I’m Zahra! I’m a California Art Scholar, YoungArts 2019 winner, and creative writing major. I have four dogs (one of whom has his own cult) and a sword. I run an LGBTQ+ YA book club in San Diego. I’m very sapphic and demisexual. Also, I’m great with gore unless it involves kneecaps. I hate kneecaps for very specific, disgusting reasons.
I love to read fantasy (it doesn’t matter the kind, although I prefer high fantasy) and some contemporary. I’m more inclined to read about LGBTQ+ narratives, as I’m sapphic. (More fantasy f/f relationships, please!)
I love banter and complicated relationships. Also, terrible characters. If people aren’t actually good, I love it.
Some of my favorite books include Strange the Dreamer, Of Fire and Stars, Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Vicious, Girls of Paper and Fire, The City of Brass, and Not Even Bones.
There are a few things I can’t stand: toxic relationships (unless it’s told that this is not okay in the narrative), homophobia/transphobia/sexism/racism, and generally problematic things not being challenged in the narrative. I’m not very interested in books that are about queer kids being shamed. There’s so much in the real world and fiction already. I just want to see queer kids be happy with their identity.
Prinzessin Lene von Luitger desperately wants to become a fair ruler like her father, the König, even if it’s her mother’s approval she longs for. She was raised on the Königin’s stories and disappointment. She won’t let that stop her. She’d do anything—including finding the source of cannibalism in her country: Rosa Foth.
When Lene learns that Rosa cuts up the bodies left behind by a serial killer—the Todesursache—and of various nobles, she suspects her of being a Knochenmensch—a monster who steals bones and souls. But Lene’s father thinks differently of her: Knochenmenschen had once assisted the kingdom alongside the royal family, bringing them into prosperity. Yet Lene can’t trust her father with that—her mother’s tales were far too vivid.
When her father dies, she’s forced to turn to the only person who can help her: Rosa.
Forced to accept or else be executed, Rosa agrees to try to bring Lene’s father back to life by using the bones she hopelessly holds onto. But when long-lost parents come into the picture, obligations take over, and they start seeing each other as something more, Lene and Rosa have to figure out who and what killed the König. There’s only so much time until killers strike again.
Of Fire and Stars meets Not Even Bones and Reign of the Fallen in this sapphic, multi-POV, dark fantasy. BONE MAIDEN is a winner of YoungArts 2019.
(this is super rough sorry)
CW: dead bodies, abusive parents, death of a loved one, slight cannibalism
Cannibalism among the people. Unsure of the dealer. You have people to talk to. Meet me at eight o’clock. Don’t disappoint me.
Lene von Luitger smoothed out the crinkled paper and read it for the fifth time. Cannibalism wasn’t very common in her Königreich, but it was there. It’s been going on for centuries—there were always the Knochenmenschen partaking in it. And yet, the Königin only thought it was now time to do something about it. Lene looked up to see her reflection in the vanity mirror and blinked. How was she the person to take care of it?
She slipped on a cloak and added a simple crown of curving wires on top of her corkscrew curls and bracelets on her forearms—everything meant for a Prinzessin. Normally, she would have taken care of her makeup and hair, but her mother wouldn’t wait long enough today.
The castle halls wound around her as she traced the quickest path to the conference room, where her mother would be waiting. The walls traced downward before reaching a tapestry of roses and hounds. Lene took a rose from a nearby vase and slipped it into her hair. Her mother always said she looked good with them. Today, she needed all her mother’s favor she could get.
Her mother wasn’t the first person she saw in the advisory room. It was her father. He was always the kinder of the two. From the sidelines, Lene watched him laugh with some advisors. She smiled. She wanted to follow in his footsteps and be a great Königin.
I’m also working on a YA contemporary fantasy called DEMONSPAWN (definitely subject to change). I can’t say too much but there are demons, good boys (dogs), abuse, and terrible sibling relationships. I love it.
I have another book that I also can’t talk too much about, but: cults! Siblings! Gays! Murder!
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