10 Entrancing Fantasy Books With Forbidden Love Stories


Whether for its beautiful tragedy, extraordinary challenges, thematic questions on what should or should not be acceptable, or something more, forbidden love is one of readers’ favorite romance plots.

Are you curious which fantasy books feature this form of romance in their pages? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 10 entrancing fantasy books with forbidden love romances:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each one of the books in this list below.

But if you’d prefer a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.


The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Description

Books cover of The Immortal Rules

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city.

By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them — the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle.

Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend — a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike.

And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.09

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

First on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is The Immortal Rules, which features a romance between a vampire and a vampire-slayer. Readers who enjoyed this novel said that they enjoyed this new, dystopian spin on vampires and a post-apocalyptic world.

While technically The Immortal Rules is a Young Adult Fantasy novel, its tone leans toward adult Fantasy with a teenage protagonist. Along those lines, Kagawa commits to portraying vampires as predators and her world as brutal. She doesn’t spare Allie from pain and loss, but neither does she make Allison’s struggle to adapt self-pitying or melodramatic. 

Readers also mentioned that there were great action scenes throughout the story. Kanin, Allison’s ancient vampire mentor, also intrigued them in every scene he was part of.

Negative Comments 

Readers who didn’t rate The Immortal Rules highly mentioned that the story starts off fast-paced, but slows down in the middle before picking up speed again.

On the other hand, other readers said that they didn’t find the romantic sub-plot – a light presence in the story – particularly compelling.


The Demon King by Cinda Chima Williams

Description

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell — the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked — as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them.

Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history — it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains — riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea — the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.18

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

Second on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is The Demon King by Cinda Chima Williams. This novel enthralled fans with its captivating characters and rich plot. 

Readers praised Raisa and Hans, the main characters, saying that they were interesting and multidimensional. With such different backgrounds, personalities and perspectives, the combination of the two together brought the story’s world to life. 

Fans also mentioned how the plot itself was full of twists and turns. Sub-plots intersected, overlapped and built on one another, making the court intrigue all that much more absorbing.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? Overall, these readers tended to say that they didn’t connect with Raisa or Han. If not that, they weren’t drawn into the story. 

In terms of Han and Raisa, several critics described them as stereotypical Young Adult Fantasy characters. For example, Raisa reminded them of a standard rebellious princess, whose reasons for putting herself in danger struck them as either foolish or selfish. Because of this, these readers weren’t invested in what happened to her. 

On the other hand, some critics said that they found The Demon King slow-paced and without much action.


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Description

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark — who was captured by the faeries five years ago — has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind — and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it.

But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.42

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

The next story on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is Lady Midnight. What did fans rave over in this novel?

Well, overall, readers praised it as a fantastic mix of everything they loved in stories: an action-packed plot, a mystery, magic, compelling relationships with friends and family, and forbidden love. Ultimately, Lady Midnight was a book that made them laugh, cry, cheer and everything in between.

More specifically though, fans often pointed to the protagonists, Emma and Julian, as their main reasons for enjoying this book. They said the two of them were sympathetic, both with their own strengths and flaws. Individually, they were easy to care about. But together, their romance was powerful and meaningful.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Lady Midnight? Overall, these readers tended to perceive Emma and Julian’s romance as overly sentimental in some fashion.

For some, they suggested their pining for each other was excessive. For others, they struggled to see what the two of them were like as individuals outside of their romance.


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Description

At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the “gift” of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey.

Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: “Instead of making me docile, Lucinda’s curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally.”

When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella’s life and well-being seem to be in grave peril.

But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way.

Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you’ll ever read.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is Ella Enchanted, a retelling of Cinderella.

What did fans enjoy about this story? Overall, readers cited its likable characters, heartwarming romance and its creative reinterpretation of the original fairy tale.

Readers fell in love with several characters in the cast. For example, Ella impressed them with her wittiness, resourcefulness and determination; Mandy intrigued them by being a mixture of both an ‘ordinary’ cook and a fairy; and Prince Chaz won them over with his sweetness and charm.

All of them came across as authentic in their own way. This even held true for the antagonists who, while villainous, had their own complexity.

Overall, fans praised Ella Enchanted as an artful modern interpretation with a satisfying ‘happily ever after’. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Ella Enchanted? For the most part, readers focused on the story’s pace. They tended to say that either the beginning was slow or that it lacked a sense of tension and suspense until later in the book.


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Description

Every enchantment has a price.

With a flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for a dangerous set of clients: the fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and they trade valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings.

But when she receives her first royal patron — Rook, the autumn prince — Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.

Furious, Rook spirits Isobel away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending upon each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, perhaps even love…a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folks’ ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit. What force could Isobel’s paintings conjure that is powerful enough to defy the ancient malice of the fairy courts?

Isobel and Rook journey along a knife-edge in a lush world where beauty masks corruption and the cost of survival might be more frightening than death itself.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.66

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is An Enchantment of Ravens.

Over and over again, fans lauded this novel for its utterly captivating and refreshing take on fairies. Published around the same time as several similar books, An Enchantment of Ravens nevertheless stood out to fans thanks to its beautiful and alien portrayal of these fantasy creatures.

Another highlight they mentioned was Isobel. Several praised her as a great protagonist, particularly because of her passion for painting and her cleverness in dealing with the conniving fair folk.

Fans mentioned how engrossing it was to watch her navigating the world, especially in her dealings in the fairy courts.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about An Enchantment of Ravens? Overall, readers cited two reasons: the plot, which focused on the two journeying together, or how quickly the characters fell in love.

In terms of the journey plot, critics typically said that this story style made the novel feel meandering rather than one that built toward a clear endpoint. As such, they didn’t feel a sense of momentum that compelled them to turn the book’s pages.

In terms of the romance, critics generally thought that it was too sudden. Several commented that they didn’t understand what the characters found appealing in one another and, as such, thought the romance was artificial.


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Description

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder ― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons.

Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing ― not even a smear of blood ― to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk.

Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight?

The Shadowhunters would like to know… 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.10

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is City of Bones. This fast-paced novel captivated fans with its combination of favorite story elements and its exciting world-building.

For instance, several mentioned that they recognized tropes from beloved stories, whether that be Harry Potter, Star Wars or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Seeing all of these combined together thrilled them.

Moreover, fans praised City of Bones world-building, which drew them into a modern, urban fantasy world filled with magical creatures, romantic dramas, secrets and danger. Paired with an action-packed story line, these readers flew through the book’s pages on the edge of their seats.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about City of Bones? For the most part, they tended to cite either the familiar tropes or Clary, the protagonist, as their reasons for disliking the story.

In terms of the tropes, what fans named as a highlight was what these readers named as a negative. They said that the similarities stood out too much and they interpreted their presence as clichés.

As for Clary, critics described her as unlikable. For some, this was because of her passivity: rather than driving making her seem tough and independent, her actions came across to them as selfishness or excessive. For instance, they mentioned that she frequently yells and, at one point, slaps someone. 


Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Description

Books Cover of Firelight by Sophie Jordan

A hidden truth. 

Mortal enemies. 

Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life.

Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life.

Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away; if it dies she will be left as a human forever.

She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide, from New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Firelight is next on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love, one that won scores of fans. Written by Sophie Jordan, who also writes romance books, this novel combines her specialty in romance with an intriguing dragon lore. As such, readers noted that this book is primarily a romance – something they loved!

These readers said that the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ love story between a dragon and dragon hunter immediately caught their interest. Jacinda and Will had every reason to despise and stay far away from each other. And yet, they found themselves drawn to each other regardless.

Fans found themselves on their edge of their seats, feeling both Jacinda’s turmoil and her excitement over newfound love.

They also reported that Firelight flowed well, the pages flitting by thanks to a quick pace and dramatic story line.

Negative Comments

Fans found much to enjoy about Firelight and ultimately, the most common rating readers gave this novel was 5 stars. But what did critics say?

It seems like this is a Young Adult fantasy novel that stirs up strong feelings in readers, whether positive or negative. Critics were as frustrated with Jacinda and the romance as the fans were delighted.

These readers’ criticisms had a common thread: Jacinda came across to them as self-pitying and selfish. Some of them said that her selfishness reached the point where she seemed outright foolish instead.

However, others said that Firelight disappointed them because it stayed so close to standard the Young Adult fantasy format in general. These readers loved the promise of a story filled with dragon shape-shifters, unique draki mythology and a love story that succeeds despite impossible odds. However, they described these twists as tacked-on rather than a fundamental aspect of the novel.


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Description

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered — in suspiciously draconian fashion.

Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs.

While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Seraphina is another story on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love. Filled with these scaled creatures, this novel captured readers with its multi-dimensional and relatable protagonist as well as its deep world-building.

Seraphina, they said, is a protagonist who acts life-like: she laughs and cries, but also acts foolish, struggles to summon courage and can stay steadfastly loyal. Because of this, readers frequently commented on how much they enjoyed reading about her.

Aside from that, fans often described this YA fantasy book as intelligent and thoughtful. This wasn’t just because of the characters’ realistic personalities, but also because the concept of dragons taking on human shape allowed the story to explore themes other books might not have.

For instance, two key themes revolved around what made someone ‘human’ or ‘not human’ (dragon, in this case) as well as the process of accepting others and one’s self.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t think this book was for them, though, what did they say? Generally, they had two comments. The first was that even though the characters were well-fleshed out and relatable, they weren’t characters that reads connect with emotionally. They were realistic, but not engaging.

These readers said that they felt indifferent as they read instead of eager to see either what the characters would do or what would happen to them.

The second part of the book that critics cited as a negative was the romance. These readers said that while they appreciated that it wasn’t a love-at-first-sight tale, it still seemed like Seraphina fell in love too suddenly. 


Talon by Julie Kagawa

Description

The Dragons of Talon:

Once hunted nearly to extinction, they are now poised to take over the world. 

The Order of St. George:

Book Cover of Talon by Julie Kagawa

The legendary dragonslayers will stop at nothing to wipe dragons from the face of the earth. 

These mortal enemies are locked in secret and deadly combat, with humanity none the wiser.

To take her rightful place in the Talon organization, young dragon Ember Hill must prove she can hide her true nature and blend in with humans.

Her delight at the prospect of a summer of “normal” teen experiences is short-lived, however, once she discovers that she’s also expected to train for her destined career in Talon. But a chance meeting with a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. 

As Ember struggles to accept her future, St. George soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian is tasked with hunting her down.

But when faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything the Order has ingrained in him – and what he might be willing to give up to uncover the truth about dragons.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.75

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is Talon by Julie Kagawa. Packed with action and adventure, this novel delighted readers with its combination of excitement, dragons and romance.

The characters themselves also captivated these readers, who often said that there wasn’t a single character they didn’t like. Even Ember, who some readers said initially came across as immature, won them over.

Furthermore, they said that experiencing the story from all three main character’s point of views was a wonderful treat!

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Talon, what did they say?

Critics commonly cited Ember herself as well as the story’s familiarity as the culprits. For instance, they said that Ember didn’t come across as a person yearning for freedom for sympathetic reasons. Instead, she came across to them as childish and self-centered.

Ember speaks contemptuously of Talon and its members, who thwart her from doing what she wants. However, these readers pointed out that what Ember rails against are minor inconveniences. Either that or the logical actions of people who take keeping her alive seriously.

Other readers said that they wished the story would deviate more from standard YA fantasy. The story promises dragons and dragon slayers. It delivers. However, readers said that the story’s execution of these concepts was too predictable for their taste.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Description

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie.

Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him – and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.14

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

The last story on our list of fantasy books with forbidden love is The Cruel PrinceThis novel  captured fans’ imaginations with its suspense, intriguing portrayal of faeries and its strong-willed protagonist, Jude. 

Dangerous yet darkly alluring, the faeries came across as all-together magical. Readers described themselves as transported both into the story’s pages because of their unique portrayal as well as their enchanting world.  

In addition, Jude won them over with her mix of fierceness, determination and cunning. To these readers, she was a refreshing anti-hero, both complex and relatable. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Cruel Prince? For the most part, these readers cited either the characters and their romance as reasons for not enjoying the book.

In terms of the former, several described Jude and Cardan as familiar Young Adult Fantasy types. For instance, Jude came across to them as a standard ‘strong female character’ while Cardas seemed like a standard ‘bad boy with a tragic past’. Generally, these readers also found them unsympathetic: they tended to describe Jude as embittered and passive while Cardas came across as a bully.

Related to this, critics couldn’t see what about the characters found attractive about each other. As a result, they thought the romance was unconvincing.


10 Entrancing Fantasy Books With Forbidden Love Stories

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?



10 Entrancing Fantasy Books With Forbidden Love Stories


Related: Fantasy romance books


Similar Fantasy Books