Books to Read While Waiting For The Hourglass Throne

Posted 18th March 2022 by Sia in Lists, Queer Lit, Recommendations / 2 Comments

The Hourglass Throne – third book in the Tarot Sequence and the finale of the first trilogy – comes out on May 17th. But what do you read until then???

Although the TTSPromo team is running the #TTSReadalong on Twitter and Goodreads – rereading The Tarot Sequence series in the lead-up to the release of The Hourglass Throne – you might want to read new books instead of rereading, or as well as rereading.

To that end, I’ve assembled a list of books that I hope will appeal to other fans of The Tarot Sequence! I can vouch for all of these, as I’ve read and adored them all. I’ve also broken them down by their similarities to TTS. So if you’re looking for…

more Tarot Sequence!

The obvious first choice is – the bonus content! K.D. Edwards has Tarot Sequence fans spoiled rotten; he’s written us a ton of extra content, including multiple novellas, all of which are available FOR FREE on his website! The latest novella, The Great Atlantean Battle Royalchemy, is still in progress – but only because it got longer than expected, and more TTS is never a bad thing!

Technically, you don’t need to read the bonus content to understand the events of the books, but you’re massively missing out if you skip them.

…underdogs breaking the world for love?

The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Indigenous American-coded gay MC, gay MC, M/M
Goodreads

Imprisoned for 'inflammatory writings' by the totalitarian Theocracy, shy intellectual Ashleigh Trine figures his story's over. But when he meets Kieran Trevarde, a hard-hearted gunslinger with a dark magic lurking in his blood, Ash finds that necessity makes strange heroes... and love can change the world.

God Eaters is criminally under-known, in part because it’s self-published – you can buy the paperback from Am*azon here or as an ebook via Lulu.com. But you can also read it online for free, and if you do, you’ll see why it’s worth buying your own copy.

This is a love story and epic fantasy featuring a death-witch and an empath, neither of whom will conform to your expectations, both of whom just want to be left alone by a world that’s out to destroy them – and yes, there are actual gods involved. Hajicek’s prose is quick and gleaming, with flashes of heart-stopping beauty, and the plot, magic and worldbuilding are all incredibly clever and unique.

It’s also a standalone, so you won’t need to wait for sequels to get the whole story! Which truly is unmissable.

…a romance full of Feels and an are they/aren’t they soulmates plot?

The Magic Between by Stephanie Hoyt
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC with clinical anxiety, bisexual MC, M/M, secondary sapphic character, minor trans and bisexual characters
Goodreads

The official release of The Magic Between includes an updated prologue not found in advanced copies.

In a world where everyone has magic coursing through them, legend says magic itself craves a mate. Legend says those with opposite magics have the greatest chance of forming the unbreakable Bond it desires.

A.B. Cerise is an obsessive compulsive pop star with the ability to turn invisible. He’s an out bisexual with absolutely no belief in Bonds. He has a love-bruised heart, thinks dating in the spotlight is a hassle at best and a nightmare at worst, and has no intention of going through it all over again.

Matthew Hellman-Levoie is the NHL’s number one goalie prospect, the youngest in a hockey dynasty, and one of the rare few who can see the unseeable. He’s a straight man who wears his heart on his sleeve, has grown up searching for a Bond, and dreams of finding the love of his life.

Legend never said anything about what to do when sparks fly between two people opposite in more ways than just magic.

Another standalone, The Magic Between is one of those magical romances that makes you GLOW with happy!Feels – and it’s all about a potential soulmate bond! Who does that remind you of???

Like the Tarot Sequence, this book has a contemporary setting, and a damn fabulous cast of secondary characters (and the leads, of course, are wonderful). I adored it from start to finish; you can read my full review here!

…a detective!fantasy that deconstructs toxicity?

The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Goodreads

A dinosaur detective in the land of unwanted ideas battles trauma, anxiety, and the first serial killer of imaginary friends.

Most ideas fade away when we're done with them. Some we love enough to become Real. But what about the ones we love, and walk away from? Tippy the triceratops was once a little girl's imaginary friend, a dinosaur detective who could help her make sense of the world. But when her father died, Tippy fell into the Stillreal, the underbelly of the Imagination, where discarded ideas go when they're too Real to disappear. Now, he passes time doing detective work for other unwanted ideas - until Tippy runs into The Man in the Coat, a nightmare monster who can do the impossible: kill an idea permanently. Now Tippy must overcome his own trauma and solve the case, before there's nothing left but imaginary corpses.

File Unders: Fantasy [ Fuzzy Fiends - Death to Imagination - Hardboiled but Sweet - Not Barney ]

One of the most unique aspects of The Tarot Sequence is its complete, and completely refreshing, lack of toxic masculinity. Imaginary Corpse takes that much further, introducing a world where asking for someone’s pronouns is a default part of asking their name, everyone understands trauma, and you need consent before touching someone in any way, not just as regards sex.

And it’s about an ex-imaginary friend who is a yellow triceratops plushie…and who decompresses by taking a spin in the clothes dryer.

You’re welcome.

(You can read my review here!)

…a queer fantasy that deals with abuse, trauma, and monsters?

Mr. Big Empty by Gregory Ashe
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Gay MC, gay love interest, bisexual love interest, M/M
Goodreads

Vie Eliot arrives in the small town of Vehpese, Wyoming with little more than the clothes--and scars--on his back. Determined to make a new life for himself after escaping his abusive mother, he finds that living with his estranged father brings its own problems.

Then Samantha Oates, the girl with blue hair, goes missing, and Vie might be the only one who can find her. His ability to read emotions and gain insight into other people’s darkest secrets makes him the perfect investigator, with only one small problem: he wants nothing to do with his gift.

When the killer begins contacting Vie through a series of strange cards, though, Vie is forced to hone his ability, because Samantha was not the killer’s only target.

And, as Vie learns, he is not the only psychic in town.

There’s a streak of very seriousness darkness running though the Tarot Sequence; in the Hollow Folk series, it’s front and centre. Vie is a gay teenager who’s been viciously abused by his mother, and has now been sent to live with his not-much-better father. He’s also a psychic, one whose powers grow in direct relation to the gathering and expansion of his found-family – and who has to face off against monsters much bigger than his parents, whose powers far outmatch his own.

This series is incredible from start to finish, in every possible way. I’m going to link you to Kathy’s review, because I’ve never seen anyone describe and explain these books as well as she does!

…found-family that always has your pack?

Wolfsong (Green Creek, #1) by T.J. Klune
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, M/M, secondary bi/pansexual cast
Goodreads

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the little boy’s secret and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

I find it unlikely that Tarot Sequence fans have not read the Green Creek series, but it had to be included just in case! These books feature werewolves instead of Atlantean scions (although the MC of Ravensong is a witch, not a werewolf) and go HARD on the Feels – every kind of Feels. Be ready to be emotionally gutted, laugh out loud, and sob your heart out…in a good way!

…rewritten myths in ancient and urban settings?

Rituals (Rhapsody of Blood, #1) by Roz Kaveney
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Representation: Lesbian MCs, F/F, brown lesbian MC, secondary queer cast
Goodreads

Two women - and the workings of Time and Fate.

In a time too long ago for most human memory, a god asked Mara what she most wanted. She got her wish: to protect the weak against the strong. For millennia, she has avenged that god, and her dead sisters, against anyone who uses the Rituals of Blood to become a god through mass murder. And there are few who can stand against her.

A sudden shocking incident proves to Emma that the modern world is not what she thought it was, that there are demons and gods and elves and vampires. Her weapon is knowledge, and she pursues it wherever it leads her. The one thing she does not know is who she - and her ghostly lover, Caroline - are working for.

RHAPSODY OF BLOOD is an epic fantasy not quite like anything you've read before: a helter-skelter ride through history and legend, from Tenochitlan to Los Angeles, from Atlantis to London. It is a story of death, love and the end of worlds - and of dangerous, witty women.

KD has reimagined the traditional tarot for his books, but also quite a bit of human mythology and folklore (who remembers the burning bush reference in The Last Sun?) The Rhapsody of Blood series does the same, but much more directly and pointedly, and on a much larger scale. (Lucifer and God used to be boyfriends. They’re That Kind of exes now.) The story is split between Emma, whose superpower is Talking Sensibly, and Mara, who is an immortal huntress of those who would use the Rituals of Blood to turn themselves into gods (trust me, you’ll be glad she stops them). Emma’s story starts in pre-2000s London; Mara’s takes place over millennia, and only slowly and rarely interacts with Emma’s – at least to begin with.

The premise is more or less that Mara’s adventures – some of them, at least – are the basis for human myths and legends. Just in book one, we see the ‘origins’ of the Amazon warriors, Noah’s Ark, Morgana Le Fay, Atlantis…the list goes on, and continues into each of the subsequent books.

There are also drag-queen chaos magicians. Again, you’re welcome.

…unique magic and a platonic love to die for?

Radiant (Towers Trilogy, #1) by Karina Sumner-Smith
Genres: Fantasy
Goodreads

Xhea has no magic. Born without the power that everyone else takes for granted, Xhea is an outcast—no way to earn a living, buy food, or change the life that fate has dealt her. Yet she has a unique talent: the ability to see ghosts and the tethers that bind them to the living world, which she uses to scratch out a bare existence in the ruins beneath the City’s floating Towers.

When a rich City man comes to her with a young woman’s ghost tethered to his chest, Xhea has no idea that this ghost will change everything. The ghost, Shai, is a Radiant, a rare person who generates so much power that the Towers use it to fuel their magic, heedless of the pain such use causes. Shai’s home Tower is desperate to get the ghost back and force her into a body—any body—so that it can regain its position, while the Tower’s rivals seek the ghost to use her magic for their own ends. Caught between a multitude of enemies and desperate to save Shai, Xhea thinks herself powerless—until a strange magic wakes within her. Magic dark and slow, like rising smoke, like seeping oil. A magic whose very touch brings death.

With two extremely strong female protagonists, Radiant is a story of fighting for what you believe in and finding strength that you never thought you had.

Xhea’s city is not New Atlantis, but it is similar in one way: it runs on magic. The people with the least of it are at the bottom, and the ones who are rich with it live in flying towers above the ruins below. Magic is power, but it’s also currency, and everyone has it – except Xhea. Xhea has no magic, is colourblind, and sees ghosts.

Then she meets Shai.

I couldn’t believe it when I read this trilogy the first time, and turned the final pages, and there had been no romance anywhere. None! The central relationship in this trilogy – the only one that really matters – is the platonic love between Xhea and Shae, who grow into friends who would, and will, do anything for each other. We hardly ever get to see hard fantasy that focusses on friendship, but that’s exactly what this trilogy does.

Also, Xhea, like Rune? Is absolutely planning on changing the system. BIG TIME.

…outside the-box urban fantasy that reimagines ancient stories?

Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bi/pansexual MC, nonbinary secondary characters, sapphic secondary character, queernorm world
Goodreads

Power always wins.

Imagine Camelot but in Gotham: a city where knights are the celebrities of the day, riding on motorbikes instead of horses and competing in televised fights for fame and money.

Imagine a city where a young, magic-touched bastard astonishes everyone by becoming king - albeit with extreme reluctance - and a girl with a secret past trains to become a knight for the sole purpose of vengeance.

Imagine a city where magic is illegal but everywhere, in its underground bars, its back-alley soothsayers - and in the people who have to hide what they are for fear of being tattooed and persecuted.

Imagine a city where electricity is money, power the only game worth playing, and violence the most fervently worshipped religion.

Welcome to a dark, chaotic, alluring place with a tumultuous history, where dreams come true if you want them hard enough - and are prepared to do some very, very bad things to get them . . .

"A riveting tragedy of blood and desire - and the coolest thing you'll read this year" ― Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season and The Priory of the Orange Tree

"The boldest, smartest, most adventurous fantasy I've read in ages - and it's really f**ing fun" ― Krystal Sutherland, author of Our Chemical Hearts

"Arthurian legend meets urban fantasy in a brilliant, bloody wild ride" ― Jay Kristoff, No.1 New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author

Officially, Blackheart Knights is a King Arthur retelling; unofficially, you don’t need to know anything about the King Arthur mythos to enjoy the hell out of this book. There’s a few Easter eggs here and there for those who know the ‘canon’ (not that there really IS a King Arthur canon) but that’s it. Functionally, this is a unique urban fantasy where knights use swords but ride motorbikes, London is ruled by a king, and those who can use magic are tattooed and forced to wear tracking bracelets.

Oh, and it’s queer. Because of course it is.

…a pack of misfits facing off against a powerful conspiracy?

A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe (The Salvagers, #1) by Alex White
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Science Fantasy
Representation: Brown sapphic MC, disabled MC, F/F
Goodreads

Boots Elsworth was a famous treasure hunter in another life, but now she’s washed up. She makes her meager living faking salvage legends and selling them to the highest bidder, but this time she might have stumbled on something real–the story of the Harrow, a famous warship, capable of untold destruction.

Nilah Brio is the top driver in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation and the darling of the racing world–until she witnesses the murder of a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah only has one lead: the killer also hunts a woman named Boots.

On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a smuggler’s ship that will take them on a quest for fame, for riches, and for justice.

A more misfit pack of misfits I have never seen. This is another universe where (almost) everyone has magic, primarily one magical ability that, in the more gifted, can be utilised in all sorts of ways. But someone people aren’t happy with just being powerful, and decide they want to become gods instead…which our rag-tag band are out to prevent.

Eventually.

If they can stop butting heads.

This trilogy isn’t just strong in the found-family vibes; as you’ve probably guessed from the covers, it’s a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, with spaceships flying alongside spells. I think that counts as ridiculously unique, don’t you???

…a book that goes deep but will still make you laugh?

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, major gay character, matriarchy
Goodreads

“What’s your name?”

“Serene.”

“Serena?” Elliot asked.

“Serene,” said Serene. “My full name is Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle.”

Elliot’s mouth fell open. “That is badass.”

The Borderlands aren’t like anywhere else. Don’t try to smuggle a phone or any other piece of technology over the wall that marks the Border—unless you enjoy a fireworks display in your backpack. (Ballpoint pens are okay.) There are elves, harpies, and—best of all as far as Elliot is concerned—mermaids.

Elliot? Who’s Elliot? Elliot is thirteen years old. He’s smart and just a tiny bit obnoxious. Sometimes more than a tiny bit. When his class goes on a field trip and he can see a wall that no one else can see, he is given the chance to go to school in the Borderlands.

It turns out that on the other side of the wall, classes involve a lot more weaponry and fitness training and fewer mermaids than he expected. On the other hand, there’s Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, an elven warrior who is more beautiful than anyone Elliot has ever seen, and then there’s her human friend Luke: sunny, blond, and annoyingly likeable. There are lots of interesting books. There’s even the chance Elliot might be able to change the world.

I’ve always pitched this as ‘snarky bisexual goes to magic school and is Unimpressed’, but it’s a good bit deeper than that – although Other Lands will absolutely have you cackling with laughter, because Brennan is a comedic genius. And a genius in many other ways – Other Lands sees her taking a bunch of traditional fantasy tropes and dissecting and/or subverting them – matriarchal elves are the least of it. The biggest thing for me was the examination of how messed-up the glorification of violence in fantasy is, and how Elliot will have nothing to do with it.

It’s intensely, addictively readable, and it will break your heart over and over – but always put it back together again and make you laugh through your tears. Promise.

…powers beyond mortal comprehension, a lot of laughs, and a lot of heart?

Lovequake by T.J. Land
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Black pansexual MC, deaf trans love interest, Black sapphic secondary character, minor brown asexual aromantic character, M/M and F/F
Goodreads

No one knows what to make of Sunday.

He’s handsome. He’s stylish. He’s got endless amounts of cash that he splashes around like water.

But there’s something just a little bit wrong about the way he talks – like he’s never had a conversation before – and the way he walks – like he expects walls to simply get out of his way. Though his hair and beard are immaculately groomed, he never brushes the former or trims the latter. And he talks to the sky.

All of which are very solid, sensible reasons for Zip Fletcher, cheerfully rude Welsh sex worker, not to develop a crush on him.

Zip is, however, not a sensible man.

LOVEQUAKE is an M/M + F/F romantic scifi adventure set against the backdrop of a quintillion-year-old cosmic war.

Ahh, Lovequake. The book I always completely fail at being able to describe! This is hysterically funny, and blindingly original and unique – a cosmic-horror alien comes to Earth, accidentally names himself after ice-cream, and blithely collects interesting humans as he travels the planet looking for long-lost pieces of his psyche. This book made me smile when I was in an immense amount of pain and a bad bout of depression, so I will always recommend it as an incredible pick-me-up book. Even if it doesn’t sound like your thing, I urge you to pick it up. It’s so funny, and so diverse, and so sweet, and there is not one thing I’d critique or change about it!

Will you be reading any of these? Do you have any recs of your own for TTS fans? Let me know!

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