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No, My First Name Ain’t Royal Baby: Awesome Royals in YA Fantasy

Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

YA Fantasy Week, and this list of royals in YA fantasy, is sponsored by Flatiron Books.

Welcome to Finale, the final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series! It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist. Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend. After uncovering a secret, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change him. Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun.

Everybody wants to rule the world. A lot of people would be perfectly fine not sitting on a throne. But some are born into it. Some marry into it. And some fake their way into it. And then there are those who really, really love it. YA fantasy is full of royals, reluctant or otherwise. And these nine novels have some of the most awesome royals in YA fantasy!

No matter your age, these middle grade comics are well-worth reading. book lists | comics | middle grade comics | comics for tween readers | comics to read | comics lists

Note: When I first thought of this idea for YA Fantasy Week, I thought it would be a piece of cake. Then I realized it would spoil a lot of books to mention that characters were, or became, royalty. YA sure loves an ascension and/or a secret! So these are YA novels in which the characters are already known to be royalty.


rule book coverRule by Ellen Goodlett

Much like Robert Baratheon, the king of Kolonya has a lot of illegitimate heirs. And since he’s dying, and his true heir has just been murdered, the throne is going to go to one of his three daughters. But between the sisters themselves and someone who knows their secret and will stop at nothing to keep them from the throne, will any of them have a chance to rule?

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Khalid, the 18-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is said to take a new bride every night and kill her every morning. So Shahrzad volunteers to marry him, with a secret plan for revenge, since he killed her best friend. But once inside his domain, she discovers the stories aren’t quite true, and she’s going to be the first wife to uncover the truth.

furybornFuryborn (The Empirium Trilogy) by Claire Legrand

This is the fun first book in a trilogy about two young women: one is one of two prophesied queens who reveals her powers to save her best friend, and the trials she endures to prove she’s really a queen; and the other is a bounty hunter one thousand years later who is trying to fight the corrupt empire.

Three Dark CrownsThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

What’s better than one dangerously magic queen who has to kill to ascend the throne? THREE OF THEM. Triplets Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe have been training their whole lives for their 16th birthday: when they will have to kill their sisters in order to be the Queen Crowned. Each has a different set of skills and powers. But who will come out on top?

red queenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare is a Red, a poor thief, until she ends up in the Silver Court, exhibiting magical abilities that only nobles are supposed to possess. To hide this mistake, she is to marry a prince. But will Mare embrace her new position, or use it to help the growing Red rebellion? It’s going to be hard to do when the Queen has the power of mind control.

The Shadow Queen by CJ RedwineThe Shadow Queen (Ravenspire) by C. J. Redwine

This is an epic fantasy inspired by Snow White! Lorelai Diederich is a crown princess and fugitive at large. She swears to kill the wicked queen who murdered her father and stole her throne. Prince Kol has promised to kill Lorelai for the queen in return for magic to save his kingdom. Lorelai must work twice as hard to evade the huntsman and take down the queen.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He - Book RiotDescendant of the Crane by Joan He

Princess Hesina of Yan doesn’t want to be queen. She doesn’t want any responsibilities, really, but when her father dies, it looks like she’s going to get them anyway. But first she has to prove he was murdered—something she’s having a hard time getting other people in the kingdom to believe. So she’s taking her case before the court. A courtroom drama in a YA fantasy novel??? How can you not love it?!?

ash princess book coverAsh Princess by Laura Sebastian

Theodosia was 6 years old when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered. Theo was crowned Ash Princess and forced into her new life as a prisoner. For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. But she’s been keeping her mind sharp and her taste for revenge even sharper. And payback is a bitch.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud cover - Book RiotMirage by Somaiya Daud

Okay, so it’s about a fake princess, but still. Eighteen-year-old Amani dreams of leaving her isolated home land. But then she is kidnapped by the royal guard and forced to be a body double for the cruel Princess Maram, who is so hated by her people that her life is constantly threatened. Sure, pretending to be the princess does have its perks, but will Amani be able to use her role to change things for the people? Will she survive long enough to even try?