arah J. Maas is the undisputed queen of fantasy romance – or romantasy. Take a look at the top-rated reads in the genre pretty much anywhere -- Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, even the NYT Bestsellers list -- and it's dominated by her three series. Spanning almost two dozen 300-900 page books, there is plenty for fans to read. And reread.

So if you picked up an SJM book and emerged months later with a deep fantasy romance obsession and rekindled love of reading, her  yearly-ish new releases can’t come fast enough.

Luckily, there are plenty of other captivating books in the genre. So whether you’re in it for the world-building, the spice, or a little of both – we’re counting down the best fantasy romance books that should be on your shelf ASAP.

Fourth Wing (The Empyrean Series)

fly or die in Fourth Wing, one of the most addictive fantasy romance books to date

🖋 Rebecca Yarros | 📚 Action & Adventure | 📖 528 pages

Read this if: You’re Manon Blackbeaks #1 fan or you miss the pulse-pounding thrills of the War with Hybern

If you're a fan of SJM, this one is probably on your list. But in case it isn't it's worth mentioning here.

Life is tough when your mom is the commanding general. Twenty year-old Violet wants to spend her days among books and libraries, but mom has other plans. Violet will joint the competition to become one of the elite of Navarre – a dragon rider. The Basgiath War College is cutthroat. The other cadets, like wingleader Xaden Riorson, would see her die sooner than take their spot. But as the war grows more deadly, Violet begins to suspect that the leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Is it super spicy? No. But will you love the world and characters? Will you be eagerly waiting the January release of book three with the rest of us? Yep.

With a Fourth Wing Amazon TV show purportedly in the works, now’s the perfect time to step into this world of adventure.

“I would rather lose this entire war than live without you, and if that means I have to prove myself over and over, then I'll do it. You gave me your heart, and I'm keeping it.”

Buy Fourth Wing >>

The Serpent and the Wings of Night (Crowns of Nyaxia Series)

cover of the novel The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

🖋 Carissa Broadbent | 📚 Action & Adventure | 📖 480 pages

Read this if: Throne of Glass was your favorite SJM book.

Readers of The War of Lost Hearts trilogy will already be familiar with Carissa Broadbent's work. In this blockbuster start to the Crowns of Nyaxia series, human Oriya finds herself locked in a tournament to the death. In order to survive the Kejari competition, she must turn to the powerful Turned vampire Raihn, even though vampires are more likely to have mortals for dinner than anything else. Readers will love the complex politics, magic structure, and enemies to lovers charm.

"This was the stare of a creature who understood she was confronting death itself, and still chose to spit in its face."

Buy The Serpent & The Wings of Night >>

Caraval (Caraval Series)

Remember it's only a game.... Caraval cover

🖋 Stephanie Garber | 📚 YA Fiction | 📖 448 pages

Read this if: You're ready to give The Bat Boys some company on your list of book boyfriends

This #BookTok book is definitely worth the read. If you loved the magic of whimsical books like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein, you'll love this tale of two sisters who get swept up in the excitement of a mysterious competition.

Scarlett is desperate to escape the arranged marriage her cruel father sets up for her. With the help of a mysterious sailor, younger sister Tella is able to escape with Scarlett to the magical performance of Caraval.

"She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

Buy Caraval >>

Where the Dark Sands Still

cover of B&N YA Book Club Edition of Polish Fantasy Romance book Where the Dark Stands Still

🖋 AB Proanek | 📚 YA | 📖 368 pages

Read this if: The Beauty & the Beast retelling was the best part

In a world where magic is viewed as a dangerous, heretical skill, 17-year-old Liska does everything she can to keep her abilities from being discovered. Unfortunately, she can't always keep it under wraps. After yet another dangerous magical outburst, she sets off for the notorious Driada, a forest filled with spirits where she hopes to rid herself o magic for good. Where the Dark Stands Still is heavily influenced by Polish folklore, and it's recommended for readers 14+.

"If I look like a monster,’ he says roughly, ‘then no one will be surprised when I do monstrous things."

Buy Where the Dark Stands Still >>

The Hurricane Wars

romantasy bestseller The Hurrican Wars

🖋 Thea Guanzon | 📚 Dragons & Creatures | 📖 480pages

Read this if: Your an Az stan

What would you do to win a war? With the continent ravaged by the battle between a soldier wielding light magic and a prince who summons shadows, the only way for Talasyn to save her people and reclaim her birthright is to enter into a political marriage with Prince Alric.

But when a new threat emerges, the two will have to work together to stop it.

“Do you make it a habit to compliment everyone who's trying to kill you?"
"Not everyone." His eyes flashed with a hint of amusement. "Just you.”

Buy The Hurricane Wars >>

Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart Series)

once upon a broken heart book cover

🖋 Stephanie Garber | 📚 YA | 📖 432 pages

Read this if: You would fight any Valg to free your cursed friend

From the author of Caravel, this is another series that has racked up plenty of awards: NYT Bestseller, Goodreads Choice Award Finalist, Indie Next pick. But when you pick up this book about Jacks, anyone of who loves fairytales and retellings will certainly be enthralled.

"Heroes don't get happy endings. They give them to other people."

Buy Once Upon a Broken Heart >>

The Curse of Saints (The Cures of Saints Series)

Has she been sent to save the world or destroy it in The Curse of Saints fantasy romance book

🖋 Kate Dramis | 📚 Fantasy Romance | 📖 512 pages

Read this if: You loved the drama between the Courts

Political intrigue, court secrets, forbidden powers, slow burn romance... is there anything The Curse of Saints doesn't have? This tale follows elite spy Aya as she has no choice but to work with the queen's enforcer Will to confront powers that could save their world or destroy it.

"She looked like dreams and nightmares and everything he'd ever wanted."

Buy The Curse of Saints >>

Divine Rivals (Letters of Enchantment Series)

New York Times Bestseller Divine Rivals

🖋 Rebecca Ross | 📚 YA Romance | 📖 368 pages

Read this if: You think the Maas-verse could be improved with some Grindlewald-y aesthetic

Popular on BookTok and beyond, Divine Rivals tells the story of two young rival journalists who find love through a magical connection. Iris Winnow is trying to hold her family together, despite her mother's addiction and brother's disappearance from the front lines.

She writes letters to her brother to try to tamp down her fears, slippng them beneath the wardrobe floor, where handsome rival journalist Roman Kitt takes them.

"But time will slowly heal you, as it is doing for me. There are good days and there are difficult days. Your grief will never fully fade; it will always be with you--a shadow you carry in your soul--but it will become fainter as your life becomes brighter. You will learn to live outside of it again, as impossible as that may sound. Others who share your pain will also help you heal. Because you are not alone. Not in your fear or your grief or your hopes or your dreams. You are not alone."

Buy Divine Rivals >>

The Ever King (The Ever Seas Series)

The Ever King, First book in the Ever Seas fantasy series

🖋 LJ Andrews | 📚 Dark Romance | 📖 408 pages

Read this if: UTM was your favorite part

Scarred and trapped by the man who killed his father, King Erik of the Ever Kingdom has been waiting for an opportunity for revenge. When his enemy’s daughter unwittingly breaks the chains that bind him to his kingdom, she becomes a pawn in his plot. He will reclaim what he lost no matter what… unless the princess captures his heart first.

She was never theirs anyway. Not really. From the moment the songbird tried to appeal to a serpent, she was mine.

Buy the Ever King >>


Bride by Ali Hazelwood Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition

🖋 Ali Hazelwood | 📚 Paranormal Romance | 📖 416 pages

Read this if: The Pack of Devils are your favorite found fam

In the best vampire/werewolf romance since Twilight, Misery Lark has been living an anonymity amongst the humans. But she can't escape her fate for long. As the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman in the region, as a part of a peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their enemies the Weres, she must marry into he pack. But Were alpha Lowe Moreland is keeping an eye on her just as much as she is keeping an eye on them.

"You think, but you don’t know. You don’t know anything about what it’s like to find your other half, I would take anything she chose to give me—the tiniest fraction or her entire world. I would take her for a single night knowing that I’ll lose her by morning, and I would hold on to her and never let go. I would take her healthy, or sick, or tired, or angry, or strong, and it would be my fucking privilege. I would take her problems, her gifts, her moods, her passions, her jokes, her body—I would take every last thing, if she chose to give it to me."

Buy Bride >>

From Blood and Ash (From Blood and Ash Series)

From Blood and Ash Book cover

🖋 Jennifer L. Armentrout | 📚 Vampire Romance | 📖 496 pages

Read this if: You really felt for Feyre at the beginning of ACOMAF

Ever wished Twilight were a little more… dangerous? From Blood and Ash has you covered.

Chosen from birth to play the role of Maiden, Poppy has never had much control over her own life. She’d rather be fighting evil alongside her guards than waiting for the day of the Ascension. And when a golden-eyed guard named Hawke enters her life, the rift between duty and desire just grows wider.  

“The next time you go out, wear better shoes and thicker clothing. Those slippers are likely to be the death of you, and that dress... the death of me”

Buy From Blood and Ash >>

A Deadly Education (The Schoolmance Series)

A Deadly Education: A Novel

🖋 Naomi Novik| 📚 School Romance | 📖 336 pages

Read this if: You absolutely need some more Jesiba Roga backstory

Imagine Hogwarts, but spicier. That's the vibe of The Schoolmance series by Naomi Novik. If you love a snarky female lead, you'll love the supremely sarcastic sorceress Galadriel who has to somehow survive school and her destiny. Whether she winds up being a harbinger or death who slaughters the masses or a shining hero or something in between remains to be seen.

"She says it's too easy to call people evil instead of their choices and that lets people justify making evil choices. Because they convince themselves that it's okay because they're still good people overall inside their own heads. And yes, fine. But I think that after a certain number of evil choices, it's reasonable shorthand to decide that someone's an evil person who oughtn't have the chance to make any more choices. And the more power someone has, the less slack they ought to be given."'

Buy A Deadly Education >>

Haunting Adeline (Cat and Mouse Duet)

Haunting Adeline dark romance book cover

🖋 HD Carlton | 📚 Gothic Fiction | 📖 607 pages

Read this if: You thought ACOTAR's spicy scenes were just luke warm

Moving into your grandmother’s gorgeous gothic mansion sounds like a dream come true for any writer – and Adeline is no different. As she discovers secrets about her own family, she also must confront her stalker – who will not rest until she calls herself his.

“Heaven isn’t a place you go to when you die, it’s inside the person that’s worth dying for.”

Buy Haunting Adeline >>

Half a Soul (Faerie Regency Series)

green book cover for Half a Soul featuring a golden crescent moon that opens up with a pair of ornate silver scissors centered over the bottom arc

🖋 Olivia Atwater | 📚 Historical Fantasy | 📖 304 pages

Read this if: You wanna know how Aelin would fare amounts the Bennett's and Mr. Darcy

Faerie myths are deeply engrained in British culture -- and Half a Soul pays homage to those classic tales with a story set in Regency England. Theodora Ettings has been cursed by a faerie, leaving her with no natural sense of embarrassment and a penchant for getting herself into social scandals, depriving her of half her soul. Then she meets Elias Wilder, the handsome and eccentric Lord Sorcier. Will he finally find her "other half"?

"He has asked me before how the world can be so heartless. It is this dastardly need to remain calm and composed and polite that has left us all feeling so alone."

Buy Half a Soul >>

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked Series)

cover of dark romantasy book Kingdom of the Wicked, featuring a skull with a golden serpent coming  through the eye socket against a black background and bed of gold roses

🖋 Kerri Maniscalco | 📚 Dark Fantasy | 📖 400 pages

Read this if: You have some fan theories about the Princes of Hel

Nobody is closer than twins. They have a unique connection. That's why when witch Emilia returns from working dinner service at her family's Sicilian restaurant to find her beloved twin Vittoria brutally murdered, she sets out for revenge. Along the way, she meets Wrath -- not just a shady character, but a Prince of Hell. He claims to be on Emilia's side. "But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is ever as it seems..."

"Love is the most powerful magic. Above all else, remember that. It will always guide you where you need to go."

Buy Kingdom of the Wicked >>

Gild (The Plated Prisoner Series)

Gild a retold m book cover

🖋 Raven Kennedy | 📚 Folklore | 📖 316 pages

Read this if: The whole folk story retelling thing was your jam

Gild is the classic fable of King Midas retold for a modern adult audience. It’s the story of a woman rescued by the king who lives amongst the frozen gold floors, gold walls, gold clothing – until war comes to the kingdom and threatens the life she has come to love. Because in the end, no matter how gilded, a cage is still a cage.

But memory and time aren’t friends. They reject each other, they hurry in opposite directions, pulling the binding taut between them, threatening to snap. They fight, and we inexplicably lose. Memory and time. Always losing one as you go on with the other.

Buy Gild >>

Eternal Reign (Age of Vampires Series)

Eternal Reign Age of Vampires 1

🖋 Caroline Peckham | 📚 Paranormal & Urban Fantasy | 📖 421 pages

Read this if: You're on Team Papa Acheron Didn't Redeem Himself

These vampires don’t glitter in the sun or watch over you while you sleep – they are savage, bloodthirsty rulers who reign over the ruined human lands. Sisters Callie and Montana and their father decide to run away rather than wait and see if the vampires will select their blood this time.

When they’re captured, their father is taken to a blood bank, Montana is spirited away to the mysterious Belvedere Castle, and Callie must figure out how to survive and save her sister, learning about the powerful, vampire-hunting Slayers along the way.

“When your back was against the wall, you found out what your soul was made of, and I’d learned long ago that mine had been forged in fire and ferocity.”

Buy Eternal Reign >>

A Fate of Wrath & Flame (Fate & Flame Series)

Fate of Wrath & Flame book

🖋 KA Tucker | 📚 Action & Adventure | 📖 512 pages

Read this if: You were creeped out by the Valg but couldn't put the books down

A gifted thief. A notorious crime boss. A whole new realm. When Romeria finds herself transported from the world of New York organized crime that she knows, she must find a way to work with her new lot -- the body of an elven princesss, her betrothed King Zander -- to uncover the danger that's around them.

"You’ve done everything wrong. You are hotheaded, you speak out of turn and do the opposite of what we agreed to, you antagonize me as if you have no fear of consequence. You continue to lie and deceive me. Your heart bleeds too much for the plight of mortals, and you seem willing to challenge anyone who doesn’t bleed the same.” He sighs, his hazel eyes settling on me, a brilliant kaleidoscope of gold in the setting sun. “You do everything wrong, and yet everything right."

Buy A Fate of Wrath & Flame >>

A Shadow in the Ember (Flash and Fire Series)

A Shadow in the Ember

🖋 Jennifer L. Armentrout | 📚 Vampire Romance | 📖 647 pages

Read this if: You want more of Rhys and Feyre in Amarantha's Court

Seraphena was chosen before birth – not for glory or joy, but to uphold a deal her ancestor made, promising her to the Primal of Death as his Consort. However, her true destiny lies far deeper. Not the helpless maiden she is made out to be, she is secretly an assassin with one mission – to win the Primal of Death’s heart, and use this power to end him. But how will this encounter change her life forever?

“What does liessa mean?” The god didn’t answer for what felt like a small eternity. “It has different meanings to different people.” The eather pulsed in his eyes, swirling once more through the silver. “But all of them mean something beautiful and powerful.”

Buy A Shadow in the Ember >>

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Series)

a discovery of witches

🖋 Deborah Harkness | 📚 Paranormal Romance | 📖 592 pages

Read this if: Maximus Tertian got criminally little page time in your opinion

Diana is a witch who does the unthinkable -- she falls in love with a vampire. Lured into a magical underworld by an ancient alchemic manuscript, she finds herself tangled in events centuries in the making.

"My ideas about vampires may be romantic, but your attitudes toward women need a major overhaul."

Buy A Discovery of Witches >> 

Pestilence (The Four Horsemen Series)

Pestilence the first in the standalone Four Horsemen books

🖋 Laura Thalassa | 📚 Post-Apocalyptic | 📖 416 pages

Read this if: You can't get enough of Rhy's morally grayness

Imagine – the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse fan out over the globe. Only in this story they’re beautiful, lethal creatures… and for humanity to survive, they must be stopped. Each of the books in Laura Thalassa’s immensely popular series can be read as a standalone story – but once you pick up one, you’ll definitely be after the rest, too!

In Pestilence, Sara Burn decides to take matters into her own hands. With everyone she cares about marked for death, she shoots Pestilence off his screaming horse and is taken prisoner. Can she find a way to stop him before he destroys humankind?

“When you find someone worth spending that time with, you don’t want to share those minutes with anyone else.”

Buy Pestielnce >>

The Librarian of Crooked Lane (The Glass Library Series)

The Librarian of Crooked Lane magical romance book cover

🖋 CJ Archer | 📚 Historical Fantasy | 📖 288 pages

Read this if: You're jealous of Nesta's book collection

Called an “intriguing new fantasy” by USA Today, The Librarian of Crooked Lane tells the story of Sylvia Ashe. Her parents never talked about their family history, so when she stumbles upon a diary that seems to suggest her family line comes from magicians, she’s understandably skeptical.

Sylvia’s life changes forever when she meets Gabe – a war hero investigating the disappearance of a magician made painting – who accidentally gets her dismissed from her job and places her in danger during his investigation. Can they figure out the truth about the painting and Sylvia’s past before it’s too late?

“My mother never voiced her hopes for James or me, if indeed she had any. She wanted us to remain in the shadows where it was safe. But she never told us what she wanted us to be safe from.”

Buy The Librarian of Crooked Lane >>

A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone Series)

A Touch of Darkness Hades and Persephone novel

🖋 Scarlett St. Clair | 📚 Folklore | 📖 400 pages

Read this if: You wish Elain would just do something already

This dark, modern retelling of the myth of Hades and Persephone casts the God of the Dead as the ruler of the underworld – nightclubs, gambling, the works. And his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible to win.

So when Persephone – who despite being the goddess of spring, has never breathed life into anything – finds herself locked in a contract with him, the terms are impossible… She must create life in the underworld, or sacrifice her freedom forever. Even as she struggles to regain her freedom, her feelings for Hades grow – nevermind that it’s forbidden.

““I have waited lifetimes for you,” he said as if it was an oath he was swearing upon every star in the sky, every drop of water in the ocean, every soul in the entire universe. “I know it.””

Buy A Touch of Darkness >>

The Deer and the Dragon (No Other Gods Series)

The Deer and the Dragon by TikTok's Piper CJ new booktok book

🖋 Piper CJ | 📚 Paranormal & Urban Fantasy | 📖 480 pages

Read this if: The best part about Fryer's character is her powers

“Hi my name is Piper, and I have a Master’s in Mythology and Folklore.” And after the TikTok personality released her first fantasy series pulling from her expertise, she’s back with another – much darker than the first.

Like her mother and grandmother before her, Marlow can see beyond the veil of the mortal world – angels and demons, including a dark entity that has followed her for her whole life. She’s content with her small mystical life, until one day a Nordic fae strolls into her life and informs her that her dark entity – the Prince of Hell – has gone missing.

Marlow finds herself increasingly entangled in a centuries-old war between a pantheon of creatures and beings she believed only to be myth. Who will come out on top?

Buy The Deer and the Dragon >>

Girl Goddess Queen

pink cover of booktok romantasy book sensation girl goddess queen by bea fitzgerald

🖋 Bea Fitzgerald | 📚 Myth Retelling | 📖 400 pages

Read this if: You need a palette cleanser before something else high fantasy with epic stakes

Available as an eBook at Barnes & Noble, Girl Goddess Queen is a modern retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. With fun side characters and hopeful coming-of-age plot lines, this light read will surely become one of your favorites.

"'Fine, then I’ll hold your flowers while you tear the world apart,’ he says."

The Book of Azrael (Gods and Monsters Series)

The Book of Azrael dark fantasy romance Gods and Monsters book series

🖋 Amber V. Nicole | 📚 Dark Fantasy | 📖 572 pages

Read this if: You're craving an AU where Cass and Az co parented a child named Samkiel

Dianna made the ultimate sacrifice – a thousand years ago, she gave up her life to save her dying sister, and now spends her days doing whatever the nightmare who answered her call bids. And now Kaden has sent her to retrieve an ancient relic from the very same monsters that hunt her.

Thought long dead and nearly forgotten, Samkiel has hidden away since the Gods War, denying his crown and his responsibilities. But when an ancient enemy rears its ugly head, old rivalries must be put aside in order to save both of their worlds and every realm between.

I didn’t remember how long we talked, but somewhere amidst her laughter and smiles, I decided I would rip the world apart for her.”

Buy The Book of Azrael >>

That’s it for the Romantasy novels that should be in your TBR.

Fantasy romance novels have taken over the internet, and for good reason. With their captivating characters and world-ending stakes, more and more young and adult readers are getting hooked. We hope these romantasy books will tide you over until the next SJM release.

Don’t see your favorite here? Drop us a line! The genre’s exploding, so we’ll be updating this article as new releases hit the shelves. We'll keep reading, to whatever end 👑

Main image courtesy amber.v.nicole and fall.out.bryan – Dianna and Samkiel.

Originally published 11/10/2023.

Apr 17, 2024