One of the best ways to temporarily escape reality is by reading books. There are thousands of people who love the fantasy genre, and rightfully so. Fantasy books help people unleash their creative minds but not wander away from the reality that the world brings.
Fantasy romance novels have been around for a long time, but recently, the enemies-to-lovers trope has gained immense popularity. There’s something about the tension and chemistry between the two characters, who might come from different circumstances and eventually fall in love.
The enemies-to-lovers trope is when two characters initially dislike or hate each other. They are thrown into situations that force them to spend time together to reach a goal. During this time, they develop their feelings for each other and come to see each other in a different light. Feelings of animosity turn into attraction and, eventually, love.
In this blog post, we’ve compiled 20 of the best fantasy enemies-to-lovers romance books that will take you on a journey of love, adventure, and self-discovery. From vampire hunters falling for their prey to mortal enemies working together to save mankind, these books will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
In a story that takes place in France, Serpent and Dove is the first book of its series and tells us the thrilling tale of two unlikely allies fighting to reach a common goal. The story centers on a witch and a witch hunter who is forced into a marriage of convenience. This happens because of a mishap where they are found in a compromising position in front of people.
In France, there is a war going on between the witches and the church. Louise, a witch, left her coven because of her evil mother. Reid, on the other hand, is a witch hunter who has sworn allegiance to the Church.
As time passes and they are forced to spend time together because of marriage, Lou faces struggles with her identity and feelings. What better way to top off an enemies-to-lovers trope than with forbidden love, right?
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first book in a series and the modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Following the story of Feyre, a 19-year-old huntress who accidentally kills a Fae, a beast visits her home to punish her.
She is then taken to the realm of Prythian, where she is held captive by a faerie lord named Tamlin. As they spend time together, Feyre begins to fall for Tamlin. Feyre navigates the realities of the Fae world and realizes it’s not the same as the stories she’s known her whole life.
During her stay, they find that an ancient evil is growing in Faerie Land. Feyre must set aside her feelings and stop evil before it destroys everything. This story is a gripping and well-crafted fantasy novel that delivers a blend of fantasy, romance, and adventure you won’t forget.
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
From Blood and Ash follows the story of Poppy, a young maiden who has been raised in isolation. She was chosen at birth and raised to marry the prince and become the next queen. But that’s not what Poppy wants.
Hawke, a guard whose task is to keep her safe, arrives when Poppy’s life is threatened by rebels. As they grow closer and uncover secrets about the past, Poppy finds out that her destiny is more complicated than she imagined.
This is a gripping tale of magic, survival, and romance. This first book in the series is fast-paced and will keep you wanting more. From Blood and Ash is a must-read for those who enjoy immersive world-building, intricate plotlines, and steamy romance.
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Lara, a skilled warrior of the Bridge Kingdom, is sent to the neighboring kingdom of Ithicana. There she is set to be the bride of their prince, Aren, in a political marriage. However, her real mission is to spy on them and report to her father.
Lara has always thought of Aren and his kingdom as the enemy. But as she spends time in her new home, she is stuck with the question of whether she is the hero or the villain. She is forced to choose between betraying her husband and letting her country fall apart as her feelings grow and their love deepens.
With the help of Aren, Lara sets out to uncover the truth and stop the war. The Bridge Kingdom is the first book in an ongoing series by Danielle L. Jensen.
To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
To Kill A Kingdom is a dark retelling of the classic fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” But there is a twist: the mermaid is the villain of this story. Princess Lira is of siren loyalty and is known as the Prince’s Bane. This is because she is known for killing human princes.
When Lira defies her mother and harms one of her own kind, the Sea Queen gives her a punishment. She transforms Lira into a human and is sent on a mission to capture the heart of Prince Elian.
Prince Elian is a notorious siren hunter and has vowed to put an end to the siren killings. Lira, in her human form, promises to help Elian find a way to destroy sirens.
As their connection develops, Lira must decide where her true loyalties lie. With Christo’s writing of these complex characters that have great chemistry, To Kill a Kingdom is a thrilling and unique twist on a classic fairy tale.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Set in 1920s Shanghai, These Violent Delights features the story of two rival gangs that painted the town red. These two gangs have young heirs who are former lovers, Juliette and Roma. As the story progresses, the tension between the two gangs – Scarlet and White Flowers – also grows.
A mysterious illness starts to spread throughout the city, and the two heirs are forced to work together to stop the plague and find its origins. However, as they do so, they begin to realize that their families may be the people behind the problem.
A “Romeo and Juliet” retelling, These Violent Delights will sweep the readers up in the suspense and drama of the story!
Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh
This next one is not your ordinary romance novel. Angels’ Blood is set in a world where angels and vampires exist alongside humans. Elena Deveraux, the main character, is a skilled vampire hunter hired by the archangel Raphael to track down a rogue archangel who is on a killing spree.
As they begin working together, they can’t help but develop feelings for each other, despite their initial dislike and mistrust. But it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies as their budding romance turns complicated because of the unpredictable world they inhabit.
Angel’s Blood will leave you breathless as you go on a journey with Elena and Raphael. Immerse yourself in a world filled with supernatural beings!
Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf
The story follows Zera, who is a heartless – she literally does not have a heart. She is an immortal being who must serve the witch Nightsinger so that she may one day have her own heart again.
Zera is then sent on a mission to infiltrate the court of Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane and steal his heart. This can only be done through courtship. But she begins to develop feelings and questions her loyalty to the witch. Will she still push through with her plans and get herself a heart?
Bring Me Their Hearts is a compelling and darkly romantic novel with thrilling plot twists and turns. This is a must-read for fans of young adult fantasy novels and the enemies-to-lovers trope.
The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Andieh
The Wrath and The Dawn is a fantasy novel series that is set in the Middle East. This is inspired by “One Thousand and One Nights,” a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales. Khalid is the Caliph of Khorasan, who marries a new bride every day only to have her executed by dawn. When Sharhzad’s best friend becomes a victim, she volunteers to marry the Caliph to get revenge.
But as they spend more time together, she begins to see a different side to him and falls in love. At the same time, many forces conspire against Khalid to tear apart their relationship.
The Wrath and The Dawn is a beautifully written novel that will leave you wanting to know more as you read. Though it is a retelling, many readers have deemed it fresh and original!
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince is the first book in The Folk of the Air series. This follows the story of a mortal girl named Jude, who was stolen away by a powerful faerie named Madoc after he murdered her parents. Jude grows up alongside Taryn, Madoc’s biological daughter, and the cruel prince: Cardan. Cardan torments her at every opportunity.
This book has many plot twists that will leave you shocked and amazed! With themes such as betrayal, murder, and brilliance, The Cruel Prince will keep you intrigued.
A Deal With the Elf King by Elise Kova
What will you do when you find out everything you’ve ever known was just a lie? This book is perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses.
A Deal With the Elf King is based on the story of Hades and Persephone. Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold elf king, Eldas. When she arrives in the Elf King’s world, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.
As she faces new circumstances and the reality of her importance to this world, she can’t help but feel torn. Though a bit of a slow-burn romance, this enemies-to-lovers fantasy novel will surely tug at your heartstrings and keep you engaged with the story.
The Shadow Between Us by Tricia Levenseller
The Shadow Between Us is a book described as a Slytherin romance. The story centers on Alessandra, an often overlooked second daughter of a nobleman. She has one goal: to become queen. Her plan is to kill the king and take his place as ruler. However, things become complicated when she meets Kallias.
Kallias is the mysterious new ruler with a reputation for being ruthless and unfeeling. Alessandra is not the only one with plans to kill the king.
As they form a deeper relationship, she begins to uncover secrets of his past and discovers he’s not the heartless person she thought he was. Join Alessandra and Kallias on their journey of suspense and wicked delight!
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This story is set in a world where society is divided by blood. Those with red blood are deemed commoners, and those with silver are rulers with magical powers. Mare Barrow is a red-blooded teenager who discovers she has abilities of her own.
Her ability is a rarity, and it leads her to become involved in a rebellion against the oppressive Silver class. She then becomes a part of the Silver World when she is chosen to impersonate a lost Silver Princess.
As the story progresses, Mare meets Cal, a silver prince who is torn between his loyalty to his family and his feelings for Mare. Red Queen is the first book in a series filled with twists and turns and realizations of power, justice, freedom, and love.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Six of Crows is an exciting fantasy heist story told from the perspective of five teenagers as they team up to pull off the ultimate prison break. As they set out on their mission, they must navigate treacherous alliances, betrayals, and obstacles that threaten to destroy their plans.
They must also face their own demons and traumas as they work together. You might be thinking, “Where’s the enemies-to-lovers plot in this story of five teenagers?” This is where Matthias and Nina come in. Although they are working together, they have preconceived beliefs about each other and treat each other with animosity.
A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A. Tucker
This beautiful novel tells the story of the slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance of Zander and Romeria. King Zander hates Romeria, also called Romy, with every fiber of his being. Funny thing is, Romy is Zander’s fiance.
Zander presents Romy with a choice: rot in jail or have her charges acquitted in exchange for helping him expose the growing plot against him. Their chemistry is undeniable as they banter and embrace the hurdles they must overcome.
As Romy digs deeper and discovers scary truths that could bring destruction to all, she is met with the reality that nothing will ever be the same again. A Fate of Wrath and Flame is the first book in the Fate & Flame series.
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Dance of Thieves centers on the Ballengers – a powerful family of outlaws. Jase becomes the leader of their clan when his father dies. Kazi is a reformed thief and member of the Queen’s elite guard.
Kazi is sent on a mission to investigate a potential threat to the kingdom and crosses paths with Jase. As they find themselves drawn to each other, they realize the complications their feelings bring.
Read Dance of Thieves and get swayed by the action, romance, and suspense.
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Hamon
In this world, magic is forbidden. Those who possess it are feared and hunted down. The story begins as Lark witnesses her mother’s death and is cursed by her mother to not speak again.
Lark is captured by Tiras’ men and is brought to the palace as a prisoner. Tiras is the king of Jeru, who becomes fascinated with Lark and unravels the mystery of her curse. The Bird and the Sword is a descriptive novel that features stunning moments of romance, action, and suspense.
A Court of Honey and Ash by Shannon Mayer, Kelly St. Clare
Alli is a half-human, half-fae orphan. She was sent to Underhill to complete her training and become an elite Fae. As she attempts to figure out what happened and uncover the mysteries of the fae, A Court of Honey and Ash is an entertaining book that walks us through the experiences of Alli.
She is secretly in love with Faolan, an Unseelie guard. Initially, you’ll find yourself doubting Faolan’s feelings along with Alli. As the story progresses and the trials unfold, you’ll find that this fantasy enemies-to-lovers novel is an enchanting read.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Like The Wrath and The Dawn, The City of Brass is based on the Middle East’s “One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights).” This tells the story of Nahri, who lives alone in 18th-century Cairo. She makes a living by scamming people with her affinity for healing and divination.
She accidentally summons an ancient djinn warrior named Dara, who reveals to Nahri that she is half-human and half-djinn. This leads them to go on a journey to Daevabad, where Ali is the young prince. This novel takes us on an alluring adventure of magic, politics, and identity!
A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
A River Enchanted was published in 2022 with a sequel to be released. This adult fantasy is the first book in the duology called “The Elements of Cadence.” Cadence is a magical island where Jack, our main character, lives. He is summoned back home after studying music abroad as his assistance is needed.
Adaira is Jack’s childhood nemesis, with whom he has to work in order to solve the mystery of the missing girls in Cadence. As they dive deeper into the mystery, their relationship also deepens, giving us a slow-burn romance.
With so many choices and new books to add to your to-be-read list, I hope this list is enough to send you on numerous journeys into different worlds!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the enemies to lovers fantasy trope?
This is a common plot device where two individuals who hate each other gradually fall in love as they are put in an awkward situation. Due to their disparate worldviews, diametrically opposed ideologies, and misinterpretations, the characters in this trope initially dislike one another.
What is dark fantasy romance?
Dark fantasy romance often features supernatural or paranormal beings, such as vampires, werewolves, witches, or other creatures of the night.
Are enemies to lovers toxic?
The enemies-to-lovers trope in fiction can sometimes depict toxic behavior, but it does not necessarily have to be toxic. It depends on how the trope is written and executed in the story. Sometimes there can be manipulation or emotional abuse, but there are also times when it depicts healthy character development.
Who invented enemies-to-lovers?
The book that made this trope popular was Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.
What genre is enemy to lovers?
This falls under the romance genre.
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