If you can’t decide between a romance or fantasy novel on your TBR, why not both? Fantasy romance combines the best of the two genres: romantic dynamics to swoon for and inventive settings and magic to explore. With fantasy romance, there’s no need to choose which aspect you prefer.
Fall in love with these twenty spellbinding fantasy romance books for adults. Between lush settings, love affairs to die for, and indulgent tropes, you’re sure to find your next favorite read.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
At first glance, The Priory of the Orange Tree looks like a brick. Weighing in at 848 pages, there’s no denying it is an intimidating read. Yet with a compelling plot, intriguing and powerful female characters, and forbidden magic, 848 pages begin to feel much shorter. You’ll delight in the tale of Queen Sabran the Ninth, lady-in-waiting Ead, and dragonrider Tané, and all the chaos that unites them.
Follow the epic tale when you purchase your copy here.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Crier was Made: constructed to be a flawless leader who could continue her father’s legacy. Ayla is merely a servant with a mission: kill Lady Crier. Yet as a magical war ravages the kingdom, Crier and Ayla find impossible comfort in each other, and a question arises: can their growing love exist without war?
The first in an epic fantasy romance duology, you can find Crier’s War here.
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
A princess and a priestess join forces in this tale of rebellion in an extravagant world of magic.
Princess Malini dreams of vengeance in her prison that was once a temple. To hide her true nature, Priya cleans Malini’s chambers. Yet when secrets come to light and an opportunity arises, Malini and Priya find allies in each other and are determined to overthrow an empire.
Pick up The Jasmine Throne here.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The first in a sweeping fantasy quarter, An Ember in the Ashes introduces readers to a world inspired by ancient Rome and two major players: Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier. To save her life, Laia spies at the Empire’s military academy. There, she realizes Elias is just as much a captive as her, and together, they conspire to alter fate.
Romantic and thrilling all at once, An Ember in the Ashes will have you racing to pick up the series’ second book.
Begin your journey here.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Richly imagined and gripping, We Hunt the Flame tells the story of Zafira, a hunter who disguises herself as a man, and Nasir, the Prince of Death. Zafira and Nasir are legends within the kingdom, but as war builds, neither desires their status. As a mission brings them together, the stars align so that they can fight a threat beyond their wildest imaginings.
You can find We Hunt the Flame here.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
Everina Maxwell elevates a political marriage of convenience to a new romantic level in her debut fantasy novel, Winter’s Orbi.
Maxwell taunts readers with a delicious slow-burn affair between Prince Kiem and widower Count Jainan. What begins as a political marriage develops into a real relationship, even as Jainan falls under suspicion for murder. As an intriguing conspiracy unfolds, Kiem and Jainan must rely on each other.
You can find Winter’s Orbit here.
A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows
For another story of political machinations and reluctant marriages, A Strange and Stubborn Endurance should be your go-to.
While Caetharia Aeduria figured his marriage might be political, Velasin vin Aaro never planned on marrying at all. Yet to secure an alliance between their countries, Vel and Cae must make their marriage work—and survive the attempts of those who want violence to reign.
Sensual yet sweet, A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is a must-read.
Pick up your copy here.
*Be sure to review the trigger warnings at the beginning of the novel before reading*
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
Closing out the trifecta of political scheming and sultry romance is Alexandra Rowland’s A Taste of Gold and Iron.
Queer romance comes to the forefront of this Ottoman Empire-inspired fantasy. After a humiliating altercation, Prince Kadou acquires an efficient yet cold bodyguard, Evemer. The two men tolerate each other (at best), but when conspiracy weakens their land of myth and magic, Kadou and Evemer must work together for the palace’s sake.
You can find A Taste of Gold and Iron here.
Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
Foul Lady Fortune comes as a sequel to Chloe Gong’s stunning duology, These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends, and offers plenty for new and old fans alike to love—including a fake marriage between an unlikely pair of spies.
Shanghai, 1931: Rosalind Lang is unable to die and utilizes this strange ability to work as an assassin. Yet when invasion turns her country on its head, Rosalind must pose as another spy’s wife to infiltrate enemy territory. Rosalind and the spy, Orion, clash, but only they can unravel the sinister mystery unfolding.
Find Foul Lady Fortune here.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
If you adore queer romance and prefer your enemies-to-lovers heavy on the enemies, you’ll want to pick up This Is How You Lose the Time War ASAP.
Red and Blue are opposite sides of a war that spans centuries. Through a dreamlike series of letters and poetic third-person entries, an impossible love story unfolds. As the war progresses, violence and romance intermingle. Can there truly be a winner in this fight?
Discover the answer when you purchase your copy here.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
When the circus arrives, it is without announcement but brings a spectacular array of wonders. Behind the magical facade, two magicians war. Celia and Marco are pawns in their instructors’ games, yet even though they are supposed to oppose each other, they are pulled to each other. As love sweeps them off their feet, lives hang in the balance.
Cleverly and masterfully crafted, The Night Circus is a mind-bending puzzle that will linger long after you turn the final page.
Find your copy here.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The first foray in V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, A Darker Shade of Magic draws you into a world where a powerful few can walk between alternate versions of London: Red, Grey, White, and the long-lost Black. Kell is one of the few who can and uses his power to smuggle for the palace. Yet when a scheme goes wrong, Kell must team up with cunning thief Delilah Bard to defeat a powerful enemy.
And even if Kell and Delilah are on the run, sparks fly, and their chemistry crackles.
Enter a world of magic and mayhem when you check it out here.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
V.E. Schwab’s second entry on this list swept #BookTok and beyond.
In 1714, a young girl made a bargain for immortality, yet in the same breath, she was cursed to be forgotten by all who encountered her. Across centuries, Addie LaRue lives and is forgotten, and becomes increasingly desperate to impact the world. And after three centuries, she has her chance with a young man who remembers her.
Memorizing and genre-blending, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue enthralls.
Find it here.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
This feminist fantasy retelling of a Korean folktale sweeps you away from a quiet village to a land of lesser gods. Mina enters this land to save her brother, and with an enchanting young man’s help, strives to find the Sea God. The Sea God could save her once and for all, yet finding him means risking her own life.
Love, lies, and fate intertwine to arrive at a spectacular conclusion.
Check out The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea here.
A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
Like The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, A River Enchanted is a lush, romantic folktale that binds two childhood enemies with a terrible mystery.
On Cadence, magic runs deep. Jack hasn’t returned in a decade, yet when young girls begin to disappear, he must work with his childhood enemy and heiress Adaira to unravel the events. While the disappearances and circumstances grow even direr, Jack and Adaira find themselves torn between hatred and a growing connection.
A fierce exploration of duty and love, A River Enchanted will remain in your mind as a masterpiece.
Pick it up here.
A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson
A complex love story unfolds in a short space in this novella by Kai Ashante Wilson.
Aqib bgm Sadiqi has mortal priorities in the realm of gods. An empire soldier, Lucrio, has stolen his heart, and even though their affair is forbidden. So begins their whirlwind romance, and Aqib and Lucrio will do anything to protect it. Yet politics may interfere, and they find themselves uncertain if they can withstand the pressure.
Dive into this defiant tale here.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s lyrical prose and steadfast attention to detail culminate in a breathtaking love story for the ages between Achilles and Patroclus. With Patroclus as a faithful narrator, their tale unfolds from boyhood to times of war and devastation.
In this true tearjerker of a novel, Achilles’ devotion and Patroclus’ quiet resolve and faith will have you crying over an age-old story. Yet The Song of Achilles proves that even in old tales, there is still new light to shed.
Find The Song of Achilles here.
This Woven Kingdom by Tarefeh Mafi
Inspired by Persian mythology, Tarefeh Mafi’s This Woven Kingdom joins a prince who is prophesied to die and a servant who is an heir to a Jinn kingdom. Kamran and Alizeh should despise each other, but rather, it seems they are fated to begin a forbidden romance. Can their love survive destiny’s other plans?
See the answer for yourself when you pick up This Woven Kingdom here.
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi
Let this wickedly wonderful and self-aware tale enchant you from start to finish.
When a man who believes in fairy tales and an alluring woman named Indigo marry, it is with the promise that he will never investigate Indigo’s past. Yet tragedy calls Indigo home, and soon, the husband is drawn into the myth of her childhood. From enchanting halls to another girl’s shadow, the lines between reality and fantasy blur, threatening to ruin them both.
You can pick up The Last Tale of the Flower Bride here.
City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri, a con woman in eighteenth-century Cairo, lives to swindle nobles and succeed on the streets. But mistakenly summoning a djinn warrior, Dara, disrupts her life. Dara and Nahri flee Cairo and journey to a land where magic runs deep. But tensions run deeper, and as their relationship ignites, so does war.
Bold and brilliant, City of Brass delight from the first word.
Find your copy here.
Under a Spell
From magic to mystery, and from friends or enemies to lovers and arranged marriages, readers of every preference are certain to find a story that suits them like an elegantly discarded glove. Swoon as much as you’d like—you’ll fall under the most delightful spell.
What is the difference between fantasy romance and dark fantasy romance?
The latter focuses on darker, more sinister aspects of a world and romance. While the former may include dark aspects, that is not the story’s key element.
Will these books all end with a happily ever after?
We know that for many romance readers, a HEA is a must. While many of these books have you covered, some are more bittersweet than happy (or leave you on a cliffhanger in preparation for a sequel).
Which of these books is the most accessible?
Fantasy romance can be intimidating if you’ve never read the genre! We recommend newbies start with The Song of Achilles, A Darker Shade of Magic, or Ember in the Ashes.
What if I want the most complicated book?
Seasoned fantasy romance readers, we’ve got your back. For something truly twisty and complicated, turn to The Night Circus, This Is How You Lose the Time War, or The Priory of the Orange Tree.
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