The best love stories in fantasy novels and how they prove relationships can shape who we want to be

A.J. Maguire Author Of Usurper
By A.J. Maguire

Who am I?

I grew up in an era when princesses were big and the idea that a woman needs a man to be saved was just beginning to be questioned. I also lived in a single-parent household when that was still something society shamed. Watching my mother, I got a front-row seat to just how loving, vulnerable, and tough-as-nails women can be, and this instilled a desire to tell stories that highlight these sorts of women. My novels have survivors who discover that relationships do not need to be the only thing that defines them, but instead that relationship shapes both parties in ways neither can expect. 


I wrote...

Usurper

By A.J. Maguire,

Book cover of Usurper

What is my book about?

Trenna and Nelek were happy to live the rest of their lives in exile, but the war had other plans. When a blood mage arrives to demand their son be placed on the throne, Nelek and Trenna must set out to prove how much they’re willing to sacrifice for peace. Worse yet, a cry for help has been sounded from the one place they thought was safe from harm: Kiavana Fortress. Can Nelek and Trenna keep their family safe as they race through the battlefields surrounding their homeland?

The books I picked & why

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Clockwork Princess: Volume 3

By Cassandra Clare,

Book cover of Clockwork Princess: Volume 3

Why this book?

Really, the entire Clockwork series by Cassandra Clare earns its place here. The love story between Tessa, Will, and Jem remains my absolute favorite because it’s honest in that you can love more than one person, even if you find that you’re having to choose between them. I don’t normally go in for love triangles, but in this one there was a delicate beauty to their story that I find myself going back to time and time again. Clockwork Princess sees the culmination of that love story and shows how each character has grown and been challenged by the love they have for one another. 


A Court of Mist and Fury

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of A Court of Mist and Fury

Why this book?

This is the second book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series but I recommend it in particular because it shows the healing process of a deeply traumatized woman and how she slowly mends. Yes, ultimately it is love that mends her, which my romantic heart swoons over, but it does things the right way. The character is not coddled but given the space she needs at the same time, and ultimately that’s what won me over to their love story. There are some swoon-worthy moments, and at the very end we are left seeing that the two love interests stand as equals, which is often rare in romance. 


Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon,

Book cover of Outlander

Why this book?

This series walks the line of Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Romance, but since there’s time travel involved and “faerie stones” as the vehicle by which this travel happens, I’m counting it. Jaime and Clare’s marriage is deeply satisfying. There are plenty of other romances that crop up during the series as a whole, but everyone’s really watching how Jaime and Clare remain devoted to one another amid war and tragedy. There’s a realness to their reactions that is difficult to find in fiction sometimes and I am desperately waiting to see what happens in the next book. 


Six of Crows

By Leigh Bardugo,

Book cover of Six of Crows

Why this book?

I fought between the Kaz Brekker/Inej romance and the Mal/Alina romance of the previous series in the Grishaverse that Leigh Bardugo created. Both are lovely and full of sacrifice, but when it comes down to it, I just plain loved Kaz better. He is dark and tragic and full of complexities and Inej comes to a point where she realizes she has to let go of what she feels for Kaz in order to live fully. Their romance is one that reminds me that love can follow you no matter where you go, even if it means stepping away from the person that love is centered around. 


Shades of Milk and Honey

By Mary Robinette Kowal,

Book cover of Shades of Milk and Honey

Why this book?

Being a Jane Austin fan myself, it’s hard for me not to love the Glamorist series by Kowal. I deeply enjoyed the magic system she built in the series, and the characters were like… well, like old friends. Vincent provides enough of a Mr. Darcy feel for me that I was pleased by the romance written in here and I quite liked the fact that Jane was “plain” as opposed to the stunning beauties often written in the romance genre. 


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