Once upon a time, in a land far far away, a wise woman was keenly contemplating the ways of this world. And she came upon a realization: romance is to fantasy, what love is to poetry. And wise she was, for she was right.
Do you also get lost in your wild thoughts? Are you a hopeless romantic finding your peace in shadows, vampires, and humanoids searching for their humanity?
Then come aboard. Let’s peek into the brains of your fellow contemplators that have turned imagination into pure art. Following Romantic Fantasies will make your heart fonder and your head go nuts. At the same time!
1) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Claire thought she had seen all life in the dying World War II veterans. That she had it all: an active career as a combat nurse, a loving husband, and the post-war peace. But did she really have it all? She finds herself only when she passes through the ancient circles dotting the British Isles. The past becomes her present in war-torn Scotland. She is suddenly a Sassenach. An outlander. The year is 1743: the year of fear, brutality, and war. Confused, perplexed, she finds solace in a Scot warrior, James Fraser. But isn’t it fidelity? Whom should she choose: the lost present or the present past?
2) Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Kafka on the Shore is more than fantasy. It is the surreal reality of our dreams. A dream of the original dreamer. A will-o’-the-wisp in which people have thoughtful conversations with wise cats. In which the sky pours down the fish, where prostitutes express the philosophy of life, and where the dead from the war are still alive. It is more than a novel. It is the poetry of life.
Kafka Tamura, a teenage boy, does not know what life has in store for him when he sets on a journey to find his lost sister and mother. His father is violent, and the town called Takamatsu offers him peace. Parallel to Kafka’s story is that of an old man named Nakata. A strange attraction brews when he stumbles upon an aging man Nakata who speaks with cats.
How are they connected? What is this world? There has to be a prophecy binding them together. There is murder, there are revelations. And then there is fate.
3) Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Heartless is a refreshing take on Alice in Wonderland. It is the tale foretold with a glance in the past: a story of love and a relinquished desire.
Catherine is the most admired girl in the Kingdom of Hearts. The King of Hearts sure has an eye on her. Everyone is waiting for this expected courtship except Catherine, for Catherine has her own dreams. But mother suggests against her idea of opening a bakery in the heart of the Kingdom of Heart. So, when she is supposed to accept the King’s offer for engagement during the royal ball, she falls instead for Jest, the joker. Will a secret courtship of love convince the heartless of a love so pure? And who is the Heartless anyway?
4) The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson
In the dark pits of prisons, the Skaas have been enslaved by the Lord Ruler for a thousand years. Without the mist, only ashes remain their destiny. But the prophecy persists that a Mistborn has been born to take back what is his people’s. Kelsier is a half-Skaa. An ultimate warrior, a wise thief. But he is more than just a Robinhood for the Skaa, for his plan is to throw down the tyrannical thousand-year rule of undeserved authority.
He has all the powers and intellect to raise an army of invincible criminals for the greatest heist ever planned in history. However, he needs a fellow heartbroken half-Skaa to materialize his plan. But will he be able to gain Vin’s trust?
5) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Talk about heists and do not talk about the Six of Crows? Impossible! Kaz Brekker is the most revered criminal in the most vulnerable place to crime. Welcome to the international hub of trade, Ketterdam, where everything but a qualified crew can be bought.
So, Kaz must find his right crew that can work the job. A revengeful convict; a sharpshooter; a runaway elite; a spy named Wraith, a magician from the slums; and a habitual thief. But what is the point of the bounty if the crew decides to kill each other?
6) The Awakening (The Dragon Heart Legacy #1) by Nora Roberts
“Come home, Breen Siobhan,” she would hear a silver-haired man calling for her. The dragons would fly; the mermaids would swim in her out-of-this-world dreams. And waking up, she would remember her long-gone father telling her the stories from imaginary realms. But she lived in the real, tenuous, and harsh world of Philadelphia that had nothing to offer her but student debts and bills, and an unbearable job for a necessary evil.
But little had she known that her father had left her a huge fortune. So, she sets on a journey to Ireland, where she finds that her dreams were her only reality. True but dangerous. But when she finally meets the teenage warrior Keegan in the realm of Talamh, she realizes that she has the dragon heart to face everything that destiny has in store for her.
Love is in the air, so is death.
7) Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder #1) by Ilona Andrews
What happens when wands battle the guns? It’s chaos, death, and destruction. Atlanta is on the verge of terrifying war as the supernatural collides with the artificial. It has already been difficult for Julie Lennart to leave her family behind at the epicenter of bloody destruction to find herself as an individual.
But with the war dawning, she must come back as Aurelia Ryder to rescue her adopted mother, Kate Daniels. Kate has to be protected, the prophecy must be resisted from being realized, and Aurelia should keep from becoming Julie. Sure, she’s ready to confront all these challenges, but how will she confront love? How will she stand firm before the dark romance that is her fate?
She could never imagine that the man she loves could become death for her loved ones.
8) City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare
Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray never knew that she has the Sight to see the unseen. It is only on that unfortunate night—when she goes with her friend to a party in the Pandemonium Club in New York City— that she finds out that there is more in this world than school, parties, and birthdays.
She witnesses a cold-blooded murder of a teenager at the hands of the other teenagers. What can she do when no one but she can see both the murderers and the murdered?
In shock, she stumbles upon Jace, a Shadowhunter, who becomes equally surprised that a mundane like her could see his world. The world of shadows, and demons, and of course, Shadowhunters.
If a murder, a strange new world, and a handsome jerk were not enough to spoil her night and almost her life, she is informed that her mother has also disappeared. Clare has no other option except following the handsome jerk to resolve the mystery of her lost mother.
9) Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare, Rita Sussekind (Translator)
If you have not gotten enough of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instrument, its prequel is a must-read. Clockwork Angel is the first book from the trilogy, the Infernal Devices, that takes you to the grey river of the Thames that flows silently beside the city of London back in 1878.
Tessa Gray is everything but happy but she lands from the ship on the wet soil of London. Her only desire is to find her lost brother. But when she lands on the strange land, she is received by two vampires. Ignorant to this fact, they capture her for days near the Pandemonium Club.
Although she finds solace in the handsome pair of Shadowhunters, Will, and Jem, she finds herself trapped in the love of both. On the other hand, the vampires, warlocks, and ill-fated humans have made a dark alliance under the shadow of the Pandemonium Club against the Shadowhunters. There is war, and then there is the adventure, but most importantly, there are difficult questions of loyalty and love.
10) Blood of Elves (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski, Danusia Stok (Translator)
This book is not just for fantasy nerds. It is also for those gamers who have spent hours on their screens playing the Witcher. And how can we forget those who have watched the Netflix series but have not gotten over it yet? This series is for everyone! For it is a known fact that the books are always better than the screen adaptations.
The days of peace and harmony have long gone. What remains is chaos, malice, and destruction. No gnome, no human, no elf is ready to go along. Peace is dead. But will it always remain dead?
Ask Geralt of Rivia, the ultimate assassin. The Witcher who has been waiting for the coming of the Chosen One. The child who will change the world the Witcher lives in. She is here. But she is in trouble. Because it is not only the Witcher who has been waiting for her.
11) The Magicians by Lev Grossman
How would you feel when you realize that Hogwarts is real? Now, imagine that it is darker than it was under the Death Eaters. The shock for Quentin Coldwater is also real when he finds out that the fantasy world of Fillory—the world of his childhood dreams— is actually real.
As a senior in high school, his expectations for his dream college in upstate New York are really high. He learns, with his friends, all about real-life magic, sex, friendship, and love. But to his dismay, nothing makes him happy. But his world becomes more unpleasant when, upon his graduation, he finds out that Fillory is much darker a place than he was told in his favorite novel.
The Magicians is Harry Potter for adults. Right and wrong are greyer than you could imagine in a fantasy world. Romance, still darker. It is fantasy in its crudest form.
12) Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Growing up as a curious girl, Agnieszka always wanted to stay in her beloved home in her beautiful village. The village of Drvenik in the Kingdom of Polnya. All villages have their demons, their gossips, and their secrets. But for Drvenik, demons, rumors, and secrets are all linked to its protector—Sarkan, a cold-hearted wizard known to be the Dragon.
The price of protection from the dark Woods at the periphery of the village is the teenage girls whom the Dragon choose from every ten years. But is he really a cruel dragon who devours on these young girls?
Agnieszka never bothered to question his truth as he only chose the most beautiful, the brightest. Just like her best friend Kasia. And Agnieszka never thought of herself as one. But now she has to ask all those questions. Is she the beauty? Is he the beast?
13) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
She is the hunter. He is the captor. What happens when the hunter falls in love with her very own captor? It’s the Stockholm effect at its best.
Feyre doesn’t hunt for the sake of pleasure but for the sake of necessity. For survival in the cold of her town. But the forest is not free of the looming danger ahead. She finds herself captured in a foreign land as she hunts and kills the wolf chasing her hunt—a deer running for his life.
But does her captor also capture her for fun, or there are more secrets in the magical kingdom waiting to be revealed? Why does the captor cover himself behind the jeweled mask? Why her heart is keen on turning her rage into a passion for him? In this saga of war and secrets, there are roses, and there are thorns on the way.
14) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Le Cirque des Rêves is here. It always comes with a tone of surprise. It always sets the stage unannounced. The circus comes when no one expects it. And it is here when it was not before. But two things are expected: the thrill of performances under the black-and-white stripes, and that if it comes, it comes at night.
The real story is more behind the curtains than it is on the stage. It is the tale of competition, magic, love, and despair. Celia and Marco are young magicians who are expected to duel and win and lose. Their only purpose in life is to fight each other. It is the battle of will against love. But if one wins in the will one loses in love.
And what if love is destined to lose. What if the fates of all performing have already been written? If the instructor has already decided the end, then what is the point of Ceila, Marco, or anyone waiting?
15) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
St. Vladimir’s Academy hides under the bushes of Montana’s deep forests. And after their two years of freedom, Rose Hathway and Lissa Dragomir find themselves again trapped in its clutches.
Rose knew the instant when she took the oath of friendship that she would protect her best friend Lissa Dragomir from any threat that befalls her. And threats do linger around the mortal vampire, especially when she is the Moroi princess. The Strigoi vampires do not have to worry about death, but she does. And thus, they will leave no stone unturned to turn the Moroi princess into the beast they are. But Rose is also there to use her partial humanity that loves Lissa and her partial fierceness that would devour anything that comes her way.
16) The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Winner’s Curse is the story of winning yet losing. It is a story of secrets, curse, forbidden love, and ballroom dramas set in a new world stuck in the old times. Kestrel is a general’s daughter with limited options for her life. Should she choose to bind herself in an unrequited marriage, or should she sacrifice her life for an empire enslaving the innocents?
And what should she do when one of the enslaved is the love of her life. Does buying passion relieve her of her worldly duties? And above all, is Arin worth it?
17) All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
All the Crooked Saints is the tale of righteous crooks and crooked saints. Bicho Raro, Colorado, is where all the miracles happen. The Soria family is gifted with magic, brains, and a lot of miracles. But the three cousins with their opposing gifts have different goals. Beatriz is a girl with a cold heart and a wise brain. Daniel is the saint who has the power to perform selfless miracles. Whereas Joaquin wants to live a simple life of radio-jockey at Diablo Diablo.
It is a fantasy with a touch of family drama. It is a fantasy of love against dreams and dreams against love with the sprinkles of science and faith.
18) Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace #1) by Kathryn Purdie
Alesse is the matriarch of the Bone Crier women who ferry the dead with the animal bones. But it is not as simple as it sounds. She has to sacrifice her love to complete the ritual successfully.
On the other hand, Bastien has his own plans about the Bone Criers as they sacrificed his father earlier. The fire of vengeance burns him inside. But when he finally hunts the matriarch, their fates merge both in life and death. Who will live, and who will die, when both share one destiny? Will Elara and Tyrus, the goddess and god, allow the breakage of ancient traditions?
19) Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Scarlett Dragna is living a moderately monotonous life with her sister Tella and their strict father. They live in a small island town beyond which both sisters have never gone. Well, except in their dreams. The only freedom they have is the freedom to dream. Both are growing up, and the last thing Scarlett wants in her life is a forced marriage. Her dream is to participate in the most exciting event in their dull lives on the island. It seems close to being shattered. The Caraval comes annually, so do the challenges it brings along.
But when Scarlett receives the invitation for the Caraval, she sees hope in a mysterious sailor that secretly helps them reach the Caraval. But Tella is nowhere to be found. Is she the challenge of this year? Magic, romance, and dejection await Scarlett on the journey of finding her sister and embracing her freedom.
20) The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
Those who seek shall find.
A starless sea exists in the depth of the earth’s darkness. Known to some, unknown to others. Attracting some to its core, avoiding others from its secrets. It is a massive network of tunnels and rooms hidden from the naked eye. But those who have been chosen to enter its entryways shall find the keys even unwillingly.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is one such explorer who stumbles upon a book of mysteries and truths in his campus library that leads him to the people with whom he is destined to enter the starless sea: Mirabel, the pink-haired painter, and Dorian, the barefoot alliance shifter. It is already hard to find the keys to entryways; will it be possible for them to find themselves in the labyrinth of friendship, history, and love?