20 Romantasy Books That’ll Get You Hooked On The Genre

Faerie smut, right this way.

A selection of books from the romantasy, or fantasy romance, genre.
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Romance remains the highest-grossing genre in publishing, raking in an estimated $1.44 billion in revenue annually — and in recent years, its success has been bolstered by one subgenre in particular: fantasy romance, or romantasy.

Publishers have been releasing love stories with fantastical elements for decades (just look at Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels trilogy, first published in the 1980s), but in the past few years, romantasy has come into its own. This February, marketing research firm Circana reported that the subgenre “has seen four years of consecutive growth,” with print sales up 80% year-to-date through Feb. 17, as compared to the same time last year. This surge in popularity has been aided in no small part by TikTok, where the hashtag #romantasy has more than 900 million views and #fantasyromance has 1.4 billion views, and BookTokers regularly sing the praises of authors like Sarah J. Maas, whose A Court of Thorns and Roses series has sold more than 38 million copies worldwide.

But what exactly is this new genre that’s taken the book world by storm, and why can’t readers get enough of it?

Romantasy — or faerie porn or faerie smut, as some readers lovingly call it — doesn’t fit squarely within fantasy or romance but features some trademarks of both. Fantasy is defined by magic, world building, and myths, and legends; romance casts a wider net, but most authors agree that novels in the genre should have a happy ending, meaning the guy gets the girl, or the girl gets the other girl (or the guy and girl get the werewolf, the possibilities are truly endless).

Bestselling author Scarlett St. Clair of the Hades x Persephone series, who previously worked as a librarian and holds a master’s in library science and information studies, sees the subgenre in more accessible terms. “To me, romantasy is a genre created by readers, and it’s their push to try and find books they desire — in this case, books that have an equal amount of fantasy world building and romance as plot,” she tells Bustle. As for why these stories have caught on, St. Clair also has a theory. “These are two very immersive genres that take people away from the real world,” she says.

So, if you’re curious about escaping with a handsome fae — or dragon riders with a sage-like knowledge of female anatomy — but aren’t sure where to start, consider this a definitive romantasy syllabus.


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A gateway series into the romantsy genre, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) is a loose re-telling of “Beauty and the Beast,” with a twist. Featuring cursed fae, a huntress with a heart, the invention of the “Shadow Daddy,” and a corpse-like town gossip, Maas’ series is at once compelling and fantastical. ACOTAR can also claim a huge part in fantasy romance’s surge in popularity, selling more than 40 million copies and inspiring an in-development series at Hulu.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass is like an epic mashup of John Wick, Cinderella and Lord of the Rings. Assassin Celaena Sardothien is languishing in prison when the sapphire-eyed Prince of Adarlan arrives with an offer: Compete for the role of the King’s Champion, and years could be taken off her sentence. She smugly accepts, confident in her skills. But there’s plenty to come that she doesn’t suspect, including a demonic killer on the loose, complicated romantic entanglements, and dark conspiracies.


Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Yarros’ Emyrean series took flight in 2023 and devoured the book world, selling 6 million copies to date, according to the series publisher Red Tower Books. The story centers on an elite dragon rider academy, where new cadet Violet Sorrengail must struggle to dodge the dangers of riding and bond a dragon. With its life-sucking monsters, sarcastic dragons, and intricate world-building, this one will sink its claws into you — and that’s not even mentioning the skinny pants-wearing, oh-so-sexy anti-hero, Xaden Riorison.


From Blood and Ash by Jennifer Armentrout

Armentrout’s violent and sexy world of vampires, gods, and bloodthirsty heroines is just as consuming as Maas’ ACOTAR. One of the series’ greatest gifts: Hawke, a love interest who’s several shades darker than gray. Then there’s the red-headed heroine Poppy, who becomes anything but the innocent maiden readers first meet. If that’s not enough to entice you, you’ll also find epic battles, diabolic villains, snake-filled zombies, witty banter and a (possible) interspecies throuple that just makes sense.


A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jensen

Jensen is known for her slow-burn sexy romances. Her latest series, A Fate Inked in Blood, is a Norse-inspired romantasy about a female warrior named Freya. Freya is used like a pawn in a world unkind to women, but when her husband upsets the wrong person, she’s forced into a battle that awakens her long-stifled magic. Now, she’ll have to navigate her place in a prophecy about kingdoms united and wars to come.


The Serpent & the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

A fantasy romance with a bite, Carissa Broadbent’s Crowns of Nyaxia series recalls The Hunger Games, but with more romance and vampires. The story begins with Oraya, a human trained in combat who enters a notorious tournament in the hopes of becoming immortal like her adopted dad, a powerful vampire king. But in order to survive the competition, Oraya will have to ally with a dark rival, Raihn — a ruthless and handsome vampire. This one’s a heart-pounding, ultra-slow-burn romance.


Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Amid a war between gods, two budding journalists — the unrelenting, self-made Iris, and the sensitive, well-off Kit — are competing for the same role at the Oath Gazette. When one god takes an interest in the pair’s writing talent, Kit lands the coveted position and Iris is left reeling from more than the loss of work. Iris ends up taking a role with a rival paper as a war correspondent on the front lines, but the journalists aren’t apart for long. Ross’ novels never romanticize the violence of war, as many romantasy works do, making her Letters of Enchantment series one of the more unique and beautifully written in the genre to date.


A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Scarlett St. Clair’s sexy series is full of fickle, jealous, and misunderstood Greek gods, recast in an urban fantasy. Persephone is interning at the New Athens News and harboring an embarrassing secret: Even though she’s the Goddess of Spring, her green thumb is essentially dead. This makes it hard to refuse Hades’ bargain, when the two meet one night at the God of the Underworld’s very own club. In the Greek myth, Hades drags Persephone into the underworld, but in St. Clair’s retelling, Persephone is less of a shrinking violet and Hades isn’t quite the villain he’s been made out to be. (FYI: The final installment in the Hades x Persephone series, A Touch of Chaos, was released in March.)


A Cursed Kiss by Jenny Hickman

A Cursed Kiss centers on two brothers: Tadhg, who’s cursed with a lethal kiss, and his half-brother Prince Rian, who’s literally heartless — albeit impeccably dressed and devilishly witty. The pair could have continued a blasé life of playing snap-dragon were it not for the two sisters who appear in their lives: a duo who, aside from having a knack for dying, killing, and irritating powerful fae, have the potential to break the brothers’ curses — and to draw them into more dangerous games. In short, Hickman’s Myths of Airren series is a fantastic, Irish-lore inspired story featuring a vicious queen, exes who don’t stay where they’re put, a persnickety goat, and plenty of spice.


Bride by Ali Hazelwood

Hazelwood (The Love Hypothesis, Love, Theoretically) has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and is known for writing books that center chemistry as much as romance; naturally, her first foray into paranormal romance keeps with her usual nerd-core style. Bride follows Misery Lark, who doesn’t fit in with the humans or her fellow vampires, having been used since childhood as a bargaining chip for interspecies relations. So when she agrees to a political marriage to the Prime Werewolf, this time she’s doing it for personal reasons — and it’s not because the Were, Lowe Moreland, is the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.


Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh has kept fans entranced for a whopping 16 books with her Guild Hunter series, an epic tale about vampires and archangels. Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux, who despite being human has a talent for finding her targets, is forced to work with New York’s notorious archangel and city defender, Raphael — a man as beautiful as he is lethal. Come for the characters’ seductive charms; stay to see how they grow.


House of Bane and Blood by Alexis M. Menard

Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series meets Peaky Blinders in Alexis M. Menard’s adult romantasy, House of Bane and Blood. Set on a dangerous isle where nefarious magic lurks, the enemies-to-lovers story follows heiress Mila, who agrees to marry Nico, a member of a rival family, to save her family’s fortunes. For his part, the cunning Nico knows well that this union is meant for show — despite his undeniable attraction to Mila.


A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

This slow-burn love story centers on shy and anxiety-stricken Prince Kadou — the heir to a magical, Ottoman Empire-inspired kingdom — and his stoic bodyguard, Evemer. Rowland’s fantasy romance is full of lush prose and heavy on political intrigue and world-building. They’ve also created a world where queer sexual preferences and using pronouns are normalized, something still not often seen in the romantasy or fantasy genres.


The Wolf and the Wildflower by Ella Fields

This second-chance romance between a were shifter (a cousin of the better-known werewolf) and a disgraced fae queen will leave you breathless. Their love story is complicated, even gut-wrenching, but fueled by the kind of sexual chemistry worth several spice peppers. (If you don’t know about spice peppers… brush up on your romance terms.) Fields touches on difficult topics as well, like sexual assault, infertility, and infidelity, but does so with empathy for her readers and characters.

If you’ve already devoured this book, Fields’ newest duology, Nectar of the Wicked, deserves a spot on your TBR.


That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

Lemming’s Mead Mishaps series is cozy, hilarious, and delightfully smutty — perfect for readers who like Travis Baldree’s Legends and Lattes, but also crave the spice. The first novel follows spice farmer Cinnamon, who, as the title promises, saves a demon. The catch? Said demon just so happens to be infuriatingly handsome. The pair quickly get caught up in a quest to stop an evil, necromancing goddess, and fall in love along the way.


Evocation by S.T. Gibson

Gibson’s stunning prose anchors the gothic vibes, occultist themes, and queer polyamory that make up this book. David, an attorney by day and a psychic medium by night, is forced to reconnect with his ex due to an inherited curse. But said ex, the sorcerer Rhys, is now married to a gorgeous astrologer and tarot card reader, Moira... and David is a sore spot in their relationship. Still, a tenuous alliance forms between the unlikely trio — an alliance that might lead to something more.


A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

Drawing from Peaky Blinders and Arthurian lore, this YA duology has clever dialogue, vivid world-building, a cadre of savvy outcasts, and, of course, steaming cups of tea. Orphan Arthie Casimir runs a posh tearoom that transforms into an illegal vampire den at night. She and her employees are as skilled at pouring the perfect cuppa as they are at siphoning secrets from elite clientele — but danger is never far away, as dealing with high society comes at cost. When Arthie receives a proposition from an alluring and unlikely ally, though, she decides to stop playing it safe and try her hand at a heist.


The Blood Trials by Nia Davenport

Fans of Yarros’ Fourth Wing and those who crave more sci-fi than the ye olde fantasy will love N.E. Davenport's The Blood Trials, which follows Ikenna as she seeks to avenge her grandfather’s murder. Expect dark military academia vibes, hidden blood magic, and a blunt and badass heroine who battles rampant misogyny and racism. This one’s heavier on world-building and character development than romance, but the spice remains.


The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

In this cozy and steamy book, a lonely witch named Mika Moon becomes entangled with a Darcy-esque love interest. When Mika becomes the ward to the children of Nowhere House, she meets the home’s often grumpy librarian, Jamie — whose standoffish exterior absolutely crumbles once he’s bewitched by her. (He’s what romance readers would dub a “cinnamon roll”: a bit of spice but mostly a sweetheart.)


A Feather So Black by Lyra Selene

In Selene’s first adult romantasy, the author reimagines “Swan Lake” with the help of Celtic mythology and the fated-mate trope. Fia, despite being a changeling and therefore an oddity, is raised as the queen’s child — and as a royal assassin. The real princess, Eala, is cursed to be a swan by day and her true form by night, and stuck in the land of the faeries. Eventually, the queen sends Fia to retrieve her true daughter and break her curse. Complications arise, however, when Fia meets Eala’s handsome and mysterious captor.