There’s a reason why fantasy romance books are so popular. Many people like to unwind with genres like romance or fantasy – they provide comforting escapisms and can be super relaxing to read before bed. So, combining the two can give you the ultimate relaxing escape.
Fantasy has long been adored by readers and viewers across the world because it provides a thrill and excitement unattainable in realism genres. True crimes, detective fictions, and thrillers are all fantastic to read but lack the additional imaginative layer that comes with fantasy.
Fantastical books have the ability to transport you to other worlds and introduce you to new creatures, species, and concepts so there’s more to keep up with and think about.
Fantasy and romance blend brilliantly together, as many authors explore the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ trope that can be applied to inter-species relationships or use characters from different realms, or with different powers. The fantasy genre provides a plethora of combinations to use when thinking about the development of characters, relationships, and interactions.
So, now you know why the genre is so popular, let’s take a look at one of the most well-read series within fantasy romance.
Zodiac Academy is a brilliant novel series that squeezes into the paranormal romance sub-genre, following a set of twins, Tory and Darcy, who find out they are fae (mythical fairies) and must learn how to navigate the mythical world and their powers.
One thing to be prepared for is that the Zodiac Academy books are romantic but the first book does not contain that much romance. As the stories develop, so do the romantic elements, so if you’re looking for a fantasy romance, this one is a great option but only if you’re willing to be patient!
Zodiac Academy is suitable for those over 18, due to themes of sex and violence running throughout. Most of the books on this list are similar, varying in extremity and vulgarity but all books in this list will be inappropriate for children.
So, without further ado, here are 20 fantasy romance books similar to Zodiac Academy to help you unwind.
Darkblood Academy by G.K. DeRosa
Set in an elite supernatural academy, this story follows Luna Hallows, who discovers she is a half-blood but has no access to magical powers.
So, she is obliged to enroll at Darkhen Academy but will struggle to fit in, looking and appearing no different from a human.
Here, Luna is exposed to vampires, witches, dragon shifters, and fae who all make her stand out like a sore thumb. With a dangerous and powerful father, will his influence help her integrate or will it set her apart from the rest even more?
Darkblood Academy is a great upper YA novel featuring an array of hot new supernatural guys (a win for Luna), friendships, relationships, and of course fantastical schooling.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Serpent & Dove is a brilliantly dark and mysterious YA novel, with a historical twist that’ll keep you gripped.
The book follows Louise le Blanc, who left her witch coven and now lives in Cesarine, a city that forbids magic and witches. In Cesarine, witches are hunted, burned, and feared. Much like in the old days, in which people believed in witchcraft and terminated everyone who allegedly had magical powers, Lou is forced to hide.
Reid Diggory is the huntsman of the local Church. He is devoutly religious and passionate about removing all witchcraft from the city. So when he and Lou are forced into marriage, Lou must not only hide who she is but fear her life every day, living with the man she should fear most.
Serpent & Dove is a fantastic novel with a brilliant feminist undercurrent. It follows powerful women who experiment with dark magic, suspense, and of course a fanciful and mysterious love story at its core.
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
In a land ruled by horror and fear, Khalid, the 18-year-old leader of Khorasan weds a new woman every night only to execute her the following morning.
When Shahrzad’s best friend is killed along with a wide array of other girls, she wants revenge. She volunteers to marry Khalid with the intent of staying alive and getting her own back. But when she gets inside, what she finds will change her perspective and she will be responsible for breaking this deadly cycle.
The Wrath & The Dawn puts a dark and fantastical twist on Muslim polyamorous culture. Exploring love, revenge, death, and everything in between, it is the perfect book if you want a highly romantic and gripping story that only flirts with fantasy.
What Lies Beyond the Veil by Harper L. Woods
This fantastical land is glorious and virtuous but only because of the Veil. It has protected the land from the evil forces of the Fae of Alfheimr, so when it shatters, all hell breaks loose.
The fae marks certain people, aiming to take them and trap them using dark magic. So, Estrella’s only option is to flee.
Whilst trying to escape, Estrella is saved by Caelum, who is fae-marked and must keep running. As evil faeries stay on their toes, the two are drawn closer and emotions strengthen.
What Lies Beyond the Veil is a story of passion and love that runs parallel with themes of fear, evil, and suspense. This book is dark, graphic, and at times, explicit, so do not read it if you’re under the age of 18.
Fallen Academy by Leia Stone
Fallen Academy is the ultimate angels vs demons story. Set after angels fell to Earth, proposing war with demons, this story follows one particular angel, Brielle. But Brielle is no normal angel, she has black wings and is destined for danger.
At a young age, Brielle had to sell her soul to demons as a trade for her father’s life and now this is the consequence.
She attends Fallen Academy but is convinced that she is cursed and when her secret comes out, there’s only one person by her side, Lincoln Grey.
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Maddek is determined to avenge his parents’ deaths but he will break every law in place and sacrifice the Parsathean crown.
As he finds out more about their deaths and who was involved, he is led to capture Yvenne, the last of the warrior queens. Will Maddek succeed in getting revenge or is this just the start of a new, passionate union? One that can give them both access to new power?
A Heart of Blood and Ashes is a story of war, ancient rules, warriors, betrayal, and passion. A great read for any fantasy or romance lover.
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
This is the first in a 4-book series that follows Cat – disguised, hiding, and afraid. She is a powerful woman with access to world-changing magic but refuses to be used for other people’s benefit.
So when she’s kidnapped by Griffin, who is determined to use her powers for himself, Cat originally has to fight for her agency but are these two destined to be more than enemies?
A Promise of Fire is a passionate, graphic novel that follows the classic enemies-to-lovers trope. Brilliant for any fantasy lover and guaranteed to keep you on your toes.
Daughter of No Worlds by Carissa Broadbent
Tissanah has already endured a journey of survival and suffering and now faces something even more challenging.
With war looming, Tissanah makes the journey to the Orders, the base for powerful magic Wielders, with the intention of becoming one. But her plan comes with obstacles and during her apprenticeship, she faces dangerous tasks and develops feelings for her boss.
Daughter of No Worlds is a fantastical, feminist novel Gripping, magical, and intensely romantic, it’s a favorite in this genre.
A College of Magics by Caroline Stevermer
A College of Magics follows the girls who are sent to Greenlaw college in order to better their social skills and learn how to be the perfect wife. Sounds backward, right?
But, 18-year-old Faris discovers magic while she’s there and instead of learning to become a lady, Faris secretly teaches herself to become the ultimate powerful witch.
With brilliantly nuanced themes of magic, friendship, and love, this novel is a fantastic escape, containing a balance between emotive, chilled-out pages and the more suspenseful, magical themes.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Elisabeth grew up surrounded by sorcery. She was a foundling in one of Austermeer’s leading libraries. She knows about grimoires, the small, irritating creatures that lurk in dark corners, and is very much aware of their potential to grow into huge monsters if provoked.
When one of the most feared grimoires is released, Elisabeth is blamed and can only seek help from Nathaniel, her arch-enemy. Elisabeth gets tied into an age-old, complex conspiracy that has danger written all over it. She and Nathaniel must navigate the world of sorcery together, discovering more about each other and themselves every day.
Sorcery of Thorns is a brilliant, mystical story that will immerse you in the world of magic and sorcery using two compelling and complex characters to lead the way.
Radiance by Grace Draven
Radiance is the ultimate story of a fantasy-based arranged marriage. Merging realms, both fantastical and real, Draven creates an excellent and complex story driven by emotional conflict, power dynamics, and political turbulence.
The story follows Brishen and his future wife Ildiko. Brishen is the prince of fantastical land and Ildiko is the niece of a human king. Both are key pieces of a strategic marriage that not only connects two powerful lands but also two different species.
The Forsaken King by Penelope Barsetti
This innovative novel explores the difference of perspective, using a suspenseful, fantastical, romantic story to do so.
It is told using two opposing narratives: Ivory, the daughter of a powerful king who gets captured and fears her life; and Mastodon, the man who captures Ivory in an attempt to avenge his parents, who were murdered and raped by Ivory’s father respectively.
The Forsaken King is a great story with a brilliant concept, using powerful and brave characters to explore the personal impacts of political commotion.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
This trilogy is very well-known among fantasy fans, so you may have already read this one.
If not, Shadow and Bone follows Alina Starkov, who realizes she is a Sun Summoner, a rare kind that is destined to destroy the dangerous area of Shadow Fold, that splits Ravka into two. This divide creates a huge wealth divide, leaving many starving and struggling to survive.
Alina is the only person who can put an end to this turmoil but she’ll need to put her life on the line to do it.
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland
A Taste of Gold and Iron is a brilliant novel concentrating on Kadou, who finds himself at the center of a political and social scandal. With the help of his new bodyguard, he must prove himself to the queen and the rest of the nation.
This is a queer love story that brilliantly delves into myth, legend, and unique powers, a great read for any fantasy fan.
A Fate of Wrath & Flame by K.A. Tucker
A Fate of Wrath & Flame tells of the determination and perseverance that is inspired by love. Romeria, a known thief, must embark on a quest that immerses her in new magical worlds without anyone finding out her real identity.
King Zander needs Romeria alive but must stop her before she succeeds. But when they meet, will either of them act on their hatred? Or will sparks fly?
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa is born with a power – killing. She is used by her uncle, the King, as a weapon, forced to use her skills against enemies.
But when she meets Prince Po, she discovers secrets about herself and her family that will forever change her life.
Graceling is an award-winning book that is very much worth the read.
Bound to the Battle God by Ruby Dixon
After unexpectedly being thrown into another world through a mysterious portal, Faith finds herself enslaved by Aron, the Lord of Storms. These two are bound together, each desperate to get home.
Bound to the Battle God is a story of power, suffering, and unexpected love.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Action-packed, passionate, and unpredictable, there’s no wonder why A Court of Thorns and Roses is so popular.
Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken
This is the story of the unprecedented relationship between the female warrior Annwyl and Fearghus, a terrifying, massive dragon.
Dragon Actually brilliantly juxtaposes Annwyl’s violent training and ruthless warrior life with the passion displayed in her relationship with a knight and the calmness displayed with Fearghus. It’s a great story of character development and versatility and one of the most unpredictable books out there. Things will keep getting stranger…
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Set in Shanghai in 1926, These Violent Delights follows two rival gangs who own the city. But when a monster is discovered in the dark, they must work together to defeat whatever beast they’ve found.
Juliette and Roma each belong to one of the gangs. They have a history – one of passion and betrayal. So when their gangs unite, will they?
If you’re looking for a new fantasy romance to delve into, any of these 20 recommendations will be a great shout. Depending on what type of fantasy novel you’re interested in, whether that be magic and wizardry, the fae realm, or warrior fantasies, there’s something on this list for any reader.
Is Zodiac Academy similar to Harry Potter?
Many parallels have been drawn between Zodiac Academy and Harry Potter, however, this story is darker, follows more complex themes, and definitely not appropriate for children, unlike J.K. Rowling’s series. Despite the occasional romantic subplot in Harry Potter, Zodiac Academy is certainly more romantic in nature, so expect much more love and passion in this series!
Is Zodiac Academy graphic?
It contains complex themes that may be deemed graphic by some readers such as violence and sex, however, the actual descriptions are not as graphic as some of the other books in this genre, so the reading experience is rarely uncomfortable.
In what order should I read the Zodiac Academy books?
Here’s the right reading order for the Zodiac Academy books:
1. The Awakening
2. Ruthless Fae
3. The Reckoning
4. Shadow Princess
5. Cursed Fates
6. Fated Throne
7. Heartless Sky
8. Sorrow and Starlight
How many books are there in the Zodiac Academy series?
Officially, there are 8 books to read following this story, however, Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti have published an add-on book called The Awakening (As Told By The Boys), which you can probably guess from the title, is a retelling of the first novel from another perspective.
What is the best fantasy romance book?
It’s difficult to pick one because the genre is so broad but Jennifer Armentrout’s From Blood and Ash is a favorite among readers.