Fantasy and romantasy are epically popular right now. According to data from Nielsen BookScan, since 2020 Romantasy has taken the book-reading world by storm with female authors taking over a once male-dominated Sci-Fi & Fantasy category. Since the pandemic 58 of the top 100 bestselling books of this category were written by women, with female authors making up an astonishing 18 of the top 20. Compare that to the top 100 from 2019 when only 25 books written or co-written by women were in the top 100, with three in the top 20.
Recently we've seen news of record breaking pre-orders for the sequel to Rebecca Yarros’ Fourth Wing, and the book cover reveal for Sarah J. Maas’ latest Crescent City instalment House of Flame and Shadow, which will be released in January 2024. It’s safe to say that, like the dragons in many of these tales, we’re hoarding our precious treasure of fantasy and romantasy books with abandon, with the Sci-Fi & Fantasy genre seeing significant growth this year alone. Romantasy seems to be especially hot right now, with readers on Instagram and TikTok catapulting the genre into another stratosphere. A sub-genre that sees a romance plot given a decent share of the spotlight within epic, quest and creature-filled fantasy settings. So what better time to put together a collection of our favourites, to help those stranded between the strange world of their last book and reality to find something new to soar into.
When putting together a romantasy collection we’d be remiss not to mention Sarah J. Maas, you only need to be on bookstagram for 5 minutes before you see a reel swooning over the bat boys or laughing at Aelin’s daring ideas. Of course we’re talking about the bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass series. Hunting to feed her destitute family, Feyre kills a faerie which leads to her being dragged into the Faerie realm to pay the price. A Court of Thorns and Roses starts out as a Beauty and the Beast retelling evolves into so much more with a cast of feisty characters to welcome into your heart. In the Throne of Glass series 18 year old Celaena; beautiful but deadly and destined for greatness but only if she can free herself from the life sentence she's serving ... fast-paced and epic in stature this is not to be missed. Finally we meet Bryce in House of Earth and Blood, the start of Maas’ newest series Crescent City, as her world comes crashing down leaving her and fallen Angel Hunt Athalar to unravel the mystery of their dark past.
More from multi-series authors, Cassandra Clare’s world of Shadowhunters, Warlocks and Vampires is explored in different series: The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, The Bane Chronicles and The Last Hours. Begin with City of Bone, meeting Clary as she slowly discovers the shadowhunter world right under her nose then dive into the multitude of stories woven throughout history.
Stephanie Garber’s magical world of Caraval is also revisited in Once Upon A Broken Heart, the first in a bewitching series about Evangeline who strikes a deal with an immortal Fate in order to stop the wedding of the man she loves and complete her own happily ever after. Plans go awry when the immortal wants far more from her than she bargained for.
The first in an epic trilogy, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo follows Alina, as she attempts to discover who she really is and what her powers are, in the hope of rescuing Ravka from the flesh-eating monsters tearing her country apart.
Divergent by Veronica Roth must be highlighted too as it is aheart-pounding and thrilling urban dystopian fiction. Divergent is a series of non-stop suspense and twists and turn that you least expect. There's romance too and a heroine who is determined to fulfil her plans even when conflict seems the only course of action.
A recent read we really enjoyed is Ledge by debut author Stacey McEwan. Abandon all thoughts of this world and live on the Ledge, a trapped village containing an intrepid heroine seeking revenge. A bold and gutsy epic fantasy debut, with a healthy helping of romance, grab your copy now.
Another book we have to mention, though we’d be surprised if you haven’t heard of it is Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros, first book in forthcoming The Empyrean series. Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last. Forbidden romance sizzles and steams off the page as Xaden give every single male romantasy lead a run for their money and it's accompanied by immersive, relentless, heart-stopping action you won't want to miss. It's serious book hangover fuel, our Content Manager Charlotte has already read it "twice and counting". November can't come quick enough so she can get her hands on the fiery sequel Iron Flame.
We'd also like to share Dragonfall, the first in the forthcoming A Dragon Falls Trilogy. Soar out into a dragon-filled land in this glorious fantasy adventure and then fall into the human world that cast out the dragons. L.R. Lam world-builds with ease, not just one but two locations that are incredibly easy to fall into and believe in. engaging fantasy flirts with magic, adventure, and romance yet still has a decidedly sharp edge.
There are plenty of books in the collection below with a solid romance story to fall in love with and new worlds to discover, whether you're just dipping your toe into the romantasy genre or you’ve been reading it since young adulthood. We’re also counting on you to share your favourites so we can keep each other well stocked with reading recommendations.