5 Years and Counting = Pride Flag Recs!

Posted 1st June 2024 by Sia in Crescent Classics, Lists, Memes & Tags, Queer Lit, Recommendations / 2 Comments

It is officially Every Book a Doorway’s FIFTH birthday today!!!


I really can’t believe I’ve managed to keep blogging this long, that I somehow built my own little niche of the internet into something I’m this proud of. I love knowing that I’ve made a space for other readers with my wildly weird Venn diagram of interests and preferences to come and find out about books they might like. I remain astonished that I now have a network of other bloggers, readers, and even publicists and authors who know who I am and are interested in my opinions. I’ve seen myself quoted on author websites, publisher pages, and even inside a few books!


As is OFFICIALLY tradition, I am celebrating my blogiversary with Pride Flag recs. Rainbow Reads came up with the original tag, and it is exactly what you’d expect; a recommendation for every stripe in the (original) Gilbert Baker pride flag themed around what those colours represented, plus the new brown+black stripes for QBIPOC.

I actually went a little bit further, and added the stripes from the Daniel Quasar flag shown below – so, not just brown+black, but the trans colours as well!

And because I’m me and this is Every Book a Doorway, each book will also be SFF.

(I mean – obviously.)

Thus – to celebrate 5 WHOLE YEARS OF BLOGGING, what even – the books!!!


The Fall That Saved Us by Tamara Jerée
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black sapphic MC and love interest, Latina secondary character

Cassiel has given up the family tradition of demon hunting, leaving behind her sacred angelic duty and fated sword. What she can’t leave behind are the scars. To cope, she spends her days immersed in work, pouring all her attention into New Haven Books, her small bookstore and anchor in the new world she’s carved for herself.

But the past hasn’t let go of Cassiel yet. When a succubus named Avitue arrives to claim her angel-touched soul, Cassiel’s old hunter instincts flare, forcing her to choose between old knowledge and her truth. What should be a fatal seduction becomes a bargain neither woman expects. As they grow closer, Avitue is surprised to find her own pain reflected in Cassiel, a nephilim deemed fallen by her own family’s standards.

By choosing trust, they reveal the lies that bind them. Falling for each other begins a path towards healing. But exorcising the effects of trauma is harder than naming it, and to explore the unfettered possibility Avitue represents, Cassiel must find a way to reclaim and redefine her angelic heritage.

The Fall That Saved Us is a beautiful standalone love story between a Nephilim – a descendant of angels – and a succubus. But it would also be fair to call it a love story between Cassiel and her own body; she’s been raised to take better care of her weapons than her body, with any hint of sensuality or sexuality to be stamped out immediately. Bodies are not for pleasure, according to the Nephilim mindset, and even as someone who doesn’t love sex scenes, it was deeply moving to watch Cassiel unlearn her repression and shame, and learn instead to revel in all the ways having a body can be a joy. (Which is not only about sex; I loved the entire Thing with the truffles!)

Granted, having a succubus along to help you unlearn all that nonsense is probably a BIG help.

Some elements of this book are really cosy – like Cassiel’s new life in the human world, running a bookstore – while the fantasy worldbuilding is simple, but very, very cool. (I remain massively impressed by Jerée’s take on angels, Nephilim, and the relationship between the two!) If you enjoy your fantasy wrapped around a romance, you’ll love this one.

The Gilded Crown (The Raven's Trade, #1) by Marianne Gordon
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC, secondary M/M

The Witch’s Heart meets The Foxglove King in this debut novel about a woman who can bring people back from the dead, and the princess — and only heir to the throne — that she must protect, no matter the cost.

The first time Hellevir visited Death, she was ten years old…

Since she was a little girl, Hellevir has been able to raise the dead. Every creature can be saved for a price, a price demanded by the shrouded figure who rules the afterlife, who takes a little more from Hellevir with each soul she resurrects.

Such a gift can rarely remain a secret. When Princess Sullivain, sole heir to the kingdom’s throne, is assassinated, the Queen summons Hellevir to demand she bring her granddaughter back to life. But once is not enough; the killers might strike again. The Princess’ death would cause a civil war, so the Queen commands that Hellevir remain by her side.

But Sullivain is no easy woman to be bound to, even as Hellevir begins to fall in love with her. With the threat of war looming, Hellevir must trade more and more of herself to keep the princess alive.

But Death will always take what he is owed.

A book about bringing people back from the dead has to be about Life, right? (And yes, I’m using the original US cover, BECAUSE THE UK-AND-NOW-US-COVER IS HIDEOUS AND ALSO MISLEADING.) I wasn’t expecting to be hooked by Gilded Crown, but Gordon’s elegant prose and delicate worldbuilding swept me away, and I ended up loving this series-starter DEARLY. The magic in this world – not just Hellevir’s, but the magical beings hiding just under the surface of human society – was enchanting, and there’s just so many things going on simultaneously, keeping things continuously complicated in the best of ways; friction between faiths, nobles politicking, Hellevir’s mother hating her, legends that might be history, mini quests, and whoever That Dude hanging out in Death is…

(And I was pleasantly surprised that this is not, in fact, a romance; although there’s clearly some attraction between Hellevir and the princess, they’re far too much at odds over too many fundamentals to make a good couple.)

I’m so looking forward to the sequel!!!

Everything for Everyone: An Oral History of the New York Commune, 2052–2072 by M.E. O'Brien, Eman Abdelhadi
Genres: Adult, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: QBIPOC cast

By the middle of the twenty-first century, war, famine, economic collapse, and climate catastrophe had toppled the world's governments. In the 2050s, the insurrections reached the nerve center of global capitalism—New York City. This book, a collection of interviews with the people who made the revolution, was published to mark the twentieth anniversary of the New York Commune, a radically new social order forged in the ashes of capitalist collapse.

Here is the insurrection in the words of the people who made it, a cast as diverse as the city itself. Nurses, sex workers, antifascist militants, and survivors of all stripes recall the collapse of life as they knew it and the emergence of a collective alternative. Their stories, delivered in deeply human fashion, together outline how ordinary people's efforts to survive in the face of crisis contain the seeds of a new world.

Everything for Everyone is a collection of fictional interviews covering the events that led our world to the future the authors have created – a near-utopia where people leave in communes that run very differently to the society we know!

Reading this book was a joy and a relief; although it’s fiction, it lays out a clear, practical road-plan of how to get from Now to This Future, and it’s just – if it’s hard to imagine a better world, it’s infinitely harder to work out how to get there, you know? And this book does that. The future of Everything For Everyone maybe isn’t where we’ll end up – maybe isn’t the best possible future we could have, I don’t know, although I like it a lot. But having two very smart people lay out how we could actually fix just about everything, how we could make the world better, how we could have a future that isn’t a nightmare hellscape… It’s reassuring, and it healed a lot of my fears and cynicism. Banished a lot of my own nightmares. Polished my hope clean again.

I really need more people to read it.

My review!

The Dawnhounds (The Endsong, #1) by Sascha Stronach
Genres: Adult, Queer Protagonists, Science Fantasy
Representation: Bi/pansexual MC, F/F, major sapphic character, major sapphic trans character, minor nonbinary characters

A police officer is murdered, brought back to life with a mysterious new power, and tasked with protecting her city from an insidious evil threatening to destroy it.

The port city of Hainak is alive: its buildings, its fashion, even its weapons. But, after a devastating war and a sweeping biotech revolution, all its inhabitants want is peace, no one more so than Yat Jyn-Hok a reformed-thief-turned-cop who patrols the streets at night.

Yat has recently been demoted on the force due to “lifestyle choices” after being caught at a gay club. She’s barely holding it together, haunted by memories of a lover who vanished and voices that float in and out of her head like radio signals. When she stumbles across a dead body on her patrol, two fellow officers gruesomely murder her and dump her into the harbor. Unfortunately for them, she wakes up.

Resurrected by an ancient power, she finds herself with the new ability to manipulate life force. Quickly falling in with the pirate crew who has found her, she must race against time to stop a plague from being unleashed by the evil that has taken root in Hainak.

It has ‘dawn’ in the title, I’m totally allowed to use it for a sun prompt! Dawnhounds is a weird, wonderful book, fungal!punk science-fantasy drawing from Maori and New Zealander cultures – plus a whole lot of completely unique strangeness that is purely Stronach. It’s a ‘fuck the police’ book with divine rivalries being played out via semi-immortal paladins, and you will not be getting all your questions answered, which is why it’s a very good thing the sequel is out this August. HOPEFULLY WE WILL GET MORE ANSWERS THEN.

(And honestly, even if not, I’ll still devour it, because I CANNOT GET ENOUGH of this world and cast!!!)

My review!

Greenwode by J. Tullos Hennig
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M

Daring the old gods.
Defying the new.
The making of a legend--and a truly innovative re-imagining of Robin Hood.

Rob of Loxley and his older sister Marion have been groomed from birth to take their parents' places within the Old Religion. Despite this, when Rob finds an injured nobleman's son in the forest, neither he nor Marion understand what befriending young Gamelyn could mean for the future of their beliefs. Already the ancient spirits are fading beneath the iron of nobleman's politics and the stones of Church subjugation. More, the druid elders warn that Rob and Gamelyn are cast as sworn adversaries, locked in timeless and symbolic struggle for the greenwood's Maiden.

Instead, in a theological twist only a stroppy dissident could envision, Rob swears he'll defend the sacred woodland of the Horned God and Lady Huntress to his last breath--if his god will let him be lover, not rival, to the one fated as his enemy.

But in the eyes of Gamelyn's Church, sodomy is unthinkable... and the old pagan magics are an evil that must be vanquished

I have never been very interested in Robin Hood, so I was completely taken aback by how much, and how passionately, I ended up adoring this! I’ve mentioned elsewhere how much I appreciated Hennig’s challenging of the heteronormative Lady and Lord/Goddess and God set-up that you see in modern Wicca (and plenty of fantasy playing around in quasi-Medieval-Europe settings), and I thought that was done so well. And as the title and cover suggest, there’s a great deal about the relationship of humans, especially pagans, to Nature, and all the magic here is green. But Hennig also just fundamentally writes an incredible story, with gorgeous prose and enough aching Feels to wring your heart out. Greenwode is the start of a series, and is set before Rob becomes Robin Hood – it’s book two that starts retelling the events of the ‘official’ Robin Hood Cycle, and trust me, you’ll want book two on hand when you get to the ending of Greenwode!


The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar by Indra Das
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown nonbinary MC, Chinese secondary character

Ru is a boy from nowhere. Though he lives somewhere—the city of Calcutta—his classmates in school remind him he doesn’t look like them, and must come from somewhere else. When Ru asks his parents, they tell him they are descended from nomads. But even nomads must come from somewhere. The question, forever on the mind of the boy from nowhere, is where.

Ru dreams things that wouldn’t seem out of place in the fantasy novels his father read to him when young. Fragments of a culture that doesn’t exist in this world, but might in another, where sky and sea are one, and humans sail this eternal ocean on the backs of divine beasts.

Ru dreams of dragons, of serpents impossible. Perhaps Ru remembers dragons.

Alone in a city that’s home but doesn’t feel like it, Ru befriends Alice, his neighbor from the nearby Chinatown. As they grow with their friendship, Ru finds that Calcutta may yet be a home for him. But with his best friend starting to realize that Ru’s house and family hide a myriad of secrets, the question haunts him still—where is his family from? Are they truly from nowhere, migrants to this reality? And if so, what strange wings brought them across the vast reaches of impossibility to here—and what is their purpose?

I have rarely come across a book that feels so much like pure, breathtaking magic. As if the whole book is itself an enchantment, drawing you into a dream you never want to wake up from. Das’ prose is a spell and a song and a sigh, and The Last Dragoners is a priceless treasure of a book. This is one you carry with you for life, folx; I know I’m never going to forget it. (And not just because Das’ take on dragons is one of my all-time favourites.) No words can do it justice: I’m just going to go ahead and order you to read it!

A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright
Genres: Adult, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Brown cast, M/M

Originally published in 1988, A Matter of Oaths is a space opera with heart, intergalactic intrigue and epic space battles.

When Commander Rallya of the patrol ship Bhattya hires Rafe as their new Web officer, she knows she is taking a risk. As an oath breaker, Rafe has suffered the ultimate punishment – identity wipe – but luckily for him, there's no one else around qualified for the job.

Shunned by his previous shipmates, Rafe is ready to keep his head down and do his job, but his competence quickly earns him respect, admiration, and, in one particular case, love. It's difficult to maintain the glow of acceptance however, when his past is chasing him across the galaxy in the shape of an assassin, intent on dealing once and for all with Rafe, whatever the cost.

Now with a new introduction by Becky Chambers, author of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

Harmony is maybe not the most obvious theme in Matter of Oaths, but it’s an important and prevalent one. At the most basic level, Webbers – who direct space vessels by making them an extension of their own nervous systems! – have to work in harmony to fly a ship; and the Guild of Webbers is a big part of keeping the two empires of human space balanced and harmonious. To say nothing of how that harmony is threatened, however unknowingly, by poor Rafe! Or rather, by all the intrigue around him – it’s really not any of his fault…

A Matter of Oaths is one of those books that ought to be a household name, but tragically was published at the wrong time in the wrong circumstances to fly as high as it deserves to. I’m VERY glad Becky Chambers et al worked to get it republished, because it blew me away in the BEST way, and you’re just not living your best life if you haven’t read this, okay? Trust me!

The Darkness Before Them (The Soulfire Saga, #1) by Matthew Ward
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC, major Deaf character

The first in an exciting, action-packed new trilogy from epic fantasy author Matthew Ward,  The Darkness Before Them introduces readers to a world ruled by a dangerous immortal king, where souls fuel magic, and a supernatural mist known as the Veil threatens to engulf the land.

These are dark times for the Kingdom of Khalad. As the magical mists of the Veil devour the land, the populace struggles beneath the rule of ruthless noble houses and their uncaring immortal king.

Kat doesn’t care about any of that. A talented thief, she’s pursuing one big score that will settle the debt that destroyed her family. No easy feat in a realm where indentured spirits hold vigil over every vault and treasure room. However, Kat has a unique she can speak to those spirits, and even command them. And she has no qualms using her power to her advantage.

Kat’s not a hero. She just wants to be free. To have her old life back. But as rebellion rekindles and the war for Khalad’s future begins, everyone—Kat included—will have to pick a side.

You can’t say spirits aren’t a big part of The Darkness Before Them; Ward has invented a world that runs on semi-sentient pieces of soul, pieces which power lights, act as home security systems, and even make engines go. It’s a fascinating (if disturbing!) economy and magic system, and inevitably interacts with issues of wealth and class in ways that, shockingly, do not work out well for anyone who’s not super-wealthy. It took a bit of work to keep track of the multiple levels of intrigue playing out, but it was well-worth it; I loved the cast, the world, and am dying to see more of both. But we get the sequel this month; not long to wait now!!!


Many Drops Make a Stream by Adrian Harley
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, major sapphic character

A memory-stealing cult.
The ever-watchful City of Eyes.
Making small talk.
Join Droplet as she faces all these horrors and more…

Vigilante shapeshifter Droplet has trained her entire life to take down those with more power than scruples, but she still makes mistakes. When a rescue mission goes wrong, a memory-stealing cult of blood mages escapes with kidnapped captives in tow. To save them, Droplet reluctantly teams up with the outgoing, tenacious Azera. Droplet knows better than to trust a human—she made that mistake once, and that person's betrayal scattered her community across the known world—and she can tell Azera is hiding secrets behind her sunny smile. But if they can’t learn to work together, even Droplet’s own memories could be lost.

Droplet, our main character, has an interesting relationship to gender – actually, it seems like the whole of her people/species, who are shapeshifters, do. Droplet is a girl/woman, but she regularly takes male forms – she spends a big chunk of this book travelling in a male human body, and many of her non-human animal shapes are male too. It doesn’t matter to Droplet; she just uses whichever shape is most convenient in the moment, and its sex is very rarely relevant.

Which I guess might mean she’s only trans sometimes, but this book needs boosting, so I’m featuring it!

The worldbuilding here is superficially simple but really well-thought-out – this is definitely my favourite take on shapeshifters ever! – and this book is just pure FUN. I mean, yes, there are scary moments and also it is definitely an adventure, so it’s not quite cosy, but I lost count of how many times I ended up gigglesnorting while reading. I adore Droplet utterly, and I must insist we get more books about her, and the shenanigans she gets herself into!


The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe, Yohanca Delgado, Eve L. Ewing, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Danny Lore, Sheree Renée Thomas
Genres: Adult, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: QBIPOC MCs

In The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, singer-songwriter, actor, fashion icon, activist, and worldwide superstar Janelle Monáe brings to the written page the Afrofuturistic world of one of her critically acclaimed albums, exploring how different threads of liberation—queerness, race, gender plurality, and love—become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape…and what the costs might be when trying to unravel and weave them into freedoms.

Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian existence…and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the traditions of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with the artistic genius and powerful themes that have made Monáe a worldwide icon in the first place—The Memory Librarian serves readers tales grounded in the human trials of identity expression, technology, and love, but also reaching through to the worlds of memory and time within, and the stakes and power that exists there.

Still can’t believe it took me so long to get to this masterpiece – if you haven’t read it then you should know it is, in fact, exactly as excellent as everyone has always said it is. This is one of my favourite dystopias – if you can say that? I mean it’s one of the best-worldbuilt I’ve ever seen, not that I want to live in it! The way people are controlled via their memories, and all the ways those who refuse to conform find to resist and/or fight back… So many different QBIPOC perspectives, from so many different places within (and without) this society, all exquisitely written. And I’m not going to lie: that final story? Made me bawl with happy-tears!

Happy Blogiversary to ME, and happy Pride to everyone!

If you’re curious, you can find my previous years’ recs below;
Year One!
(Alas, I somehow forgot to celebrate year 2!)
Year Three!
Year Four!

And if you do your own Pride Flag recs, let me know so I can check them out!

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2 responses to “5 Years and Counting = Pride Flag Recs!

  1. Happy blog birthday! …and you remind me, I must get round to picking up The Dawnhounds (and a huge YAS for a mention of A Matter of Oaths, one of the most undeservedly unsung gems)

    • Sia

      Thank you!!!

      Yesssssssss, you’ve got to read Dawnhounds eventually! It’s so weird and so good. (YAS INDEED! I think the first time I wrote an author full-on fanmail, it was for A Matter of Oaths!)

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