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Dark Romantasy Books to Get Swept Away In

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Katie Moench

Contributor

Katie Moench is a librarian, runner, and lover of baked goods. A school librarian in the Upper Midwest, Katie lives with her husband and dog and spends her free time drinking coffee, trying new recipes, and adding to her TBR.

From the novels of Sarah J. Maas to the blockbuster success of Fourth Wing and Iron Flame, novels combining epic fantasy and romance (aka romantasy) are having a moment. Especially popular are dark tales that plunge main characters into fights for their survival against magical, evil foes and serve up a dose of romantic tension along the way. Whether set in a castle with a cursed and beastly prince, a court full of bloodthirsty vampires, or a generational war between rival, magical families, these dark romantasy books will transport readers to fantastical and dangerous worlds.

In addition to its success in publishing, dark romantasy also has legions of fans online, especially on Bookstagram and TikTok, where authors have gained loyal followings for their work in the genre. Creators highlight favorite authors like Scarlett St. Clair and Brigid Kemmerer and explore the magical worlds that are unfurled over multiple books in popular series. Book review accounts focus on everything from faerie-specific dark romance to books with extra action and adventure. Whether you’re a fan of faerie wars and romances, courtly intrigue, or sprawling fantasy epics, these dark romantasy books will be sure to delight you.

kingdom of the wicked book cover

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Vengeance, murder, and romance all combine in this witchy story. Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are witches living secretly amongst humans until the day Emilia finds Vittoria’s dead body. Stopping at nothing to avenge her sister, Emilia is willing to unleash the dark magic she’s long kept hidden and to make a deal with a suspiciously attractive prince of Hell to find revenge.

Witchmark by C.L. Polk Book Cover

Witchmark by C.L. Polk

In an Edwardian England-like world and the shadow of a world war, cabals of magical families seek to control nations using their powers. Miles Singer has spent his life running from his magical destiny, going so far as to serve in war and then disguise himself by working at a veteran’s hospital. When an interaction with a patient exposes his magical gift, Miles is compelled to investigate the patient’s murder with the help of the gorgeous man he’s fallen for, all while fighting his destiny.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer Book Cover

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

This dark Beauty and the Beast retelling centers on the cursed Prince Rhen, who has destroyed his family, his castle, and any hope of love in his monstrous fits of rage. Harper is a young woman from Washington, DC who has lost her parents and is struggling to care for her brother. When she intervenes to save a stranger’s life, she suddenly finds herself in Rhen’s magical, and dangerous, world. Is Harper the key to breaking Rhen’s curse and saving his kingdom? Or will he destroy her like all the others?

cover of The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon, swirling purple around gold, with different phases of moons, with the outline of a face a a ship in the corners

The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon

Talasyn has grown up an orphan in a nation constantly under the siege of the ruthless Night Emperor. But Talasyn holds a dangerous secret: she burns with the light magic thought to have been eliminated years ago, the same magic that killed a previous emperor and ignited the Hurricane Wars. Prince Alaric is the emperor’s only son and is tasked with protecting the kingdom at all costs. When Alaric sees Talasyn glowing on the battlefield, it leads to an uneasy, and sizzling, alliance between the two.

Cover of These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Set in Shanghai, in 1926, this dark and fantastical novel is set against a backdrop of gang wars and rival families. The Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers have warred for centuries, but now a monster has emerged that may be bigger than either of them. Rival gang members Juliette and Roma find themselves fighting dark forces, and rekindling their forbidden love, in this Romeo and Juliet retelling.

Music of the Night by Angela J. Ford book cover

Music of the Night by Angela J. Ford

This dark and fantastical Phantom of the Opera retelling centers around Aria, a penniless and destitute ward living in the remote town of High Tower, where the only highlight is the town’s famed theater. While others are afraid of the opera’s seductive power, Aria must go to its depths and find the source of its powerful music to avoid an arranged marriage. When she meets a masked man willing to teach her, she is drawn into a dark web of attraction, murder, and mystery.

Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert Book Cover

Hunt on Dark Waters by Katee Robert

Evelyn is a witch with dangerous impulses and a vampire ex who has fallen through a portal to another realm. Bowen is a pirate who can’t remember life before the Cŵn Annwn, a band of pirates who patrol the Threshold, the magical sea between realms. When Evelyn’s portal delivers her to their ship, the tension between the two begins to mount as they find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations while sailing the magical seas.

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlet St Clair Book Cover

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair

St. Clair turns her talent for combining myth and fantasy into the story of Isolde de Lara, a vampire hunter who agrees to marry the vampire king Adrian and then kill him. When Isolde’s first assassination attempt is thwarted, she and Adrian begin to form a tenuous truce and a dangerous attraction to one another as Isolde fights to survive the vampire court.

Paladin's Grace Book Cover

Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher

When Stephen’s god dies, he is left behind a broken paladin. Stephen feels useless until the day he meets a fugitive named Grace and witnesses an assassination attempt. Suddenly, the pair are on the run through a city of spies and poisoners, trying to outsmart and evade a cryptic killer.

Looking for more dark books with plenty of romance? Check out these dark academia romances, more romantasy picks, and these books like Fourth Wing.