high fantasy romance books
High fantasy, also referred to as epic fantasy, takes place in alternate worlds typically infused with magic, epic quests, fantastical creatures, and complex world-building.
In this curated list, expect to discover the latest and greatest high fantasy romance books. From Leigh Bardugo’s mesmerizing Grishaverse series to the popular, well-known favorites from Sarah J. Maas, this list has a variety of high fantasy romances that will keep you entranced for the upcoming weeks.
Read on for the best high fantasy romance books.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Laia’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested and likely tortured by masked soldiers commonly referred to as the Masks.
To save her brother, Laia seeks help from the resistance, but they demand something in return. As payment for their aid, Laia must enter Blackcliff Military Academy as a slave to spy on the Commandant who is in charge.
While there, she meets the son of the Commandant, Elias, who wants nothing more than to escape his tyrannical mother and his rigid life as a Mask.
Immersed with deception, danger, forbidden romance and badass individuals, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic high fantasy page-turner that you won’t be able to put down. And we can’t forget about the slow-burn relationships that develop along the way. Those are the cherries on top of this unforgettable series.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
King of Scars and ruler of Ravka Nikolai Lantsov still bears the scars from the war against the Darkling. Suffering from the curse the Darkling cast on him, Nikolai struggles to keep the darkness within him at bay.
With help from the renowned General Zoya, the two search for a cure to the Darkling’s curse before it takes Nikolai over completely.
In King of Scars, Leigh Bardugo delivers an exquisite epic fantasy rich with beautifully complex world-building, heart-pounding adventures, and an enchanting romance. If you want to transport yourself into a fantastical world filled with magic, chaos, and intrigue, drop everything and get your hands on this must-read. It is undoubtedly one of the best high fantasy books from 2019.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Assassin Celaena Sardothien is summoned to the castle where she is to fight in a competition with twenty-three killers, thieves and warriors. The prize: to serve as the king’s champion and her freedom.
However, the Crown Prince doesn’t make it easy on her and the Captain of the Guard tries to help her. In a world where lies are common and death can come right after your next meal, the stakes are high.
Throne of Glass is a captivating high fantasy romance book brimming with magic, danger, and deception. .
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
A world divided. A kingdom on the brink of collapse. A deadly legend that threatens to bring about the end days.
When an ancient evil threatens to reawaken and leave a trail of ruination, the eastern and western kingdoms must form a precarious alliance to survive and defeat an ancient dragon known as The Nameless One.
The Priory of the Orange Tree is a beautifully woven and masterfully told feminist high fantasy romance that is one of the best books of 2019 and perfect for fans of Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
When criminal prodigy Kaz Brekkar is offered the once-in-a-lifetime chance at an impossible heist to earn an insane amount of money, he jumps at the chance.
But to successfully carry out this deadly mission, Kaz needs to recruit the best crew the Barrels can provide: the dangerous assassin known as the Wraith, the gambling sharpshooter, the brains of the operation, the Grisha who can kill with a single look and a hunter trained to kill Grisha.
Breaking into the world’s most impenetrable fortress to rescue an important prisoner should be a walk in the park…
What is arguably one of Leigh Bardugo’s best high fantasy romance books, BookTok knew what they were doing with this page-turner. Captivating and action-packed, Six of Crows is a riveting, heart-pounding read perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas.
A Fate of Wrath and Flame by K.A. Tucker
After a botched mission, gifted thief Romeria’s night takes a turn for the worse when a mysterious woman tricks her into providing her services. Tasked with a dangerous quest to save Sofie’s husband, Romy is spirited away to an unsettling realm of warring kingdoms, unstable monarchies, and fantastical creatures.
The mission would be simple if not for the identity she has assumed as the treacherous Ybarisan Princess. Imprisoned for murdering the king and queen on her wedding day, Romy must figure a way out of her precarious predicament. All while looking for the sought-after stone hidden within Islet’s sacred garden.
Exciting, beautiful and unpredictable, A Fate of Wrath and Flame is an enchanting tale overflowing with political intrigue, magical twists, unforeseen betrayals and a blossoming romance. And as one of the best high fantasy romance books released in 2021, you won’t be able to put this page-turner down once you feast your eyes on K.A. Tucker’s intricate world-building and magnificent prose. Prepare to be spellbound.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri is a talented con woman with a penchant for swindling the noblemen of Cairo. When she unwittingly summons the mysterious djinn warrior Dara, she has no choice but to flee Cairo with her reluctant companion. Forced to traverse the deadly desert terrain, Nahri must survive the desolate lands if she hopes to make it to Daevabad, the famed city of brass.
Enriched with complex world-building, mesmerizing characters, and political intrigue, The City of Brass is an enchanting debut from S.A. Chakraborty that you do not want to miss. As one of the best adult high fantasy books, I recommend adding it to your bookshelf and sinking your claws into this unputdownable read.
Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
Battle-weary orc Viv is tired of the mercenary lifestyle. Ready to turn in her sword and settle down, Viv sets out to open the first coffee shop in Thune, something no orc has done before. There is just one problem. None of the citizens of Thune have ever heard of coffee.
Brew yourself a mug of your favorite coffee and break out the comfy pajamas and blanket because once you start Travis Baldree’s instant NYT bestseller Legends and Lattes, you will not want to remove yourself from this book.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
In a land where magic is outlawed, the only princess of Kiata, Shiori’anma, is forced to keep her magic buried. When she loses control during her betrothal ceremony, Shiori inadvertently attracts the interest of her stepmother Rakima, a sorceress with dark secrets.
Now exiled and cursed with silence, Shiori must figure out how to break the spell, lest she speaks, thereby killing one of her brothers that Rakima turned into cranes. With help from unlikely allies, Shiori ventures onto a dangerous quest to break the spell and save her kingdom from peril.
In the bestselling novel Six Crimson Cranes, Elizabeth Lim seamlessly blends whimsical fairytale elements with a breathtaking adventure rife with romance, action, and mythology. As one of the best YA high fantasy romance books of 2021, I recommend adding this fairytale retelling to your bookshelf.
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
The former street thief turned Rahtan, a member of Queen Lia’s elite squad of soldiers, Kazi is given a mission to locate the man responsible for the deaths of Lia’s father and brother.
Rumors of the general’s whereabouts lead her to Hell’s Mouth, a city unofficially under the control of the Ballenger family.
When Jace, the new Patrei of the Ballenger family, finds himself abducted and shackled to Kazi by labor traders, they must trust each other to escape and survive the elements.
Read Dance of Thieves if you’re looking for a slow-burn, forced proximity high fantasy romance centered around kickass characters who can handle their own in a fight.
A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer L. Armentrout
In the prequel to From Blood and Ash, Seraphena Mierel takes center stage. Born to be the consort to the Primal of Death, Sera has always known that one day she would have to leave the life she knows behind to fulfill her destiny: Assassinating the Primal of Death.
A Shadow in the Ember is a beautifully complex high fantasy romance rife with emotion, tension, action, and intricate world-building.
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
The Jasmine Throne has all the elements of an alluring high fantasy romance novel: a traitorous prince hungry for power, a princess desperate to escape the deadly clutches of her dictator brother and a maidservant harboring dangerous secrets that could spell her death.
As one of the best epic fantasy books of 2021, you cannot go wrong with Tasha Suri’s bestselling feminist masterpiece.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola’s life was irrevocably altered the night magic vanished, and the king opened fire on maji, resulting in her mother’s murder.
Now Zélie is ready to strike back, and there is nothing that can stop her from taking back what the monarchy stole.
In the fantastical world of Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi brings us a West African-inspired fantasy series brimming with magic, intrigue, and danger. As one of the best YA epic fantasy romance books on the market, I recommend immersing yourself in Adeyemi’s debut action-packed novel and enjoying the ride.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
After a chance encounter with a wolf places Feyre in deep waters with the fae, Feyre is swept away to a magical kingdom where she is to live out the rest of her human life. Held captive by the mysterious green-eyed Tamlin, Feyre finds herself growing feelings for her jailer. But the question remains: What is he hiding behind the mask he refuses to remove?
ACOTAR is a captivating Beauty and the Beast retelling that brings us an epic slow-burn romance filled with magic, adventure and intrigue. If you can’t get enough of the enemies-to-lovers trope, A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of the best high fantasy romance books to add to your shelf.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Set in a village plagued by a deadly evil known as the Wood, Agnieszka and every other young girl grew up knowing that one of them would be swept away by the Dragon, the wizard who keeps the evil at bay.
Everyone believed that it would be the beautiful and sweet Kasia that would be his tribute. However, no one is more surprised than Agnieszka when she learns that the Dragon has his sights set on someone else.
Heartbreaking and darkly enchanting, Uprooted is a breathtakingly beautiful romance that is undoubtedly one of the best high fantasy books on the market.
Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo and Dani Pendergast
Long before he created the fold and became the Darkling, Eryk was a young boy with immense powers.
Here is his origin story.
With beautiful illustrations from the talented Dani Pendergast and Leigh Bardugo’s signature writing style, Demon in the Wood is a captivating graphic novel perfect for readers obsessed with the Grishaverse and the Darkling.
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
As a maiden, Poppy’s life has never been her own and that her duty is to the kingdom. That one day, the gods would lay judgment on the future ruler and decide whether she’s worthy of ascending.
But when a dashing guard enters her life, Poppy begins to question everything. And when a fallen kingdom forsaken by the gods emerges from the shadows, Poppy quickly finds herself on the brink of losing it all.
From Blood and Ash is an unputdownable tale that centers around a nineteen-year-old girl at risk of losing her heart to the villain of her story. For an exciting slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers romance between two star-crossed souls, this is one of the best high fantasy romance books to add to your TBR list.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Being convent-raised, Princess Marra of the Harbor Kingdom never had to worry about an arranged marriage.
When her older sister is shipped off to marry Prince Vorling, the same prince their older sister married months before dying under mysterious circumstances, Marra knows nothing good can come from this union.
Determined to save Kania from that same fate, Marra sets out to do the impossible and rescue her – even if that means resorting to murder.
In Nettle & Bone, T. Kingfisher delivers a mesmerizing high fantasy romance, immersed with epic quests, a demon-possessed chicken, and fairytale elements.
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
In place of the gallows, Yelena gets the chance to become the Commander’s new food taster. Naturally, Yelena accepts. However, the head of the Commander’s security Valek is not one to leave things to chance.
To ensure Yelena doesn’t try running away, he feeds her Butterfly’s Dust, a fatal poison that requires a daily antidote to stave off an agonizing death.
Thrust into a dangerous world of politics, assassination attempts, and deadly poisons, Yelena will need all her wits to survive this political warzone.
Loaded with espionage, deception, and magic, Poison Study is an unforgettable slow-burn high fantasy romance that will keep you thinking long after you’ve finished it.
Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
In the kingdom of Kandala, sickness ravages the lands. Determined to help those unable to afford the rare and expensive cure, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade defies the monarchy and steals Moonflower petals to make the elixir for those suffering from the deadly disease.
As the state of the world worsens, Tessa knows there is only one way to save her people: Murdering the king.
In this enchanting reimagined take of Robin Hood, Brigid Kemmerer weaves a mesmerizing tale of love, mystery, and intrigue. As one of the best YA high fantasy books of 2022, I recommend adding Defy the Night to your bookshelf, especially if you love friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romances.
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Shifters, tellers, healers and spinners, oh my! If you have any interest whatsoever in the fantasy genre, then this will be right up your alley. With a shape-shifting king and a girl who can command anything to her will, it’s impossible to become bored.
Read The Bird and the Sword if you’re in the mood for epic slow-burn fantasy romance books that will leave you speechless and dying to read more of Harmon’s enchanting prose.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
Sixteen-year-old Deka’s hopes and dreams of fitting in vanish the day the blood ceremony determines that her blood runs gold: a symbol of impurity. Faced with a fate worse than death, Deka is shocked when she gets the chance to join an elite force of girls with god-like gifts, better known as the alaki.
As one of the best YA high fantasy books praised on BookTok, The Gilded Ones is a BookTok recommendation that you do not want to miss.
Radiance by Grace Draven
Radiance revolves around a human princess, Ildiko, and an alien prince, Brishen, who are arranged to be married to unite their kingdoms. The two races find each other physically repulsive, so you can say this was a match made in the fiery pits of Tartarus. While they may not be physically attracted to each other, they share a kinship that goes beyond physical appearances.
Read Radiance if you’re interested in a slow-burn high fantasy romance between an alien and a human who find each other repulsive and bicker like an old married couple. Between their shaky union and the precarious political landscape amongst their kingdoms, Kai and Ildiko will have to forego their honeymoon and do some damage control before the warring kingdoms rip them apart.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Miryem, the daughter of a moneylender, has a reputation around town for turning silver into gold. When the enormity of her gift reaches the ears of the king of the Staryk, fearsome fae-like creatures that desire gold, her life becomes entangled with the winter fae, and once that happens, nothing is ever the same.
In Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik delivers an unforgettable Rumpelstiltskin retelling rife with complexity, magic, and intrigue. Beautifully told and mesmerizingly atmospheric, this New York Times bestseller is one of the best high fantasy romance books and fairytale retellings of 2018.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
At seven, Jude’s entire life implodes, leaving her an orphan and reliant on her kidnapper after he whisks her away to live in Faerie.
At seventeen, Jude wants nothing more than to fit in, despite her own mortality. But many of the Fae despise humans, especially the youngest son of the High King. However, the tides are changing.
Swept into a deadly game of politics, Jude must stay one step ahead to come out victorious.
Filled with scheming royals, political minefields and magical intrigue, The Cruel Prince is perfect for anyone on the market for a slow-burn romance between a wicked fae prince and an ambitious human girl. And as one of the best YA high fantasy romance books, you need to add this to your bookshelf.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Daughter of the Forest tells the story of Sorcha, the daughter of a lord, whose life is thrown into disarray by an evil sorceress who bewitches her father and casts a malicious spell that leaves her six brothers bereft of their humanity.
Sent on a dangerous quest to save her brothers, Sorcha is forbidden from speaking a word till she completes the mission. But plans never go as planned and when she finds herself in enemy territory, Sorcha will face a difficult decision: Save her brothers or choose love.
Juliet Marillier brings us an intricately weaved tale of magic, love and adventure in Daughter of the Forest.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Silver Flames tells the story of Nesta Archeron, the prickly newly-turned fae, who is swift to anger, and Cassian, the battle-hardened warrior who has a penchant for pushing every single one of Nesta’s buttons. Together, they forge their own paths to redemption while battling the monsters set on destroying them.
Violent, passionate, and darkly thrilling, A Court of Silver Flames is an irresistibly sexy enemies-to-lovers high fantasy romance submerged in action, romance, and magic.