The best fantasy romance books with a taste of darkness

Candace Robinson Author Of The Bone Valley
By Candace Robinson

Who am I?

I’ve been intrigued with dark fantasy ever since I was a child, whether it was watching horror movies or fantasy with dark aspects such as Return to Oz or Legend. Growing up, I started reading dark fantasy pretty young, starting with Goosebumps or Scary Stories, and the style stuck with me through my adulthood, so much so that I started writing the genre myself.


I wrote...

The Bone Valley

By Candace Robinson,

Book cover of The Bone Valley

What is my book about?

After the death of his parents, Anton Bereza works hard to provide for his younger siblings. Love has never been in the cards for him, especially after desperation forces Anton to sell himself for coin. And he has no idea that, beneath the city of Kedaf, lies a place called the Bone Valley.

When Anton’s jealous client plots against him, he's cursed to spend eternity in a world where all that remains are broken bones. There, Anton meets Nahli Yan—a spirited woman who once tried to steal from him—and his cards begin to change. As the spark between them ignites, so does their desire to escape. All that stands in their way is the deceitful Queen of the Dead, who is determined to wield her vicious magic to break Anton and Nahli apart. Forever.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Gilded

By Marissa Meyer,

Book cover of Gilded

Why this book?

Gilded is a book I went into not expecting the cool amount of darkness that was there. After reading Meyer’s previous books, which I also loved, I didn’t know this would be as dark as it was, yet it still contained the perfect blend of unique fantasy, a wonderful romance, and a very neat spin on Rumpelstiltskin. Even after it ended, I kept thinking about these characters.


Love in a Time of Monsters (Golden Age of Monsters Volume 1)

By Teresa Yea,

Book cover of Love in a Time of Monsters (Golden Age of Monsters Volume 1)

Why this book?

Love in a Time of Monsters is a book I read several years ago, but no matter what other dark fantasy books I read, this one continues to stick with me. It isn’t your standard falling-in-love story, although the romance is epic and unforgettable, but it’s more than that. It’s about the main characters finding themselves and growing in this crazy fantasy world. And seriously, the monster aspects were excellent.


Caraval

By Stephanie Garber,

Book cover of Caraval

Why this book?

Caraval has a unique spin on the whole circus concept. It brings new things to the table, along with a swoony romance and morally gray characters that I couldn’t stop wanting to meet. Morally gray always pulls me in anyway, but the darkness of the Caraval world was amazing and so was the sisterly bond. I love reading about sibling bonds and how one would sacrifice themselves to save the other.


The Hollow Girl

By Hillary Monahan,

Book cover of The Hollow Girl

Why this book?

I’m a fan of revenge stories, so when I picked up The Hollow Girl, I didn’t know it would be as addicting as it was. The romance in this one was super sweet, but boy does the rest get dark, and oh how I relished in all of it. There are some very unpleasant things that go down, but seeing the main character grow and deal with these in the way she did had me rooting for her. And the witchy things were just plain awesome!


Alice

By Christina Henry,

Book cover of Alice

Why this book?

I’ve read a lot of Alice in Wonderland books, but this Alice just got deliciously dark, yet it all served a purpose. The world could be vicious at times, but that only made me more and more intrigued about what would happen next. I also like the interesting spin on this classic along with the tight bond between The Mad Hatter and Alice. He was a lot different than we’ve ever seen him and so was Alice, but they were the perfect team in this mad world.


Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists