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.

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The books I picked & why


By Marissa Meyer,

Book cover of Gilded

Why did I love 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.

By Marissa Meyer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Gilded as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All magic comes at a price, but love was never part of the bargain . . .

The look he was giving her. Serilda had never been looked at like that before . . . The intensity.
The heat. The raw astonishment. He was going to kiss her.

Cursed by the god of lies, a miller's daughter has developed a talent for storytelling - but are all of her tales as false as they appear?

When one of Serilda's stories draws the attention of the devastating Erlking, she finds herself swept away into a world of enchantment, where ghouls prowl…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Teresa Yea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love in a Time of Monsters (Golden Age of Monsters Volume 1) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rising body count.

A deadly creature. 

A boy who inherits the mother of all monster problems.

Bookish and sickly Rob Stevenson knows he can’t kill the monster terrorizing his village alone so he sets out to hire Scotland’s best hunter.

Fire-breathing, trigger-happy Cat Mornay is hardly Rob’s idea of a hero.

But her kill list is impressive. 

If her past encounter with this monster shows what she can do, then she’s the perfect hunter for the job.

But can Cat kill a creature who is faster, stronger, and growing smarter every day?

Reluctant heroes. 

An unlikely friendship.

A gas-lit…


By Stephanie Garber,

Book cover of Caraval

Why did I love 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.

By Stephanie Garber,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Caraval as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***The Sunday Times bestseller***


Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser,…

The Hollow Girl

By Hillary Monahan,

Book cover of The Hollow Girl

Why did I love 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!

By Hillary Monahan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hollow Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Asylum, Anna Dressed in Blood, and The Haunting of Sunshine Girl comes a new feminist horror novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Mary: The Summoning.
Five boys attacked her.
Now they must repay her with their blood and flesh.
Bethan is the apprentice to a green healer named Drina in a clan of Welsh Romanies. Her life is happy and ordered and modest, as required by Roma custom, except for one thing: Silas, the son of the chieftain, has been secretly harassing her.
One night, Silas and his friends brutally assault Bethan and a…


By Christina Henry,

Book cover of Alice

Why did I love 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.

By Christina Henry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Alice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in good and evil, psychiatric hospitals, and magic-supernatural?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about good and evil, psychiatric hospitals, and magic-supernatural.

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