Heroic Romance: The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera

I’ve used the phrase “queer as fuck and fucking amazing” to describe at least one book already this year. But it’s also appropriate for K. Arsenault Rivera’s second novel, The Phoenix Empress, sequel to last year’s The Tiger’s Daughter. This is the kind of Dramatic Gay content that I never knew I wanted—but now that I know it exists, damn you give me more RIGHT THIS INSTANT!

(Light spoilers for book one, The Tiger’s Daughter.)

Barsalai Shefali, daughter of the uncrowned leader of the steppe nomads, and O-Shizuka, heir to (and later Empress of) the Hokkaran empire, have been linked since childhood. Their mothers were deepest, closest friends, only survivors of the doomed band of heroes who went beyond the Wall of Flowers in the north to face a demon general. Since their youth, Shizuka has been convinced that she and Shefali had a great destiny, that they ...