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Great Romantasy Books for Fans of Sarah J. Maas

Posted on 27th December 2023 by Mark Skinner

After leaving readers with a jaw-dropping climax to House of Sky and Breath - the majestic second instalment of the megaselling Crescent City series - Sarah J. Maas returns this month with the hugely anticipated third volume, House of Flame and Shadow. As fans catch up with Bryce and Hunt, we select some more killer romantasy titles to leave you swooning.   

There has always been fantasy fiction with romantic sub-plots but recent years have seen an explosion in the number of fantasy novels where the romance element has been pivotal to the entire narrative. This is romantasy and one of the titans of this genre is Sarah J. Maas, who found fame as an author of sizzlingly sexy young adult fantasy such as A Court of Thorns and Roses and the Throne of Glass series, and whose debut adult romantasy series Crescent City continues this month with House of Flame and Shadow. But Maas is not the only young adult author to branch out into the romantasy genre, with Cassandra 'Mortal Instruments' Clare delivering her entrancing adult debut Sword Catcher last year.

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The mega-selling fantasy phenomenon returns with the third smouldering instalment in the Crescent City series, as Bryce Quinlan is pitched into further pulse-quickening danger.
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A prince's body-double and an outcast with forbidden magic join forces to expose a web of corruption and intrigue in the gilded city of Castellane in the enthralling adult fantasy debut from the author of the bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles.
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A favourite feature of many romantasy novels is the idea of forbidden magic, where the heroine must hide her special powers from a society or world that either doesn't understand them or has outlawed them outright. From Yelena's uncontrollable powers in Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study to Lainie Stones' necromancy in Saint Death's Daughter by C.S.E Cooney and Sascha's dangerous emotions in Nalini Singh's Slave to Sensation, possession of distinctive gifts marks these young women out as both special and hunted. Katsa in Kristin Cashore's mesmerising Graceling, however, suffers from a slightly different problem as she is forced to use her 'grace' of killing in order to protect her uncle, the king.

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A condemned prisoner receives an unexpected reprieve, a dangerous job, and a sizzling – but potentially lethal – proposition from an alluring assassin in Snyder's scintillating romantasy.
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A girl with a talent for necromancy but an allergy to violence must face her fears and confront affairs of the heart in this bewitching romantic fantasy debut.
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In a world where passionate emotion is forbidden, two 'flawed' individuals must unite to avert war in the pulsating opening chapter of the Psy-Changeling series.

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A sweeping romantic fantasy centred on Katsa, a woman with the 'grace' of killing, and her dangerous and shocking desire for a prince uniquely gifted in combat skills.
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In addition to forbidden magic, of course, love must be forbidden as well. Frequently in romantasy novels this prohibition on affairs of the heart is class or caste-based, as in Marie Rutowski's The Winner's Curse, where general's daughter Kestrel falls for her alluring slave, or From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout, which finds a Maiden bred for acceptance by the gods develop feelings for her brooding new guard.

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Set in a richly imagined empire obsessed by war and conquest, the first instalment of Rutkowski's dazzling romance finds a general's daughter falling for a slave who harbours their own dark secret.
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From the author of the Covenant series comes an enthralling romantic fantasy about a maiden who must choose between being found worthy by the gods and following her heart.
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Ever since the phenomenal success of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games series, potentially deadly tournaments have been another staple of romantasy fiction. Our heroines take part in these contests either to prove themselves in a brutal, unforgiving world - as in Carissa Broadbent's The Serpent and the Wings of Night - or as a means to attaining a greater goal - such as Calla's opportunity to get close enough to her uncle to kill him in Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong. One thing is for certain though; an alluring fellow competitor will undoubtedly appear to complicate matters.

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The glorious opening volume of Carissa Broadbent's Crowns of Nyaxia series, The Serpent and the Wings of Night is filled with bloodthirsty vampires, dark magic and deadly desires.
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The Hunger Games meets Antony and Cleopatra in this blistering opening instalment of Gong's Flesh and False Gods series, where an avenging princess and a debt-ridden fighter join forces to win a set of deadly contests.
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Finally, the novels we've covered so far have contained mainly heterosexual relationships but there is a thriving section of the genre that deals in sapphic romantasy. Two recent examples are Gabriela Romero Lacruz's South American-infused The Sun and the Void and Faebound by Saara El-Arifi. Indeed, romantic fantasy fiction has been in the vanguard of diverse character representation from its inception. 

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The opening instalment of a richly evocative fantasy series, The Sun and the Void sends two young women on a quest for belonging that is fraught with hidden dangers and forbidden magic.
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Two elven sisters encounter the mythical fae court and find themselves drawn into its seductive world in this enchanting fantasy from the author of The Final Strife and The Battle Drum.
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