50 Best Enemies to Lovers Fantasy Books You Must Read


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. The stories on this list feature slow-burn romances, hate-at-first-sight, arranged marriages, lovers on opposing sides of wars, and much more.

So without further ado, here are 50 best enemies to lovers fantasy books you must read.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Description

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.10

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

First on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


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

Second on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


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

Third on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


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 enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Description

Choose: A quick deathor slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace — and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust — and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.15

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What’s fifth on our list? It’s Poison Study, a story fans praised for its electric romantic chemistry between Yelena, the tenacious and determined female lead, and Valek, the stoic assassin, was gripping. They also mentioned the exciting premise and the main characters’ moral and psychological depth.

Negative Comments

Readers who didn’t rate the novel highly said that the language of the story jarred them by alternating between older ‘historical’ verbiage and a modern one. Along a similar vein, it also tended to be straight to the point – some readers felt that it made the emotions in the story feel flat. Others said that the slow-burn approach to the romance wasn’t their preferred style.


Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

Description

Zoe Ardelay receives astonishing and unwelcome news: she has been chosen to become the king’s fifth wife. Forced to go to the royal city, she manages to slip away and hide on the shores of the mighty river. 

It’s there that Zoe realizes she is a coru prime ruled by the elemental sign of water. She must return to the palace, not as an unwilling bride for the king, but a woman with power in her own right.

But as Zoe unlocks more of the mysteries of her blood and the secrets of the royal family she must decide how to use her great power to rise above the deceptions and intrigue of the royal court.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Sixth on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Troubled Waters. This novel enchanted readers primarily through Zoe, it’s protagonist, and the authentic romance between her and her love interest.

Fans described Zoe as a refreshing heroine, one that starts off in a vulnerable state but grows into a strong and self-possessed individual. Her journey moved these readers, who found her relatable and appreciated that she wasn’t the hyper-competent protagonist type.

In addition, others said that Troubled Water’s romance caught their attention. They contrasted it with romances in other fantasy books, which they said tended to say relied on ‘love at first sight’ with little substance behind it. Not so with this novel, which fans praised as having two strong characters who have gain trust and mutual respect for each other. These readers praised it as heartwarming.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Troubled Waters? Well, they tended to focus on either Zoe as a protagonist or the story’s means of characterizing its cast.

For the former, these readers described Zoe as overly favored by the story. For example, some of them said she adapted too easily to the changes around her while others said she’d make frustrating decisions but face no consequences for it. As a result, these readers found her unlikeable.

In terms of the latter, critics said that the book tended to characterize its cast by astrology descriptions rather than showing those traits in action.

On the other hand, other readers didn’t mind being told about a character’s traits, but didn’t like how frequently those traits were attributed to the character’s astrological sign. This group of readers started to feel that the astrological signs dominated characters instead of informing about them.


The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Description

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.90

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Seventh on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is The Iron King. This fantasy novel delighted fans with its adrenaline-packed adventure plot, imaginative world and relatable protagonist, Meghan.

Meghan, these readers said, came across to them as extremely relatable. While she began the story uncertain and insecure, she grew into a brave character. Seeing her overcome her fears in order to save her brother made these readers cheer for and admire her.

Aside from that, fans commented on The Iron King’s intriguing world. Jam-packed with magical creatures and enchanting new places, this novel transported readers into its pages. Many said that this, paired with exciting action, kept them eager to know what would happen next.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about The Iron King?

Overall, if critics didn’t enjoy this novel, they cited Meghan as the reason. Several described her as either a passive protagonist or a ‘damsel in distress‘. For instance, the two main supporting characters, both of whom were men, frequently had to rescue her.

This frustrated critics, who thought too much of the book’s plot relied on this setup.


Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland

Description

Darkness covers the north, since the black mage has begun his assault on the kingdom of Neroche. Legend has it that only the two magical swords held by Neroche’s king can defeat the mage. Now the fate of the Nine Kingdoms rests in the hands of a woman destined to wield one of those blades…

In this land of dragons and mages, warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. And Morgan will find that the magic in her blood brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword-and a love more powerful than she has ever imagined.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

What’s the eighth story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books? It’s Star of the Morning, a story fans frequently praised for its main character. Morgan, the book’s protagonist, struck them as both likeable and a highly accomplished swordswoman.

They also mentioned that the romance between her and Miach was well-developed, transitioning from distrust to trust and affection believably and charmingly.

Negative Comments

Readers who didn’t rate the book highly had a couple of comments. First, the romance is light and more on the chaste side, which disappointed readers who wanted it to be a larger and ‘spicier’ presence in the story. Second, others remarked that Morgan struck them as judgmental, especially in regards to gender roles.


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 

Ninth on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne

Description

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival — and vengeance — might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner — and danger is a way of life. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.72

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Tenth on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Midnight Thief. Featuring a brave, intelligent protagonists and a lightning-fast plot, this novel delighted fans.

These readers praised Kyra for her intelligence, bravery and selflessness. This sympathetic character was a delight to have lead them through an exciting, dangerous and intriguing adventure. Once the story started, it engaged fans and never lost momentum.

Negative Comments

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

Overall, they tended to describe Kyra as unrealistically honorable, given her background, or said they didn’t feel connected to the characters in general.


Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Description

Secret Identities. 

Extraordinary Powers. 

She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned.

As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova.

But Nova’s allegiance is to the villains who have the power to end them both.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.16

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with modern technology is Renegades. What did readers who love this book say?

In general, fans praised the book for its likable and enjoyable characters. This included the main characters, Nova and Adrian, but also the rest of the cast. In particular, Nova, with her intelligence and ruthlessness, intrigued to them. On the other hand, Adrian won their admiration and all-around affection.

Readers also mentioned how fascinated they were by Renegades’ world. The sheer variety of superpowers captured their imaginations and entertained them immensely. All of these powers, fans were happy to report, came across as well-developed and organic.

Negative Comments

So what did critics of Renegades say? In general, these readers thought that the story had too many standard superhero and Young Adult Fantasy tropes. Because of this over-familiarity, they couldn’t immerse themselves in the characters, the storyline or be impressed by the plot twists.

Critics also mentioned that they found it difficult to connect with the characters, with several describing them as bland. As such, they didn’t feel invested in what happened to them as the story progressed.


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Description

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life — a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Shadow and Bone. Fans praised this twist-filled novel for its dazzling world-building and likeable characters. 

Describing the world of Ravka as dark and entrancing, these readers were intrigued by the unique magic system, the theories and history behind the grisha, and more. 

On top of that, fans praised the characters and Alina in particular. While she started off as a naïve and even feeble character, readers empathized with her insecurities and mistakes. By the end of the book, they were delighted by her growth into a strong, confident protagonist.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Shadow and BoneWhat did these readers say? For the most part, they either said they disliked the protagonist, or that the book too closely resembled standard YA books. In terms of Alina, critics found her difficult to respect, describing her as weak and a ‘damsel in distress’, despite her incredible powers.


Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Description

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 enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.  


The Assassins of Tamurin by S.D. Tower

Description

The river god had spared the infant girl the villagers found drifting on a boat with a dead man and dying woman, so the superstitious townsfolk believed it would be a sacrilege to let the child die as well.

The name Lale, meaning “lucky,” is the last good thing they give her, and she grows up abused, unloved, and resented – until, at age eleven, she comes to the attention of Makina Seval, “Mother Midnight,” the absolute ruler of the Despotate of Tamurin.

Enrolled in Three Springs, the Despotana’s special school for orphaned and unwanted girls, young Lale finally finds what she has always coveted: respect, affection, community…a home.

But Three Springs is an institution of dark and shadowy purpose, a place where the wards of Mother Midnight are trained to become perfect spies and cold-blooded, ruthlessly efficient killers. And Lale has learned her lessons well.

At age twenty, she stands poised to play her role in the Despotana’s grandest scheme: vengeance.

Years earlier Makina Seval’s entire family – including her infant son, the rightful heir to the Bethiyan throne – was brutally slain through the plots of a devious chancellor, who then raised up a young usurper to be the Sun Lord.

Now it is Lale’s duty to insinuate her way into the court – and the bed – of that same usurper, Terem Rathai, no longer a child but a powerful and dangerous foe. And after she has earned Terem’s trust, Lale is to kill him.

Bound by the blackest sorcery to remain loyal to her beloved Mother, Lale will suffer nightmarish torment – even death – if she fails.

But once enmeshed in the web of deceit and treachery that has been spun around her, the young assassin begins to doubt the righteousness of her sworn mission.

For not only will the Despotana’s grand design bring doom upon the world itself, there hangs over Lale yet another appalling catastrophe — one that threatens all that she is, all she has ever believed.

Lale has fallen in love with the man she must destroy. . . .

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.89

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

The Assassins of Tamurin is another enemies to lovers fantasy book that gripped readers. With its vividly cast world and Asian-inspired setting, this fantasy novel tells a coming of age story through first-person narration.

Readers said that this made it easy for them to connect with Lale, the protagonist, and root for her as she begins to question how she’d been raised and who she wants to become.

Others mentioned that they appreciated the novel’s fleshed out culture and social backdrop. In tandem with Lale’s convincing character growth, this had several readers reflecting on similar real-life situations throughout world history.

Negative Comments

What did readers who didn’t enjoy The Assassins of Tamurin say?

Several commented that despite the first-person narration, the story seemed to keep Lale’s motivations and reactions at a distance. Even as events affect her, her emotions aren’t mentioned.

These readers said that this made it difficult to feel attached to Lale and where the story might take her.

Other readers seemed to come in with the expectation that this would be an action-packed adventure. These readers expected daring escapades, assassin training and pages that bristled with secret killings. As such, these readers felt disappointed when The Assassins of Tamurin resembled a coming of age 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 enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


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 enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


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

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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 enemies to lovers fantasy books. 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 Priestess and the Dragon by Nicolette Andrews

Description

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

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is The Priestess and the DragonHailing 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.


Mage Slave by R.K. Throne

Description

A warrior prince, an enslaved spy, a plot to draw the world to war.

Crown Prince Aven Lanuken wants something more than a trophy for a future wife. He wants a woman who will be more friend than follower. A queen who will be more warrior than diplomat. He wants a partner he can trust… with a dangerous secret that’s kept him trapped in a dark mountain fortress his entire life.

Mage slave Miara wants something more, too — to find an enemy prince. And not to marry him. She’s just received orders for her very first kidnapping. She loathes the idea of it, and it’s probably a suicide mission. But she has never failed a mission before and doesn’t intend to start now.

Of all the women in the world, why does he have to fall for the one trying to kill him?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.89

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Mage Slave, another great story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books, features a protagonist who shapeshifts into animals. What did fans say about this story? Delighted by the book’s loveable characters and sweet romance, these readers praised the book as a fun adventure.

Whether it was because of their balanced nobility and flaws, strength and vulnerabilities, or grin-inducing banter, Miara and Aven bewitched fans. These immensely likeable protagonists won readers over as a romantic couple as well as a kidnapper and kidnap ‘victim’. Their relationship developed gradually through the story, adding a warm romantic touch to the story.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Mage Slave, what did they say? Overall, these readers tended to stay that either the pace felt slow or that the romance seemed inauthentic because of how quickly it developed.


Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Description

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone — even the lowborn — a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries.

Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in.

And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.16

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Fireborne. Fans reported that this fantasy novel bristled with constant suspense, excitement and twists. Reading about the characters’ journey from raw recruits to powerful warriors engrossed them.

Those who love dragons also praised the book for its portrayal of these creatures. On one hand, they’re companions and battle partners. But on the other, they’re symbols of the state’s political and military power – for good or for ill.

Speaking of politics, many readers mentioned that the story’s more nuanced portrayal of regime-change, its thorny conundrums and implementation challenges, made this story a treat.

Negative Comments

While Fireborne had its fans, it also had its critics. So, what did they say?

The most common reason critics didn’t enjoy the novel was that they didn’t think the dragons were given enough focus. The story may have them, but Annie and Lee – the human protagonists – and their relationship with each other took center stage. The dragons, critics said, struck them as scenery rather than characters in their own right.

Others mentioned that they found the romance between Annie and Lee dissatisfying. These readers either didn’t find them convincing as a couple or just didn’t feel strongly enough about the relationship to root for it.


Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Description

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish — and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure — one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost.

Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating4.00

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Shadow of the Fox. What about this novel enchanted readers? Overall, it was the mixture of a fascinating world and great character cast.

Fans enthused over the enigmatic creatures, beautiful forests, cities and more that this book’s pages introduced to them. With vivid imagery and intricate world-building, this Japanese-inspired setting captured readers’ imaginations. Many said they were completely transported into Shadow of the Fox’s settings.

Others also mentioned how much they enjoyed the characters. They described them as likable, interesting and overall great protagonists to lead this fast-paced story.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, not even Shadow of the FoxIf readers didn’t enjoy this novel, what did they point to as reasons?

In general, they tended to say the story was predictable. Some of them said this was because the main characters came across as recognizable types (aloof warrior and naïve girl), while others said they thought the romance and quest developed and ended exactly as they expected.


Soul of the Crow by Jessaca Willis

Description

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

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Description

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle — a shifting maze of magical rooms — enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.68

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Cruel Beauty. The main positive comment that readers had for this book was the impressive character development. Both main characters go through significant changes throughout the story that turns them into flawed, but wise people. Another thing that readers appreciated about this book was the dark twist it included on fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin, making it very engaging and refreshing.

Negative Comments

A common complaint about this book among readers was that the infusion of different fairy tales got confusing at times. The book also tries to incorporate a few mythological aspects, which only added to the confusion. Another complaint that readers involved the pacing being slow at times and wanting the story to progress faster.  


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Description

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.97

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

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

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

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

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

Negative Comments

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

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

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


Talon by Julie Kagawa

Description

The Dragons of Talon:

Book Cover of Talon by Julie Kagawa

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

The Order of St. George:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.75

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

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

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

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

Negative Comments

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

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

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

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


The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsey Buroker

Description

Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads.

But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.03

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Readers who enjoyed The Emperor’s Edge mentioned how colorful, witty and entertaining the characters were. They also liked the tone of this steampunk epic fantasy, which they characterized as fun.

Moreover, they praised he slow-burn, enemies to lovers romance between the two leads, saying it had plenty of humor.

Negative Comments

It seems like the same fun tone that appealed to some readers did the opposite for others. The Emperor’s Edge doesn’t take itself too seriously,  which meant that positive reviewers didn’t mind that the political backdrop and technology weren’t further detailed. Negative reviewers, though, felt that without more explanations, it was difficult to accept some aspects of the plot.


Radiance by Grace Draven

Description

The Prince of no value

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

The noblewoman of no importance

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is RadianceFeaturing a slow-burn romance between people from two opposing kingdoms, this book enthralled fans with the sense of authenticity and connection between the two leads. 

Describing their romance as full of connection and compatibility, readers were delighted that Ildiko and Brishen’s relationship was based on mutual respect and an effort to be good spouses to one another. Comparing it to romances that focused on physical attraction, fans said that this was refreshing. Several mentioned that this was one of the few romances they’d read that came across as a convincing relationship.

Others mentioned how much they appreciated that Ildiko and Brishen were both mature, kind people. Rather than resent each other or their arranged marriage, they approached it with a decision to make the best of it. Seeing them support and care for each other won fans’ praise.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Radiancewhat did they say? For the most part, critics said that there wasn’t much conflict in the book to keep them riveted by what was happening. Some expected drama in a relationship between people of two vastly different cultures, while others said that the characters’ immediate compatibility meant there wasn’t suspense or anticipation. 

Content Note: Readers said that Radiance contains explicit sexual content


Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift

Description

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: 4.03

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next up 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.


Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Description

A hidden truth. 

Mortal enemies. 

Doomed love.

Books Cover of Firelight by Sophie Jordan

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.87

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

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

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

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

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

Negative Comments

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

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

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

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


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 enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Description

Every enchantment has a price.

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.66

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is An Enchantment of Ravens.

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

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

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

Negative Comments

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

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

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


Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde

Description

When Kerry’s little brother forgets his stuffed bear at the laundry, Kerry ventures out at 11th p.m. to retrieve it for him.

The laundry is deserted and kind of spooky, and while she’s there three men burst in, dragging a bound and bloodied young man they insist is a vampire.

Kerry helps him escape, only to be caught up in a desperate game between vampire hunters and their prey.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.77

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Companion of the Night, a novel that explores the vampire mythos in a modern setting. This story was published before Twilight, and fans praised it for having refreshing ideas and perspectives on ‘modern vampires’ they hadn’t seen before.

Fans described the book as having a genuinely smart protagonist as well as insightful explorations into what it would be like to be a vampire in contemporary times. Many praised its realism, describing it as convincing and intriguing.

Add to that the suspense around whether Kerry and Ethan could trust each other, and Companions of the Night came across as a wonderful book for vampire fans.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, so what did these readers say about Companions of the NightWell, they tended to focus on the story’s pace, saying that it started slowly and seemed to end too quickly.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Description

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 enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon

Description

Rhapsody is a woman, a Singer of some talent, who is swept up into events of world-shattering import.

On the run from an old romantic interest who won’t take no for an answer, Rhapsody literally bumps into a couple of shady characters: half-breeds who come to her rescue in the nick of time. Only the rescue turns into an abduction, and Rhapsody soon finds herself dragged along on an epic voyage, one that spans centuries and ranges across a wonder-filled fantasy world.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What did fans of our next enemies to lovers fantasy book say? Overall, these delighted fans praised Rhapsody for its vivid world-building, as well as the varied and developed cast of characters.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, and Rhapsody isn’t the exception to the rule. What did critics say?

For the most part, they said that the main character seemed too idealized and that the middle of the story was slow-paced.


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 

Next in our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books 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.


First Year by Rachel E. Carter

Description

Magic. Romance. War.

Before the age of seventeen, the young men and women of Jerar are given a choice —pursue a trade or enroll in a trial year in one of the realm’s three war schools to study as a soldier, knight, or mage…

For fifteen-year-old Ryiah, the choice has always been easy. Become a mage and train in Combat, the most prestigious faction of magic.

Yet when she arrives, Ry finds herself competing against friend and foe for one of the exalted apprenticeships. Everyone is rooting for her to fail — first and foremost among them is Prince Darren, the school prodigy who has done nothing but make life miserable since she arrived.

Will Ry survive, or will her dream go down in flames? 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments 

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is First YearThis novel captivated fans with its likeable protagonist, fast-paced and exciting plot, and well-planned magic system.

Describing Ryiah as easy to relate to and strong-willed, readers praised the story for making her  earn her victories. Seeing her struggle in her hyper-competitive environment, push herself to the limit, fail and get up again, made them empathize with and admire her. 

First Year‘s world-building delighted fans as well. In particular, several pointed to the magic system, saying it was well-thought out . It took effort to learn and had consequences for failure, which these readers found fascinating and suspenseful.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including First YearWhat did these readers say? In general, critics said they didn’t connect with Ryiah. Some said that this was because she seemed to constantly fail at what she did, while others said her frequent complaining made her seem immature.


Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott

Description

On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.

Suzume died officially the day the Prince’s men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.

Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.

And nothing will stop her. Not even love.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating3.87

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Shadows on the MoonFans of this novel praised it for its emotionally moving story line and relatable protagonist, Suzume.

Understandable and easy to care for, Suzume was a protagonist that had these readers cheering for her throughout the book. Her anger, pain and grief were layered and believable, something that impressed fans as well as made them empathize with her.

Along a similar vein, many mentioned her immersive and captivating point of view. Fans were drawn in to her emotions, becoming deeply invested in  what would happen to her. There were times readers cried, gasped with horror, and cheered.

Ultimately, fans described Shadows on the Moon as a harrowing but beautiful tale they couldn’t get enough of.

Negative Comments

No book is without it’s critics, including Shadows on the MoonIf readers didn’t enjoy this story, what did they say? For the most part, critics focused on the darker elements of the story. More specifically, it disturbed them when Suzume began harming herself out of grief.


Enchanting the Elven Mage by Alisha Klapheke

Description

A human princess. An elven warrior. A betrothal bound in a curse.

Today, Aury learned three things: One, she is a princess. Two, she might be a powerful mage. And three, a brutal mountain elf is on his way to the kingdom for their marriage.

Aury can’t escape her newly revealed royal parents quickly enough. If they think she is going to marry some vicious elven warrior mage, they have another thing coming.

They claim she’s a mage too, but she has yet to prove it. She heads to the magic military order to get her rune-marked staff and learn everything she can. If she becomes the weapon they need instead of her not-if-she-can-help-it husband, they’ll send the mountain elf packing, right?

If they don’t, she will.

Filip is certain of three truths: One, he is bound to wed a stubborn mule of a princess. Two, the union will give his people the farmland they desperately need. Three, his nightmare of a bride has wild magic that will probably kill him before their wedding day. But he will die before he gives up on winning her hand.

War is coming, and the first battle will be fought in the heart.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.67

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Enchanting the Elven Mage. Fans described this story as a beautiful and slightly darker retelling of Sleeping Beauty, full of shocking twists and turns that kept them on the edge of their seats.

On top of that, fans praised Enchanting the Elven Mage’s main characters, whose dynamic personalities gripped and delighted them. In addition, several found themselves grinning throughout, thanks to the pair’s witty thoughts and banter with each other. 

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Enchanting the Elven Mage. What did these readers say?

For the most part, the biggest complaint readers had regarding this book was the ending. They felt it ended too fast and left more to be desired, especially since this is a standalone novel. Aside from that, other readers pointed to the world building, saying that there didn’t seem to be much. As a result, the setting came across to them as a little plain. 


Promise of Darkness by Bec McMaster

Description

Princess. Tribute. Sacrifice. Is she the one prophesied to unite two warring Fae courts? Or the one bound to destroy them?

In a realm ruled by magic, the ruthless Queen of Thorns is determined to destroy her nemesis, the cursed Prince of Evernight.

With war brewing between the bitter enemies, the prince forces Queen Adaia to uphold an ancient treaty: she will send one of her daughters to his court as a political hostage for three months.

The queen insists it’s the perfect opportunity for Princess Iskvien to end the war before it begins. But one look into Thiago’s smoldering eyes and Vi knows she’s no assassin.

The more secrets she uncovers about the prince and his court, the more she begins to question her mother’s motives.

Who is the true enemy? The dark prince who threatens her heart? Or the ruthless queen who will stop at nothing to destroy him?

And when the curse threatens to shatter both courts, is her heart strong enough to break it?

A fairytale twist inspired by the Hades and Persephone myth.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.83

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Promise of Darkness. Fans were delighted by how action-packed this electrifying story was. Describing it as fast-paced and intense, this novel featured nail-biting adventure on every page.

On top of that, readers praised Promise of Darkness for its fantastic world-building, mentioning that the tale left intriguing breadcrumb after breadcrumb to building, gradually creating a dazzling final picture. They felt drawn into the world and eager for more.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Promise of Darkness. If readers didn’t enjoy it, what did they say?

For the most part, the biggest complaint they had regarded the characters. Critics felt their personalities were predictable or that their interactions with other characters were boring.

The ending disappointed others, whom described it as a cliffhanger. This isn’t a standalone novel, but many readers felt the ending for this first book could have been rounded out more.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Description

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price — and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . 

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction — if they don’t kill each other first.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.46

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next our list of enemies to lovers fantasy books is Six of Crows. Fans of this novel often said that they enjoyed how the story had a unique character cast, featuring people from all different walks of life. It added uniqueness to all of the characters, while also introducing themes of class and race.

Other readers remarked that they liked how action-packed and full of witty banter the story was.

Negative Comments

What did critics of Six of Crows say?

In general, they commented that with so many lead characters, it was hard for them to connect with more than one or two.

It also sounded like they thought there were too many elements in the story that made it difficult for them to suspend their disbelief. For instance, these readers often mentioned that the high fear, praise and success Kaz has, even for a criminal prodigy, seemed unfounded.


Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

Description

Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn’t matter–the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon.

It’s late, it’s cold, and it’s raining, and Alys can think of only one thing–revenge. But first she’s got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone?

Then the dragon arrives – a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally. . .

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.93

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What’s last on our list of YA dragon shifter books? It’s a book readers described as having fun and refreshing twists: Dragon’s Bait.

Taking the ‘innocent maiden sacrificed to a dragon’ trope, Dragon’s Bait has maiden and dragon as co-collaborators against the corrupt townspeople who sentenced her.

Readers were delighted by the unexpected reversals: supposed enemies become allies, prey becomes predator and predator becomes prey. They also reported that they connected to Alys, the protagonist, and felt her pain, anger and eventual healing throughout the novel.

Others mentioned that the liked the deeper thematic elements to the novel, which centered around revenge and forgiveness. Readers said that this had enough of a presence to stir their imaginations while not being so in-your-face that it jarred them out of the story.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy Dragon’s Bait, what did they say? Generally, they said that Alys and Selendrile, the main characters, weren’t that developed.

They remarked that, likely due to the book’s shorter length, Alys’ changing feelings happen too quickly. Others said that Selendrile comes comes across less as a mysterious, intriguing character and more as a vaguely characterized one.


Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Description

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate.

But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle.

To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl — and herself — than first meets the eye. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.28

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Next on our list of slow-burn enemies to lovers YA fantasy books is Howl’s Moving Castle. Why did fans find this story captivating?

These readers typically praised its characters, saying all of them came across as refreshing and offered a different reason to like them. In particular, Sophie and Howl won these readers over. Many described having the odd couple combination of the capable, no-nonsense Sophie with the vain, spoiled Howl as a delight to read about.

In addition to that, these readers said that the romance between the two of them not only worked, but touched them. Seeing Sophie and Howl grow as characters as well as in their feelings for each other warmed fans’ hearts.

Negative Comments

As for critics, they generally tended to say that not much happened in Howl’s Moving Castle. These readers perceived the novel as dragging out its storyline.


Tithe by Holly Black

Descriptions

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home.

There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.72

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of YA fantasy books featuring romances with mythical creatures is Tithe by Holly Black. This book enthralled fans with its gritty atmosphere and characters, particularly its protagonist, Kaye.

Many said that they found this a refreshing and more realistic take on fairytales. For instance, unlike most fantasy protagonists, Kaye is a teenager who drinks, dabbles in drugs and more. Similarly, the Urban Fantasy setting is unglamorized: it features trailerparks, rusted cars and aging buildings rather than only aspects that are beautiful and ethereal.

As such, fans often remarked that they thought Tithe was a more honest and relatable story than most fantasy stories revolving around fairies and fae. This made it so much easier for them to bond with the characters and invest in their stories.

Negative Comments

What did critics say about Tithe? Generally, the reasons fans loved this story was the reasons critics disliked it. Several said that they couldn’t connect with the characters, who struck them as either unrealistic or unlikeable.


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Description

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Negative Comments

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


Beguilement by Lois Bujold

Description

Troubled young Fawn Bluefield seeks a life beyond her family’s farm. Enroute to the city, she encounters a patrol of Lakewalkers. The necromancers armed with human bone knives fight “malices”, immortal entities that draw out life, enslaving humans and animals. Dag saves Fawn from a malice – at a devastating cost. Their fates are now bound in a remarkable journey.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.74

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Readers who wanted a fantasy romance where the romance was more of a focus than the fantasy enjoyed Beguilement. The book focuses primarily on the relationship developing between the romantic leads. Readers mentioned how well fleshed-out the characters and their inner conflicts were.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t rate the novel highly, they typically cited the heavy romance as their reason. The fantasy plot is mostly in the background. Another was the large age difference between the romantic leads: the female lead is 18 while the male lead is in his 50s.


Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin

Description

Tolkien meets Beauty and the Beast in this new fantasy by Amalia Dillin, author of the Fate of the Gods trilogy.

After nearly a decade as the king’s whipping-girl, Princess Arianna has no intention of going quietly into marriage to some treasonous noble, or serving obediently as the king’s spy until her death is more convenient.

When she discovers a handsome orc, chained and trapped inside a magic mirror, Arianna cannot help but see a lasting freedom from her father’s abuse.

Left to rot inside a mirror by the king, Bolthorn never imagined his prayers would be answered by a princess. Nor did he ever expect to meet so worthy a woman after knowing her father’s cruelty.

He needs her help to escape the mirror before the king marches against the orcs, but all he can offer Arianna is ice and darkness in exchange for her aid.

If Arianna can free the monster behind the glass, perhaps she might free herself, as well. But once they cross the mountain, there will be no return, and the deadly winter is the least of what threatens them on the other side. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.78

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Last on our list of YA fantasy books featuring romances with mythical creatures is a story that uses a ‘Beauty and the Beast’, romance-based spin.

Readers said that the story’s emotional resonance mainly comes from the heartwarming and inspiring relationship built between Arianna and Bolthorn. However, they also highlighted the world-building as a treat: a combination of fairy tales, Norse mythology and Tolkien, Honor Among Orcs tantalized readers’ imaginations.

Fans also mentioned that they found it effortless to fall in love with the characters. Both seemed real and evocative, making their romance all the more intriguing.

Negative Comments

Not all readers thought that Honor Among Orcs was for them, though. If this was the case, readers generally said they felt the romance was overly sentimental. In particular, they mentioned Arianna’s inner turmoil about the relationship. Critics said she frustrated them because she tended to agonize too frequently and over the same issues.

Along a similar vein, readers said that they didn’t like Arianna herself. Critics said that she’s meant to be seen as attractive in part due to her bravery. However, they didn’t feel that she acted with courage. In fact, some readers said she came across to them as the opposite.


The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Description

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

The Traitor Baru is another enemies to lovers fantasy books, described by fans as a thrilling blend of science fiction and fantasy. This suspenseful take takes readers on a journey through a dystopic society and one young woman’s efforts to survive in it, despite its cruelty. 

The novel’s feminist themes of fighting against a predatory and restrictive hierarchy are well-written and moving. Baru is a complex, nuanced protagonist that many LGBTQ readers said was relatable and inspiring.

In addition, other fans found Baru and her struggles with her identity as a lesbian touching and heart-wrenching, espeically in the face of such a violently anti-LGBTQ society.Likewise, they praised the novel’s worldbuilding as incredibly complex and well-written.

Negative Comments

For some, Dickinson’s writing is predictable and difficult to get immersed in because of its copious side characters and winding subplots. Other critics said described the novel as heavy-handed with its political themes.


The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Description

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

Books cover of The Immortal Rules

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.09

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments 

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

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

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

Negative Comments 

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

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


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Description

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.


Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

Description

There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map — the key to a legendary treasure trove — seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.98

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Another story on our list of fantasy books with mermaids and sirens is Daughter of the Pirate King. Fans described this as an exciting novel full of mischief, pirates and sirens. They praised it as having a lightning-fast pace, plenty of action and an entertaining protagonist, Alosa.

Full of twists and turns, Daughter of the Pirate King struck readers as a fun adventure that was perfect for pirate-lovers. Moreover, they described Alosa as a female Captain Jack Sparrow who delighted them with her wit, cunning and fighting skills. Her fierce personality and sarcastic humor made them grin throughout the book.

Negative Comments

No book is without its critics, including Daughter of the Pirate KingWhat did these readers say?

For the most part, these readers tended to focus on Alosa or the romance. To them, she came across as a braggart who talked too frequently about her skills and accomplishments. Because they found her unlikable, critics found it difficult to enjoy the book.

As for the romance, these readers generally described it as happening too suddenly.


50 Best Enemies to Lovers Fantasy Books You Must Read

Here are 50 best enemies to lovers fantasy books you must read:

  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • Elvish by S.G. Prince
  • Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
  • Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
  • Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
  • Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn
  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  • Star of the Morning by Lynn Kurland
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  • Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Hawksong by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
  • Assassins of Tamurin by S. D. Tower
  • Ruined by Amy Tintera
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  • The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
  • Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
  • The Priestess and the Dragon by Nicolette Andrews
  • Mage Slave by R. K. Thorne
  • Fireborne by Rosaria Munda
  • Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  • Soul of the Crow by Jessaca Willis
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosmund Hodge
  • Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  • Talon by Julie Kagawa
  • The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsey Buroker
  • Radiance by Grace Draven
  • Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift
  • Firelight by Sophie Jordan
  • Air Awakens by Elise Kova
  • An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  • Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  • Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon
  • Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
  • First Year by Rachel E. Carter
  • Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott
  • Enchanting the Elven Mage by Alisha Klapheke
  • Promise of Darkness by Bec McMaster
  • Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Tithe by Holly Black
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Honor Among Orcs by Amalia Dillin
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

N.S. Mirage

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

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