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High society, court intrigue and balls. There is something so enchanting about YA Fantasy books with royalty. Especially when it includes a good romance. If you're also looking for YA Fantasy books with royalty - then you're in luck! As a huge YA Fantasy fan, I'm going to recommend the best YA Fantasy books with royalty.
Whether you're looking for fantasy royal romance books, dark royalty books or ya princess books. This post has got you covered!
After learning about all these ya fantasy books, you are going to have so many new books on your tbr list and will be extra prepared on your next trip to the book store.
This post is all about YA Fantasy books with royalty.
What are the best YA Fantasy books with royalty?
1. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
There is a reason this series is first on my list. If you're looking for ya fantasy books with royalty then you absolutely need to read Folk of Air Trilogy. It has a brilliantly twisty plot and an amazing enemies to lovers romance. The Cruel Prince and Wicked King both open with a bang and keep you hooked throughout.
The Cruel Prince follows Jude who is a human. As a child, she gets kidnapped with her two sisters and is taken to live with the fae in the woods. She grows up wanting to be like the wicked fae she lives with.
There are also only 3 books in the series. And none of them are too long. So it makes the series more manageable. It also features an incredible enemies to lovers so if you're looking for a fantasy romance book then this is a great pick.
Good reads rating: 4.09
2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
If we're talking about ya fantasy books with royalty then I can't not bring up Sarah J. Maas. Sarah J. Maas dominates the fantasy book world but for a good reason. Her books are seriously binge-worthy.
That said, sometimes her books dump a lot of world-building at the start. This can make it hard for some people to get into them. Throne of Glass starts with a bang and hooks you in instantly.
It follows Celaena Sardothien who is imprisoned in a horrific prison called Endovier. She is an assassin. And one day she is summoned by the Prince to fight in a competition. The winner will become the king’s personal assassin.
If you're looking for a long fantasy book series to get into - then this is the book series for you. It features an incredible slow burn, enemies to lovers romance later in the series.
3. Malice by Heather Walter
Let me tell you - Malice is one of the best books I have read this year. It was an instant 5 stars from me. You will absolutely love the dystopian world building, morally grey main character and grumpy/sunshine romance.
Malice is a Maleficent retelling. The book is set in a Kingdom called Briar. Once upon a time, a wicked fairy cursed a line of princesses to die. Only true love’s kiss can break the curse.
The book follows Alyce – the dark grace. She was left abandoned in Briar from a dark kingdom. The dark magic that runs in her veins abhors residents in Briar.
Except for Princess Aurora who accepts her. And she encourages Alyce to accept herself.
This book is almost a cross between Wicked and The Hunger Games. But with fae. The world building is darkly magical. And the residents of Briar reminded me of the residents of the Capitol.
Good reads rating: 4.06
4. A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
A Dark and Hollow Star is one of the top YA Fantasy books with royalty! If you’re a fan of Crescent City you definitely need to read a Dark and Hollow Star. There are so many similarities. It's an urban fantasy with fae, queer main characters and an enticing mystery. It also has a seriously adorable wlw romance.
A series of gruesome murders threatens to expose the faerie world to humans. Four queer teens – Nausicaä, Arlo, Vehan, and Aurelian – each hold a piece of the truth. And they must track down the mysterious killer.
There are not one but two romances in this book. And the characters are what make them so perfect. Arlo and Nausicaä have such amazing chemistry. Nausicaä is a grumpy, chaotic and sarcastic lesbian. Arlo and Nausicaä have a perfect grumpy/sunshine slow-burn vibe.
I listened to the audiobook version which you can find on audible. It features a full cast of narrators which made it really engrossing.
The voices of Vehan and Nausicaä are so spot on! And you can listen to it on Audible with a free trial. It's a great audiobook to put on if you're looking for some escapism while you're cleaning or relaxing before bedtime.
Good reads rating: 3.83
5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is seriously one of the most unique retellings. It's a Cinderella retelling in a future dystopian society featuring an android It also mentions a deadly plague (sound familiar )
The main character Cinder is an android. She had an accident when she was younger. And she now has a cyborg hand and ankle. But the world she lives in shuns androids.
She meets and falls in love with the Prince. But she can’t tell him that she’s an android.
This one of the most fast paced ya fantasy books. It features so many intriguing elements: an enemies to lovers romance, androids, a deadly plague and an evil queen. You'll want to keep reading to find out what happens.
If you’re a fan of retellings like A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Cruel Prince or a Curse so Dark and Lonely – then you need to read this one.
Good reads rating: 4.13
6. A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
A Curse so dark and Lonely has one of the most BADASS main characters! The main character has cerebral palsy but she is most definitely not in need of any sympathy. It also features an adorable enemies to lovers romance.
A Curse So Dark And Lonely is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Prince Rhen is the Heir of Emberfall.
Emberfall is under a curse and the kingdom is enchanted into an everlasting winter. Prince Rhen needs to make a girl fall in love with him to break the curse.
Harper has cerebral palsy. And she struggles to look after her dying mother. She tries to save a stranger and is pulled into the world of Emberfall.
The plot is really well paced and keeps you engaged throughout. It also has the perfect slow burn romance. If you're a fan of The Cruel Prince or Sarah J. Maas then you should definitely read this fast paced fantasy book.
Good reads rating: 4.05
7. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
When it comes to YA Fantasy, you should definitely read Girls of Paper and Fire. It's a dark ya fantasy featuring magic and a dystopian society. And Asian mythology is woven seamlessly throughout.
Girls of Paper and Fire follows Lei. She is a member of the Paper Caste. And the people of Ikhara persecute her.
She sees the royal guards take her mother. Afterwards, Lei suffers with trauma. But the guards return and try to take Lei. She has to learn skills fitting of a King’s Consort. But she falls in love.
The worldbuilding in this book is seriously beautiful. Natasha Ngan was inspired by her own experiences growing up in Malaysia - a country with a mix of cultures. And Ikhara was heavily inspired by this.
The character development is excellent. I loved the wlw romance in the book. The grumpy/sunshine trope was executed perfectly. The plot of the book is quite dark but it was handled really sensitively
The pacing did lapse a bit in the middle for me. But the character development was so good that I still enjoyed reading it.
Good reads rating: 3.82
8. The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska
The Dark Tide is a seriously underrated book. It features a wlw romance, witches and a curse on a town.
It follows Lina. She lives on a small island where the dark tide could cause it to sink. So, every year the Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace and sacrifices her on the full moon. And so keeps the island city from sinking.
Lina is convinced her brother is going to be taken. She asks Thomas Lin to help. Thomas is the only person to survive the sacrifice. But they draw the Queen’s attention. And instead, Thomas is taken.
Lina offers herself instead of Thomas. But the queen is nothing like Eva expected. And they must choose between saving the island or themselves.
The premise of this book hooked me in straight away. A girl goes to save a guy but instead falls for the 'villain'. If you're looking for a book with an enemies to lovers romance with a morally grey love interest - then this is the book for you.
It was such an angsty slow bur romance. And Lina and Eva had an amazing grumpy/sunshine dynamic. The cursed romance setup was so well executed and made the book so tragically romantic.
The worldbuilding is also really dark, moody and atmospheric. A sea wild tale. it was beautifully written and I fell in love with the world. Full of bitter witches, sea, salt, blood and sacrifice.
Good reads rating: 3.83
9. Cinderella is dead by Kalynn Bayron
A Cinderella retelling with a sapphic romance. This is another twist on the classic story that features BIPOC characters and a wlw romance.
The premise is that teen girls are now required to appear at an annual ball where men select wives. But Sophia wants to marry her childhood best friend Erin. And isn’t a fan of the whole parade in front of suitors thing.
She decides to flee and decided to take down the king once and for all.
The dystopian twist on the classic Cinderella story makes this book so unique. The romance is a bit insta-lovey but it's so well developed that it's still engaging.
The plot will keep you hooked throughout. Women overthrowing a dystopian patriarchy. There is also a lot of cottagecore and woodland imagery. Kalynn Bayron writes cottagecore imagery so well. This book will 100% make you want to live in the forest.
I also LOVE that it's a standalone. Standalone ya fantasy books are hard to find. Let alone with lesbian representation. If you're looking for a ya lesbian fantasy book then I highly recommend Cinderella is Dead.
Good reads rating: 3.73
10. Princess Princess Ever After by Kay O’Neill
I'm kinda cheating here. This is definitely more middle grade rather than Young Adult. But it's such an insanely cute graphic novel that I had to include it. Kay O'Neill writes and illustrates the most beautiful, cosy and enchanting graphic novels.
Princes Princess ever after is about two princesses who fall in love. We follow Sadie who is locked in a tower. She is rescued by another princess -Amira. Also, Amira rides a pink unicorn. It’s just as queer and lovely as it sounds.
This is such a comforting book to read. It deals with some really important topics such as feminism, equality and abusive relationships. But it does it in such a lighthearted way.
This is insanely adorable and a really quick read. You can buy the absolutely beautiful hardcover from Amazon -get it here.
Good reads rating: 4.08
11.A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This series has one of the best enemies to lovers romances. If you love the friendship group in Six of Crows then you should read this series. The found family trope is executed particularly well in this series.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. It follows Feyre. She is really poor and lives with her father and two sisters. She has to hunt to care for the family.
One day she sees a deer and can’t resist killing it to sell. But it was actually a faerie she murdered. And the owner comes to kidnap her to live at the castle as punishment.
It is a bit slow. Sarah J Maas does dump a lot of information about the fantasy world on you. But stay with it – I promise you it gets so much better. The second book is definitely the best in the series where many of my favourite characters are introduced.
Good Reads Rating: 4.19
12. Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Six Crimson Cranes is an incredible YA Fantasy book featuring shape shifting dragons, curses and magic. The main character is a princess and it follows a royal family.
It follows Shiori. She is the only princess in Kiata. Shiori lives in a land where magic is banned. And demons are locked away inside a mountain. But forbidden magic runs through her veins.
Shiori normally conceals it. But on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, she loses control. And she attracts the attention of her stepmother Raikama.
Raikama possesses dark magic. She banishes the young princess. And turns her brothers into cranes. Shiori must speak of it to no one. For with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
The worldbuilding in this book is exquisite. Especially when Shiori is in Iro. The images of snow-capped mountains and eating hot buns in the snow is beautiful.
Good Reads Rating: 4.31
13. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is an absolute classic. It has one of the most magical fantasy worlds. And the magic that the Witch is able to wield is absolutely enchanting.
The Chronicles of Narnia follows four children who are evacuated to a country house. They find a magical kingdom called Narnia at the back of a wardrobe.
But Narnia has been enchanted by a White Witch. And it is frozen in an eternal winter.
The Lion, The Witch and The wardrobe has one of the most magical concepts behind it. The concept is also familiar to everyone and makes it easy to follow.
While there are multiple books in the Chronicles of Narnia - you can easily read The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe as a standalone.
This is a childhood classic. And it’s a really nostalgic read. The concept behind the book is magical and the imagery is really cosy.
Good Reads rating: 4.22
14. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone combines a fast-paced, action-packed plot with magical West Africa inspired world-building. The book opens in a world where magic has disappeared.
There used to be magic in Orïsha. Zélie remembers how powerful her reaper mother was. But one-night magic disappears and Zelie is left without hope.
She now has to bring back the magic with the help of a runaway princess. Orïsha is full of danger everywhere. But Zeéie’s greatest danger is herself.
Children of Blook and Bone has much in common with A Court of Thorns and Roses – A strong female lead and a quest. I loved Zélie instantly and the world building is enchanting.
But Children of Blood and Bone also explores much darker themes such as racially charged violence. And that makes it a really powerful read.
Good reads rating: 4.10
15. An Enchantment of Ravens by Magaret Rogerson
I came across An Enchantment of Ravens while looking for cottagecore books to read for another post. And I absolutely loved it.
It follows Isobel who paints stunning portraits for the dangerous fair folk. One day she creates a portrait of the Autumn Prince. But she makes a deadly mistake. She paints humanity in his eyes. And for that, she has to be punished.
I loved the imagery in this book. It’s full of magical woodland imagery. It also has a lot of Autumnal imagery because the Autumn Prince features so prominently.
I also instantly really loved Isobel. She’s down to earth, practical and incredibly kind. You can buy this on Book Depository and they offer free worldwide shipping – you can get it here. You can also read the ebook version on Scribd with a free 30 day trial
Good reads rating: 3.65
16. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Iron King is an incredible YA Fantasy book with fae, an enemies to lovers romance and a strong female lead. Fans of Holly Black should definitely read it.
The Iron King follows 16-year-old Meghan Chase. Her father disappeared mysteriously when she was six years old. And ever since, something has been off.
But things start to change drastically. And Meghan will have to learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she truly cares about.
I think The Iron King is a book that will divide readers. Some will really not like it. But personally, I really enjoyed this book. The setting is beautifully described. And Meghan is a great heroine. She’s not perfect but a very realistic 16-year-old.
This book takes many characters from classic literature and myths (such as a Midsommer Night’s Dreame) and modernises it in this coming of age story. Some of the characters are retold in a YA context. If you’re a Shakespeare fan then you might not like this. But if you love YA Fantasy books with fae then you should definitely read this one.
Good reads rating: 3.89
17. Ash by Malinda Lo
Ash is a book I’m always torn about. It hasn't got the most character development. And the romance is a bit insta-lovey. But I had to include it because I love the cottagey world building in this Sapphic retelling.
Ash is a lesbian Cinderella retelling. It follows Ash who is dealing with the grief of losing her parents. She falls in love with the king’s huntress.
The world-building in this book is beautiful. I loved the descriptions of the woods and the fae. The lore around the fae was also excellent. If you're looking for cottagecore worldbuilding then this is an excellent book. to pick up.
I instantly loved the King's Huntess. But I wish the romance was better developed. The focus was definitely on the mental health and the fae. The romance is more of a side-plot rather than the main focus of the book. But I wish a bit more time had been spent on the romance.
However, I love that it focuses on Ash recovering from grief. Mental health is a strong theme throughout and the romance feels secondary. This is a really cosy read and offers great escapism. It’s pretty short and you could easily read this in one sitting.