All the novels on this list are contemporary, focus on charming and surprising relationships, and mostly deal with complex, magical worlds where the unexpected is likely to happen. The main characters usually start as enemies but grow to love one another as they’re forced to contend with the novel’s primary conflict.
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
A Heart of Blood and Ashes is the first book in the A Gathering of Dragons series. It takes the reader into a captivating fantasy world filled with kingdoms, alliances, barbarians, Queens, and an unexpected relationship between the last of a line of warrior queens and a warrior. It is a great example of contemporary fantasy romance and was published in February 2020. It’s perfect for lovers of both romance and epic worlds filled with magic.
Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope
Song of Blood and Stone is the first novel in the Earthsinger Chronicles. It focuses on two kingdoms separated by a magical veil that, after centuries, is cracking. The protagonist is a highly relatable young woman with remarkable gifts who has been thrown out by her society. She teams up with an unlikely partner in an effort to might save those they love. The novel was chosen as the best Fantasy Book of 2018 by A Time Magazine. Here is a quote:
A stone needs only a trickle of water, unceasing in it’s focus, to create a groove. If you are the water, take your time to do the work. If you are the stone, best roll out of the way before you are split in two.
The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher
The Absinthe Earl by Sharon Lynn Fisher is the first book in the The Faery Rehistory series. It was published in 2019 and follows Ada Quicksilver, a young woman on a trip to Dublin to study faeries. She meets Edward Donoghue, an unlikely earl, who she accompanies to Newgrange, the site of mysterious ruins. The novel is great for anyone who loves romance, magic, and unlikely couples.
Conjuring Affection by Elizabeth Davis
Conjuring Affection by Elizabeth Davis is the first Coven of the North Star book. The book focuses on a group of young witches and is a lovely, light-hearted addition to this list. It was published in 2016 and is suited for anyone looking for an entertaining and less dramatic fantasy romance novel.
Death’s Dancer by Jasmine Silvera
Death’s Dancer by Jasmine Silvera follows Isela Vogel, who chooses to work with the Allegiance of Necromancers and meets Azrael. The two do not get along due to their individual stubbornness, but they must learn to work together to contend with the world of supernatural creatures in Prague. Here is a quote:
Her heart did a backflip against her ribs. No, she told it. You do not fall for a necromancer whose orgasm sets the bed on fire.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
One of the best-known books on this list, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, is a well-loved novel published in 2011. It was a #1 National Bestseller and follows two magicians who get caught up in a dangerous competition. The two fall in love, despite the terrifying nature of their competition, and are faced with the dangerous consequences of their new relationship. Here is a quote:
You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows that they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.
Lightlark by Alex Aster
Lightlark by Alex Aster is another great fantasy romance book. It was published in 2022 and instantly became a #1 bestseller. The book focuses on the island of Lightlark, a mysterious location that hosts the Centennial every 100 years. That is a deadly game where the rulers of every realm are invited.
One of the six must die every 100 years in an effort to rid their release of the specific curse it’s suffering from. The main character, who comes from Wildling, fights to rid her people of a deadly curse that means anyone they fall in love with is doomed to die. The novel is also being made into a film.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is another great fantasy romance novel that takes place in a magical, unique world. Focuses on the dynamic between two enemies, which, through anonymous letters, blossoms into a romantic relationship. But, with impending dangers, it’s up in the air what are the two can maintain their tentative truce.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is the first The Folk of the Air novel. It follows Jude, a young protagonist who is contending with the fallout from her parents’ murders and her desire to leave her mortal world behind.
Now older, she hopes to win a place at the High Court of the Faerie, but that means dealing with the fey, who are notorious for their dislike and even hatred for human beings. This is no more true than when it comes to Prince Caden, the youngest son of the High King.
Heart of the Fae by Emma Hamm
Heart of the Fae by Emma Hamm is a love story and fairytale that follows Sorcha, a young woman who makes a deal with the Fae to save her people. She travels across the world, through dangerous territories, to meet Eamonn. The two learn to love one another as they attempt to retake Eamonn’s throne.
What is fantasy romance?
Fantasy romance is a genre of literature that focuses on magical, unreal worlds and characters who have to contend with dangerous situations while falling in love. Often, the couple is made up of two unlikely people who initially don’t get along.
What is the most read fantasy book in the world?
The most read fantasy book in the world is the first Game of Thrones novel by George R.R. Martin. This is followed by The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
What is the most complex fantasy series?
Some of the most complex fantasy series include The Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons, The Riyria Revelations series by Michael J. Sullivan and The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.
What is the best fantasy book ever?
The best fantasy books of all time are generally considered to be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory.