Create a Fantasy World and Get a Romantic Fantasy Series Recommendation

Margaret Kingsbury

Contributing Editor

Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents, StarTrek.com, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas.

Sarah J. Maas's #1 New York Times bestselling Crescent City series begins with House of Earth and Blood, introducing half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a modern fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance. With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

In romantic fantasy, anything is possible. Fall in love with a shape-shifting dragon, entwine your heart in the Green Man’s leafy magic, break a curse to save a kingdom, use the power of love and/or sex to save the world. While I read non-fantasy romances as a pre-teen and teen (check out my thank you to romance queen Nora Roberts), my reading tastes slowly turned more and more to the fantastical as I grew older. By my early 20s, I’d mostly stopped reading straight romance. Instead, I’d discovered the magical delights and epic stories of romantic fantasy series. 

I first remember being swept away by a steamy romantic fantasy series when I read Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. I was working as a nanny for my sister that summer, watching my three niblings while my sister worked, and by watching I mean reading. Though it’s a giant book, I read it in two days, then passed it to my sister, who read it just as fast. It’s fitting that I would introduce her to a new fantasy series since she’s the one that first introduced me to romance when we were kids with her stacks of Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz novels. That weekend, we picked up the next two books in the Kushiel series and devoured them. Those were the only books in the series published at the time, but now there are nine. Another nice thing about fantasy romance series: with so many books in a series, you can stay lost in the romance and magic for a long time.

But the main reason I prefer romantic fantasy to straight romances is the world-building. Enchanted landscapes, fairytale forests, mysterious portals, cursed castles — the more creative the fantasy world the better. Authors have endless possibilities as they create an original world where romance can bloom. Some of the books on this quiz take place in meandering fantasy cities and lands much different than our own, while others take place in real cities transformed by magic. Take this quiz by building your fantasy world, and then find a new romanic fantasy series to get lost in. The romantic fantasy series I include on this quiz range from dark and sensual to hilarious and quirky to charming and sweet. 

If you’re looking for more romantic fantasy, check out this list of swoony enchanted reads and this big list of must-reads, as well as my list of LGBTQ+ fairytale retellings.