Written by Naomi

Recently, the Romantasy genre— a subgenre of both romance and fantasy—has experienced a big surge in popularity. This is in large part thanks to online reader communities such as BookTok, Bookstagram and BookTube, where readers can share recommendations and find like-minded people.

A great example of the power of these communities is the unexpected popularity of Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. The book was published in April of this year to little fanfare. Then, in June, as the book went viral on TikTok, the demand was unexpected and very high. Although Fourth Wing isn’t the first Romantasy book, it certainly boosted the genre’s reputation and popularity. What better time to explore the Romantasy genre than while waiting for the next installment in the series?

Romantasy is a portmanteau of romance and fantasy. Simply put, it consists of romance books taking place in a fantasy setting. The focus of the genre is the romantic relationship between its main characters (no matter their species; It is fantasy, after all). In fantasy, if there is a romance, the romantic subplot serves to advance the main plot, where there is more external conflict than just the romance.

Since Romantasy books are first and foremost romance novels, they follow the same structure. First, the characters meet: the meet-cute, which is truly the foundation of the genre. Next, there’s romantic tension as their relationship develops. Then follows a breakup or separation between the characters, due to internal (one of them acts like an idiot) or external (socioeconomic, for example) forces.
Finally, the couple finds their way back to each other for their happy for now or their happily ever after. And this is essential: there has to be a happy ending, where the characters end up together. Happily. If not, it’s just a love story with a tragic ending. Those stories have value, of course, but they’re not romance. The road to this happy ending can be spread out over several books, which is more common in fantasy than romance.

Romantasy can take place in a high-fantasy setting (where the fantasy is set in another world; think Lord of the Rings) or a low-fantasy setting (which takes place in the real world with fantasy elements, like Harry Potter).

Our stores in The Hague and Leidschendam now have a dedicated Romantasy section to help romance and fantasy readers find their next favorite book. You can also start with the list below, or check out the Romantasy highlight on our webite.

Happy reading!

High-Fantasy Romantasy

If you like enemies to lovers, read The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon. The first in a trilogy, its main characters are true enemies who tried to kill each other during an epic war but find themselves in an arranged marriage in order to end the conflict instead.

If you like a cozy, low-stakes romance, read Legends & Lattes, or its prequel Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree. Both are slice-of-life stories about an orc who’s tired of fighting and finds herself opening a coffee shop or else recovering in a bookstore.

If you love Greek mythology, you might like the Dark Olympus series by Katee Robert. Start with Neon Gods, a Persephone and Hades retelling. Each book in the series is a standalone, but there is an overarching series plot.

If you like whimsy, read the Dangerous Damsels series by India Holton. The series is action-packed, very humorous and consists of witches and pirates in flying houses stealing stuff and falling in love. The first book is The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels.

Low-Fantasy Romantasy

If you like your found family to be a little magical, read The Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, a heartwarming story about the magic of love and finding your home.

If you like dark academia, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness features a young scholar who discovers she’s a witch and vampires are real while spending a lot of time in the library.

If you like your Romantasy extra spicy and surprisingly sweet, you might like Morning Glory Milking Farm by C.M. Nascosta, where a down-on-her-luck millennial gets a job at a minotaur milking farm. It’s exactly what it sounds like, but better.

If you like your Romantasy to be without spice, try Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater. Set in Regency England, the main character is on a journey to find happiness after being cursed by an evil faerie.