Fantastic books without romanticism (or very little)


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I have been looking for fantastic books with no romance or little romance. Books where the female and male protagonists end up becoming very close friends after an affair, where a gang of misfits saves the day or where sisters band together to protect each other and their kingdom.

Fantastic books that are free from the tropes of instant love or poorly written love triangles, books where the story is mostly about friendship, family ties and self-discovery while romance takes a back seat.

Now don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with romance in fantasy books and other genres. I’m ready for the slow-burning romance or the enemies to lovers trope. But sometimes I prefer the books to focus primarily on friendships, family ties, and other ties formed in history.

I’m not the only one in this case, as I’ve had similar feelings from other bookworms. Maybe because a lot of what we read or watch in the mainstream media has instances where romance just feels forced and unnecessary, or it seems added after the fact to keep readers engaged.

So if you are also looking for some fantastic books like this here is a list of the fantastic books that I have found so far that do not have any romance, or a little romance that is more in the background. as the main focus of the story. This is by no means an exhaustive list, as it turns out that finding a diverse range of fantastic books with little to no romance isn’t that easy.

this wild songbook cover

This wild song by Victoria Schwab

Kate Harker and August Flynn want very different things in a city fractured by violence and monsters. Kate wants to be a ruthless and tough monster slayer, while August wants to protect the innocent people of the city… but she is a monster with terrifying power. After a failed assassination attempt, the two must team up to survive and save their city, while also confronting their inner demons.

If you like books with monsters, magic, and no romance, this could be for you.

nimona book cover

Nimona by Noëlle Stevenson

Follow the misadventures of Nimona, a shapeshifter who wants to be a villain, in this graphic novel. Nimona and Lord Ballister Blackheart are on a mission to show the people of their kingdom that their heroes are not as good as they think they are. Simple plan, isn’t it? But as the two villains wreak havoc, things start to get out of hand as Nimona’s power and mysterious past begin to be called into question.

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David Mogo, hunter of God by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

The gods fell from the sky and made their home in Lagos, Nigeria. David Mogo, a demigod, makes a living capturing gods and deities in half-desert Lagos. After capturing a particularly strong god for one of his clients, he is embroiled in a sinister plan that would leave Lagos destroyed. He decides to right his wrongs with the help of his adoptive father, a wizard and another supreme god.

As you can guess, dealing with hostile gods in a deserted town doesn’t really leave time for romance, so there’s hardly any romance in this novel, just a hint of the supporting characters.

Rin Chupeco's The Daughter of the Well Blanket

The well girl by Rin Chupeco

Okiku is a ghost who hunts murderers, especially those who murdered little children like her. Doing this frees the ghosts of the victims and grants them peace, and for centuries she has drifted into doing this. Until she meets Tarquin, a boy who harbors something so sinister within him, and helping him out, she is forced to confront her own demons. This creepy and bloody enough novel has no romance whatsoever.

kaigen sword book cover

Kaigen’s sword by ML Wang

For centuries, the Kaigenese Empire has been protected by a group of mighty warriors. Mamoru Matsuda aspires to join these warriors and defend his homeland. But the arrival of a stranger brings shocking discoveries, as Mamoru learns that his country may not be as big as it seems.

Misaki struggles to forget her past and does her best to be a good mother, but with imminent danger and her husband’s indifference, she may have to take back her sword, as internal strife and threats of invasion flourish.

lost maze book cover

Lost labyrinth by Zoraida Cordova

Alex is called the most powerful Bruja of her generation, but she prefers to be anything but that. She hates magic and would go out of her way to get rid of her powers, including performing a spell to get rid of her powers during her Day of the Dead celebration.

The spell turns horribly on him, causing his entire family to disappear. She must venture to Los Lagos, a kingdom where the dead await the rest, to save her family. This book on witches and magic has a touch of romance but focuses more on family bonds and self-discovery.

thousand nights book cover

Thousand nights by EK Johnston

A story from the Arabian tale of 1001 nights, this novel follows a lady who decides to offer herself to Lo-Melkhiin in place of her sister. Lo-Melkhiin is a king who is feared for choosing new wives and killing them. She is ready for death, but as she tells stories to the King every night, she lives to see the next day and searches for a way to end her reign of terror. I loved that this book focuses primarily on the strong connections between sisters, community, magic, and the symbolism of history.

Servant of the Underworld Obsidian and Blood Volume 1 by Aliette de Bodard

The Obsidian and Blood Trilogy by Aliette de Bodard

In this trilogy, Acatl, high priest of the dead, has his hands full. From a missing priestess to a nobleman torn to pieces to a prisoner of war dying of a mysterious magical disease. He must investigate these matters, while dealing with the tensions and political intrigue of the royal court and the gods, in a world where human sacrifice and blood magic keep the earth fertile and the sun in the sky. Heavily influenced by Aztec mythology, this trilogy filled with magic, gods and murder keeps you on the edge of your seat, with barely any romance.

poison master book cover

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston

In a rapidly changing world for the worse, Djola, a master spy in exile, desperately searches for a way to save his homeland.

Miles away, Awa, a young witch, tries to make her way through the world. As the world crumbles around them, Djola and Awa may well hold the key to stopping the madness.

If you’re looking for more books with little to no romance, here’s a list of YA books from different genres that might interest you.

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