According to most sources, Fantasy Romance is a subgenre either of Romance or Fantasy. They way I see it, it is the combination of both.
Let’s explore Fantasy as a genre. What makes a book fall into this category?
First, it will be the “strangeness of setting” (Britannica Enciclopedia). This means, stories are envisioned in a different world or a different time from what we could call our reality. Picture Harry Potter, for example. Even though it is set in the UK, you have to go through a wall or chimney to arrive in a different dimension, where magicians secretly live apart from humans.
Second, its characters are supernatural creatures or possess supernatural characteristics/powers. If a character isn’t human, we can say it’s a creature from a different world or reality, i.e., fairies, demons, vampires. We could also have humans with powers, such as magic. Although in the latter, a common plot will provide us with characters that believed they were human, but turned out to be hidden fae or similar all along. All in all, “Fantasy is set in an imaginary world and features the magic of mythical beings” (Britannica Enciclopedia). Authors will get inspired by myths our cultures have provided us for centuries. Thor, for example, comes from the Nordic mythology. You can also find stories inspired in the Greek Gods. Another common plot involves the fight between Hell and Heaven, confronting angels, fallen angels, and demons from the Catholic tradition. Every culture has its array of fantastical stories and bestiaries.
Now, let’s move to Romance. According to the Britannica Enciclopedia, it is a literary form characterized by chivalry, meaning involving a knight in shining armor or the equivalent to his courage and gentlemanliness. Nowadays, it consists of a love story. In other words, we’ll follow a character in their journey to fall in love with someone else, and all the inconveniences and conflicts they'll have to face to get to their happily ever after.
You can find Fantasy stories where some of the characters fall in love. However, the love affair is secondary to the fantastical plot. Again, if we consider Harry Potter, Harry and Ginny, and Ron and Hermione, to name a few examples, fall in love throughout the series. However, their fight against evil, in the shape of Voldemort, is what the whole story is centered on.
You’ll escape your daily reality by submerging yourself in the amazing imagination of authors, while you’ll feel the hope typical of romance.
Therefore, a book that falls into the Fantasy-Romance genre will develop two parallel and equally important storylines. On one hand, you’ll find an imaginary setting and/or fantastical characters who are fighting against some fantastical enemy or evil force. On the other hand, you’ll have our protagonists falling in love while they fight that evil. In my opinion, Fantasy-Romance is the best of those two worlds. You’ll escape your daily reality by submerging yourself in the amazing imagination of authors, while you’ll feel the hope typical of romance. Also, if you enjoy passionate scenes, well, they are usually present.
Take into account that there can be many other sub-genres involved in the stories. You can find mystery, science fiction, crime and other options mixed into the equation. Categorizing a book can come quite complex at times.
Some Fantasy-Romance Books or Series I Recommend
- The Twilight Saga, by Stephenie Meyer
- The Folk of the Air, by Holly Black
- The Osseous Chronicles, by Ivy Asher
- Legacy of Orïsha, by Tomi Adeyemi
- The Plated Prisoner, by Raven Kennedy
- Blood and Ash, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas
- Sands of Arawiya, by Hafsah Faizal
- A Sharpened Axe, by Jill M. Beene
- Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick
- The Prison Healer, by Lynette Noni
- The Demon Queen Trials, by C.N. Crawford
- Monsters, by Vanessa Len
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