10 Simmering Fantasy Books With Enemies to Lovers Romances


Whether it’s for the explosive emotions, powerful conflicts, touching change of hearts or something more, enemies-to-lovers romances are one of readers’ favorite romance story lines.

Are you curious which fantasy books feature this particular type of romance? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are 10 simmering fantasy books with enemies to lovers 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.


To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Description

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own.

To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most — a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby — it’s his calling.

When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good — but can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy? 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.93

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

First on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is To Kill a Kingdom. A dark retelling of The Little Mermaid, this fantasy novel enthralled readers with its anti-hero main characters and incredible ability to immerse them in its world.

Neither Lira nor Elian are heroes. In fact, readers often describe them as ruthless and twisted. However, this was exactly what they found refreshing and intriguing about them.

The two of them struck fans as tragic, burdened souls who learned how to be compassionate and to trust from one another. Their relationship is filled with deception, but the bittersweet nature of it was what made To Kill a Kingdom powerful for these readers.

In addition, readers often mentioned the story’s exquisite prose. They said that its lush images and sensory details completely transported them into the story.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about To Kill a Kingdom?

Generally, these readers focus on the characters and their romance. The two are related to one another: critics tended to say that they expected the romance to be darker than it was and were disappointed when it wasn’t.

On the other hand, some readers thought that the romance didn’t seem to grow organically out of Lira and Elian’s characters. Critics suggested that though Lira and Elian were set up as ruthless and driven individuals, they seemed to lose these traits due to the speed with which they fell in love.


Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Description

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for… 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Second on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is Stolen Songbird. This novel tantalized fans with its intelligent and brave protagonist, perilous and intriguing world, as well as its touching romance.

Readers frequently described Cécile as a great protagonist to follow, one who struck a balance between fierce and compassionate. Forced into circumstances against her will, she shows resourcefulness and makes plans to better her situation. Fans praised her as someone easy to empathize with, as well as wonderfully humorous.

Related to that, Tristan won them over as a captivating love interest. An intelligent and witty who cared deeply about his people, he came across to them as a nuanced and complex character who fans quickly grew attached to. The slow-burn, hate-to-love relationship between him and Cécile seemed all the more passionate because it was so rife with conflict. Fans found this absolutely riveting.

Lastly, the darkly mesmerizing world of Trollus delighted readers. Whether it was the palace, markets or social hierarchies, the world stood out as vibrant and mysterious. Stolen Songbird, they said, felt truly magical.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Stolen Songbird, what did they say? Overall, critics tended to cite either the protagonist or the romantic development as their reasons.

Several found it frustrating that Cécile, after her kidnapping, didn’t do more to escape. They thought she accepted her captivity too easily. Because of this, they lost respect for her.

Aside from that, critics described the romance as transitioning from hostility to love too suddenly. To these readers, Cécile and Tristan didn’t have enough positive interactions for their new feelings to seem convincing.


Elvish by S.G. Prince

Description

It’s against the law for elves and humans to fall in love. But laws can be broken.

When Venick is caught wandering the elflands, he knows the penalty is death. Desperate, he lies about his identity in hopes the elves will spare his life.

Ellina doesn’t trust the human, and not merely because he speaks the language of men. Men lie. In elvish, however, lying is impossible.

In a moment of intuition, Ellina decides to give Venick a chance: learn elvish, reveal his truths, and she will set him free.

That is not, of course, what happens.

As Ellina and Venick grow to know one another, their feelings start to shift. Then Venick uncovers a dark secret, and suddenly the fate of the elflands seems to rest in his hands.

But every choice comes with consequences, and Venick must decide if it’s worth risking his life to protect a race that hates him, all to save an elf he’s not allowed to love.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.18

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is Elvish. This fantasy romance captured reader’s warms with its two lead characters and its enchanting writing.

Fans praised the book for its portrayal of Venick and Ellina, the protagonists, who both come across as convincing, fleshed out, and compelling. As the story progressed, readers felt more and more attached to the two and rooted for their romance. 

Fans also frequently mentioned the author’s, S.G. Prince’s, beautiful prose. Because of it, the story transported them immediately and powerfully into its world. Readers described this as giving Elvish a rich, evocative setting and vivid scenes.

Negative Comments

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

In general, they tended to have two main criticisms. The first was that while Venick and Ellina were realistic characters, their romantic feelings seemed out of sync with the pace of their relationship.

Some of these readers described their outward actions, for instance, as cool, whereas their inner dialogue was the complete opposite. Overall, these readers didn’t think the romance was organic.

Another reason critics cited was Elvish‘s plot. These readers said that it seemed more like a premise than a story line, with little action happening after the protagonists’ initial meeting.


Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

Description

Over their father’s deathbed, young Meliara Astiar and her brother Branaric promise to lead their people against the evil King. The impoverished count and countess discover that even when the cause is right, leading a war is much tougher than it appears.

When Meliara falls into the hands of the elegant Marquis of Shevraeth, the enemy commander, she knows she has to either escape or die. After a desperate chase across country, she discovers that she and Bran are not alone — but the alliance is offered by the person she hates the most.

Once the king is gone, she faces a new type of battlefield: not muddy fields and sharpened steel, but marble palaces. The weapons now are fashion, manners, and the subtle and secret language of fans.

Finally, there is the toughest challenge of all, courtship. For how do you defend yourself when the one who draws your eye, and your heart, is your worst enemy?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.19

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

Another story on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is Crown Duel.

This novel includes two sections, one of which features action and battles, while the second takes place in a royal court and is full of political machinations. Both captivated fans with their fast-paced plot, portrayal of Meliara’s growth, and the slow-burn romance.

Readers described Meliara as a likable, selfless and brave protagonist. While she was also brash and headstrong, she realized her mistakes and grew from them. Seeing her evolve, both personally and in her political skills, delighted them.

In terms of the romance, several readers also appreciated that the story doesn’t feature the common ‘bad boy’ love interest or a love triangle. Instead, they described the characters’ growing relationship as authentic and a slow-burn romance.

Negative Comments

What about critics? If readers didn’t enjoy the novel, they typically mentioned that they found it unrealistic how many times Meliara ended up unconscious during battle during the first section of the book.

Others said they found her quick temper and stubborn grudge, particularly against the male lead, unreasonable. As a result, they were frustrated with her.


The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

Description

A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.

Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path — even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross — and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.

As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

Drawing inspiration from ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the first book in Swati Teerdhala’s debut fantasy trilogy captivates with electric romance, stunning action, and the fierce bonds that hold people together — and drive them apart.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.73

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is The Tiger at Midnight. What did fans love about this novel? Overall, they described it as an adrenaline-infused story that captivated them through its cat-and-mouse plot and exquisite romance.

Readers loved that the book’s pages flew by at a breathless pace. As the characters fought to outdo each other, The Tiger at Midnight took twists and turns that enthralled them.

In addition, fans said that the romantic suspense between Esha and Kunal felt electric. As a welcome bonus, the two protagonists learned and grew through knowing one another. Their relationship forced them to challenge their beliefs, make difficult decisions, and become better people. Seeing this dynamic delighted fans.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Tiger at Midnight?

For the most part, these readers had two criticisms. The first was that they thought that the characters, described in the book description as fearsome and tough, didn’t live up to their reputations. Ultimately, these critics came in expecting a grittier and darker story and came away disappointed.

The second was that the story wasn’t as tense as they expected to be. As an explanation, some described the story as one that didn’t build, event after event, to a climactic point. They instead thought that the plot started to feel repetitive.


The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Description

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Books Cover of The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation — or so she’s been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm.

It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane.

But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission — and her life.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.91

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

The Burning Sky is another story on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances. Readers said that this fantasy novel takes a variety of beloved Young Adult fantasy tropes and blends them together for an entirely unique and exciting experience.

The story world features elemental powers, mythological creatures and elite boarding school drama.

As for the romance, The Burning Sky pairs the powerful mage protagonist, Iolanthe, with the agenda-driven Prince Titus. Readers frequently remarked that Iolanthe delighted them with her backbone, but also through her cleverness and back-and-forth banter with Titus. She adapts well to her difficult circumstances and refuses to self-pity.

In the past, YA fantasy readers have voiced their frustrations with protagonists who let their romantic feelings cloud their judgement – especially when something as serious as the fate of a kingdom is at stake.

Because of this, readers often made a point of saying that both Iolanthe and Titus didn’t follow this pattern. While their attraction grew, they didn’t let it derail them from their greater missions.

Negative Comments

What did readers who didn’t enjoy The Burning Sky say?

Generally, readers expressed similar sentiments: they disliked both Iolanthe and Titus as characters. Because of this, they couldn’t get invested in their romance.

Why was this? Well, critics of The Burning Sky characterized Iolanthe as a Mary Sue: a character so perfect at all she does and in her attributes that it’s unbelievable.

These readers said that Iolanthe’s ‘Chosen One’ status defined her. She was strong in the sense of being highly competent. However, she didn’t have dreams, hopes or fears of her own that were unrelated to her foretold destiny.

As for Titus, critics said that ultimately, he bothered them as a romantic prospect. He’s set up as a good person who only feigns a spoiled and manipulative persona.

However, these readers said that after a while, this didn’t seem like a mask. Instead, it seemed like his true face. As such, they thought that the story used the characters’ physical attraction to each other to avoid addressing important relational issues.


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Description

People lived because she killed.

People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king.

If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya — but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds — and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.79

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

Next on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is We Hunt the Flame. Inspired by ancient Arabia, this novel tantalized fans through its vibrant world, likable characters, and the electrifying chemistry between Nasir and Zafira.

Fans praised this story for having realistic and complex characters. Whether it was through their backstories, their motivations or their fears, Zafira and Nasir captivated readers with their authenticity. Readers mentioned that they found themselves easily swept up in their emotions and struggles. Throughout the book, they cheered the two on as they overcame their challenges and grew into better versions of themselves.

As for the romance, fans described it as a wonderful slow-burn love story. The tension between the two characters was palpable and readers described themselves as enraptured by it.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, critics mentioned two reasons why they didn’t enjoy We Hunt the Flame.

Some thought the story was too standard, saying that it was ultimately a classic fantasy quest plot. Others though, said that the plot meandered – especially in the section but they traveled through the desert – rather than built towards a climactic ending. As a result, they found themselves drawn out of the story.


Ruined by Amy Tintera

Description

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined – completely lacking any magic – she is determined to get revenge.

Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy’s kingdom, posing as the crown prince’s betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everyone he holds dear, including his son.

The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life – and her family – on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is Ruined. Fast-paced and exciting, this was a novel that fans just couldn’t put down. Several mentioned that while the story itself may not be unique, it either twists familiar tropes or does the familiar spectacularly.

Other fans mentioned how much they loved the protagonists in Ruined and  their romance with each other. These readers often described Emelina as a riveting antihero who was fascinating to watch. The nobler Casimir, on the other hand, warmed their hearts. Hearing their perspectives, which were often dissimilar, was a treat.

Moreover, these readers praised the two’s witty dialogue with each other, which they tended to describe as both hilarious and artfully revealing the characters’ personalities. The romance itself is a slow-burn, which fans found wonderful.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Ruined, what did they say? Well, critics typically had two comments.

The first was that it came across as familiar Young Adult Fantasy, mostly because of the way the romance plot played out. 

The second had to do with the romance. In general, critics tended to describe Emelina’s transition from hating Casimir to loving him as rushed. Related to this, others thought she gave up on revenge –  an extremely important goal to her – too easily. As such, they seemed to lose respect for her.


Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Description

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all — the Crown Prince Aldrik — she finds herself enticed into his world.

Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

The next story on our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is Air Awakens, a novel fans excitedly compared to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Many of them mentioned that it was a perfect combination of new elements as well as familiar favorite tropes: elemental magic, court intrigue, romance and more.

But overall, fans praised the book for its characters as well as its enemies-to-lovers romance. Vhalla’s evolution from timid librarian to brave warrior impressed them as well as made her easy to cheer on.

Moreover,  these readers were delighted by the slow-burn, conflict-filled relationship between Vhalla and Aldrik. Several mentioned that their romance grew at a convincing pace, allowing the two characters to learn more about each other and develop a friendship.

As for Aldrik himself, fans said they enjoyed him as a love interest, saying he was a mysterious and misunderstood ‘bad boy’ type who was delightfully witty and sympathetic.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Air Awakens? For the most part, readers focused on the characters, saying that they didn’t connect with them.

For instance, some said that Vhalla came across alternately as weak or arrogant. But most of these critics focused on Aldrik, the love interest, who they perceived as acting like a bully. As such, they found the romance between him and Vhalla upsetting rather than romantic.


Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian 

Description

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess – a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.92

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments 

Last in our list of fantasy books with enemies to lovers romances is Ash Princess. What did fans praise about this novel? Mainly, it was the combination of its dark, gritty world and its mixture of beloved tropes.

For instance, these readers often said that while several aspects of the story were common in the fantasy genre, they were their favorites with a new spin. Whether it was the war, political intrigue, magic or romance, fans praised the story for having the perfect blend of everything they wanted.

Not only that, but several described the plot as loaded with suspense, twists and turns that kept them guessing while they raced through Ash Princess pages. As a bonus, others said that the romance added a moral and emotional complexity to the story they often didn’t find in other novels.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Ash Princess, what did they say about it?

In general, critics disliked what fans loved. They perceived the familiar tropes as clichés, whether those tropes were in the plot, world-building or its love triangle. As a result, these readers found it difficult to get emotionally invested in either the story.


10 Simmering Fantasy Books With Enemies to Lovers Romances

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10 Simmering Fantasy Books With Enemies to Lovers Romances


Related: Fantasy romance books


N.S. Mirage

I'm Natalie, an avid fantasy reader here to help readers find exciting, otherworldly books.

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