I decided to share with you my favourite romance fantasy books, some of which you might not have heard of. While it’s easy to find all the bestsellers (and I’ve included some in here too), it’s the more obscure epic books that can sometimes make all the difference.
I know that we’re all craving all sort of epic romantic fantasy stories full of love, twists and turns. Some of the books below are adult/new adult while a couple of them are basically spice free. Every epic romantic fantasy should have the following elements, in my opinion:
- well developed characters (ideally an epic heroine and a very tall, dark and handsome shaddow daddy)
- a really good romantic arc (play with any of the tropes, although I don’t particularly care for bully romance that much)
- great world building (but not too long, which is why Fourth Wing was so epic, right?)
- conflict and tension (don’t play on cliches, but please give us some phenomenal spice just about now!)
- thematic depth (give me some broader messages beyond the theme of romance)
Without further ado, here are the best books that combine fantasy and romance. Let me know if I should add more to the list.
Fourth Wing is about Violet, a 20-year-old who unexpectedly has to train as a dragon rider instead of living a quiet life with books. She’s smaller and weaker than the others, making it dangerous for her because dragons usually don’t choose people like her. Violet faces many who want her gone, some because of her mother’s high position. Despite these challenges, she must use her intelligence to survive in this tough school, where the only way out is to either graduate or die, all while the war outside gets worse and the school’s leaders might be hiding something big.
In her second year at Basgiath War College, Violet Sorrengail faces even greater challenges than before. Against all odds, she survived her first year, which was meant to eliminate those not strong enough. Now, the training intensifies, testing the riders’ endurance to the extreme. The new vice commandant targets Violet, pushing her to her limits and forcing her to make tough choices, including possibly betraying the one she loves. Despite her physical weaknesses, Violet’s intelligence and strong will keep her going. She learns that dragon riders don’t have to follow the rules; they make their own. This year, mere survival isn’t enough, especially as Violet uncovers a deep secret within the college that could threaten everyone’s safety.
In the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Feyre faces the aftermath of her terrifying experiences. Now with the powers of the High Fae, she’s caught between her life with Tamlin at the Spring Court and her deal with Rhysand from the Night Court. With her wedding to Tamlin coming up, Feyre struggles with her inner turmoil and nightmares. She has to navigate through a complex mix of politics, passion, and power, while a bigger threat looms over the world. Feyre needs to come to terms with her abilities, mend her broken spirit, and decide on her future and the world’s. Sarah J. Maas takes the story to new levels with her engaging storytelling, mixing romance, action, and fantasy.
Bryce Quinlan’s life was all about working hard and enjoying parties until a demon killed her closest friends, leaving her devastated and alone. When the person blamed for the murders is caught but similar crimes continue, Bryce becomes central to the investigation, determined to seek justice for her friends.
Hunt Athalar is a feared Fallen angel, now under the control of the Archangels he tried to overthrow, used for his strength and skill in assassination. However, with a demon causing chaos in the city, he’s given a chance at freedom: help Bryce find the killer.
Together, Bryce and Hunt explore the dark corners of Crescent City, uncovering a threatening dark power. In the process, they find a deep passion in each other that could free them both, if they allow it.
Persephone Dimitriou, a favorite in the society of the futuristic Olympus city, plans to escape the political intrigue of the Thirteen Houses. Her plans are shattered when her mother forces her into an engagement with Zeus, the menacing force behind the city’s facade. Left with no choice, Persephone escapes to the undercity and strikes a deal with a man she thought was just a myth, Hades, who introduces her to a world beyond her imagination.
Hades, accustomed to the shadows, sees in Persephone an opportunity for the revenge he’s longed for, agreeing to help her for a price. However, their time together ignites a passion that Hades is unwilling to give up, even if it means going to war with Olympus to keep Persephone by his side.
Oraya, adopted by the vampire king, tries to earn her place in a dangerous world. She enters a deadly contest called the Kejari to prove herself. There, she has to team up with Raihn, a dangerous vampire who is also her main competition. Even though Raihn is from an enemy house and a threat to her father’s rule, Oraya finds herself unexpectedly drawn to him. As they face tough challenges in the contest, a war threatens their home, and Oraya learns that Raihn might understand her better than anyone else. However, their growing attraction could be dangerous in a world where love can be deadly. “The Serpent and the Wings of Night” is a story about fighting for survival, forbidden romance, and dark magic, ideal for those who enjoy dramatic and heartfelt fantasy tales.
Poppy’s life is set out for her since she’s born to be the Maiden, living a life of isolation without any personal freedom, waiting for an event called the Ascension. She’d rather fight alongside the guards against the evils that took her family than follow these strict rules. However, her role as the Maiden is crucial for the kingdom’s future, a responsibility she’s unsure about because she wants more from life.
When Hawke, a guard with a duty to protect her until her Ascension, comes into her life, he challenges her beliefs and awakens desires she’s not supposed to have. His presence makes her question her duty and the path laid out for her.
Emily McIntire’s book reimagines the Peter Pan story, focusing on James, who plans to get revenge on his enemy Peter Michaels by seducing Peter’s daughter, Wendy. However, as James’s own problems start to surface, he begins to see Wendy as more than just a tool for revenge. Wendy, having lived a sheltered life, is drawn to the mysterious James, but as their relationship deepens, she struggles to understand whether her feelings are for the real James or the dangerous persona he presents. This book, part of the Never After Series, offers a dark twist on classic fairy tales, giving villains their happy endings. It’s aimed at mature readers due to its dark themes.
Dante Russo is forced to get engaged to Vivian Lau because of a blackmail threat. He plans to break off the engagement but finds it hard to let Vivian go once he gets to know her. Vivian, who comes from a wealthy family, agrees to marry Dante to help her family move up in society. Even though Dante wasn’t her first choice, she starts to like him more than she expected. The story, “King of Wrath,” is about their complicated relationship, filled with passion and challenges. It’s written for adults and includes mature themes.
Seraphena Mierel was selected before she was born to be the consort of the Primal of Death due to an old family agreement aimed at saving her people. But her real fate is a secret; she’s meant to be an assassin tasked with making the Primal of Death fall in love with her, then kill him to save her kingdom from destruction. Sera sees herself as a chosen weapon, an assassin, until she meets the Primal of Death. His actions and warmth start to change how she feels, sparking a passion she’s never known, a feeling she’s not supposed to have towards him. Despite the newfound emotions, Sera has never really had a choice in her life or destiny, caught between the forces of Life and Death.
The story is set at Barrington University, home to a secret society called the Lords, who gain power through violence and require a chosen one during their senior year. The narrator, born into wealth, feels trapped by predetermined life plans until meeting Ryat Alexander Archer, a member of the Lords, who offers an escape and a chance at freedom. Choosing to be with Ryat, the narrator soon realizes it was a manipulation, as they get drawn into the dark world of the Lords. Initially seen as Ryat’s trophy, the situation escalates into a struggle for survival, where the only escape appears to be death.
Isolde de Lara sees her marriage to Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, the vampire king, as the end of her life. She plans to marry him to stop a long war and then kill him. However, her plan to kill Adrian fails, and he warns her that if she tries again, he will turn her into a vampire. To avoid this fate, Isolde looks for other ways to resist Adrian and survive in the harsh vampire court. But what scares her most isn’t the court; it’s Adrian himself and the intense attraction between them. She can’t understand why the fierce and ruthless king chose her, and finding out the reason will completely change her perspective.
The common belief that Hook is the villain is challenged in this story. For 200 years, every Darling woman has vanished on her 18th birthday, returning days or weeks later, forever changed. On my 18th birthday, despite my mother’s efforts to secure our home, he still comes for me at night. This time, the Never King and the Lost Boys have no intention of letting me go. “The Never King” is a darker version of the Peter and Wendy tale, perfect for those who enjoy intense, morally complex romances filled with conflict, passion, and protective instincts. The story is set to be released in March 2022, though the date might change.
In a world abandoned by the fae, power is held by those with gold. The story is set in Highbell, in a castle made entirely of gold, where everything and everyone, including the narrator, is gilded. The narrator was rescued from poverty by King Midas, who turned her into gold as a symbol of his possession and power. She gave him her heart, believing in his protection while confined within the palace.
But when war approaches and agreements are made, her trust in Midas is broken. Doubts about Midas’s true nature arise, and the luxurious but confining palace begins to feel more like a prison. The threats outside prompt a reevaluation of what safety and freedom truly mean.
For nearly 400 years, a magical Veil has kept us safe from the Fae of Alfheimr, allowing us to move from a life of excess to one under new divine guidance. I’ve always been drawn to the magic at the boundary of our worlds. However, everything changes when the Veil breaks, and the Fae return. Marked by their magic for capture, we face death from our own protectors rather than be taken by the Fae. Facing no other option, I flee to avoid being killed or captured before my twenty-first birthday.
Romeria, a skilled thief working under a crime boss in New York City, gets kidnapped by a mysterious woman and taken to a world full of magic, elves, and conflict. She finds herself in the body of an elven princess involved in a dangerous scheme. To survive, Romeria hides her real identity, even from King Zander, the princess’s fiancé who dislikes her. As they try to solve the mystery threatening them, Romeria struggles with her feelings for the king and her quest to discover her true self. This is the start of the Fate & Flame series.
Kal Anderson, a doctor working for the Mafia, is known for his emotionless and efficient ways. His life takes a turn when he gets involved with Elena Ricci, the young daughter of his boss. Their attempt to forget each other after a passionate night fails, making Elena an obsession for Kal. He goes to extreme lengths, including disrupting her wedding to marry her and taking her to his island. As Elena spends time with Kal, she starts to see glimpses of warmth in him, but the secrets they uncover and the consequences of their actions lead to irreversible changes. “Promises and Pomegranates” is a dark romance inspired by the Hades and Persephone myth, with a preceding short story “Sweet Sin” recommended for context.
In this dark version of Beauty and the Beast, a kingdom is trapped in time by a curse from a mad king, leaving its inhabitants, including shifters, unable to connect with their animal selves. The only hope lies with Nyfain, the last dragon shifter and prince, but he’s also a feared beast. When he catches the protagonist in the forbidden woods, instead of killing her, he takes her as his prisoner with the belief that she can break the curse. To save the kingdom, she must confront the challenge of taming the beast in Nyfain, risking her own destruction in the process. This story, meant for adults, is the start of a trilogy that promises a mix of danger, romance, and a bit of humor, ending on a cliffhanger.
A cupid, tired of only distributing love without experiencing it, ends up exiled to the fae world for her mishaps. There, she accidentally hits a fae prince with Love Arrows, leading to unexpected consequences. As a result, she’s thrust into the physical realm with a real body, opening up the possibility for her to finally pursue personal love. This story, set in a fae-fantasy world, is a romantic comedy with a slow-burn, “why choose” theme, meaning the main character will have multiple love interests. It’s meant for adult audiences and is part of a completed series.
After dedicating my life to a king who wasn’t mine, I lost everything on the path to honor. Now, in a chaotic world, I must abandon old alliances to meet my destiny with the Savage Prince, the brutal heir to the Southern Lands’ throne. As fae and witches war, I need his help to prevent disaster. But I’m Rookesbane Eveningstar, a powerful witch and his natural enemy. “The Crown of Oaths and Curses” is an epic fantasy romance that ends on a cliffhanger and is intended for adults. It’s the first in a trilogy.
After losing my mother and her partner, finding my own Bonds gave me hope. But it wasn’t enough. Believing our people would be safer with me gone, I fled. Five years later, I’m captured and forced to confront the men I left behind: North, Nox, Gryphon, Atlas, and Gabe. My actions seemed right at the time, but now I’m filled with doubt. Whether they forgive me or not, I can’t forgive myself. “Broken Bonds” is a reverse harem paranormal romance for adults, ending on a cliffhanger.
Lara, a warrior princess, is trained to believe that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy and that she will defeat him. Her homeland sends her as a bride to the Bridge Kingdom, which controls a crucial passage and gains wealth by limiting access to others. Lara plans to undermine it from within. However, living there changes her perspective, making her doubt if she’s on the right side. Her initial hostility towards Aren turns into love, forcing her to decide which kingdom to protect and which to sacrifice. “The Bridge Kingdom” is a fantasy story filled with passion and conflict, appealing to fans of epic romance and fantasy.
Freya, who dreams of being a warrior instead of being stuck in a marriage she despises, finds her life changing when her husband’s betrayal leads her to a deadly confrontation with Bjorn, the son of a powerful jarl. Freya’s hidden power, a gift from the gods making her a magical shield maiden, is revealed during the fight. The jarl, seeing her as the key to uniting Skaland, forces her into a blood oath for protection by Bjorn, whom she must now work with closely. As Freya trains and faces challenges from the gods, she struggles with her forbidden feelings for Bjorn, knowing that giving in could endanger her destiny and the future of her people.
For 27 years, vampires have dominated humanity, building their empire in endless night. Gabriel de León, the last of the holy warriors known as silversaints, fights against these creatures. Despite his efforts and those of his order, they couldn’t stop the vampires after the sun stopped rising. Now captured, Gabriel recounts his journey, filled with battles, forbidden love, and the loss of faith, while seeking humanity’s last hope, the Holy Grail, in this dark fantasy tale, “Empire of the Vampire” by Jay Kristoff.
Scarlett Monrhoe and her sisters, trained as assassins from childhood by a merciless lord, are feared across the continent. Scarlett’s life takes a turn when she’s imprisoned in a noble’s house, only to be offered a chance at revenge against the Fae Fire Prince who killed her mother. As she considers this, children start vanishing from her home, leading Scarlett and allies, including a mysterious newcomer, to uncover dark secrets and the extent of evil beyond her kingdom. “Lady of Darkness” is a fantasy novel mixing romance and adventure, featuring a complex mix of Fae, witches, shifters, and vampires, with mature and intense themes.
A girl with deadly magic accidentally kills her sister and lives in hiding, using her powers to help the needy. Her life changes when she tries to save a noblewoman but ends up taking her soul. The noblewoman’s ghost sends her on a mission to expose a dangerous plot in the royal college that threatens the kingdom. Disguised as a lady, she infiltrates the elite, using her street skills to gather information. She allies with four troubled noblemen, hiding her true powers from them to avoid further trouble. “Thief of Silver and Souls” is about her journey to redeem herself and possibly find love, while navigating a world of danger and deception.
Ashira Cohen, a detective with a tough past, faces a series of challenges when a stakeout goes wrong, revealing a mysterious tattoo and unleashing magic she shouldn’t have. Her newfound powers accidentally harm Levi, her long-time rival and a key figure in the magic community, who could expose her illegal abilities. Despite their rocky history, Levi needs Ash’s help to solve a series of kidnappings. This gives Ash a chance to prove herself and possibly settle scores with Levi. “Blood & Ash” combines humor, suspense, paranormal mystery, and an enemies-to-lovers romance.
Emily Wilde, a Cambridge professor and expert on faeries, goes to a remote northern town to study faerie folklore. She prefers her research and the Fair Folk to socializing. In Hrafnsvik, she plans to avoid the locals and focus on her work. However, Wendell Bambleby, her charming academic rival, arrives and disrupts her plans by winning over the townsfolk and meddling in her research. As Emily delves deeper into the mysteries of the Hidden Ones, the most secretive faeries, she also starts to unravel the enigma of Wendell’s true intentions. Along the way, she begins to understand her own heart. This story marks the beginning of a fantasy series filled with magic, friendship, and love.
Arwen Valondale sacrifices herself to save her brother and is captured by a dark kingdom. Forced to use her unique magic to heal soldiers for the Onyx King, she considers escaping with another prisoner, despite his challenging nature. Surrounded by treacherous woods and dark magic, Arwen must navigate a dangerous court and awaken her hidden powers to escape, hoping to keep her heart intact in the process.
A woman discovers she is the future Queen of Nightmares and has a shadow Fae guardian sworn to protect her but forbidden from loving her. When he brings her to the Realm of Nightmares for her coronation, she resists the idea of marrying a stranger. As they clash, she uncovers powerful magic within herself and a secret her guardian holds. This story, “House of Gilded Nightmares,” is a slow-burn enemies-to-lovers Fae fantasy romance, marking the start of a series.
I’ve always dreamed of a man with green eyes and a sinister smile. When we meet, he’s a merciless mercenary who leaves me to die. In our world, the gods strip humans of power at birth in exchange for protection against the fae. Those who retain their powers, known as the corrupt, are executed. After my hidden power is exposed, I escape my village and strike a deal with the mercenary for survival. I agree to help him enter the city in exchange for training to control my dark power, which could be vital for my survival. However, the mercenary has his own dangerous secrets that could endanger everyone and threaten the kingdom. “A Court This Cruel and Lovely” is a new adult romance with a slow burn that intensifies throughout the series.
A phone call leads me to break the rules and go to Dragerfield Library at night, in search of a missing ancient book to avoid being fired. There, I discover the library is a portal to Risest, the Faerie realm, and I’ve intruded into the fae’s domain. The fae, who entertain themselves with humans or worse, now surround me. The caller, Drager, a fae god with dragon scales, becomes my captor. What started as a mission to save my job turns into a journey to the Faerie realm, possibly with no return. “Gilded Wings” is the first book in a series involving fae and dragon shifters, intended for adults.
The Creators never imagined that dragons, upon death, would become moons in the sky, nor did they anticipate these moons falling. Raeve, an assassin for the rebel group Fíur du Ath, faces turmoil when a bounty hunter working for The Crown disrupts her life, leading to her capture by the Guild of Nobles who plan to use her as a political pawn. Meanwhile, Kaan Vaegor, bearing the burden of a king he killed, searches for a moonshard and discovers Raeve, a miraculous figure from his past, in prison. Their encounter uncovers shocking truths and a deep connection. “When the Moon Hatched” is a fantasy romance that offers a rich world with unique magic, mysterious creatures, and a love story that transcends time.
One student, Jaxon Vega, a vampire with a troubled past, catches their attention. However, his secrets could bring danger to everyone. It seems like there’s a plan to awaken something dangerous, and the protagonist wonders if they were brought to the academy as bait. A hugely popular book series, also praised by Amazon and Glitter Magazine, has been picked up for a movie by Universal Studios. It tells the story of a person who finds themselves in a strange academy filled with mysterious students.