SFF Recs for International Asexuality Day 2022!

Posted 6th April 2022 by Sia in Lists, Queer Lit, Recommendations / 0 Comments

Asexual Pride dragon by Kaenith!

It’s the second ever International Asexuality Day, and as I hope will become tradition on this blog – you can find last year’s post here – I have recs for you! These are all SFF books with asexual protagonists.

ENJOY!

No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga, #1) by Cadwell Turnbull
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black bi mc, Puerto Rican American sapphic mc, biracial bi ace trans mc, nonbinary side character, Black bi side character, Black side characters
Goodreads

One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.

At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?

The world will soon find out.

You can find out more in my review, but the TL;DR version is that this is a brilliantly modern urban fantasy that puts BIPOC characters front and centre and never slows down for a second. It pulls from a bunch of different mythologies and makes up its own, which is my favourite combination, and I really loved the ace rep!

The Wolf Among the Wild Hunt by Merc Fenn Wolfmoor, Andrew Garin
Genres: Horror, Queer Protagonists, Secondary World Fantasy
Representation: Aro-ace MC, aro-ace nonbinary queerplatonic partner, secondary sapphic character, minor polyamory/group marriage, minor disabled character, queernorm world
Goodreads

Skythulf wants to live. Raised in the fight pits, trained to kill or be killed, he yearns for freedom that's out of reach. He's a scythewulf: a wolf-shifter considered neither fully man nor beast, his life worth nothing to his keepers…until Brennus, knight-champion of Saorlland, rescues him from certain death and offers him a new life.

When he mistakenly kills a corrupted nun, Skythulf has one chance to redeem himself and restore his honor. He must run with the Wild Hunt: an age-old trial of blood and courage, where every step hides peril and carnage. If he survives, he will be pardoned. If he fails, Brennus will die brutally at his side.

Few have ever returned from the fae-haunted land, where horrors unnamed dwell beside the enchanted and the damned. There is no rest, no relent, and no mercy.

In the Wild Hunt, you run or you die.

You can read my review here, but basically, this is a breathlessly beautiful supernatural horror, and the first book I read featuring a queerplatonic couple who are absolutely ready to die for each other. I adored the characters and love the worldbuilding – but I do not recommend cooking or trying to eat while reading!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Disabled asexual-coded MC, sapphic MC, major Black character, F/F, minor Indigenous American character, minor trans character
Goodreads

In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters--James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna--join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be.

This is another absolutely gorgeous book, one of my all-time favourites for its prose, worldbuilding, and fiercely, intersectionally feminist themes. (To say nothing of the incredible characters and plot.) DRESSES DON’T HAVE POCKETS BECAUSE ONLY WITCHES NEED POCKETS TO KEEP SPELL INGREDIENTS IN. FINALLY IT IS EXPLAINED!

Nophek Gloss (The Graven, #1) by Essa Hansen
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi, Science Fantasy
PoV: Asexual MC, nonbinary secondary characters
Goodreads

In this dark, dangerous, roller coaster of a debut, a young man sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge across a breathtaking multiverse filled with aliens, mind-bending tech, and ships beyond his wildest imagining. Essa Hanson’s is a bold new voice for the next generation of science fiction readers.
Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans.
He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.
Finalist for r/Fantasy Stabby Awards for Best Debut!

Hansen’s imagination is just amazing, as I spelled out in my review of Nophek Gloss – and the series is incredibly diverse, both in terms of the variety of alien species and sexuality and gender identities. It almost reads as Science Fantasy rather than pure Sci-Fi, but in my book that’s a plus, not a minus.

Inheritors of Power by Juliette Wade
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Two ace MCs, gay major secondary character, secondary trans character, secondary nonbinary character, queernorm castes
Goodreads

The third book of The Broken Trust continues a deadly battle for power in this sociological sci-fi novel where brother is pitted against brother.

Many years have passed since the Eminence Nekantor and Heir Adon seized power, and life in Pelismara has found a fragile equilibrium under Nekantor’s thumb. Now the Imbati Service Academy suspects that Xinta, Manservant to the Eminence, may have taken control of Nekantor for his own sinister purposes, endangering what peace still remains. Imbati Catín, an Academy prodigy, vows service to Adon, balancing two core purposes — to advance her Master's designs on power, and to determine the full extent of Xinta's influence.

When a trash hauler named Akrabitti Corbinan walks into a place he doesn’t belong, everything falls out of balance. Catín, who is investigating this newly discovered hidden library, immediately arrests Corbinan for trespassing. Nekantor then seizes Corbinan, believing he's a spy who sought to topple the government, and Xinta vanishes him before Catín can determine his intent. What was Corbinan really seeking? What dangerous information does the library contain, that Xinta might seek to control? And what might happen if someone more dangerous finds Corbinan first?

This is not the first book in this series, and you definitely shouldn’t start here, but to make up for that every book so for has been packed full of queer characters! The attention to detail, the worldbuilding, is absolutely extraordinary, and if you love political intrigue this is DEFINITELY the series you’re looking for!

You can read my review of book one here!

Cantor for Pearls (Twin Kingdoms Romances, #2) by M.C.A. Hogarth
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual agender MC, pansexual MC
Goodreads

For years, Always Falling has been content in the capital of the Twin Kingdoms, seeing to its beloved the imperial composer…and there the neuter might have stayed, had it not received an urgent message summoning it home. After the cruelties that saw Always Falling exiled, the last thing it wants is to go back, much less in the company of a near stranger: Amet Emendexte-ilye, the new lover its beloved took to ens breast only a few months ago.

But no one else can accompany Always Falling to the harbor city where it was once a member of a rarified aristocracy. And maybe a highland warrior, a stranger, and a musician will be the key not just to the injustices of the past, but the needs Always Falling has never admitted to, even to itself.

The sea is waiting….

Heat Level: ** (not-explicit, some sensual thoughts)
Relationship: Neuter/male, asexual with implied poly
Conflict-level: Low, pastoral
Length: Novel

Again, not the first book in its series, but this one can definitely be read as a standalone if you want to skip the first book (although you shouldn’t, because it’s wonderful). This is a low-stakes fantasy romance with an asexual, agender lead (who uses ‘it’ as a pronoun, so be warned if that bothers you) and a pansexual cis man, with sea serpents giving love advice and family drama. Super sweet and super beautiful!

The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MCs, nonbinary bisexual MC, major asexual characters/arguably MCs
Goodreads

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn't what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family's power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he's not the hero, for Kihrin is not destined to save the empire.
He's destined to destroy it.

This one’s a bit odd, because in one sense, the two asexual characters are relatively minor (although their roles grow and grow with each book) – but they’re also the chroniclers of the saga, which means we hear their voices all the time as they express themselves in footnotes throughout. So they’re either secondary characters or main characters depending on how you look at it. But this is an amazingly subversive Epic Fantasy series – Ruin of Kings looks like it’s playing by the rules, but I promise it isn’t – and the last book is out this month!

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual MC
Goodreads

When Liz Drake's best friend vanishes, nothing can stop her nightmares. Driven by the certainty he needs her help, she crosses a continent to search for him.

She finds Blake comatose in a Vancouver hospital, victim of a mysterious accident that claimed his lover's life--in her dreams he drowns. Blake's new circle of artists and mystics draws her in, but all of them are lying or keeping dangerous secrets. Soon nightmare creatures stalk the waking city, and Liz can't fight a dream from the daylight world: to rescue Blake she must brave the darkest depths of the dreamlands. Even the attempt could kill her, or leave her mind trapped or broken.

And if she succeeds, she must face the monstrous Yellow King, whose slave Blake is on the verge of becoming forever.

I read this knowing absolutely nothing about Lovecraft, and it wasn’t a problem at all. This might actually have been the first book I read with an asexual MC, and definitely the first where an asexual person has sex – something baby!Sia definitely did not know could be a thing!

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual Lipan Apache MC, Lipan Apache secondary characters
Goodreads

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.

There are some differences. This America has been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.

Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

I.

LOVED.

THIS!!! This is exactly the kind of urban/modern world fantasy I crave, with brilliant worldbuilding and an immensely lovable MC. Don’t be put off by the age of the protagonist, either – this is absolutely a book adults can and will enjoy. (As I can attest from personal experience!)

The Language of Roses by Heather Rose Jones
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual aromantic MC, sapphic MC, F/F
Published on: 14th April 2022
Goodreads

A Beauty. A Beast. A Curse. This is not the story you know.

Join author Heather Rose Jones on a new and magical journey into the heart of a familiar fairytale. Meet Alys, eldest daughter of a merchant, a merchant who foolishly plucks a rose from a briar as he flees from the home of a terrifying fay Beast and his seemingly icy sister. Now Alys must pay the price to save his life and allow the Beast, the once handsome Philippe, to pay court to her.

But Alys has never fallen in love with anyone; how can she love a Beast? The fairy Peronelle, waiting in the woods to see the culmination of her curse, is sure that she will fail. Yet, if she does, Philippe’s sister Grace and her beloved Eglantine, trapped in an enchanted briar in the garden, will pay a terrible price. Unless Alys can find another way…

Do you really need to hear more than ‘Beauty and the Beast with an asexual, aromantic MC’? This one comes out next week!

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Desi cast, asexual aromantic MC
Published on: 26th April 2022
Goodreads

"Patel’s mesmerizing debut shines a brilliant light on the vilified queen from the Ramayana….This easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller’s Circe." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.”

So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.

Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.

But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.

A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.

Also out later this month, if you loved Circe by Madeline Miller, you are definitely going to love this too – the style and writing are very similar, even though the characters and stories are very different!

I hope you found something wonderful to read, and that I’ll have many more to rec next year!

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