There are many bookish “best of both worlds” scenarios, and I have to admit that one of my absolute favorites is fantasy romance. You get all the fun and magic of a fantasy setting, and the swoons of an angsty romance. For example, a few years ago, I fell into the Sarah J. Maas craze with A Court of Mist and Fury, which was one of my favorite books for years. Today, I see this resurfacing quite a lot with From Blood and Ash (FBAA) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Because it’s one of those books you can’t stop thinking about, you probably want some read-alikes to escape your bookish hangover. So today I’m going to talk about books like From Blood and Ash!
There’s no doubt in my mind that From Blood and Ash is a fantasy romance. So I’m going to take a look at the genre — but with a little twist. Let me explain. We already have a post for some steamy, adult romances that are absolutely worth reading! But some people like their romance a bit less graphic. Therefore, I’m specifically looking at YA books that have all the tension of a good forbidden romance (or even enemies-to-lovers) without the explicit sex scenes.
So without further ado, let’s get into 15 great books like From Blood and Ash!
Books Like From Blood and Ash
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Let’s start this off with some witchy vibes! Kingdom of the Wicked follows Emilia and her twin Vittoria. They are both witches who secretly live among humans — until the day Emilia finds the dead body of her twin absolutely desecrated. She sets out to find Vittoria’s killer and enact her revenge. Enter Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell. He claims to be on her side, but you can’t really trust the Wicked. This book isn’t as steamy as From Blood and Ash — as is the case with most of these YA books — but the romance is certainly as intoxicating.
A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha
Part of the appeal of From Blood and Ash is the forbidden romance. It’s about the yearning. Which makes this a perfect YA read-alike. A Curse of Roses follows Princess Yzabel, whoser curse turns everything she eats into flowers. She’s starving, as are the people of Portugal. The only person that can help is Fatyan — and she will, if Yzabel sets her free from her magical bonds with a kiss. Even though it’s treason, Yzabel kisses Fatyan. But now she can’t stop thinking about her, even if it means losing everything.
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
This book is pitched as Project Runway meets Mulan and the comparison is kind of perfect? The story follows Maia Tamarin, who poses as a boy and takes her father’s place in a tailoring competition for the Emperor’s bride-to-be. The competition already makes it hard for her to stay hidden, but things get worse when she draws the attention of Edan, the court magician. A forbidden romance sizzles between them, and they set out on a quest together to find the materials for Maia’s final challenge. They’re alone and outside of the prying eyes of court now, so who knows what might happen between them.
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
We’re going back to vampires for this one! The Immortal Rules follows an orphan named Allison. She and her crew scavenge for food during the days — and try to stay alive during nighttime. Like most humans, Allison absolutely despises vampires. Which is ironic, because one day she dies and joins their ranks. Now, Allison must pretend to be human as she joins a caravan that’s looking for a cure that might benefit humans and vampires alike. Oh, and did I mention the angsty romance between Allison and a human named Zeke?
Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Like Armentrout’s book, this one has a woman with a fate, and a romantic interest that might change everything for her. Thorn is actually a wonderful retelling of the “Goose Girl” fairytale, full of magic and with a more lowkey romance plot. It follows Alyrra, a princess who is ambushed by her former handmaiden to switch their bodies. As a goose girl, Alyrra meets her betrothed, Prince Kestrin. As she starts to fall for him and learns about the kingdom’s fate, Alyrra must face a choice. To go back and reclaim her place beside Kestrin, or live in the shadows forever.
Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
This book is a paranormal romance in which the romance aspect plays a huge role in the story. Why, you ask? Because our main character Voya is a witch tasked with killing her first love in order to save her and her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love. So she joins a match-making program that pairs her with the infuriating Luc. They’re not exactly enemies, but they do hate each other. Slowly but surely, they start to develop feelings. Which leaves Voya caught between her duty and morality. This book also weaves elements of sci-fi and a contemporary setting, but with such an enthralling romance it had to be in this list.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I feel like this is one of the original YA fantasy romance books! With an iconic enemies-to-lovers romance, it’s a perfect read-alike to FBAA. The Cruel Prince follows a human named Jude who was orphaned when she was young. She has lived in the High Court of Faerie since then…even though most Fae despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan. Hey, at least the hatred is mutual *wink, wink*. Jude wants nothing more than to fit in, so she throws herself into a deadly game of palace intrigue that involves going against Cardan — and saving his entire Court.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
Look, I don’t read that much romance. But when there’s a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers situation, you can count me right in! We Hunt the Flame follows Zafira, AKA the Hunter. Disguised as a man, she braves the Arz forest so she can feed her people. Then there’s Nasir, the Sultan’s son whose compassion could be his downfall. They are both sent on parallel missions to recover a lost artifact. But Nasir is also tasked by his father to kill the Hunter. When they meet, they find themselves forced to work together. Even though they hate each other’s guts…for now.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
Romeo and Juliet is a tale as old as time. Chloe Gong’s retelling takes that forbidden love story to a whole ‘nother level with a 1920s-inspired gangster story set in Shanghai. These Violent Delights follows Roma and Juliette, who belong to rival gangs. Juliette was Roma’s first love — and his first betrayal. But this happened years ago and now, they have to put their differences aside and work together. Because a monster lurks in the shadows of their city, and only by working together can they stop it from killing everyone.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes is another well-known fantasy romance that was all the rage when it came out — for a reason! The story follows a slave named Laia and a soldier named Elias. They live in a world in which defiance means treason, and treason means death. Laia lives with her family, until one day her brother is arrested for no reason. In exchange for their help, she becomes a spy for the rebels. So she’s sent to the Empire’s greatest military academy — where she meets Elias. A forbidden romance will bloom between them as they realize their fates are intertwined. Will they get together? Won’t they? There’s a whole series for you to read and find out.
Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan
Next, this is another amazing slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance. The story follows Ahn and Altan. Ahn is no one, with no past, and Altan is the lost heir to the throne. But their meeting sparks something between them. Not just feelings, for Anh sees a way to unlock her past and understand her mysterious magical abilities. Altan, on the other side, sees Anh as a way to recover what is rightfully his. But the price for what they want is bigger and deadlier than they could’ve imagined.
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
If you want some forbidden, fluffy romance this book is for you! An Enchantment of Ravens follows Isobel, a painter for the Fair Folk. One day, she receives a commission from Rook, the autumn prince. But she makes a deadly mistake on his portrait — she painted him as a mortal. Furious, Rook takes Isobel back to his kingdom. But something is wrong, and the only people they can trust is each other. They form an unlikely alliance that soon turns into more. But the Fae have ruthless laws against loving humans, and they could both lose their lives. In case that wasn’t enough, they also have to contend with the ancient malice that lurks in the darkness.
Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
What do you get when you mix enemies-to-lovers AND a doomed love? Bone Crier’s Moon. The book follows the Bone Crier Ailesse, who helps ferry the spirits of the dead to their respective afterlives. The thing is, she has to kill her true love to show her dedication to the gods she serves. Then, we have Bastien, whose father was slain by a Bone Crier. He’s seeking revenge, and he sees his chance when he captures Ailesse. But he answered her siren call, and they are now connected — if one dies, so does the other. Either way, Ailesse’s ritual to kill her love has already begun. And as they start to fall for each other — we all know who will have to die.
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova
A Deal with the Elf King is an older YA book that does include some low-grade steamy scenes, so in that sense it’s similar to From Blood and Ash. The story follows Luella, a young healer who is taken by the Elf King to be his Human Queen. His name is Eldas, and he’s a brooding, reserved, and arrogant ruler. But, as is wont in these love stories, what starts as hate between them soon turns into love. Soon, Luella is torn between her previous home, and this magical land and its ruler — who desperately need her help.
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Last but not least, this book is a bit different because it also has some horror elements. But, at the heart of the story lies a sweet romance that will change the protagonist’s life forever — in the vein of FBAA. Within These Wicked Walls follows Andromeda, a sort of house exorcist called a debtera. She’s having a hard time finding a new job, so when a man called Magnus Rochester reaches out, she doesn’t hesitate to accept his offer. But the house is darker and more dangerous than she imagined. Leaving is her best choice, but her feelings for him are bigger than she imagined — and she just can’t bring herself to leave Mr. Rochester alone with his curse.