As a fervent admirer of romantic fantasy, or ‘romantasy' as it's affectionately known, I've always found myself enchanted by the unique blend of heart-fluttering romance and the bewitching allure of fantasy worlds. The genre has a special way of weaving together the thrill of adventure with the intricacies of love, often set in realms that brim with magic, mystery, and sometimes dragons!

In this article, I'll take you through a curated list of the top romantasy books, arranged in reverse chronological order. I picked the first book of the series in each cases. These titles represent the crème de la crème of the genre, each offering a unique escapade into realms where love and magic intertwine.

The Allure of Romantasy

Romantasy has always held a special place in the hearts of readers who yearn for stories that blend the escapism of fantasy with the emotional depth of romance. This genre offers a playground for the imagination, where authors craft worlds with intricate magic systems, mythical creatures, and societies that range from opulent courts to rugged, dragon-filled landscapes. What sets these narratives apart is the central role of romance, often fraught with obstacles and heightened by the fantastical elements at play.

The allure of romantasy lies in its ability to transport readers to worlds where the stakes are high, both in terms of magical conflicts and matters of the heart.

What Are The Top Romantasy Books?

Bride, by Ali Hazelwood (2024)

In the latest paranormal romance from a bestselling author, we meet Misery Lark, the solitary daughter of a powerful Vampyre councilman, and Lowe Moreland, the strong-willed Alpha of the Weres. Misery finds herself back in the political limelight, not by choice but by necessity, to uphold a crucial alliance between Vampyres and their long-standing enemies, the Weres.

This arrangement forces her into a marriage with Lowe, a man who leads his pack with firmness and fairness but views Misery with deep suspicion. Yet, Misery's reasons for entering this union are deeply personal, driven by a desire to reclaim something precious to her, even at the cost of living isolated in the land of her enemies.

A Fate Inked in Blood (Saga of the Unfated Book 1), by Danielle L. Jensen (2024)

A Fate Inked in Blood follows Freya, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who longs for a life of adventure and battle. Her mundane existence changes drastically when she is forced into a deadly duel with Bjorn, the son of a local jarl, because of her husband's betrayal. During the fight, Freya's secret—that she carries the blood of a goddess, giving her magical abilities as a shield maiden—is revealed. This aligns with a prophecy stating that someone with her powers is meant to unite the divided nation of Skaland.

Freya's journey is fraught with danger and political intrigue. The jarl, convinced he is meant to rule Skaland, makes Freya swear a blood oath, putting her under the protection of his son, Bjorn.

This new role challenges Freya to grow stronger, learn to control her magic, and face trials set by the gods. Yet, her toughest challenge is the forbidden attraction she feels towards Bjorn. Her feelings for him threaten not only her destiny but also the future of Skaland.

As Freya navigates her responsibilities and desires, the story unfolds into a complex tale of duty, love, and self-discovery.

Fourth Wing, by Rebecca Yarros (2023)

In Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros introduces us to a world where the elite are dragon riders, trained in a brutal war college. The protagonist, Violet Sorrengail, is an underdog in every sense, facing enormous challenges due to her physical fragility in a world that favors strength. What captivated me most about this book is Violet's journey, not just as a dragon rider aspirant but also as a young woman fighting against prejudices and expectations.

Her relationship with Xaden Riorson, the formidable wingleader, adds an electrifying dynamic to the story. The layers of political intrigue, the looming war, and the mystery surrounding the leadership's secrets create a compelling backdrop for Violet's struggles and triumphs. Yarros has a knack for building tension, both in terms of the plot and the evolving romance, making Fourth Wing a standout addition to the romantasy genre.

Divine Rivals, by Rebecca Ross (2023)

Divine Rivals is a mesmerizing tale where love and war among gods intertwine with the aspirations of young journalists. Rebecca Ross has crafted a world that feels both ancient and immediate, as Iris Winnow and Roman Kitt, rivals at a newspaper, find themselves inadvertently bound by a magical connection. The romance that blossoms between them is beautifully juxtaposed against the backdrop of a divine war. Ross’s ability to blend the personal stakes of Iris and Roman with the larger, mythic conflicts is remarkable.

The book strikes a perfect balance between the enchanting and the heartbreaking, as Iris's journey takes her from struggling to keep her family together to the front lines of a celestial battle. The concept of letters being the medium of their connection adds a poetic touch to their relationship, making “Divine Rivals” a truly unique read in the romantasy genre.

Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas (2023)

Throne of Glass is a book that redefined my expectations from the romantasy genre. The story follows Celaena Sardothien, a fierce assassin with a quest for freedom that is both thrilling and emotionally resonant. Maas has crafted a character in Celaena who is not just lethal and skilled, but also layered with vulnerabilities and a dark past. The romantic elements, especially her evolving relationships with the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard, are intricately woven into the narrative, enhancing the depth of her character.

The mystery of the deaths in the castle adds a gripping element of suspense. Maas's world-building is exceptional, creating a land devoid of magic yet brimming with political intrigue and hidden agendas. Throne of Glass stands out for its strong female protagonist, a captivating blend of romance and action, and a well-constructed fantasy world.

Once Upon a Broken Heart, by Stephanie Garber (2023)

In this book Stephanie Garber takes us on a journey filled with love, curses, and the quest for happily ever after. The protagonist, Evangeline Fox, is a character who immediately captures your heart with her belief in true love, despite the odds stacked against her. Her desperation to stop a wedding leads to a deal with the Prince of Hearts, a character whose wickedness is as enthralling as it is dangerous. Garber's storytelling is a beautiful tapestry of emotions, weaving Evangeline's plight with a series of choices that are both haunting and alluring.

The narrative is rich with unexpected twists and turns, blending the ethereal quality of fairy tales with the darker aspects of bargains with immortals. This book not only explores the complexities of love and desire but also the consequences of choices made in moments of desperation. Garber has created a world that is as mesmerizing as it is treacherous, making Once Upon a Broken Heart a standout novel in the romantasy realm.

The Serpent & the Wings of Night, by Carissa Broadbent (2022)

Carissa Broadbent presents a riveting blend of dark fantasy and romance. The protagonist, Oraya, is an adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, living in a world rife with danger and political intrigue. Her journey to compete in the Kejari, a legendary tournament, is not just about survival but also about self-discovery.

Broadbent's portrayal of Oraya is complex and engaging; she's a character who grapples with her identity in a society where she's seen as less than. The alliance with Raihn, a dangerous and enigmatic vampire, introduces a romantic tension that is both alluring and fraught with peril. The novel explores themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle for power in a world where vampires dominate.

One Dark Window, by Rachel Gillig (2022)

Rachel Gillig's novel masterfully intertwines gothic fantasy with romance. The protagonist, Elspeth Spindle, needs a monster to survive in her mist-locked kingdom, and she finds one in the Nightmare, a spirit in her head. Gillig's storytelling is remarkable in how it explores Elspeth's internal struggle with the Nightmare, blurring the lines between protector and captor. The introduction of a mysterious highwayman adds layers of intrigue and romance to the tale.

The setting is hauntingly beautiful, with its eerie forests and dark magic, creating a perfect backdrop for the unfolding drama. Gillig skillfully weaves a story of shadow and deception, where Elspeth's quest intertwines with forbidden love and a kingdom's dark secrets. The narrative is a compelling mix of suspense, dark fantasy, and a romance that evolves in the most unexpected ways, making “One Dark Window” a standout in the romantasy genre.

House of Earth and Blood, by Sarah J. Maas (2021)

Sarah J. Maas creates a richly imagined world where half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan seeks vengeance in a contemporary fantasy setting. Maas's talent for crafting strong, relatable characters shines through in Bryce, a character grappling with grief and determination in equal measure. The novel combines elements of mystery, action, and romance, creating a narrative that is both gripping and emotionally resonant.

The romance between Bryce and Hunt Athalar, a Fallen angel, is both tender and intense, adding a compelling layer to the story. The world-building is particularly noteworthy, with its unique blend of magical and urban elements. Maas delves into themes of loss, freedom, and the power of love, making House of Earth and Blood a profound and captivating entry in the romantasy genre.

Kingdom of the Wicked, by Kerri Maniscalco (2021)

Kingdom of the Wicked is an enthralling tale of witches, forbidden romance, and a quest for vengeance. The story centers around Emilia, a witch seeking to unravel the mystery behind her twin sister's murder. Maniscalco's writing is lush and evocative, immersing the reader in a world where magic is both a gift and a curse.

The introduction of Wrath, a prince of Hell, adds a tantalizingly dangerous aspect to the narrative. The chemistry between Emilia and Wrath is electric, weaving a complex web of attraction and mistrust. The book excels in its dark and atmospheric setting, combined with a plot that is both thrilling and emotionally charged. The themes of family, revenge, and the exploration of forbidden powers make Kingdom of the Wicked a compelling and unforgettable romantasy read.

A Shadow in the Ember, by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2021)

A Shadow in the Ember, the first book in Jennifer L. Armentrout's Flesh and Fire series, set in the Blood and Ash world, is a story of destiny, love, and betrayal. Seraphena Mierel, a character born to fulfill a dark deal, is tasked with an impossible mission: to assassinate the Primal of Death. Armentrout's narrative is masterful, blending elements of fantasy, romance, and suspense. Sera's character is beautifully complex, torn between her duty and her growing feelings for the Primal of Death.

The world-building is rich and immersive, creating a setting that is both magical and menacing. The romance is intense and fraught with moral dilemmas, adding depth to the characters and their choices. This book is a compelling exploration of themes like fate, love, and the struggle for power, making it a standout addition to the romantasy genre.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas (2020)

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a spellbinding tale that beautifully marries the elements of fairy tales and fantasy. The story revolves around Feyre, a young huntress, who finds herself in the magical land of the Fae after a fateful encounter in the woods. Maas's world is exquisitely crafted, full of enchantment, danger, and complex politics.

The romance between Feyre and Tamlin, her captor turned lover, evolves in a way that is both passionate and fraught with tension. The novel shines in its exploration of themes such as sacrifice, love, and the struggle for power in a land on the brink of war. Maas's writing is rich and evocative, drawing the reader into a world where every action has significant consequences. This book is a must-read for those who love their fantasy with a strong dose of heart-rending romance and intricate world-building.

From Blood and Ash, by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2020)

Jennifer L. Armentrout's book is a captivating story that perfectly blends intrigue, passion, and fantasy. The story follows Poppy, a Maiden chosen from birth for a sacred role, who yearns for a life beyond her preordained path. The introduction of Hawke, a guard with his own secrets, brings a turbulent and intoxicating dynamic to the story.

Armentrout's writing is engrossing, creating a world where gods, mortals, and those in between collide in a tapestry of betrayal and destiny. The chemistry between Poppy and Hawke is palpable, adding an intense and forbidden romance to the mix. The novel excels in its action-packed narrative, rich world-building, and a plot that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. From Blood and Ash is a thrilling journey through a fantastical world, making it a standout in the romantasy genre.

Gild, by Raven Kennedy (2020)

Gild in The Plated Prisoner Series presents a fresh and intriguing take on the legend of King Midas. The protagonist, Auren, is a character enveloped in luxury yet trapped in a golden cage. Kennedy's portrayal of Auren's life in the opulent yet isolating world of King Midas is both evocative and poignant. The story delves into themes of power, freedom, and the complexities of love and loyalty.

The relationship between Auren and Midas is multifaceted, exploring the darker aspects of love and possession. Kennedy’s writing is vivid, creating a world that is rich in detail and emotion. The narrative is a compelling mix of fantasy and a deeper commentary on the nature of relationships. Gild stands out for its unique premise, emotionally resonant storytelling, and the captivating journey of its main character.

Daughter of No Worlds, by Carissa Broadbent (2020)

Daughter of No Worlds from The War of Lost Hearts series is a compelling tale of resilience, magic, and forbidden love. Tisaanah, the protagonist, is a fiercely intelligent character, shaped by her harsh upbringing and a burning desire for freedom. Her journey to the Orders, powerful organizations of magic wielders, is fraught with challenges and unexpected alliances, particularly with Maxantarius Farlione, a fire wielder with a troubled past.

Broadbent's world-building is immersive, painting a picture of a realm where magic is both a blessing and a curse. The evolving relationship between Tisaanah and Maxantarius adds a complex layer of romance to the narrative. The book excellently balances the elements of high-stakes magic, political intrigue, and emotional depth, making it a standout in the romantasy genre for its portrayal of a powerful heroine and her fight for justice and love.

Serpent & Dove, by Shelby Mahurin (2020)

Serpent & Dove is a captivating story blending witchcraft, forbidden love, and moral dilemmas. Louise le Blanc, a witch in hiding, and Reid Diggory, a witch hunter, are thrown together in an impossible situation: a marriage. Mahurin's storytelling is vibrant and engaging, exploring the complexities of identity, faith, and love in a world where witches are feared and hunted. The dynamic between Lou and Reid evolves beautifully, from hostility to deep, conflicted affection.

The novel is particularly impressive for its intricate magic system and the rich, atmospheric setting of Cesarine. The themes of sacrifice, choice, and understanding the ‘other' are woven seamlessly into the narrative. Serpent & Dove is a brilliant exploration of the nuances of love and loyalty, set against a backdrop of thrilling magic and danger, making it a must-read for romantasy fans.

The Bridge Kingdom, by Danielle L Jensen (2019)

The Bridge Kingdom is a story of political intrigue, fierce romance, and a struggle for power. Lara, a warrior princess trained in isolation, is sent to the Bridge Kingdom under the guise of peace but with a mission to destroy it from within. Jensen's world is richly detailed, presenting a landscape ravaged by storms and a kingdom that holds a strategic position of power.

The character development of Lara, from a tool of vengeance to a woman torn between duty and her newfound love, is compelling. The relationship between Lara and King Aren is a tumultuous journey filled with passion, betrayal, and unexpected alliances. The novel excels in its depiction of a morally grey world where decisions have far-reaching consequences. The Bridge Kingdom is a thrilling blend of adventure, romance, and a deep exploration of themes like loyalty, trust, and the true cost of war.

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (2018)

Holly Black's The Cruel Prince is a masterful blend of faerie lore and dark political intrigue. The story follows Jude, a mortal girl in the High Court of Faerie, as she navigates a world filled with beautiful but deadly creatures. Black's Faerie is a place of breathtaking beauty and treacherous politics, where Jude must use her wits and will to survive.

The romance in the novel is complex and fraught with power dynamics, particularly between Jude and Prince Cardan, a character you love to hate. The Cruel Prince is a mesmerizing tale of ambition, love, and the lengths one will go to forge their destiny in a world where they are seen as less.

Caraval, by Stephanie Garber (2018)

Caraval is a dazzling and magical tale that transports readers into a world of danger, illusions, and enchantment. The story centers on Scarlett, who dreams of attending the mythical Caraval performance, only to find herself and her sister, Tella, swept into a game where reality and fantasy blur. Garber’s world of Caraval is brilliantly crafted, full of color, intrigue, and a sense of wonder. The game itself is a character, unpredictable and captivating.

The romance that unfolds in this mystical environment is both sweet and fraught with challenges, adding layers to Scarlett’s character as she navigates the complexities of love, sisterhood, and her own desires. Garber’s writing is lush and vivid, creating a sense of immersion that makes Caraval not just a story but an experience. The novel is a mesmerizing journey through a fantastical and perilous game, making it an unforgettable read in the romantasy genre.

Final Thoughts on Romantasy Books

Reflecting on these romantasy novels, it's clear that the genre has evolved magnificently over the years, offering a diverse array of stories that cater to a wide spectrum of readers.

Each novel brings its unique flavor to the genre, whether it's through the portrayal of powerful dragon riders, the struggles of young journalists in a world of gods, or the classic battles of assassins and faeries. What unites them all is the seamless weaving of romance and fantasy, creating worlds where love is as potent a force as the most powerful of magics.

As we look forward to more such captivating stories in the years to come, these books stand as shining examples of the depth and beauty that romantasy can offer.

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