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.