15 Enthralling YA Fantasy Books About Kings and Queens

Whether it’s because of their grandeur, political intrigues or something more, stories about royalty capture our imaginations. These characters have high stakes attached to their decisions and actions, regardless of whether they’re queensprincessesprinces or kings.

Are you on the lookout for Young Adult fantasy stories featuring these royals? If so, you’re in luck.

Here are 15 enthralling YA fantasy books about kings and queens to read:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each book below. For a quick comparison, here’s a handy chart.

The Priestess and the Dragon by Nicolette Andrews


Love and revenge don’t end with death.

Exiled for her mother’s sins, Suzume lives in a remote mountain shrine training to become a priestess. She would give anything to return to her old life at the emperor’s palace. When she accidently awakens a sleeping dragon posing as the mountain god, she thinks he is the answer to all her problems. But she gets more than she bargained for when she unleashes the Dragon, Kaito.

He has been sealed away for five hundred years and now he is hungry for revenge. The woman who trapped him may be dead, but he will settle for her reincarnation and he chooses Suzume to join him on his quest for vengeance. What he doesn’t realize is Suzume is that priestess reborn.

Now she must find a way to seal the dragon once more before he learns the truth.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.72

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Our first story on the list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is The Priestess and the DragonPraising this exciting adventure as perfect for Inuyasha fans, readers enthused over its slow-burn romance, startling plot twists, and fast pace.

Whether it was because of the fiery chemistry between the leads, ever-building romantic tension, or the growing trust and respect between them, Suzume and Kaito’s romance captivated fans. They reported that theirs wasn’t a love-at-first-sight romance. Instead, it had refreshing challenges and heartwarming triumphs.

Aside from that, several described The Priestess and the Dragon as jam-packed with action and unpredictability. Rather than familiar plot twists, these left fans reeling. Add to that the adrenaline-filled battles, and readers were unable to put the book down.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including The Priestess and the DragonIf readers didn’t enjoy this story, what did they say? In general, they focused on Suzume and Kaito, saying they were unlikeable. Some described Suzume, for example, as rude and snobbish, while others said Kaito’s smugness and threats grated on them.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black


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: 4.10

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Second on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens 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.

Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Danica Shardae is an avian shapeshifter, and the golden hawk’s form in which she takes to the sky is as natural to her as the human one that graces her on land. The only thing more familiar to her is war: It has raged between her people and the serpiente for so long, no one can remember how the fighting began.

As heir to the avian throne, she’ll do anything in her power to stop this war — even accept Zane Cobriana, the terrifying leader of her kind’s greatest enemy, as her pair bond and make the two royal families one.

Trust. It is all Zane asks of Danica — and all they ask of their people — but it may be more than she can give.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is HawksongFilled with lush and captivating world-building, this story captivated fans with its fantastical world. Whether it was the well-drafted descriptions, subtle legends and traditions woven throughout the tale, or different people groups, Hawksong whisked readers into its pages.

The story focuses on the growing relationship between the two leads, Danica and Zane, and how they join their two very different and hostile cultures: avian and cobra shapeshifters. Fans remarked that the two nation’s cultures and traditions were distinct and fascinating, and the gradual trust Danica and Zane created a moving story.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Hawksong. If they didn’t enjoy the novel, what did they say?

Overall, some readers found the period and setting of this book unclear since it referenced myths and legends from vastly different time periods and locations. For instance, some said it included legends from Egypt and Greece.

Others focused on the ending, saying it was abrupt and left them with more questions than answers.  

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal


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 

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens 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.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo


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 

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens 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.

Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift


Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.

The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Anther story on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is Cast in Firelight. This action-packed mystery story delighted fans with its world and sweet ‘rivals-to-lovers’ romance.

Inspired by India, the story’s world came across to readers as refreshing and tantalizing. Fans were riveted by this setting, as well as the intriguing story elements woven into Cast in Firelight: secret identities, vigilante justice, a pantheon of gods and goddesses, criminal underworlds and more. 

Several described the romance between Adraa and Jatin as sweet and touching as well. Filled with banter and conflict, their relationship grew organically from the moment the two met. In particular, fans praised it for not being ‘love at first sight’, and instead focusing on the two gaining more respect and admiration for the other as they slowly learned more about one another.

Negative Comments

For the most part, these readers said that Adraa and Jatin came across as underdeveloped, which made them and their romance difficult to get emotionally invested in. For some, this was because they didn’t get a clear sense of their backstories or motivations, while others said they had little to differentiate them from standard Young Adult protagonists.

The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly


A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

Askia became heir to the Frozen Crown of Seravesh because of her devotion to her people. But her realm is facing a threat she cannot defeat by sheer will alone. The mad emperor of the Roven Empire has unleashed a horde of invading soldiers to enslave her lands.

For months, her warriors have waged a valiant, stealth battle, yet they cannot stop the enemy’s advancement. Running out of time, she sets sail for sun-drenched Vishir, the neighboring land to the south, to seek help from its ruler, Emperor Armaan.

A young woman raised in army camps, Askia is ill-equipped to navigate Vishir’s labyrinthine political games. Her every move sinks her deeper into court intrigues which bewilder and repel her, leaving her vulnerable not only to enemies gathering at Vishir’s gates, but to those behind the palace walls. 

And in this glittering court, where secrets are worth more than gold, Askia fears that one false step will expose her true nature. For Askia is a witch gifted with magical abilities — knowledge that could destroy not only her life but her people. As her adversaries draw closer, Askia is forced to make an impossible choice — and no matter what she decides, it may not be enough to prevent Seravesh’s fall.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Dubbed a ‘hidden gem’ by fans, The Frozen Crown is next on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens. Centered on an intelligent, capable princess, this story treated readers to a thrilling tale filled with politics, war and magic. 

These readers described themselves as enthralled until The Frozen Crown’s very last page. Seeing Askia, the protagonist, navigate a new culture, experiencing betrayals, and weaving her own web of political intrigue, captivated readers. Whether it was the court drama, conspiracies or unpredictable situations and choices, this story grabbed them.

Moreover, while every character struck fans as engaging and relatable, Askia was a favorite. While strong-willed and brave, she also came across as human and vulnerable, especially when forced to make extraordinarily tough decisions. Readers found themselves rooting for her the entire time.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including The Frozen Crown. What did they say?

Overall, these readers had two reasons. The first were that they found court drama unengaging, though they mentioned that this was because they were readers who didn’t find political intrigue interesting in general. 

Others said that they found Askia annoying, particularly in the beginning of the book. Her refusal to understand and work with a new cultural and political system she desperately needed help from – expecting it cater to her instead – came across as bratty. 

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy


An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye – and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.84

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is A River of Royal Blood. This novel grabbed fans with its refreshing North African-inspired world, likeable protagonist and themes.

Several described the world as enchanting, filled with feuding lands, rich histories, magic and more. Not only was it fleshed out and endlessly fascinating, but fans described the magic itself as having a dark, alluring quality to it. Add to that a diverse character cast and artful weaving of themes around race and oppression, and readers were swept them into A River of Royal Blood’s pages

Other fans were delighted by Eva, the protagonist, enjoying her intelligence and thoughtfulness, especially in her decision-making. Unlike protagonists in other novels, whose decisions might inspire incredulity, readers found Eva’s careful decisions refreshing.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t like A River of Royal Bloodwhat did they say? Overall, critics cited two reasons.

The first had to do with the book’s pace and plot, which these readers described as slow. Others added that while the promise of an epic sibling rivalry drew them to A River of Royal Blood, the delivery struck them as underdeveloped. For some, it seemed as if the book intended to setup the rivalry, but showcase it in sequels.

The second reason involved the characters. Critics said that they found it difficult to connect with Eva, who didn’t strike them as having much to distinguish her from other unhappy, kind princesses.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi


They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.10

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is Children of Blood and BoneThis much-hailed novel dazzled its fans with its exhilarating action, unique world, as well as the racial diversity of its characters.

With a lightning-fast pace, Children of Blood and Bone sent readers flying through its pages. Several described themselves as on the edge of their seat, wondering what would happen next. Moreover, even as the book introduced a fascinating world inspired by West African mythology, its plot was full of action. Whether it was the battles, chase scenes or twists, each was filled with suspense and their deadly stakes kept fans riveted. 

In addition to that, several readers praised Children of Blood and Bone for its significance in the larger cultural discussion around diversity and representation. Because of this, these fans enjoyed the book for giving them a wonderful story, but also the ability to take part in a greater cultural moment.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Children of Blood and BoneIf readers disliked this story, what did they say?

For the most part, these readers described it as a standard Young Adult Fantasy, except for its non-European setting. Whether it was the plot, characters or romance, critics said they were overly-familiar. They appreciated Children of Blood and Bone‘s racial diversity, but weren’t moved by the story itself.

Others pointed to the romance in particular, saying that Inan and Zélie fell in love immediately, rather than gradually transitioning from enemies to romantic partners. Because of this, these readers thought their feelings came across as contrived.

Soul of the Crow by Jessaca Willis


When a mortal wants someone dead, they contract a Reaper of Veltuur, an individual born from the underrealm with fatal magic coursing through their veins.

Sinisa is one of them.

For three years, she’s slain her targets dutifully with the aid of her crow familiar. She only needs one more kill to ascend as a Shade, a coveted status of power. And when the King of Oakfall requests a Reaper to execute his daughter for an unforgivable crime, Sinisa is first to volunteer for the job.

It should be easy.

But when the Prince of Oakfall discovers his sister is in danger, he flees the palace with her. Sinisa is left with only two options: journey through the mortal realm to find and slay her mark, or face the consequences of returning to the underrealm empty-handed. It’s no choice at all. She has come too far and is too close to earning her title to let it be taken away from her now.

Besides, no one can outrun a Reaper of Veltuur.

Or can they…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.84

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is Soul of the CrowThis novel delighted fans with its unpredictable twists, turns and its unique, dark world.

Whether it was the secrets, betrayals, revelations or something else, Soul of the Crow was full of suspense and drama. Fans described the escalating stakes, danger and surprises as keeping them on the edges of their seats the entire time.

On top of that, many enthused over the book’s original world, saying that it was refreshing and attention-grabbing. 

Negative Comments

What did critics say? For the most part, these readers pointed to either the process for beginning a Reaper or Acari, the story’s second most prominent character.

In terms of the former, critics said that the Reaper process seemed unrealistic. For instance, several mentioned that if killing anything turned one into a Reaper, someone would become a Reaper by accidentally killing a mosquito, ant or other bug.

Acari, on the other hand, grated on some readers, who described him as reckless or over-emotional.

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian 


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 

Another stroy on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens 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.

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas


Books Cover of The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

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

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 YA fantasy books about kings and queens. 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.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king — a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.80

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a novel nominated for the prestigious Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Fans fell in love with Elisa, the story’s protagonist and raved about her  portrayal. Many of them were intrigued by how different she is from the typical ‘Chosen One’ character. While most ‘Chosen Ones’ start off as unlikely heroes due to their socioeconomic background, Elisa battles a powerful sense of worthlessness and a sheltered upbringing.

Readers often said that this made her easy to empathize with, especially given how much she has to fight to grow past her weaknesses. Several readers who had battled eating disorders or a negative self-image said they felt a particular connection to her. By the end of the novel, readers of all stripes said Elisa’s growth into a confident and heroic leader inspired them and warmed their hearts. 

Other fans mentioned how much they loved the world-building. In particular, readers praised the book’s multifaceted and respectful inclusion of religion into its setting. Often missing in fantasy world-building, it added a new dimension to Elisa and other characters.

In addition, readers said that seeing characters of different cultural and religious convictions interact was refreshing and made the world come to life.

Negative Comments

Not every reader enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns. So, what did critics say?

For the most part, they had two main reasons. Some were upset that Elisa started off overweight but became thinner over the course of her trials. For instance, she trekked through a desert and had far less food available to consume than usual. Critics interpreted this as linking heroism and thinness.

The second criticism is more ambiguous, having to do with the portrayal of religion. Some readers disliked the fact that Elisa was religious or that religion was included as part of the story’s world. However, their distaste didn’t come across as a criticism against The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so much as a dislike of religion in general.

Ironically, others seemed to think that the religious aspect wasn’t delved into deeply enough. For instance, these critics were intrigued by the philosophical questions Elisa ponders. They said, though, that the book only offered surface-level answers.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace


Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.73

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens is All the Stars and Teeth. This thrilling oceanic adventure captivated fans, many of whom were pirate-lovers, with its excitement and likeable characters.

Featuring an epic, sea-faring tale, this story impressed its readers with how immersive it was. Several described it as breathing new life into the traditional pirate story and vividly transporting them into the Heel Haul, the pirate ship.

In particular, fans mentioned that the entire cast delighted them. Not only did they connect with the characters, but the bond between the crew was one of the highlights of the story.

Amora, the protagonist, also won their praise for her relatability and determination. Fans said it was a treat to follow this fiery lead as she fought to save her kingdom.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, these readers had two reasons for disliking the novel.

The first was that they felt the beginning was slow-paced because of the descriptions and world-building.

The second was that they didn’t thought that Amora, the protagonist, was unlikeable. These critics said she came across as spoiled or selfish, and it made it difficult for them to get invested in what happened to her. 

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen


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: 3.92

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Last on our list of YA fantasy books about kings and queens books about royalty 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.

15 Enthralling YA Fantasy Books About Kings and Queens

How Do These Fantasy Novels Compare?

N.S. Mirage

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

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