We all love to immerse ourselves in a world where magic is part of everyday life, mythical creatures can be seen everywhere, and epic adventures unfold. Fantasy novels have captivated their readers for a long time with their imagination and boundless creativity. While authors often find a way to incorporate romance within these novels, some readers prefer stories that focus less on romance and more on other elements.
In this article, I will take you through the best fantasy books without romance (or very little of it), where captivating storytelling takes precedence over love interests.
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Let’s start with possibly the most popular fantasy novel series in the world, “Lord of the Rings”. You might already be familiar with the name because of the movie adaptations and though the movies are good in their own right, the books are far better. So, If you’re a fantasy enthusiast, LoTR and The Hobbit are must-reads.
Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged a Ring and filled it with his powers to one day conquer and dominate the entire world, but the ring was taken from him. For all his life, he searched for the ring but it remained lost. Ages later, he is back, with his desire for world domination stronger than ever.
The dark lord’s ring is in the possession of Bilbo Baggins who entrusts his cousin Frodo to take the ring to the Cracks of Doom and destroy it before it falls into the hands of the evil dark lord.
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson planned the story and the world-building of this series for over 10 years and the result was The Way of Kings. It is a Dark Epic Fantasy story rich with themes of power, leadership, and conflicts.
Kaladin used to be a medical apprentice who picked up a spear to protect those dear to him but now, the young soldier has been turned into a slave. But even though he got sold as a slave, he strives to become an inspiration for everyone around him and reclaim his lost life, instead of letting it take him down further.
Lies of Locke Lamora Scott Lynch
If you love stories with cunning heists like Six of Crows, then The Lies of Locke Lamora should be your next pick. With its complex characters, great world-building, and interesting plot, this book is a gem that every fantasy lover must read.
Locke Lamora used to be a slave but then his master sold him to Chains, an expert con artist. He learned the art of trickery from his new master and years later, he is the infamous leader of a band of thieves known as “The Gentleman Bastards”.
He enjoys his life of thrill but when a coup threatens the empire and his very existence, he must put his life on the line to beat his enemies in their own game.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
If you’re a fan of fantasy novels or even movies, then you know about the amazing story of Narnia written by C.S. Lewis back in 1950. The series is loved by every fantasy enthusiast in the world.
Lucy was the first among her siblings to find out the secret of the wardrobe. The wardrobe connects their world to Narnia, a magical world with witches, talking animals, swords, and much more. Initially, no one believed Lucy but one by one, Edmund, Peter, and Susan, all learn about Narnia.
At first glance, Narnia looks like a wonderful magical place but they meet Aslan, a talking lion who tells them about the Evil White witch that rules the country. To defeat the witch and save everyone, the four siblings bravely join the battle and embark on a great adventure.
Cradle Series by Will Wight
The Cradle series by Will Wight is a highly popular title in the High Fantasy subgenre. It is one of the most loved High fantasy novels right now.
Sacred artists become stronger by cultivating their souls and learning to control the forces of nature. In a world where only the strong are respected, Lindon is cursed to forever be weak. Everyone is born with a soul that grants them power but unfortunately, Lindon was born an unsouled, which means that he can never cultivate like others.
But he hasn’t given up even years after learning his fate and when faced with a cruel future, he must find a way to become stronger and overcome his curse of being unsouled, even if it means going against his family’s rules.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
There is a city called Neverwhere below the streets of London that no one knows. In this city live every kind of beings from monsters and murderers to angels and saints.
It was just another normal day for Richard when he first met the woman named Door. He found her bleeding on the sidewalk and decided to help her but that single act of kindness turned his normal life upside down. He soon finds himself in Neverwhere.
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
If you like a kind, gentle, but imperfect protagonist, you would love this book. It is a great fantasy novel with a creative and immersive storyline.
Maia, the Emperor’s youngest son, has lived most of his life in exile for being a half-goblin. After his mother passed away when he was only 8, he lived a pitiful life under his cruel caretaker, away from the royal palace’s politics and schemes.
But that changes when his father and his three siblings all mysteriously die in an “accident”, and as the only surviving member of the royal family, he becomes the new king. While navigating a treacherous palace filled with people seeking to exploit him, he must prepare himself for the same enemies that killed the king and now might be targeting him.
The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist
First published in 1982, this Epic fantasy tale has continued to mesmerize readers to this date.
While the stability of the kingdom is in grave danger because of the new king and the nobles who wish to control him, a strange ship attacks the shores of Crydee. Mysterious warriors from seemingly another world are heading towards the kingdom and the king must be warned of the imminent danger.
Two young boys, Pug and Tomas are selected to accompany the Duke of Crydee on his travel to the capital to warn the king and the nobles. Tomas trains hard to become a warrior while Pug strives to become a magician. Will they become strong enough to face the otherworldly invaders?
The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
In this series, there are only a few romantic moments and nothing explicit since the main characters are all very young with the oldest being 12. This is a book series written with kids in mind, so, if you’re a parent looking for a fantasy book for your kid, then this is a must-read.
Janner Igiby lives in a small cottage along with his brother Tink, sister Leeli, their lovely mother, and grandpa. In his younger days, their grandfather used to be a notorious pirate and now, he is the only one in the world who knows the location of the lost treasure of King Wingfeather.
Their peaceful little life is about to be disrupted as evil men seek them to obtain the location of the treasure.
Malice by John Gwynne
Malice is the first book in The Faithful and The Fallen series. The synopsis may make it seem like another tale of Good vs Evil but it’s not as simple as that. As the chapters unfold, the story becomes darker, more ruthless, and more complex with each chapter.
The story is set in a world where the “God War” resulted in millions of deaths and great destruction and now, a prophecy claims that the ancient war will happen once again. The old foes are coming back with chaos in mind. Those aware of the upcoming threat, understand the consequences that will follow if they don’t join hands and face the coming war together.
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
This is the author’s debut novel and it was nominated in the Fantasy category in the Goodreads Choice Awards the year it was published.
Raised by a loving mother, Jorg lived a good life as a young prince of the empire along with his brother whom he loved dearly. But it didn’t last long. Whatever’s left of his brother now lies along with his mother in her grave. Things have changed and he is now the leader of a group of ex-convicts. Together, they roam the world, killing and looting as they please.
In an era plagued by violence and engulfed in darkness, Jorg must confront his personal demons. He must return to his father’s castle, and surrounded by treacherous people, he must write his destiny with blood.
The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher
Magic meets detective fiction in this series with the first book focusing on a double murder committed by a Dark mage.
Meet Harry Dresden, a quick-witted, wise-cracking wizard living in Chicago. With his exceptional magical abilities, he occasionally helps out the police, specializing in cases that involve occult and unexplained phenomena. Be it finding lost items, investigating paranormal activities, and unexplainable murders, he is the man. But business hasn’t been the best recently. So, when Chicago P.D. comes across a murder that can’t be explained with common sense, he sees an opportunity to make some good money.
It takes a wizard to catch a wizard. But the dark mage now knows Harry is coming. One minute you’re trying to solve a mystery and the next, someone’s coming for your life.
Alex Verus Series by Benedict Jacka
Alex Verus is another wonderful urban fantasy Series. Many people compare it to The Dresden Files and reasonably so but Alex Verus has its own appeal.
Alex is a mage living a peaceful life by not involving himself in the fights between the Light faction of mages and the Dark faction. This gives him plenty of time to manage a magic shop in London, selling magic books, potions, & occasional advice to his customers. Though his fighting ability isn’t all that powerful, he possesses the power to see the possible future. He is what’s called a ‘Diviner’ in the magic world.
His predictable life takes a sharp turn when powerful factions seek to employ him to find a missing old artifact and open it for them. He knows whatever’s inside that artifact is beyond what he can handle.