absolutely rock. Especially the relationship between Calinthe, our aroace, intersex, human-dragonfly hybrid Merchant of Knowledge protagonist, and her closest companion and illusionist Zakuro just gave me life. As someone who is questioning if they are on the ace-spectrum, I loved how the deep-seated bonds of love, loyalty, and trust between Calinthe and Zakuro are fully established without any grand romantic or sexual gestures. The representation feels so authentic and their relationship tugged on my heartstrings in all the best ways.

Though, as wondrous, whimsical and entertaining as this story can be, the author doesn’t hold back on mixing in some truly dark, dirty, and depraved elements. Themes of bodily autonomy, religion, gender discrimination, sex slavery, rape, torture, and domination are explored in a brutally raw and honest way, which makes the emotional impact of this story higher than you could possibly ever have imagined.

Merchants of Knowledge and Magic is nothing short of a masterpiece. This unapologetically weird, diverse, queer, imaginative, indulgent, and deliciously dark gem of a book will keep you on your toes from start to finish.

Read my full review here.

The Erstwhile Tyler Kyle by Steve Hugh Westenra

Now, as soon as I saw that this quirky queer adult horror comedy had ‘Buzzfeed Unsolved’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ vibes, I simply could not resist picking it up. The Erstwhile Tyler Kyle smoothly blends elements of horror, comedy, mystery, fantasy, pyschological thriller, and romance to create an utterly captivating and refreshing story. It will creep under your skin and take you on a wild emotional rollercoaster, leaving you competely reeling in the best way imaginable.

This story follows Tyler Kyle, a snarky 30-year-old actor who somewhat reluctantly runs a ridiculously popular cryptid investigation show with his best friend Josh. As a sceptic, he has never been extremely invested in any of their investigations, but now a new mystery with a very personal touch has presented itself. After receiving a mysterious video of his mom, who abandoned him 18 years ago, he flies out on his own to the eerie and secluded Echo Island where dark and twisted secrets are just waiting to be uncovered. And no, this is definitely not also a perfect excuse to run away from his feelings and escape his queer panic after drunkenly making out with his “straight” best friend in a hot tub… not at all.

It’s absolutely beyond me how the author managed to get me SO invested in this dynamic when they are separated for the majority of the story. I believed in their bond from the very first page and the more I read, the more I started wishing they could just get their happily ever after already. But the bisexual-panic and the slow-burn are just to die for, and I was totally eating up the drama.

I would highly recommend The Erstwhile Tyler Kyle if you are looking for a quirky character-driven horror comedy that will seduce you with its hypnotising and poetic prose, riveting mystery, emotionally engaging character work, depraved dark humour, and delicious doses of repressed queer longing. I absolutely loved it!

Read my full review here.

Bones to the Wind by Tatiana Obey

Bones to the Wind is everything I didn’t know I needed from a coming-of-age fantasy. It’s fierce, brutal, unapologetic and overall just extremely fun. All I knew before going in was that it had a desert setting, fierce female characters, a deadly competition, windships, and a queer-normative and sex-positive society. And I don’t know about you, but I was sold!

On the surface, this is the story of our three messy and flawed protagonists, Rasia, Kai and Nico, as they are about to start their coming-of-age Forging trial. But amidst all the action and chaos, there’s plenty of soul-searching and self-discovery that make this story so deeply emotionally impactful.

There’s a huge focus on the exploration of gender and sexuality, which was handled with so much care and authenticity. I mean, throw a couple of easily aroused young adults into a high stakes situation and it doesn’t take long for things to get steamy. But what I loved about the romances here is that they are so realistically and painfully messy. These characters might act as if they know what they are doing, but in reality they are just experimenting and hesitantly stumbling in the dark. And when they mess up, they have to deal with the harsh consequences of their actions, which I found so refreshing and satisfying to see.

Safe to say I absolutely adored this story. It’s not perfect, but it’s unapologetically fierce, fun, brutal and wild, which just worked for me on every single level. If you like the sound of coming-of-age fantasy with strong women, a deadly competition, queer and sex-positive relationships, complex sibling bonds, windships, dragons and mystical elemental magic, then Bones to the Wind is the book for you.

Read my full review here.

And just like that, we’ve come to the end of glorious list already. I had a wonderful time gushing about some of my favourites, and I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do if you give them a shot.

While I am providing this list now because it is currently Pride Month, I highly encourage you to give these books (and any and all other queer books) more love and attention regardless of the time of year. Queerness can and should be celebrated all day, every day. Cheers, happy reading, and have a wonderful Pride, my loves!

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

10 Queer Indie SFF Books for Pride

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