The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
I consider myself a very progressive speculative fiction fan. I work slush for Strange Horizons, I wish the Hugos had a YA category, and I can’t wait for the library’s copy of Heiresses of Russ 2013 to come in. And yet, I find something so comforting about old school fantasy—high fantasy published between 1977 (when The Sword of Shannara hit The New York Times bestseller list) and 2001 (with the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which “legitimized” the genre in corporate eyes). But it came with its own problems and prejudices, especially when it came to women, people of color (there’s blackface in Tigana, for Pete’s sake!), and queer folk.