When I first thought of this recommendation idea I really thought I could come up with more than five books/series, but what I’ve realized is that a lot of the books in this category have a hard time striking a balance. Either we have a priority just to Fantasy, or it’s a romance that just happens to take place in a fantasy world with few actual fantasy elements. Some of the books on this list still have a bit of that struggle to them, but were still fun to read.
- The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson
- This was my original entry into YA Romance Fantasy beyond just enjoying Cassandra Clare’s books. The Kiss of Deception really struck a balance between the world building, the character and her growth, but also the romance. There is a love triangle involved, but there was a mystery tied into it, and it was actually worked into the plot versus just being annoying and thrown in for drama. This is really hard to find since I can name more books that have bad love triangles in them than I can good.
- Folk of the Air Trilogy by Holly Black
- The Folk of the Air trilogy is one of the few enemies to lovers books I’ve read as far as I can think. The relationship between Cardan and Jude doesn’t even start until maybe book two beyond being enemies, but the world building of the Fae, and Jude being such a strong character I really enjoyed these books. I even reread them, which is a rare thing for me. If you’re looking for a good romance, or story about Faeries then Holly Black is always a good choice.
- From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout
- This is one that’s closer to New Adult than it is Young Adult from the very beginning, and I would say the first book lacks quite a bit of the Fantasy elements as it focuses on introducing characters, and the main relationship of the series. Once you get past the minimal Fantasy in book one though there is definitely a lot more Fantasy in it as we come across magic, gods, and the wolven from book two onwards. The romance though does tend to take center stage at times, hence why I say New Adult more than Young with this series.
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
- This might be controversial, but I am basing this on the original trilogy, not any books that come later. Mainly because there is more balance in the first books than there is in any book after. Sarah J Maas even changed up the frequency of the romance content when she went outside of the YA category, so the first books are the focus for that reason. I had read her other series before this and enjoyed it, but A Court of Thorns and Roses really had me on board with book one as we are introduced to the Fan through Feyre. It’s a rough introduction for her, and filled with fear and violence, but we slowly get to see her find her way in the world, protecting herself and her family, and finding love along the way.
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- This is the one stand alone on the list, and possibly the least out amount of romance in it. For most of the book we are mainly focused on the magic and the world of the Night Circus, so this is definitely a minimal Romance approach, but the relationship that grows between the two characters is one that really hits, and has you rooting for them even with them being pitted against one another. The Night Circus isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but to those who can get behind the unique storytelling style it is a rewarding read.
What Fantasy Romance books have you read? Which do you feel are a perfect balance of the two genres? Let me know in the comments below!
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