Romance Tropes In Fantasy: Enemies to Lovers (+ Some Recs)

Enemies to Lovers is the trope that defines these books!

If there’s one thing that most YA Fantasy novels have, it’s romance. So many tropes define these romances: star-crossed lovers (Peeta and Katniss, swoon!), friends to lovers (Percy and Annabeth, anyone?), and my personal favorite. Yes, you guessed it right. It’s enemies to lovers.

This is the one trope that I admire because it takes a lot of character development and often is a huge part of the plot too, and it’s rather hard to do well! But here are my top three enemies to lovers books:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (and it’s sequels: The Wicked King and the upcoming Queen of Nothing) by Holly Black are beautiful books with the ultimate enemies to lovers relationship that I’ve read in a long, long, long time.

Jude Duarte is a mortal raised in a land where faeries live. It would make for a magical and sweet story but here’s the thing: Jude lives in the fae world because the man who murdered her parents abducted her and took her there. Now, that makes for an interesting dynamic between our protagonist and the faeries that she lives with. And guess who represents all the worst things about faerie? The cruel son of the High King, Cardan.

Their romance (if it can even be called that… phew) is so well written. It’s got hate and passion, and a whole lot of enemies to lovers imbued in each scene.

Go read this if you love: faeries, well written female characters, political intrigue and a lot of sword fighting.

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

A very wicked take on The Little Mermaid!

This is a standalone debut with sirens (not mermaids! Yes!) and pirate princes, what’s not to like?

But here’s the catch.

Lira is a siren princess who collects the hearts of princes. But her world starts changing when a mistake takes away everything that makes her a siren. Elian is a prince who loves the ocean more than his throne, and the world is a better place when he’s surrounded by his pirate crew (who help him hunt sirens) rather than royal courtiers.

What happens when the the siren hunter meets a human who was once a siren?

This is a delightful read that you’ll swallow up in one go. I did.

Go read this if you love: pirates, banter, sword fighting (why is that always something I love?), sirens, morally grey characters, and it’s a little mermaid retelling!

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

This is the first book in what may be my ultimate YA series. Enemies to lovers never felt as good as the dynamic between Kestrel and Arin…

Kestrel is the daughter of a General who has conquered many civilisations. She’s her father’s daughter in all things, but one: she loves playing the piano. It so happens that one day she finds herself at a slave auction and meets a boy who can sing, with eyes that stay determined even after all his years as a slave. In a strange chain of events, she finds herself with a slave who doesn’t act like a slave and finds in him a friend. She grows and she loves, and learns how wrong her world has always been.

Go read this if you love: political intrigue, a good commentary on colonialism in YA, sharp wit, betrayals, a female protagonist who isn’t perfect but learns to be better each day.

Yeah, I’m in love with this one.

Thank you so much for reading! Now, I must ask you all one question. What is your favourite romance trope in fantasy?

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