Big news for fantasy romance lovers! New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Armentrout announced earlier this month that her popular fantasy series From Blood and Ash is going to be a scripted Amazon show. Anne Cofell Saunders (The Boys, Star Trek: Discovery, Battlestar Galactica) has been tapped as the showrunner and will adapt the series, so fans of FBAA’s Poppy and Casteel should be optimistic.
The fantasy romance industry is booming, but there are voices distinct enough to cut through the noise, and Armentrout’s From Blood and Ash (FBAA) does just that. It’s a series about gods, vampires, drakons, and horrors within a world of cunning realms that is sexy, thrilling, and fun. Below are 16 books that make for good follow-ups, including some that have yet to come out and others that are self-published or from indie presses:
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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
At this point if you’ve read From Blood and Ash, you’ve likely read Sarah J. Maas’s epic fae romance series, A Court of Thorns and Rose; it’s almost a chicken before the egg, or egg before the chicken question for fantasy romance fans. But if you haven’t fallen into the Maasdom yet, let me give you an abridged teaser: The villain gets the girl in a world of dark powers, fae rulers, found family, epic battles and a love story that culminates into a chapter routinely referenced within BookTok. If you fell for Armentrout’s Casteel, you’ll absolutely love Maas’s Rhysand. You’ll never look at soup the same again, and luckily for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hulu is producing an adaptation. Maas also just announced the third book in her Crescent City series (which has crossed over into her other series) will come out Jan. 30, 2024.
Prince of Deception by Jenny Hickman
Craving a love interest with a similar darkness and questionable affinity for violence as Armentrout’s Casteel? Meet Prince Rian from Jenny Hickman’s Myths of Airren series, a delightful romp filled with Irish folklore legends like the Gancanagh, banshees, pukas, and a heartless prince. Each book in the series is told from the point of view of one of the central characters, and Hickman’s latest, Prince of Deception, might be a personal favorite. Rian is the sardonic “wicked” half-fae Prince, son to a vicious witch queen who sucks the life force from her victims and half-brother to a king with a lethal kiss. Rian falls deeply in love, despite his own internal struggles and debauched lifestyle, with a human named Aveen, who is as likely to hurl dirt at him as she is to kiss him. The queen does not approve, and in order to keep Aveeen alive, someone has to die.
The Jasad Heir by Sara Hashem (July 18)
This debut from Sara Hashem is an Egyptian-inspired fantasy that follows a fugitive heir to the throne, Sylvia, whose magic and past threaten to upend her future. Like Armentrout, Hashem beautifully creates a story of intrigue and high stakes. At only 10 years old, Sylvia fled her family’s massacre; by 15, she buried her first body, and by 20, she’s in hiding after her third attempt to return home. The Nizahl's armies laid waste to the Kingdom of Jasad and banned magic across the four remaining kingdoms. For years, Sylvia and her magic have been in hiding until Arin, the Nizahl Heir, tracks a group of rebels to Sylvia’s village and the quiet life she's crafted unravels. Arin is cold and calculating with a mind cut for political brilliance and a deep hatred for magic. When a moment of anger exposes Sylvia’s magic, Arin offers her a deal: compete as Nizahl’s Champion in the Alcalah tournament to avoid death. To win, she’ll need to work with Arin — all while hiding her true identity as Jasad’s heir. Hashem’s debut is enemies-to-possible lovers that fantasy romance readers will eat up. The spice doesn’t hit until nearly the end.
Vicious Bonds (The Tether series) by Shanora Williams
The New York Times bestselling author’s recent fantasy romance, Vicious Bonds, has just gifted the world Caz and Willow — who might become your next Poppy and Casteel. The spice, the plot, and the tropes are all characteristics fans of FBAA will appreciate. There’s even a telepathic love scene best read in a private space. Vicious Bonds follows Willow, a woman from North Carolina who finds herself suddenly dropped from the sky into a dangerous forest. She doesn’t believe what she sees to be true until she finds herself facing down the barrel of a man’s gun — a man who happens to be the Ruler of Blackwater (where she’s landed), Caz Harlow. The brooding and severe man wants Willow back in her world and far away from him. Except for all of Caz’s gruff exterior, there’s something even more unnerving about him: Willow can hear his thoughts. And he can hear hers. This epic is entirely bingeable in one sitting and ends on a cliffhanger, with book two in the trilogy coming out this November.
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Seven Faceless Saints by M.K. Lobb
This spectacular debut centers on a badass main character, Rossana Lacertosa, and a complicated and complex love interest in Damian Venturi. Fans of Armentrout will love the world Lobb has crafted within the fictional city of Ombrazai, which has a class system divided into Saints, disciples, and everyone else. Rossana’s life has been a series of brutalities and misfortunes ever since her powers gifted from the saint Patience were revealed. From the violent murder of her father by Ombrazian leaders to her mother’s madness and the emotional loss of her first love, she’s less enamored with the powers that be and more consumed with righting a system rigged to favor a select few. Enter Damian Venturi, Rossana’s former love interest who left for the military to fight in an endless war and returned to become a high-ranking guard protecting influential disciples within the capital. But when a disciple of the Saint of Death is murdered, Damian’s already fraying grip on reality and his PTSD from war send him searching for additional help. He encounters Rossana, who is also searching for answers, and convinces her to work with him to find a killer and gain insight into rebel forces. This is a delicious new book that leans more into New Adult than Armentrout’s decidedly more adult content, but the characters are equally memorable and the plot’s thick like a good sauce.
Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong (July 25)
Chloe Gong is already an established author, especially with fantasy fans. Her debut series These Violent Delights is a loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai, with rival gangs and a frightening monster lurking in the depths of the Huangpu River. It’s frequently mentioned in roundups for fans of Leigh Bardugo and other fantasy authors, but her latest, Immortal Longings, is Gong’s first foray into adult fantasy. It’s also an inspired retelling of another fated couple, Anthony and Cleopatra. In Gong’s tale, we meet the beautiful princess Calla, who fled into hiding five years ago following the massacre of her parents, leaving the palace of Er empty — a brutality she happened to orchestrate. And her plot to pull down the whole of the monarchy isn’t satisfied yet, as she also plans to kill her uncle King Kasa. But he’s a reclusive ruler, and her only hope is to enter into the palace’s yearly “games” in the capital twin-cities of San-Er, where brave competitors risk their lives for riches. The king is known to meet with the final victor of the games, and so Calla is determined to win. Except so is Anton, an exiled aristocrat with a lover in a coma who he’s desperate to keep alive, and winning the games will provide the money he needs for her care. Calla and Anton form an alliance, along with the help from the King’s adopted son, August, but with each one having different goals to achieve, their loyalties become a tangled mess of confusion and attraction. The book errs on the milder side of spice when compared to Armentrout’s work, but the romance and intrigue build, and by the end of the book, you’ll be right where Gong wants you — longing for more.
Scarred by Emily McIntire
This dark and delicious fractured fairy-tale reimagining from the international bestselling author Emily McIntire is one of many in her The Never After series of fractured fairy-tales all inspired by the baddies. Prince Tristan Faasa is not destined to be king, but his older brother, Michael, who has tormented and brutalized him for years, is. When their father dies, one brother begins his ascension to the throne, while the younger plots to steal it. Tristan is the secret leader of a rebellious gang set to end his brother’s reign. When the King’s betrothed, Lady Sara Beatreaux, arrives at court, Tristan falls in love. Violence, forbidden love, and scorching passion are just a few of the reasons anyone that loves FBAA will gleefully enjoy the rapture of McIntire’s entire canon.
Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
This New York Times bestselling author's swoon-worthy YA gothic romance Belladonna is perfect for fans of Armentrout’s prequel series to FBAA, A Shadow in the Ember. Nineteen-year-old Signa Farrow was orphaned as a child and has been raised by various guardians who are more interested in her wealth than her well-being. Her last remaining relatives are the Hawthornes, a peculiar and eccentric family living within the gloomy estate of Thorn Grove. The Hawthornes’ patriarch, Elijah, is in mourning for his wife, Lillian, and indulges in wild parties, while the eldest son, Percy, struggles to control the family’s reputation. And Elijah’s daughter, Blythe, coincidentally suffers from the same mysterious illness that killed her mother. In one frightening exchange, Lillian’s spirit comes to Signa to warn her that her death was by poisoning. Signa fears Blythe will be next, and her best chance of uncovering the murderer is by making a deal with Death himself, a man she hates. The second book in the series, Foxglove, will be published on Aug. 22.
What Lies Beyond The Veil (Flesh and Bone series) by Harper L. Woods and Adelaide Forrest
The Flesh and Bone series is often mentioned in the same fantasy romance roundups as FBAA. The series is incredibly spicy, with dominant lovers, public displays of sex, and even a ghostly flirt. The male Fae love interest, Caelum, is similar to Armentrout’s Casteel, with very “touch her and you’ll die” vibes, and the first two books are full of fun rides of fated lovers, a cast of wild characters, a brewing rebellion across lands, and the enemies-to-lover tropes perfect for fans of FBAA, including a multiple lives reincarnation similar to Armentrout’s Poppy. And the female main character, Estrella, grows over the course of the series into a confident (in her displays of sexuality) and powerful (through her magic and empathy) force brimming with retribution. What Lurks Between the Fates’ publication date is March 28, 2023.
King of Battle and Blood (Adrian X Isolde series) by Scarlett St. Clair
In order to end a yearslong war between vampires and mortals, Princess Isolde is set to wed the ruthless vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev in an attempt to nullify a brutal war raging throughout the lands. Without giving too much away, it’s more than just the initial attraction that complicates Isolde’s relationship with Adrian, and once they return to his home in the Red Palace following their climatic wedding, her past and his go deeper than the princess initially thought. Adrian’s court is full of dangerous and cunning characters, and by the end, you'll be screaming for resolution. Thankfully, the second in the duology, Queen of Myths and Monsters, is out now.
Court of the Vampire Queen by Katee Robert
Robert might be one of the most versatile romance writers in the game right now. She can effortlessly shift between point of views and relationship dynamics with the perfect amount of spice and humor. I’m a fan of her Dark Olympus series, but her dark and sexy Court of the Vampire Queen is most thematically similar to FBAA. Half-human, half-vampire Mina is determined to make her father pay for using her as a political pawn and forcing her into an arranged marriage to the dangerously seductive Malachi Zion — a union neither initially wants. And Mina will stop at nothing to reclaim her freedom, kill her father, and claim the throne that is rightfully hers. And Malachi might be more friend than foe in her plan — the more Mina discovers about her new captor, the less his villainous reputation holds true, with it possibly being more imagined persona than reality. And as Malachi learns to trust Mina, he finds himself sharing more than just his truth, but also the love and companionship of his two closest friends with her. No longer a pawn in her father’s game, but a woman surrounded by three powerful men, she may finally have the strength she needs to avenge her life and claim the crown.
The Curse of Saints by Kate Dramis (July 11)
This debut from the TikTok influencer Kate Dramis is an epic romantic fantasy series about a spymaster named Aya (also known as “Queen’s Eyes”) who has an unrelenting dedication to discipline and rule. She’s driven to ensure dark magic never returns to the realm. And she’ll do anything to keep everyone in the kingdom safe, even Will, the Queen’s enforcer, whom she deeply distrusts and loathes. He perpetually tests her, and after a series of taunts and threats, she explodes and unleashes a power on him that hasn’t been seen in hundreds of years. The usually controlled Aya is now forced to ally with Will, whose darkness seems to also call to her, if she hopes to discover who she truly is. The pair spar endlessly, and it only amplifies the tension of the slow-burn romance. Since this is the first book in the series, Dramis spends a good deal of world-building enchanting readers with an intricate magic system. And for fans hungry for a stabby heroine like Armentrout’s Poppy, they’ll likely adore Aya.
A Multitude of Dreams by Mara Rutherford (Sept. 26)
This is Rutherford’s fifth novel and one clearly close to her heart. It’s an unconventional retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” and includes Jewish representation, an important part of Rutherford’s identity. Blending Poe’s gothic tale with the author’s talent for fantasy, A Multitude of Dreams is a lovely and spine-chilling YA novel that will keep you guessing. For three years, Princess Imogen of Goslind has led a sheltered life in a boarded-up castle while a bloody plague ravaged the kingdom. Now that the plague has ended, what new horrors will Imogen face? But the princess has a secret, and as King Stuart descends into madness, it’s likely to be revealed. Within the castle walls, murmurings of a revolt threaten to upend a facade that’s played out for years by those in power. Enter Nico Mott, who has experienced deep loss because of the plague and is only alive due to the generosity of the neighboring Lord Crane. Nico is sent by Crane to seek out any survivors in the castle, and it’s there he meets Imogen, who is desperate to leave. Nico and Imogen aren’t sure if they’re friends or enemies…or something more. But they’ll ultimately need one another to survive the horrors just ahead. Rutherford’s talent for creating a story that haunts and unravels you is not unlike Poe in her mastery. Fans of the darker and more macabre aspects of FBAA will enjoy Rutherford’s tale.
The Wolf and the Wildflower by Ella Fields
Although within the world of the Fated Fae series, Ella Field’s The Wolf and The Wildflower can be read as a stand-alone. When the fae queen Aster flees from her present life into a seedy tavern of another territory, she catches the eye of Scythe. A one-night stand turns into days of passion for the couple and a fate neither is fully prepared to accept. Scythe, sensing Aster is hiding something from him, allows her the space to come to him. But when the reality of her choices comes to a potentially violent end for more than just the two of them, Aster flees back to her home. Field’s tale is about broken marriages, affairs, alpha males, fated mates, and some of the best writing I’ve seen in the fantasy romance genre about how to move on after relationships shatter and new ones bloom.
Kingdom of Flame and Fury by Whitney Dean
Fans of the spicier chapters of FBAA will love this book, as Dean doesn’t skimp on sex, drama, or thrills. Raven is the beautiful shape-shifting queen of Seolia, and she’s dedicated to her people and will do anything to protect them. But she’s isolated and lonely in her power. She was orphaned as a child and has since spent 15 years ruling over a kingdom of secrets and her own dark magic with a hunger for blood. At almost 25, she’s found a reckless addiction to stealing life — a dark lust she has to fight to contain. When an attractive and mysterious stranger suddenly arrives in her kingdom, she starts experiencing vivid dreams that reveal who she truly is. A brewing rebellion, magic, possible love triangle, and political drama makes for an enchanting fantasy read.
Ebony Gate by Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle (July 7)
Slightly veering off-genre into more of an urban-fantasy, Ebony Gate creates an intricate and epic world of exhilarating moments and fierce characters. It’s touted as a female John Wick story with dragon magic set in contemporary San Francisco’s Chinatown — Armentrout’s Reaver would likely approve. Emiko Soong has the blood of one of the banished ancient dragons in her veins, and she belongs to one of the several premier magical families of the world. Except Emiko has never been able to invoke any magic. But she’s never needed any magic to be useful to her family, whose reputation is drenched in blood and mystery. And unfortunately for Emiko, that reputation has followed her from Tokyo to San Francisco. Fans of Armentrout and Sarah J. Maas’s Crescent City series will dig this contemporary fantasy full of blood debts, supernatural barriers, East Asian monsters and myths, and a femme fatale coming into her own.
Lady of Darkness by Melissa K. Roehrich
Like Carissa Broadbent’s The Serpent and the Wings of Night, Melissa K. Roehrich’s Lady of Darkness is getting a Bookstagrammer bump. Fans of Roehrich are touting Lady of Darkness as a cure for your FBAA hangover. Scarlett Monrhoe and her two sisters have been trained since they were children by a ruthless Assassin Lord. They’ve become a notorious trio but are also unruly and unpredictable. And on one ill-fated evening when Scarlett becomes trapped in a noble’s household, her only chance for release is to complete a dirty job. And if she does this, her payment will be something she has coveted for years: vengeance against the Fae Fire Prince who violently killed her mother 10 years ago. Scarlett will also seek out the help of old friends, a former lover, and a mysterious newcomer with ties to magic. This new adult fantasy with an enemies-to-lovers adventure has plenty of arrogant vampires like Armentrout’s beloved Ash and Casteel.