Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples & Characters in Fiction

In honor of Pride Month, I wanted to do a post celebrating my favorite LGBT+ characters and coupes in fiction.  Some of these books were not my favorite (and some of them are)- but if there was one thing that stood out about them, it was the characters.

The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt

Captain Callie & Dr. Elena Oh – The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt: I do remember the beginning of this relationship felt a little forced, but by the end I was rooting for this couple all the way.  I’m more fond of this book for the fun level than the romantic factor- but The Wrong Stars is such a rollicking good space romp I don’t think it matters.

The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang Tensorate 1

Akeha – The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J.Y. Yang:  It’s been awhile since I read this, but one thing that stands out to me when I think of it, is that I remember how heartbroken I was for Akeha throughout. IIRC, in this world, children are brought up genderless until they choose the gender they want to be.  Akeha struggles with the choice, because not only does he not want to choose, but when he thinks about choosing, he realizes he’s not leaning the way everyone expect’s him to.  This is a quick novella, and well worth reading.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Niclays & Jannart – The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: I wanted to put Ead and Sabran here, but one of my complaints about this book was that Ead and Sabran never felt like they had chemistry together, while it was very obvious how much Niclays cared about Jannart.  I won’t get too spoilery- but Niclays reminiscing about Jannart was one of the highlights of this book.

blrw_mj

Tracker & Mossi – Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James: Admittedly, the romance between Tracker and Mossi is a very, very small piece of this book.  This couple works because Mossi provides so much balance to Tracker.  He breaks up Tracker’s icy exterior and makes the reader realize that yes, Tracker does have a heart somewhere behind his violent shell.  If James ever wrote a novel/novella exploring this relationship in more depth- I’d 100% read it, despite the issues I had with this book.

Mycroft & Saladin – Terra Ignota series by Ada Palmer: Someday I’ll make a list Terra Ignota isn’t on.  Today is not that day.  Mycroft and Saladin are one of the more twisted couples I have on this list… and I’m not telling you why because it’s a huge spoiler.  We don’t often get to see them together (Mycroft’s Servicer duties and general genius keep him busy) but their relationship feels very Shakespearean.

SoC_LB

Jesper & Wylan – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Like Mossi & Tracker above- I feel like these two balance each other out.  Jesper’s a loud, in your face, hot mess and Wylan is quiet and cool headed.  I loved every scene they were in.

Ariel Corta – Luna series by Ian McDonald: Ariel Corta is one of my favorite female characters in literature ever.  She’s ambitious and cunning, and she prints a killer wardrobe.  She’s on this list because she’s one of the first ace characters I encountered in fiction.

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Omat & Brandr – The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky: I love Omat & Brandr because neither one of them is your typical protagonist.  Omat is dealing with his own identity issues.  His gender doesn’t match his physical body, and internally he struggles to come to terms with that.  Brandr is a Viking with a soft side. Between the two of them, Omat takes the lead, and Brandr is perfectly happy with that.  He never questions Omat’s choices, never challenges them. He accepts Omat as he is and that’s what I loved about them.

Guilty Pleasures Anita Blake by Laurell K Hamilton

Jean Claude & Asher – Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton: I am somewhat embarrassed to admit I have read these books, considering the direction Hamilton took them in, but please know that the first ten(?) books are actually pretty good (and everything after that would make E.L.James blush).  From the moment I met Jean Claude & Asher I adored them as a couple.  Asher is physically scarred and a thoroughly damaged character because of it, and JC is the only person who’s ever really able to make him feel better about it.

Ninth Step Station by Malka Older Fran Wilde Jacqueline Koyanagi Curtis Chen

Detective Miyako – Ninth Step Station from Serial Box: I haven’t actually finished this season of Ninth Step Station, but Detective Miyako has grown on me so much.  She’s smart but grounded.  I find her much more relatable than Emma.  Her relationships don’t come into play so much- but I wanted to mention her anyway.

Do you have any favorite characters or couples on the list?  Anything else you can recommend?

33 thoughts on “Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples & Characters in Fiction

  1. I love that you always feature books I’ve never heard of in your posts! You also make all of these people and couples sound awesome! I definitely agree about Jesper and Wylan; Leigh Bardugo developed their relationship beautifully. And I had no idea that the Anita Blake series featured a m/m relationship? Especially since I thought those characters were love interests for Anita. I know nothing about that series except for the fact that it has a ton of books, a ton of love interests, and that it’s paranormal though. But you said it could make E.L James blush so now I’m deadly curious what kind of turn that series took?? 😂 Anyways, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha- thank you Caitlin! So here’s the deal with the Anita Blake series: the first ten (or so) books are actually pretty tame. Anita Blake is a catholic who’s very private about sex and what not. She has a boyfriend for most of those books I think.

      (Minor series spoiler here) Later on she forms a triumvirate with Jean Claude (a vampire) and Richard (a werewolf), which means she gains some of JCs power. His power feeds off lust/love instead of blood like a normal vampire.

      So later in the series the sex scenes just dominate the book and they usually involve multiple partners. This is why I quit reading them. I don’t mind sex scenes at all- I just wanted the focus to go back to Anita and her Vampire Marshall/Necromancing activities.

      With Jean Claude and Asher- they were lovers in the past. Later when they are reunited they are both in a relationship with Anita, but also with each other.

      I realize I’ve made this all sound terribly complicated- but the short of it is, they were always two of my favorite characters together.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post, and you’ve reinforced the fact that I need to read McDonald’s series, as well as Ada Palmer’s. Oh, and I have to agree with you on Jean Claude and Asher. I had fun with the Anita Blake books years ago. I probably wouldn’t read them today, but they were a lot of fun at the time😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha- I’m so worried that I’ve built these up so much that by the time you get to them they won’t live up to what I’ve said! And Terra Ignota is incredible, so, so ambitious, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

      And I’m with you 100% on Anita Blake. I loved them when I read them, and loved most of the characters, but I don’t see myself revisiting them.

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  3. Yeah, I enjoyed the first few Anita Blake books, but then they started getting gross and I just couldn’t keep reading. (One of my blog friends at the time I was reading them continually brought up the “sex with multiple partners followed immediately by doing anything but cleaning up” thing, and once she said that I just couldn’t get past the lack of hygiene. Ick.)

    On the other hand, Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series has some great LGBT+ characters in it. The first book has an ace main character, and there’s a trans secondary character in all of the “present day” novellas. (The series is split between “now” and flashbacks.) Knowing McGuire, there are quite possibly others in the stories also, but because it’s just a part of who the characters are and not something flashy for diversity points, I’m only remembering the two characters at the moment.

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  4. I really need to get to the Terra Ignota series. TOR was giving away free downloads of the first book a few months back and of course I downloaded it and immediately started reading other things.

    On the topic of embarrassing reads, there was a brief period in time where my wife and I would listen to the Anita Blake audio books on long car rides as traveling music of sorts (they were frequently on discount at one of our usual stops which is how that got started). She also had been into the series until it took a turn.

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    • Yeah it’s a shame- because they really were good books. If Hamilton wants to write erotica I’d rather she just started a new series. She had good characters and exciting plots… just don’t understand the logic there.

      And I LOVE Terra Ignota but I don’t recommend it often. The first book is complex, difficult to parse out, Mycroft is somewhat unreliable… it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

      That being said, I do hope you try it, and let me know how you like it either way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes to Niclays & Jannart! They were easily the best part of the book. And, now that I think of it, you’re right about Ead and Sabran having no chemistry. When it happened in the book, I was a little surprised since I felt nothing when they were together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope! (Spoilers ahead for The Priory) Personally I though Sabran had more chemistry with her actual husband and the relationship with Ead felt totally forced. I could easily have pictured them being BFFs but without ever having Sabran’s POV on things, it’s really hard to see the chemistry.

      I still think it was a bizarre choice to include those three other POVs and nothing from Sabran. Especially Loth’s, which I kept forgetting and felt useless. I feel like I’d have enjoyed it more if Sabran has been one of those POVs.

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      • ME TOO! And actually, I found Niclays pretty exhausting most of the time too, until Jannart was introduced and he started reminiscing on that. That book was just too long 🙄. Lol

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      • Haha! That’s a good point. I think you’re right- she either needed to go full epic with it, introducing Sabran’s POV and a few others and new books, or she needed to trim it down significantly (by getting rid of some of the viewpoints) and making it a regular standalone.

        But then again, I think a lot of other readers did end up enjoying just fine while I sat over here with my unpopular opinions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly!
        Despite the issues I had with it, I did really enjoy it. The fact that it’s a standalone and everything wrapped up nicely, maybe too nicely, made the book better in my eyes. There aren’t enough good standalone fantasy novels. All the ones I’ve tried fell flat.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s because good worldbuilding is so difficult to do without excessive page length or long info-dumps. In a series – world building can become more intricate throughout and unfold more naturally without the reader feeling like they have to trudge through an 800 page novel.

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  6. The only ones from the list you posted I’ve read are the Six of Crows Duology. Absolutely loved Jesper and Wylann. There parts really served well to break up the pace a little. Really helped the overall pacing of the novel. And Jesper was my favourite character. So he could do no wrong in my eyes.

    That being said, favourite character he may be. But not my favourite relationship. That honour goes to Nina and Matthias 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh my favorite is always going to be Kaz and Inej, but I have a thing for damaged characters. Though Nina and Matthias were great too, and Nina was just awesome, but she always made me hungry. Lol. That whole book is great.

      Also- you should read the Luna series. I think you’d like them. The book is: “The Moon wants to kill you.” And it does- but so do all the people living there

      Liked by 1 person

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