Of the seemingly infinite amount of book tropes, enemies to lovers books are by far the most popular.
What starts out as dislike or hatred between characters, turns into witty banter, followed by unfathomable love, and ends with a relationship full of passion. This trope is usually accompanied by slow-burn romance, a relationship that is very slow to form and leaves readers full of anticipation.
Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most popular enemies to lovers books in an array of genres.
From warring magical species and dueling kingdoms to simple animosity and misunderstanding, these will fulfill all your needs in enemies to lovers books.
Enemies to Lovers Fantasy Books
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
We start off our list of enemies to lovers books with From Blood and Ash.
From Blood and Ash follows the main character Poppy in the first book in JLA’s first epic fantasy romance series. This whole series is very heavily romance themed. The main world setting is a twist on vampires and is totally unique in scope and world.
If you’d like to learn more, check out my spoiler-free review of From Blood and Ash.
And if you’ve already read it and loved it, check out these 10 Books like From Blood and Ash.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Next is Falling Kingdoms, which follows four main characters in an epic fight to determine who will prevail in the slow demise of the kingdom.
Princess Cleo must reckon with violence following a lifetime of security to assert herself as Queen. Prince Magnus of Limeros must tread carefully amidst the turmoil as his sister Lucia faces questions about her heritage. Finally, Jonas leads the rebels in their fight against the oppressive monarchy.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
You’ll be hard-pressed to find enemies to lovers books with higher tension than Kingdom of the Wicked. This book follows two witches, twin sisters Emilia and Vittoria, who live in secret to avoid persecution. When Emilia finds Vittoria’s body violated, a rage and violence is unleashed within her.
In her pursuit of vengeance Emilia encounters Wrath, a Wicked-prince of Hell, who says they are on the same side. Emilia does not know whether to trust his words, but her anger burns red-hot to avenge her sister.
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Lara has been trained to destroy the Bridge Kingdom, which has brought her homeland to ruin. Through its king, Aren, she will bring the kingdom to its knees. She is willing to do anything.
But as she infiltrates the inner circles and begins to understand the war, Lara finds doubt. In Aren, she also finds an unexpected fierce passion that forces her to question which kingdom to save.
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Mary E. Pearson really knows how to put together great enemies to lovers books.
Dance of Thieves begins on the precipice of a new age. Jase, the new leader of his outlaw family, continues in his father’s stead to force the kingdoms to bow to their power. But a young queen urges in a new era.
She sends Kazi into Ballenger’s territory to investigate Jase, but the former street thief finds more to him than meets the eye. Both Jase and Kazi rush to complete their own tasks, but are brought together in intimate dance.
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
We Hunt the Flame is a book community favorite with ancient Arabia inspirations. Two unwilling legends within Arawiya are tasked with the same goal, which is far deadlier than either can imagine.
Zafira is known in whispers as the Hunter. Her identity must remain a secret, for if anyone knew she was a girl instead of the man she disguises herself as, her achievements would be for naught. Meanwhile, Nasir must prove himself to the sultan, his father, or face brutal punishments, which is how he has cloaked himself with the title of Prince of Death.
They are both set on a path to retrieve a lost artifact, but an ancient evil unknowingly stirs.
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
You can’t find a better candidate for a list of enemies to lovers books than The Cruel Prince. Even the title carries the weight that our hero is stuck in a relationship with someone she could never love. Or can she?
The cruel world of the faerie realm is where Jude has grown up after the murder of her parents. Along with her two sisters they were taken to the High Court. Despite the fey’s disdain for her mortality, Jude desperately wants to belong.
She determines that the best way to do so is to defy Prince Cardan, who is the youngest of the High King’s sons and by far the most wicked. But betrayal threatens to destroy the Court, pushing Jude to secure a dangerous alliance in an attempt to save her sisters.
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Serpent & Dove takes place in a fantasy world inspired by French culture, which is a refreshing change of pace. It is also a world in which the Church rules and witches are persecuted, so of course this enemies to lovers book follows the relationship between a witch and a Chasseur, one of the Church’s witch hunters.
Lou le Blanc is on the run from her coven and her destiny when her future becomes inextricably and shockingly entwined with Reid Diggory’s through holy matrimony. The result is an epic slow burn romance that also features the tropes of forced proximity and there only being one bed.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Crier’s War is a fantasy book that has hints of science fiction with the role automation plays to the overall plot and world. In Rabu, following a destructive war, the Automae took control and forced humans into a subservient state.
Ayla is a human who seeks to avenge her family. Her target is Lady Crier, the heir to the Kingdom, augmented with Automae parts to be perfect. But as Ayla and Crier become closer, both of their illusions are shattered as reality seeps in.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Here’s a book I haven’t read. Six of Crows is a duology in the Grishaverse. I read Shadow and Bone and enjoyed them well enough, but when I tried to start Six of Crows it just wasn’t gripping me.
However, this one also receives great acclaim in the YA Fantasy Community. It’s a heist book, which does sound fun, and focuses on a motley crew of friends, which also sounds fun, but the opening of the book just didn’t do it for me. I hear if you get into it, though, it’s riveting and one of Bardugo’s best works.
Bardugo really knows how to write enemies to lovers books. You might also check out her Shadow and Bone series if you haven’t already read it.
Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
The world in Bone Crier’s Moon is a brutal one. To fulfil their role to carry the dead to the afterlife, Bone Criers must sacrifice the one they love. Ailesse has grown up knowing that one day she must sacrifice the boy she would otherwise grow to love.
Meanwhile, following the death of his father to a Bone Crier, Bastien has sought revenge. When he catches one, Bastien and Ailesse’s fate are linked in more ways than one. This prompts Ailesse’s best friend Sabine to rush and save her, no matter the cost.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Karou has always wondered about her ancestry. Her mind and sketchbooks are filled with monsters, the languages she speaks are not all human, and her hair naturally grows an unnatural bright blue. Akiva finds her in Marrakesh and knows the secrets Karou seeks, but Karou must first survive long enough to know what to do with her new truth.
That’s because a war is brewing. A war that is not entirely human.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval is a performance held once a year and shrouded in mystery. It is allegedly all an act, but when Scarlett’s sister Tella goes missing, the consequences feel dangerously real.
Scarlett Dragna has always wanted to attend the celebration, and the arrival of her invitation was met with excitement and glee. She willingly left her tiny island for the first time with her sister and a strange sailor. But once they arrived, the organizer behind Caraval, Legend, kidnapped Tella.
Now Scarlett must participate in the hunt to find her sister before the clock runs out.
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
This is an absolutely phenomenal book you must read.
It takes place on the high seas as Alosa must track down an ancient map that will lead to a trove of treasure. To do so, she lets her enemies apprehend her. It will let her search their ship, and this crew of pirate is no match for her.
Except one particular pirate might be. Riden, the first mate who is far too smart and good looking for his own good. But as Daughter of the legendary Pirate King and a captain herself, Alosa won’t let anything or anyone stand in her way of the map.
Levenseller writes a high adrenaline, fast paced adventure with a swoon worthy romance perfect for a list of enemies to lovers books.
Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
Kandala is on the cusp of ruin following a brutal assassination which forces two young princes into seats of power. Harristan is the new king, while Prince Corrick fulfils the role of King’s Justice, meting out violence at the smallest hint of rebellion.
But a sickness throughout the land is weakening their hold. Only Moonflower petals hold the cure, and they’re limited.
Meanwhile, Tessa Cade cannot stand by and watch her neighbors die. Stealing petals and distributing them to those in need is no longer enough. With the threat of a rebellion mounting Tessa sneaks into the palace, but what she finds threatens everything.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes depicts the brutality and dichotomy of ancient Rome with the characters of Laia and Elias.
Laia knows what happens to those to rebel against the Empire, but after the arrest of her brother, she will do anything to save him. Even put her life on the line and spy for the rebellion in the military academy.
It is there that she meets Elias. Instead of brutality, however, she finds an unwillingness in him. More than anything Elias wants to escape the Empire, and in each other they find an unlikely ally.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
When Juliet touches someone, disaster follows. 264 days ago it lead to The Reestablishment locking her up for murder. But disaster is already striking the world and it forces The Reestablishment’s hand to view Juliet and her powers in a different light.
With whispers of war Juliet provides a solution, but first she must decide is she wants to be their weapon, or a warrior.
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova
A relationship between an elf and a human provides the perfect setting for an enemies to lovers story. In A Deal with the Elf King a treaty exists that sets the scene for just such a relationship, but Luella never imagined she would be the one taken.
To establish peace between the races a treaty was created that takes a woman from Luella’s village as Queen to the elves. At nineteen, Luella thought she had escaped from such a possibility and is pursuing her dream as the town’s healer. But then the Elf King arrives to take her as his queen, and refusing him is not an option.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses is quite possibly a series that everyone will have already heard of. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out.
As is typical with SJM, expect that love interests will change. This is primarily a fantasy with a strong emphasis on the romance within the story. The first book is only so-so, being written early in SJM’s career. But Book 2, A Court of Mist and Fury, is where the series really starts to take off. It’s phenomenal and I buy every single book as soon as the pre-orders go up.
If you love ACOTAR, check out this list of Top 10 Books like A Court of Thorns and Roses.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Khalid is the monstrous boy-king that murders his new bride each morning. One of those brides was Shahrzad’s best friend and to avenge her, Shahrzad perplexes everyone by volunteering to be the caliph’s new bride.
Except Shahrzad manages to survive that first morning. With each passing night she weaves new enchanting stories that draw him in and ensure she lives another day. But also with each passing night Shahrzad begins to know the true Khalid and fall in love.
It feels like a betrayal to her best friend and Shahrzad steals her resolve to murder Khalid, but only uncovers more secrets.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
These Violent Delights takes the story of Romeo and Juliet to the streets of Shanghai in 1926, a world of debauchery, crime, gangs, and betrayal.
Juliette Cai, the Scarlet Gang heir, has returned to the city. Roma Montagov is her personal rival and the heir to the White Flowers, rivals of her gang. Roma is also the first man she loved, and her first betrayal.
However, in the underground there are rumors of a madness that results in gangsters ripping their throats out. This is larger than their grudge, so they must work together to stop this monster and save their city.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is on my TBR. I intend to finally get to it very soon. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling, so right there you can tell it fits nicely into the enemies to lovers trope.
I don’t know how similar this book is to the original tale, but we can assume there will be a mean/rude love interest and that he will most likely have the main character held captive to a degree.
If you’ve read this one, let me know down in the comments what your thoughts are.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Elisabeth grew up in a library, and she has known from a young age that sorcerers are the source of evil. It’s her goal to protect the kingdom and save it from the dangerous powers of sorcery as a warden.
However, when the most lethal grimoire is unleashed and escapes from the library, Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. The only person who may be able to help her is a sorcerer by the name of Nathaniel Thorn. But desperate times call for desperate measures and as Elisabeth grows closer to Nathaniel, everything she thought she knew is called into question.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Another book on my TBR. I have To Kill a Kingdom downloaded to my kindle and ready to read. It gives me pirate vibes from the cover. We’ve got some Kraken tentacles and a dagger.
The synopsis sounds interesting. A siren princess, turned human, must deliver the heart of a prince to the Sea Queen within a certain time limit or remain a human forever. I assume she falls for her mark, which is always fun to see how they get out of the dilemma. Or maybe she decides to remain human and decides it’s not so bad after all?
Enemies to Lovers: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Audrey leads two very different lives. In the public eye she is the epitome of wealth, privilege, and class as a lord’s daughter. But away from the eyes of society and what is proper, she studies forensic medicine alongside her uncle.
It is in his laboratory that they begin to work on corpses that have been brutally murdered, which pulls Audrey into investigating the ruthless serial killer.
I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
Chloe Pierce has her sights set on attending dance school, so even though her mom forbade her from applying, she is secretly driving herself to audition. But she’s not exactly alone.
That’s because her neighbor Eli threatened to tell her mom if she didn’t bring him with her. The pair, along with Eli’s dog, are now cruising down the coast and unexpected butterflies are beginning to flutter in Chloe’s stomach.
Forest’s enemies to lovers books are fantastic for a romance that keeps you turning the pages.
Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
Our last recommendation for an enemies to lovers book is another favorite of the online book community. Punk 57 features two perspectives: Misha and Ryen.
This begins as an epistolary story when two teachers mistakenly pair Misha and Ryen together as pen pals not realizing Misha is a boy and Ryen a girl. Slowly Misha and Ryen’s combative arguments via letter turns into something more. Despite their flourishing friendship, their rules remain steadfast never to communicate outside of their letters.
But then Misha breaks their rules.
List of Popular Enemies to Lovers Books
Fantasy Enemies to Lovers Books
- From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
- Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
- Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
- The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
- Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
- We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
- Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
- Crier’s War by Nina Varela
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
- Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- Caraval by Stephanie Garber
- Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
- Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
- A Deal With the Elf King by Elise Kova
Enemies to Lovers Books: Retellings
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
- These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
- Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
- To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Contemporary/Historical Fiction Enemies to Lovers Books
- Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
- I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
- Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
- Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Want to add to the list? Let me know your favorite Enemies to Lovers books in the comments below.
Looking for more book lists?
Check out my list of 10 Books like A Court of Thorns and Roses.