20 Marvelous YA Fantasy Books About Royalty

Young Adult fantasy books revolving around royalty tantalize our imaginations. Is it because of their aura of grandeur? Their promise of an epic scale story and perilous stakes? Or is it something else?

Regardless of why, queensprincessesprinces and kings are fan-favorites. If you’re on the lookout for stories featuring these classic characters, you’re in luck.

Here are 20 YA fantasy books about royalty:

I’ve included book descriptions, readers’ ratings and summaries of positive and negative comments for each book below. 

On the other hand, if you’d like a quick summary, here’s a comparison chart.

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 

First in our list of YA fantasy books about royalty 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.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie


Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.

But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Second on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty is Half a King. Readers who praised this novel reported enthusiastically that it had Joe Abercrombie’s penchant for gritty, dark and even grim settings.

While Half a King targets young adults, these readers had read Abercrombie’s adult-targeted fantasy books. They were pleased that this book still had what they enjoyed about his world-building. They also mentioned that while the story is a grim and fast-paced survival tale, it never made them feel bleak or overwhelmed.

Another highlight they mentioned was the characters. From the main character, Yarvi, to the rest of the cast, each added to the story in their own way. Several fans mentioned that the genuine friendship between the characters was particularly moving for them.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t connect with the story, they often said it was because they found it overly familiar. Half a King struck these readers as a standard revenge story in both plot and character cast.

They appreciated that Yarvi was an intelligent and cunning version of the avenging hero rather than the typical warrior archetype. However, they mentioned that they’d seen this particular twist used in previous stories as well.

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 royalty 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.

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

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty it 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.

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 royalty. 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 Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh


How can she protect her kingdom, if she can’t protect herself? 

Princess Arie never expected to manifest a Jinni’s Gift. When she begins to hear the thoughts of those around her, she hides it to the best of her ability. But to her dismay, the forbidden Gift is growing out of control.

When a neighboring king tries to force her hand in marriage and steal her kingdom, discovery becomes imminent. Just one slip could cost her throne. And her life.

A lamp, a heist, and a Jinni hunter’s crew of thieves are her only hope for removing this Gift–and she must remove it before she’s exposed. Or die trying.

The Stolen Kingdom is a loose Aladdin retelling. Set in a world that humans share with Mermaids, Dragons, and the elusive Jinni, this isn’t the fairy tale you remember… 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.02

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty is The Stolen Kingdom, although technically our main character is a proactive crown princess. Inspired by Aladdin, this novel dazzled fans with its magical adventure tale and easy-to-love main characters.

Readers often described the story as fun and exciting. Each event in the novel built on the preceding one, creating a rapid-paced plot that kept readers turning the pages.

Moreover, fans found themselves rooting for Arie and Kadin as individual characters, but also in their romance together. In particular, readers mentioned that Arie’s determination, courage and care for her kingdom made her a joy to read about.

Negative Comments

No book is universally loved. When critics reviewed The Stolen Kingdom, they generally said that the plot featured several coincidences favorable to the protagonists’. Because they were noticeable to them, these readers were jarred out of the story.

Other critics, however, said that the characters’ relationships grew quickly, to the point where they seemed rushed.

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 royalty 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.

The Dragon Hunter and the Mage by V. R. Cardoso


Magic can make you invincible. If it doesn’t get you killed first.

Aric and Fadan are half-brothers. Both sons of the Empress, but only one of them the son of the Emperor. A decade ago, Fadan’s powerful father tore the Empire in two by outlawing the use and practice of magic.

Forbidden from seeing each other, Aric and Fadan defy the Emperor and wander the vast Imperial Citadel until one night, they stumble upon an ancient Manual of Magic. They are faced with a choice: take the book straight to the Emperor or see if one of them has the forbidden magical Talent.

Their world is turned upside down and the half-brothers find themselves swept away as tragedy and conspiracy separate them, sending each to either end of the Empire.

In a world of dark mages, massive creatures, and vengeful gods, one will train as a Dragon Hunter while the other taps into magical powers that could spell his execution. 

Dark forces are moving in the shadows and no one in the Empire is ready for what’s to come. Will Aric and Fadan survive to ever see each other again?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.13

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty is The Dragon Hunter and the Mage. This novel features two main characters that readers found a delight to follow!

Seeing the two brothers discover their gifts and grow into adults gripped them. At the same time, fans said that both the main characters and the side ones were well-developed, all of them adding to the story.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, they said that The Dragon Hunter and the Mage had a slow beginning. Others said that the book occasionally used modern terminology they didn’t think matched the medieval-inspired world.

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 Rating3.87

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty 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. 

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen


In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince.

Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty is The False Prince. This novel brings us Sage, a character with sharp wit, powerful observation skills, but also sympathetic flaws. 

Fans found immersing themselves in his point of view a treat, enthusing over how much fun it was to anticipate how he would react, what he’d pick up and to laugh at his snarky humor. These readers rooted for him the entire time, saying that even as they enjoyed his brilliance, it was his humanity and vulnerabilities that endeared him to them. 

Overall, fans described this book as filled with intrigue and adventure, with wit as well as heart.

Negative Comments

For the most part, critics had two reasons why they didn’t enjoy The False Prince.

The first was the plot twist. Critics typically saw it coming early on in the story and, because of this, felt that the book was predictable.

Related to this, some critics added that in order to hide the plot twist, the book had to conceal crucial information about Sage. However, because the story was told in first person, the concealment came across as artificial: thoughts and emotions they expected him to have weren’t there. As such, these readers felt disconnected from him.

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 

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty 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


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 YA fantasy books about royalty is Ruined, although Emelina is technically not a queen yet. Fast-paced and exciting, this novel was one 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.

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: 3.89

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments 

Next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty 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


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

Next on our list of YA fantasy 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.

The Demon King by Cinda Chima Williams


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: 4.12

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty 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.

The Girl King by Mini Lu


Two sisters become unwitting rivals in a war to claim the title of Emperor in this sweeping tale of ambition, sacrifice and betrayal for readers of Sabaa Tahir and Alwyn Hamilton.

Book cover of The Girl King

All hail the Girl King.

Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow.

Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead — a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally — and an army — if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens — a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself.

But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.60

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books featuring siblings is The Girl King. This story’s fans greatly appreciated its Asian-inspired setting, but also said that they also found novel’s plot captivating. Full of twists and turns, it kept them racing through its pages.

Negative Comments

What did critics say? In general, those who didn’t rate The Girl King highly said that apart from the Asian-inspired setting, the novel wasn’t much different from other Young Adult Fantasy stories. In particular, the main characters came across as standard to them.

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons


Book cover of The Ruin of Kings

There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests.

When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions.

He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.80

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

And next on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty is The Ruin of Kings. With an expansive scope and a world brimming with history, politics and mythology, this story struck fans as spectacularly engaging. All of this, they said, was done without an onslaught of information.

Negative Comments

Readers who didn’t think The Ruin of Kings was for them said that the story’s non-linear chronological structure made it confusing.

Others said that having the story told from these multiple time periods made it difficult for the character development to come across as organic. In each them, Kihrin sounded like a completely different character.

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 royalty 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.

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

The next story on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty 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.

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli


In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness — and so there was also the Iskari.

The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past.

But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm.

When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected.

With the help of a secret friend — a slave boy from her betrothed’s household — Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.11

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Last on our list of YA fantasy books about royalty is The Last Namsara. Most readers gave this novel five stars, saying that the many dragons and fierce protagonist, Asha, captivated them.

Readers reported that in a genre that has seen a rise in powerful female character, Asha still stands out. Asha is brave, scarred (both physically and emotionally) and an impressive warrior.

However, the novel also portrays her as vicious and ruthless: readers appreciated that the story didn’t try to ‘soften’ her in this regard.

At the same time, readers said that she is neither invincible nor a character who comes across as excessively over-powered. Because of this, Asha won readers over with her genuine courage.

Negative Comments

Given how that most readers gave The Last Namsara five stars, what did critics say? These readers said that the characters or the story itself couldn’t grab their attention.

In terms of the characters, they described the cast as flat: Asha came across to them as a standard YA ‘badass’ protagonist. She had little to distinguish her from other heroines in the genre.

The villains, on the other hand, seemed nasty and cruel for the sake of providing Asha a villain. Because of this, these readers struggle to get invested in what happened to her or her companions.

Others said that they just couldn’t get interested in the story. It didn’t excite them with anything to anticipate, grab them with suspense or thrill them with surprise.

20 Marvelous YA Fantasy Books About Royalty

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20 Marvelous YA Fantasy Books About Royalty

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