Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire brilliantly blends romance, action, and mythology in what is, for me, the year’s best fantasy romance.
Heroine Cat Fisa has a lot of powerful magic and even more powerful enemies. She’s been on the run from her family for years, but her disguise as a fortune teller in a wandering circus doesn’t stop the warlord Griffin from recognizing that Cat is the prophesized Kingmaker—the one person who can help his sister keep her throne and mend her battle-torn country.
We asked the talented Amanda Bouchet what her favorite fantasy romances are, and here are her recommendations. —Adrian
I love this question because it would be great to maybe help readers discover something new! Fantasy romance can be a little hard to find, and I’ve noticed that it often requires some digging and recommendations from reading communities to know where to look. There are so many authors I have yet to discover in this fantastic subgenre of romance. In fact, I’ve been loading up my Kindle with new-to-me fantasy romance authors that I’m really excited about. Amazon has thanked me for my purchase far too many times in the last month than is good for my bank account, and my husband is probably wondering if he needs to stage a “one-click” intervention at this point!
Fantasy romance has endless possibilities. As long as there is a central and satisfying love story, the author’s imagination is the limit for the rest—and that means it’s pretty limitless! There are so many rich and interesting concepts, beings, and worlds to explore, and fantasy romance seems to be popping up on readers’ radar more often than it used to, which is great news! For anyone interested in reading more fantasy romance, I hope you’ll give A Promise of Fire a try. And here are some of my personal favorites from authors I highly recommend.
I gobbled up all four books in The Edge series by Ilona Andrews as they came out. While Bayou Moon (kickass heroine and tortured hero!) and Steel’s Edge (hot swordsman!) were my personal favorites, readers should definitely start at the beginning of the series, with On the Edge. The four books could each stand alone, but they do build off each other and intertwine, and there’s no sense in missing out on any of the juicy details when you can have them all. The Edge is a strip of land between the Broken, which is the world as we know it, and the Weird, a parallel world filled with magic and ruled by its powerful and often shady nobility. In On the Edge, “Edger” Rose Drayton is just trying to get by and keep food on the table for her younger brothers when Declan Camarine, a blueblood aristocrat from the Weird, shows up. He’s immediately drawn to Rose—and her strong magic—and he’s not the only one. An unlikely pair with very different pasts and life experiences, Rose and Declan team up to fight the danger threatening the Edge. Such great monsters, mayhem, snark, and romance ensue that I wish this series had gone on forever! Luckily, Ilona Andrews has another series with a romantic focus. Burn for Me, the start of the new Hidden Legacy series, straddles the line between fantasy romance and urban fantasy. Here, professional yet spirited Nevada Baylor and alarming but tempting Connor Rogan must work together to keep a powerful magic user from burning the city to ash. Nevada doesn’t turn out to be what Connor thinks, and Connor is even more dangerous than Nevada realizes. Sparks fly in more ways than one, there’s magic and mystery, and better still, there are more books to come!
Master of Crows by Grace Draven is a fantasy romance that drew me in with its lyrical prose and lush and vivid worldbuilding. To win her freedom, Martise of Asher is sent to spy on renegade sorcerer, Silhara of Neith. The magical elite want her to find evidence against him and then betray him, but she discovers that Silhara is actually in a struggle against a god trying to possess him and rule the world. The two must join forces to find a ritual that will banish the evil god. While trying to do so, they unravel mysteries about themselves, uncover secrets about one another, and discover the wonders and dangers of caring deeply for someone else. Ultimately, they each must decide what matters more; their own lives, or the life of the person they’ve come to love.
Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series is another that straddles genre lines. To me, it’s historical, paranormal, and fantasy romance all rolled up into one captivating package with strong heroines and damaged yet deliciously alpha heroes. Firelight, the first book in the series, is definitely the place to start. It pairs fire-wielding Miranda Ellis with disfigured, mask-wearing Lord Benjamin Archer. He’s got enough secrets to fill every closet in his huge house, and she’s got enough spark and wit to figure them all out. Miranda doesn’t need saving, but Archer does, and she’s more than up for the task. With enough magic to make it a fantasy, paranormal elements, and lavish historical detail, this book is fascinating and steamy and the start of a whole new Victorian London to uncover.
I hope readers will share their own recommendations for favorite fantasy romance reads! —Amanda Bouchet
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