Top Fantasy Books With Assassin Romances You Can’t Put Down

Fantasy books with assassin romances pair the allure of assassins – shadowy, mysterious and often riddled with brutal pasts – with an action-packed plot and the hope of love for even the most unlikely person.

Are you looking for such a tale? If so, this is the list for you.

Here are seven fantasy books with assassin romances you can’t put down:

I’ve included books descriptions, ratings and a summary of what readers said below. In addition, here’s a comparison chart of all these stories side-by-side.

The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsey Buroker


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. 

Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin, is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down.

Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills…or someone wants her dead. 

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.03

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

First on our list of fantasy books with assassin romances is The Emperor’s Edge. Readers who enjoyed this fantastical adventure mentioned how colorful, witty and entertaining the characters were.

Bursting at the seams with a light, fun tone, readers praised this steampunk epic fantasy as a delight. In addition, the slow-burn romance between the two leads had plenty of humor that kept fans grinning.

Negative Comments

So what did critics say? It turns out that the same fun tone that appealed to fans had the opposite effect on critics. 

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.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


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

Readers who enjoyed Poison Study often remarked  that the 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 character’s 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.

Kingdom of Ash and Soot by C.S. Johnson


Everyone Lies. 

PRAGUE, 1870.

For the last ten years, nineteen-year-old Eleanora Svobodová has worked as a servant in her stepmother’s household. Along with her older brother, she dreams of the day they will be free to live life on their own terms.

But everything changes when their estranged grandmother comes to Prague on behalf of Queen Victoria. Throughout Bohemia, a string of murders and secret whispers hint at a larger coup.

As the leader of the Order of the Crystal Daggers, an ancient order of spies and soldiers that protect kingdoms and their rulers, Lady Penelope is determined to discover the perpetrators.

Now, Eleanora must make the choice between a life of intrigue and saving the lives of others.

Can Eleanora find a way do the right thing and still find freedom?

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

Second on our list of fantasy books with assassin romances is The Kingdom of Ash and Soot. Readers said that this story’s refreshing setting as well as its twist on the classic Cinderella tale and its characters enchanted them.

Action-packed and atmospheric, Eleanora’s journey from servant girl to deadly assassin immediately had fans wondering what would happen next.

They also mentioned that The Kingdom of Ash and Soot features a sweet, banter-filed romance that made them truly feel for the couple.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t enjoy The Kingdom of Ash and Soot, they typically said it was because the story slowed in the middle.

Others, though, mentioned that they were bothered by Eleanora’s naivete. These readers expected her to outgrow this by the end of the book and were disappointed that she didn’t.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Book cover of Throne of Glass

Her opponents are thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating.

But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead…quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.22

Most Common Rating: 5

Positive Comments

What did readers who loved Throne of Glass say? These readers came in expecting a Young Adult fantasy book alive with lighthearted adventure. They weren’t disappointed!

Many enthused about the story’s wonderful humor, romance and action. These fans characterized Throne of Glass as an exciting tale that delighted them with its formidable, highly-skilled assassin protagonist.

Negative Comments

Throne of Glass readers who expected a darker and serious take on the premise, though, didn’t enjoy the story. According to the author, the book’s inspiration was Cinderella and the story’s light take on being an assassin and its romance reflects these roots.

In particular, these readers disliked the fact that Celaena’s brutal past as a slave at the start of the novel didn’t seem to effect her significantly. They also mentioned that the trials and battles weren’t enough of a focus, with several skipped rather than shown through action.

Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham


Silent death stalks the Harpers of Faerun. One by one, members of the semi-secret society for good in the Realms are falling to a murderer’s blade.

Now a Harper agent and a beautiful half-elf assassin must solve the mystery. If they fail, they will be the next victims. 

But things in the Realms are rarely that simple.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 3.85

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Don’t let the book cover’s old style chase you away! This next entry in our list of fantasy books with assassin romances has plenty of fans.

Fast-paced and suspenseful, this story entertained readers with its mystery plot as well as entertaining clashes between its main characters. More specifically, Elfshadow‘s odd couple team features Arilyn, a part-elven female assassin, and Danillo, a flamboyant mage and spy.

Fans thoroughly enjoyed the two characters, praising their excellent characterization, fun interactions and ever-building chemistry.

Negative Comments

If readers thought that Elfshadow wasn’t right for them, their reasons related to how the book had aged since its 1991 publication.

For instance, the background characters often fell into recognizable character types. The female characters might be either the ‘stoic female warrior’ or the ‘sexy barmaid’. The male characters might be either the ‘despicable lecher’ or the ‘upright manly man’.

At this point, many of these character types are pervasive in the fantasy genre. As such, readers suggested that they stunted rather than diversified the cast’s personalities.

The Assassins of Tamurin by S.D. Tower


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 fantasy book with an assassin romance 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.

Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn


In the black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the war-lord lida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of human feet. No assassin can cross it unheard.

Book cover of Across the Nightingale Floor

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assasin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraodinary, preternatural skills.

When Takeo’s village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he to possesses the skills of the Tribe, and with this knowledge he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the nightingale floor and to his destiny within the walls of Inuyama.

Overcome by the intensity of first love and conflicted by split loyalties and his own divided nature, Takeo realizes that he must make his own way on this journey of revenge and treachery, honor and loyalty, betrayal and love.

What Do Readers Say?

Goodreads Rating: 4.06

Most Common Rating: 4

Positive Comments

Next on our list of fantasy books with assassin romances is Across the Nightingale Floor. This book transported readers into its world through its beautiful, evocative atmosphere. As for its story, fans praised the book for being both heartfelt and brutal.

This coming of age novel features plenty of assassination training and lessons, which these readers loved. They also mentioned that while the protagonists are teenagers, the storytelling and themes made it more of an adult-targeted fantasy novel than a Young Adult one.

Negative Comments

If readers didn’t give Across the Nightingale Floor a high rating, they had two consistent comments.

The first was that they didn’t like the fact that the romance between the two protagonists started with love at first sight. As the story progressed, it didn’t develop much beyond that.

The second comment readers made was that they wanted an even stronger portrayal of Japanese culture. These readers came into the reading experience saying that they expected a historical fiction setting. Instead, they came across the supernatural elements and found it jarring.

Top Fantasy Books With Assassin Romances You Can’t Put Down

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Top Fantasy Books With Assassin Romances You Can’t Put Down


N.S. Mirage

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

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