Desperately Seeking: Adult High Fantasy Romances

Hi friends! … I’m back! Yes, I’m looking for more book recommendations, and I’m hoping the hivemind can help me.

I’ve read a lot of the “usual suspects” – or at least, I think I have? There are some that I know of but haven’t had a chance to read yet, but I’m always looking for more. (We’re voracious readers!)

High fantasy means that the setting is an imaginary World. An alternative/fictional world or universe. There might be magic, and such, and often an “epic quest.” What matters most to me though, is the non real world aspect, and the romance. Generally they don’t (dare I say … shouldn’t?) have modern technology either – no cars, planes, drones, etc.

Adult doesn’t mean omg sex all the time all the sex – it just means … I’d like to read about characters that are adults, or at least considered adults in their world. For example, the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy counts. (And in fact is a perfect example because I freaking loved it.) Yes, Feyre is relatively young – 19, buts she’s been the sole provider for her family for the past 5+ years. … And then most of the other main characters are literally hundreds of years old. I also recommend Grace Draven’s books.

Romance … I mean – it’s just that the romantic relationship is central to the storyline, and of course there’s a happy ending. I don’t want to read a high fantasy where everyone except for a protagonist dies at the end and it’s tragic and miserable. If I wanted that, I’d just watch more foreign films. I’ve also been using libraries for most of these books because … yo that was a lot of books and I am not rich.

I’ve already read a lot of [adult] high fantasy romances. I do want to note … I have a “quirk” where I don’t want to read a series unless it’s complete. I blow through fantasy series and have ~ADD so I don’t want to wait, and I’d forget details. I definitely want to know about series though, so I can start collecting books in anticipation of the completion. (Like the Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass series.)

Here’s what I’ve read:

The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy Grade B-
The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy Grade C+
The Edge of the Blade by Jeffe Kennedy Grade C+
Radiance by Grace Draven Grade B+
Eidolon by Grace Draven Grade B-
Master of Crows by Grace Draven Grade B+
The Brush of Black Wings by Grace Draven Grade B
Entreat Me by Grace Draven Grade C+
The Lightning’s God Wife by Grace Draven Grade D+
The Light Within: A Winter’s Tale by Grace Draven Grade C+
Lover of Thorns and Holy Gods by Grace Draven Grade C+
The Undying King by Grace Draven Grade C
All the Stars Look Down by Elizabeth Hunter and Grace Draven Grade C
Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson Grade C
Lady of the Light and Shadows by C.L. Wilson Grade D+
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C++
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C+
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C+
Assassin Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C+
Power Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C+
Ice Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C+
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C+
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C
Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder Grade C-
Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan Grade B-
Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan, Grade C-
Warlord by Elizabeth Vaughan, Grade B-
Warcry by Elizabeth Vaughan, Grade C+
The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo, Grade C
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
A Promise of Fire Amanda Bouchet, Grade C
Impossible Things Kate Johnson, Grade  B
Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier, Grade C+
The Battle Sylph by L. J. McDonald, Grade C+
The Shattered Sylph by L. J. McDonald, Grade C
The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo, Grade B
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Grade B+
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Grade A-
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, Grade A-
Beauty by Robin McKinley, Grade C
Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard, Grade C+
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Grade C+
Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, Grade C
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, Grade C —
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Grade B- (only $2.99 for kindle at the time of posting)
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, Grade B-
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson, Grade B
The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson, Grade C
The Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson, Grade B-
The King’s Guard by Rae Carson, Grade B-
​​Jaded by Anya Bast, Grade B+
Children of the Blood by Michelle Sagara West, Grade  D+
The Hob’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs, Grade C+ [OH DEAR GOD I WANT A SEQUEL OR MORE FROM THIS WORLD PLEASE]
Path of Fate by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Grade C+
Path of Honor by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Grade C-
Path of Blood by Diana Pharaoh Francis, Grade C —
Ishtar’s Blade by Lisa Blackwood, Grade C+
Betrayal’s Price by Lisa Blackwood, Grade  C-
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Grade B+
Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier, Grade B[+]
Heir to the Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, Grade B
Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, Grade D+
Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier, Grade C+
The Winter Players by Tanith Lee, Grade C-
Queen of Blood by Jill Myles, Grade C-
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon, Grade B-
Sorceress Found by Lisa Blackwood, Grade D+
Archangel by Sharon Shinn, Grade C- (On sale for $2.99 on kindle at time of posting)
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, Grade B+
The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon, Grade B-
Wicked Ugly Bad by Cassandra Gannon, Grade C
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh, Grade B+ [OH MY GOD NEED MORE HFR FROM NALINI]
The Shift of the Tide by Jeffe Kennedy, Grade D+
The Wizard’s Ward by Deborah Hale, Grade C
The Destined Queen by Deborah Hale, Grade Grade  C – –
On Fire’s Wings by Christie Golden, Grade D, but I cannot recommend this book => see my GR
In Stone’s Clasp by Christie Golden, Grade F/DNF
Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Grade B-
The Winter King by C. L. Wilson, Grade B+
The Sea King by C. L. Wilson, Grade C (which I reviewed here)
Ariagne by Ekaterine Xia, Grade C-
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, Grade B+
Assassin’s Gambit by Amy Raby, Grade D+
Dragon Bones by Patricia Briggs, Grade B+
Dragon Blood by Patricia Briggs, Grade B+
Incubus Caged by A. H. Lee, Grade D++

11 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking: Adult High Fantasy Romances

  1. Limecello Post author

    And yes, I realize the Sevenwaters books are set in “Erin” – Ireland, but I’d argue an alternate reality version of it, full of magic and faeries and such. … >.> So yes that skates the line but the general [assumed] time period + the “Sevenwaters is like no other” … I included it in the list. … >.> unlike the Tearling books which omfg that ending I HATED.

  2. Cecilia Tan

    Ok, an older one (from the 1990s) is The Fire Stone by Tanya Huff. More recent Empress of Storms by Nicola Cameron — I thought it was a one shot but apparently now a series of stand alones called The Two Thrones series.

    If you don’t mind gay and definitely “zomg sex all the time” my own finished series The Prince’s Boy is definitely high fantasy romance. It was written as a serial so there is sex in every chapter!

    1. Limecello

      Gah!!! Cecilia!!! :X you’ll probably never see this comment but 😅 thanks for the recs!!! I’ll definitely need to look into them. And Hah! All sex all the time sounds great 😉 I don’t think I knew you had a high fantasy book! I don’t usually read serials – I wait until they’re out as one book so that might be why 🙂

    1. Limecello

      O_O Denise I don’t know how I missed all these comments on this post – re: Alisha Klapheke – I haven’t heard of her!!! Have you read her books? Is there romance in them? I’m curious now because nobody has rec’d her to me and a number of recommendations I’ve gotten have been YA/older [character] YA!

      1. dholcomb1

        Lime, I don’t know why I’m on her newsletter list. I probably was auto-added in a contest, but her covers are beautiful. It’s not really my genre, so I don’t read it. Nothing against the genre, I’d probably like the books if I read them, but I really love contemporary and historical romance as my main reads.

        1. Limecello Post author

          🙂 thanks – I’ll look into them – I like contemporary and historical romances too. Did you know when I first started reading romances I ONLY read historicals? 😀 [They were the closest to classics, which I used to read pretty exclusively in HS] – then I read pretty much every historical romance in my library’s collection and branched out. I also read PNR, and as you know, in 2017 “re”discovered high fantasy. Cuz now there’s ROMANCE high fantasy 😛 <3

  3. Annie

    How about:

    The Forgotten Beasts of Eld – Patricia McKillip

    Ember – Bettie Sharpe

    Captive Prince – C. S. Pacat

    The Queen of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner

    Witch World Series – Andre Norton

    Happy reading!

    1. Limecello Post author

      Eeek! Annie sorry for missing your comment! I’ve had some of those in my TBR – but wasn’t sure how much romance etc was in them – and the Prince series I think first was on my radar before it was finished and I just never got around to it but definitely mean to read them – some I hadn’t heard of so I’ll definitely look them up! Thank you!

  4. Vnend

    I’d recommend Heather Rose Jones’ Alpennia books (and a few shorter pieces), “Daughter of Mystery”, “The Mystic Marriage”, and “Mother of Souls”… so far. Set in an entirely fictitious kingdom somewhere in an 19th century Europe not quite ours. Not just because of the added country, but yeah, magic. Not that anyone calls it that…

    As an avid fantasy fan, and not at all (hmm, I guess I can’t really say that any longer) a romance fan, the first book’s romance tropes were a little annoying, but the characterization and world building were first class. And each book has been better than the ones before it. The hard part now is the wait for ‘Floodtide’, book four, due???? (not soon enough).

    1. Limecello Post author

      Vnend – thanks for the recommendation! I’m going to have to look into that series. Personally I need the HEA and the romance label because if the main character(s) die I am just SO MUCH NOT OKAY WITH THAT. Also I NEED the happy ending. So – romance is a safe bet for me.
      Also I dunno why but with fantasy I need a series to be complete, really because I generally blow through them. 😀

      Thankfully adult high fantasy romance – while still not a hugely explosive category imo is gaining popularity and there are more and better options all the time. WHEE!


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