A hypnotising combination of romance, folklore, and strong female characters, Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series left readers staring into the stars long after they finished the final page. If you’re one such reader now searching for your next passage to the faerie world, take a look at some of our suggestions below.
1. Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
In a world where those born with exceptional skills are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. Able to kill a man with her bare hands at 8 years old, Katsa has been living as her Uncle’s thug in the years since, snapping the arms of anyone who displeases him. But Katsa’s life changes forever when she finally meets her match in combat and learns of a terrible secret that threatens all seven kingdoms. Although she is better at breaking bones than engaging in conversation, Katsa may become your new favourite hero. Cashore’s multi-award winning, action-packed adventure has a sweetly unconventional love story and an unabashedly feminist approach to fantasy.
2. House of Earth and Blood, by Sarah J. Maas
If you fell head over heels for Rhys and Feyre, why not take a dip into some of Maas’ other works? House of Earth and Blood takes place in an urban fantasy world writhing with witches, wolves, vampires, mermaids, and mail-delivering otters. Bryce Quinlan had it all, that is until her closest friends were murdered by a demon. Desperate to avenge their deaths, she must make an unlikely ally in the enslaved fallen angel Hunt Athtalar if she is to succeed.
A mixture of traditional fantasy tropes and futuristic technology, characters are brandishing swords one moment and checking their phones the next–and it works! Amongst sex, drugs, and parties, House of Earth and Blood shows a completely different side to Maas but is still packed with the devastating losses, strong friendships, and sizzling romances her fans love.
3. Sorcery of Thorns, by Margaret Rogerson
As an orphan, Elisabeth grew up in one of the Great Libraries guarding the grimoires of evil sorcerers–books so grotesque that they rattle on the shelves and can transform into monsters of ink and leather. But when a dangerous grimoire escapes, Elisabeth is falsely implicated in the crime and can only seek help from her nemesis, sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy, Elisabeth discovers a much greater enemy is looming, forcing her to question everything she has ever known. Rogerson’s novel is inventive and completely immersive. Told with wit and a wonderful turn of phrase, the author re-energises the classic fantasy to make Sorcery of Thorns seem fresh and poignant.
4. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness
Now a major TV show on Sky One, Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches is addictive and mesmerising. Deep in the Bodleian Library, scholar Diana Bishop accidentally finds a bewitched alchemical manuscript. Despite shelving the book, Diana somehow wakes a fantastical underworld and releases hordes of vampires, witches, and daemons into the library. Descended from a long line of witches herself, Diana must finally face the world she has ignored for so many years. An intoxicating combination of forbidden romance, fantasy, and history, A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls trilogy and is a Number One International and Sunday Times Bestseller. If you are craving an intellectual Twilight, you will not regret this novel.
5. Deal with the Elf King, by Elise Kova
The elves only enter human lands for two things: war and wives. Both are a death sentence. Nineteen-year-old Luella is the town’s only healer, until the blisteringly handsome Elf King unexpectedly arrives to claim her as his Queen. Ripped from the mortal realm to rule at the side of a dark and dangerous elf, Luella’s gifts with herbology make her the only one able to save the dying world of Midscape. With the fate of the land in her hands, she tries to regain control of the chaos around her and within her. A combination of Beauty and the Beast and the Hades and Persephone myths, Deal with the Elf King is a sweet and satisfying read from an incredibly talented writer. With just the right amount of spicy romance, this standalone from the Married to Magic novels is one you will not be able to put down.
6. From Blood and Ash, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
As the Maiden destined to usher in a new era, Poppy cannot be spoken to, looked upon, or touched. Infuriated, she must wait to be deemed worthy by the gods instead of avenging her fallen family, and she is beginning to run out of patience. But what is forbidden and what is just are rarely the same, and Poppy must soon make difficult choices to protect her kingdom.
Armentrout sprinkles the perfect amount of banter among the pages, creating an alluring tale of resurging fallen kingdoms and cursed bloodthirsty creatures. Hawke, the swoon-worthy hero, is a charming knight who incites anger and passion in Poppy. Their dangerous chemistry is simply electrictrifying. This is paranormal romance at its best, and it will provide pure escapism to readers.
7. The Shadows Between Us, by Tricia Levenseller
Alessandra is power hungry and unapologetically ruthless. The body of the last boy who broke her heart still hasn’t been found, and it never will be. But her new target is a much greater challenge: the freshly crowned Shadow King. Shrouded in mystery, it is rumoured the shadows swirling around him are slaves to his bidding. If she were his Queen, she would be unstoppable. But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, Alessandra finds that the throne is not the only thing seducing her.
If you found yourself on Team Nesta after reading A Court of Silver Flames, The Shadows Between Us may deliver the literary punch you need. A gripping mystery entwined with dark secrets and villainy, Levenseller’s novel is full of layered characters and is, according to acclaimed author Kerri Maniscalco, “the Slytherin romance we’ve all been waiting for.”
8. Prince of Foxes, by H. L. Mcfarlane
Lachlan, the playboy Prince of Faeries, has been transformed into a fox and banished from the faerie lands on the eve of his mother’s funeral. To prevent the curse from becoming permanent, he seeks the help of Miss Sorcha Darrow, a human who has so far resisted his attempts to seduce her. But when Sorcha finds herself betrothed to a handsome yet terrifying Londoner, Lachlan’s request becomes much more appealing. Together they search for a legendary Kelpie, who may have solutions to both of their problems. Breathing new life into the Scottish fairytale of Gold-tree and Silver-tree, Mcfarlane contrasts romantic fairy courts against a backdrop of sooty villages and icy, black lochs. This step into Celtic folklore has all the makings of a classic.
9. The Star-Touched Queen, By Roshani Chokshi
Maas is a huge fan of The Star-Touched Queen, calling it “a dazzling, sensuous feast of world-building, romance, and mythology.” New York Times Bestseller Roshani Chokshi weaves a loose retelling of Hades and Persephone against a backdrop of Indian mythology, complete with a knitting elephant. Seventeen-year-old Maya is cursed with a horoscope promising a union of Death and Destruction. But after a politically motivated arranged marriage, Maya finds herself the new Queen of Akaran and begins to wonder what exactly fate has planned for her. Now in a kingdom of a thousand locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit, Maya learns her life is in danger. To save herself and those she treasures, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives.
10. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
Shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, Uprooted is an enthralling read that will cast a spell on you. Written by the author of The Temeraire, this tale is a gritty combination of The Hunger Games and A Court of Thorns and Roses. The enchanted forest casts a shadow over Agnieszka’s peaceful village. Many have been lost to it, and all who return are forever changed. For protection against its dark magic, the villagers rely on the Dragon, an ageless wizard, but his help comes at a terrible price. One young woman must give him a decade of servitude, leaving all she loves behind. Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be the next chosen woman; after all, she is beautiful, graceful, and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes to claim his slave, Kasia is not the one he takes.