I was on goodreads looking up 2017 ya releases when I saw a book called Wintersong. I read the summary and I feel like everyone in the Labyrinth fandom should read this because HOLY SHIT.
“All her life,
nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious
Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the
muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder
the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and
childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of
more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by
the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and
return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe
go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in
accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says.
Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no
rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in
marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the
Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires
her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms,
Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the
Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn
just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music,
or the end of the world.”
I’m not saying this sounds like a labyrinth fanfiction, but it totally sounds like a labyrinth fanfiction and I am so fucking excited to read this.
“Through dangers untold. And hardships unnumbered. I have fought my way here to the castle; beyond the goblin city, to take back the child that you have stolen. My will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great…You have no power over me!”
2) I’m a librarian (though sadly not usually the kind of librarian
that gets to tell patrons about how to find their next queer fantasy/romance
novel, although the number of queer fantasy/romance novels at my college
library has definitely quadrupled since I’ve worked there… ahem) and
3) I tried but didn’t enjoy the usual Captive Prince-related recommendations, which are:
of Achilles (I gave it 100 pages but refused to suffer further…)
Cycle (I gave it 100 pages and was so bored…)
Foxhole Court series (I might come back to it, but it was just so implausible,
I couldn’t cope…)
Crows (I bought this for my students and I was like aw yeah, gonna add to
the circulation stats, and at 50 pages I was done. I think I’ll try it again
Although for any of the above if anyone really wants to
convince me to try again, I’m open to that. I just didn’t fall in love with
them. Aristotle and Dante Discover the
Secrets of the Universe is also often recommended, but I haven’t read it (I
did buy it for my students so I will try to pick it up sometime).
The following is a list of books that I either did fall in love with, or that I think
others might find interesting once they’ve finished reading Kings Rising for the sixth time. They
all have queer characters in a fantasy setting, and some have M/M romance.
of Magictrilogy by V. E. Schwab (consisting of A Darker Shade of Magicand A
Gathering of Shadowsso far) because I am a sucker for London AUs. Plus
queer (and poc) characters in a non-homophobic society, and magic, and pirates,
and Lila Bard. Lila Bard, everyone.
of Labyrinthsseries by Sarah Monette (consisting of Mélusine, The Virtu, The Mirador, and Corambis) because I would happily read this woman’s grocery list.
Her writing is exquisite. This world has queer main characters in a fairly
non-homophobic society, and competing theoretical schools of magic, and evil
wizards with badass names, and death goddesses, and not-quite-Tarot cards, and the
absolute sass-machine that is Mildmay the Fox, and titan clocks, and wizard
archaeology. BUT it is also very dark and brutal and basically everything bad
that could possibly happen to a person happens to the main characters, so check
out the warnings before proceeding. If any part of Captive Prince was too much for you, skip these ones.
by Ellen Kushner (I haven’t read the other Riverside books) has an established queer (M/M) relationship in a
non-homophobic society as a backdrop to a “melodrama of manners” punctuated by vicious
swordfights. The writing is kind of stylistic and I owned this book for years
before I actually managed to read it.
Gentlemenby Ginn Hale, because although it is much too short, it has queer
characters in a non-homophobic society, M/M romance, hat theft, and the Prodigals,
descendants of the “redeemed” fallen angels/demons who are ghettoized
The Rifterseries by Ginn Hale (consisting of The
Shattered Gates, His Sacred Bones, and The
Holy Road) because it has M/M romance in a fantasy setting with a super
convoluted plot, poc characters, environmental wizardry, biology majors,
alternate timelines, dog witches, and super scary bone oracle things. The tone
is fairly dark, and there is a lot of homophobia.
the White Hell(2 volumes) by Ginn Hale, because it has M/M romance, a detailed
fantasy setting, interesting cultural and religious clashes, horses (always
very important), and science vs magic vs religion. Definitely leans towards
yaoi tropes (including a conspicuous lack of women) but still fun to read.
King’s Golden Tongueby Megan Derr, because it has M/M romance, language
nerds, and queer characters in a non-homophobic, non-transphobic, happy-no-matter-where-you-are-on-the-gender-spectrum
society. The fantasy world-building and plot are okay, but definitely not the
The A Land
Fit for Heroesseries by Richard K. Morgan (consisting of The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands, and
The Dark Defiles) for those of you
who like their fantasy extremely grimdark. There are queer (two of the three
main) characters in an extremely homophobic society, and M/M and F/F
relationships. These books are actually horrifically disturbing, now that I
think about it, even more so than Doctrine
of Labyrinths. On the plus side, there are sword fights, evil elves, possible
sci-fi-tech in a fantasy setting, bitchy sentient satellite crab things, and a
lesbian-woc-engineer-wizard main character.
Okay, I’m gonna stop here for now. I could go on, but these
are the titles that seemed most relevant to me, and I’ve read them in the past decade
so I mostly remember them. Your mileage may vary. This became more of a Ginn
Hale fan-fest than I intended, but check out other @blindeyebooks publications
too. Also, my faves (Doctrine of Labyrinths,
A Land Fit for Heroes)are
problematic and I’m not sorry, but do know what you’re getting into.