In the ever-evolving landscape of literature, the realm of fantasy continues to enchant readers of all ages. However, as our tastes and preferences shift with time, a distinct niche has emerged within the genre, captivating the hearts and minds of a more mature audience. Welcome to the world of new adult fantasy books, where the boundaries of imagination are pushed further, characters grapple with the complexities of adulthood, and the magic woven into the narrative is as intricate as the dilemmas faced by its protagonists.
In this exploration, we embark on a journey through the latest treasures within this subgenre, unearthing the hidden gems and grand adventures that await those willing to delve into the enchanting pages of these newly released books. Whether you’re a seasoned fantasy aficionado or a newcomer to this mystical realm, prepare to be spellbound by the fantastical tales and intricate narratives that define the cutting edge of new adult fantasy.
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New Adult Fantasy Books
The allure of fantasy has long been its ability to transport us beyond the mundane, offering an escape into realms of wonder, intrigue, and profound discovery. Yet, as the literary world matures, so does its exploration of fantastical worlds, weaving tales that resonate deeply with the struggles and dreams of young adults transitioning into the wider world of adulthood. For those eager to embark on such journeys, we’ve carefully curated a list of the latest New Adult Fantasy titles. Each offers its own unique blend of magic, romance, conflict, and self-discovery. Ready to find your next enchanting read? Delve in and discover the stories that are setting the tone for the next generation of fantasy enthusiasts.
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.
At least, he’s not a beast all the time.
As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.
Rhapsodic – Laura Thalassa
Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past.
For the last seven years Callie has been wearing a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she once received. Only death or repayment will fulfill her obligations.
Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want … at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects. But for Callie, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now.
When Callie finds the Bargainer in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s admitting a truth—a single bead’s worth—acknowledging the attraction between them. But the Bargainer is after more than just rekindling their connection. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one, and only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to her breast.
For the Bargainer to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. If she can forgive him.
From Blood and Ash – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched, never to be looked upon, never to be spoken to, never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. When Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in. And tempts her with the forbidden.
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods. But also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.
Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas
Enter the world of Throne of Glass with the first book in the #1 bestselling series by Sarah J. Maas.
In a land without magic, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She has no love for the vicious king who rules from his throne of glass, but she has not come to kill him. She has come to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three murderers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she will be released from prison to serve as the King’s Champion.
Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a faraway country will befriend her. But something rotten dwells in the castle, and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying mysteriously, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival. And a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.
Radiance – Grace Draven
~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
Halfway to the Grave – Jeaniene Frost
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side. And Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.
Graceling – Kristin Cashore
Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
Darkfever – Karen Marie Moning
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death—a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone—Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae. . . .
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane—an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book—because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands. . . .
A Shadow in the Ember – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Born shrouded in the veil of the Primals, a Maiden as the Fates promised, Seraphena Mierel’s future has never been hers. Chosen before birth to uphold the desperate deal her ancestor struck to save his people, Sera must leave behind her life and offer herself to the Primal of Death as his Consort.
However, Sera’s real destiny is the most closely guarded secret in all of Lasania—she’s not the well protected Maiden but an assassin with one mission—one target. Make the Primal of Death fall in love, become his weakness, and then…end him. If she fails, she dooms her kingdom to a slow demise at the hands of the Rot.
Sera has always known what she is. Chosen. Consort. Assassin. Weapon. A specter never fully formed yet drenched in blood. A monster. Until him. Until the Primal of Death’s unexpected words and deeds chase away the darkness gathering inside her. And his seductive touch ignites a passion she’s never allowed herself to feel and cannot feel for him. But Sera has never had a choice. Either way, her life is forfeit—it always has been, as she has been forever touched by Life and Death.
Magic Bites – Ilona Andrews
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way our of her league—but she wouldn’t want it any other way…
This edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with a quiz to find your place there and with answers to frequently asked questions. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.
A Promise of Fire – Amanda Bouchet
Cat Fisa isn’t who she pretends to be. She’s perfectly content living disguised as a soothsayer in a traveling circus, avoiding the destiny the Gods—and her dangerous family—have saddled her with. As far as she’s concerned, the magic humming within her blood can live and die with her. She won’t be a pawn in anyone’s game.
But then she locks eyes with an ambitious warlord from the magic-deprived south and her illusion of safety is shattered forever.
Griffin knows Cat is the Kingmaker—the woman who divines truth through lies—and he wants her to be a powerful weapon for his newly conquered realm. Kidnapping her off the street is simple enough, but keeping her by his side is infuriatingly tough. Cat fights him at every turn, showing a ferocity of spirit that burns hot…and leaves him desperate for more. But can he ever hope to prove to his once-captive that he wants her there by his side as his equal, his companion…and maybe someday, his Queen?
Uprooted – Naomi Novik
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J. Maas
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life-working hard all day and partying all night-until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose-to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion-one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
The Winter King – C. L. Wilson
After three long years of war, starkly handsome Wynter Atrialan will have his vengeance on Summerlea’s king by taking one of the man’s beautiful, beloved daughters as his bride. But though peace is finally at hand, Wynter’s battle with the Ice Heart, the dread power he embraced to avenge his brother’s death, rages on.
Khamsin Coruscate, Princess of Summerlea and summoner of Storms, has spent her life exiled to the shadows of her father’s palace. Reviled by her father, marriage to Wintercraig’s icy king was supposed to be a terrible punishment, but instead offers Kham her first taste of freedom—and her first taste of overwhelming passion.
As fierce, indomitable Wynter weathers even Khamsin’s wildest storms, surprising her with a tenderness she never expected, Kham wants more than Wynter’s passion—she yearns for his love. But the power of the Ice Heart is growing, dangerous forces are gathering, and a devastating betrayal puts Khamsin and Wynter to the ultimate test.
Nevernight – Jay Kristoff
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.
Wicked – Jennifer L. Armentrout
Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.
Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.
Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.
But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.
A Touch of Darkness – Scarlett St. Clair
“Let me worship you,” he said.
She remembered the words she had whispered to him in the back of the limo after La Rose. “You will worship me, and I won’t even have to order you.” His request felt sinful and devious, and she reveled in it.
She answered, “Yes.”
Persephone is the Goddess of Spring in title only. Since she was a little girl, flowers have only shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hoped to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist. All of that changes when she sits down in a forbidden nightclub to play a hand of cards with a hypnotic and mysterious stranger.
Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible. But nothing has ever intrigued him as much as the goddess offering him a bargain he can’t resist.
After her encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead, and his terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever. The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—a love that is both captivating and forbidden.
The Queen of All that Dies – Laura Thalassa
In the future, the world is at war.
For the last decade, King Lazuli of the Eastern Empire has systematically taken over the world. No one knows much about him other than a series of impossible facts: he cannot die, he has not aged since the conflict began, and he wants to rule the world.
All Serenity Freeman has known is bloodshed. War has taken away her mother, her home, her safety. As the future emissary of the Western United Nations, the last autonomous region of the globe, she is responsible for forging alliances where she can.
Surrender is on the horizon. The king can taste it; Serenity feels it deep within her bones. There is no other option. Now the two must come face to face. For Serenity, that means confronting the man who’s taken everything from her. For the king, it means meeting the one woman he can’t conquer. But when they meet, something happens. Cruelty finds redemption.
Only in war, everything comes with a price. Especially love.
Trickery – Jaymin Eve & Jane Washington
Willa Knight: Dweller. Slave. Non-magical being.
In Minatsol, being a dweller means that you are literally no better than dirt. In fact, dirt might actually be more useful than Willa. Her life will be one of servitude to the sols, the magic-blessed beings who could one day be chosen to become gods.
At least her outer village is far removed from the cities of the sols, and she won’t ever be forced to present herself to them… Until one small mistake changes everything, and Willa is awarded a position to serve at Blesswood, the top sol academy in the world—a position that she definitely did not earn.
Under the sudden, watchful eye of the gods, she will be tasked to serve the Abcurse brothers, five sols built of arrogance, perfection and power. They are almost gods themselves, and under their service she is either going to end up sentenced to death, or else they are going to ruin her so badly that she will wish for it.
Either way, she is in trouble.
Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones
Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother had always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister safe from harm, but she wishes only to indulge in her wild, captivating music, composed and played in secret in the Goblin King’s honor.
When her beautiful sister Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.
Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.
Gild – Raven Kennedy
The fae abandoned this world to us. And the ones with power rule.
Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.
King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.
Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.
Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged, and I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.
Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage.
But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.
Other Genres To Try
New Adult Fantasy, with its deep exploration of maturation, self-discovery, and the intricate dance between light and dark, resonates with many. But the literary world is vast, and readers might be pleasantly surprised by the allure of other genres that echo the themes they love. If you find yourself enamored by the magic of New Adult Fantasy, consider diving into the following genres:
- Urban Fantasy: Set against the backdrop of our modern world, Urban Fantasy introduces magical elements in city settings, offering a familiar yet enchanted landscape. Dive into stories where the mythical intertwines with the everyday, and magical creatures navigate the urban jungle alongside humans.
- Paranormal Romance: Love is magical, but in Paranormal Romance, it’s quite literally so. Experience epic love stories entwined with supernatural elements, from vampires and werewolves to angels and demons.
- Dystopian Fiction: Venture into futures that seem bleak, but where hope glimmers through. This genre explores societies gone wrong, often acting as a cautionary tale, yet invariably shining a light on the resilience of the human spirit.
- Steampunk: Journey into worlds powered by steam and clockwork. Blending elements of fantasy with alternative histories and advanced technology, Steampunk offers adventure in a unique, industrially-tinged environment.
- Magical Realism: Experience the charm of our real world, subtly infused with magical elements. In Magical Realism, the extraordinary is treated as ordinary, adding layers of depth and wonder to everyday life.
- Dark Fantasy: For those who enjoy the grittier side of New Adult Fantasy, Dark Fantasy dives deeper into the macabre and sinister, exploring the shadowy corners of magical worlds.
By broadening your horizons, you not only immerse yourself in a myriad of captivating tales but also discover interconnected themes, characters, and settings that strike chords similar to those you’ve cherished in New Adult Fantasy. Happy reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any adult fantasy books?
There are numerous adult fantasy books available. These books often feature mature themes, intricate plots, and character development suitable for adult readers.
Popular adult fantasy authors include George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson.
What age is new adult?
“New Adult” typically refers to individuals aged between 18 to 30 years old. In literature, “New Adult” books address themes and challenges faced by individuals in this age bracket, such as college life, beginning careers, and navigating early adult relationships.
What is coming of age fantasy books?
Coming-of-age fantasy books are narratives where characters transition from youth to adulthood within a fantastical setting or context. This genre emphasizes personal growth, discovery, and maturity.
Classic examples include “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.
What is the meaning of new adult fantasy?
“New adult fantasy” refers to fantasy novels aimed at readers typically between the ages of 18-30. These books often address themes like college life, starting a new job, romantic relationships, and navigating early adulthood, all within a fantastical context.
The New Adult category bridges the gap between Young Adult (YA) fiction, which often focuses on teenage protagonists, and Adult fiction, which can address broader or more mature themes.
As the boundaries of literature continue to evolve, the realm of New Adult Fantasy stands as a testament to the enduring allure of the fantastical. These tales, intricately woven with themes of growth, challenge, and self-discovery, offer both escape and reflection for readers on the cusp of life’s great adventures. Whether you’re new to this captivating subgenre or a seasoned enthusiast, there’s always a new magical world awaiting your exploration. Journey forth, intrepid reader, and let these stories be the compass guiding you through realms unknown.