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A Definitive Spice Ranking of the Hottest Fantasy Romance Series
From TikTok to Goodreads, no one can escape the immense popularity of 'spicy' Fantasy Romance series. In case you aren't familiar, 'spicy' books are ones with steamy romance, hot characters, and a varying degree of love scenes, and we just cannot get enough! Here are the top series on #BookTok ranked by the spice that brought this hidden genre to the forefront of pop culture literature:
Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab
Magicians, thieves, parallel worlds, and dark secrets, oh my! This series has it all as a unique mashup of Urban Fantasy and Historical Sci-Fi. Full of drama and tension with a touch of romance (including LGBTQ+!), Shades of Magic is firmly within the Young Adult genre and thus ranks 0/5 on the spicy scale.
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
Revenge, redemption, lies and secrets, a kick-ass female lead, and her morally grey love interests are what drive this Dark Fantasy romance series. The first four books are limited to gore and violence as far as ‘graphic’ scenes go, fitting into dark YA with a spicy ranking of 0. Books 5-7, however, turn up the heat into New Adult fantasy with a ranking of 3/5 spice. But as the love scenes aren’t too descriptive and can easily be avoided, the series has a spicy score of 1/5 overall.
All Souls - Deborah Harkness
Urban Fantasy and Historical Sci-Fi meet again—this time with Paranormal Romance between an ancient vampire and a witch with rare abilities. Popular enough to earn a 3-season TV adaptation on character and plot complexity alone, Harkness wasn’t relying on scandal to gain her audience. Though teeming with forbidden romance tension, the steaminess is mostly just a little warm with one fiery scene for the series. The All Souls Trilogy has earned a 2/5 on the spicy scale, bridging the gap between YA and NA.
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
With 9 main books, several novellas, and a TV series that made the fandom explode into a dedicated online community, Outlander is the romantic epic of this list. Science-Fantasy and thoroughly researched Historical Romance—who doesn’t love a time travel love story? Firmly into New Adult territory and filled with kilt-dropping smut and allusions to BDSM, but generally hinted at more than described, giving this epic series a 3/5 for spice.
A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas
This is the series that comes up on top as far as popularity for spicy fantasy series. From front tables in bookstores to front pages on #BookTok, ACOTAR and its swoon-worthy High Fantasy romance are what spawned the term ‘spicy’ to refer to smutty books in the first place. If handsome fae, medieval politics, and steamy love triangles are what get you going, or if you are just looking for a place to start in this new fantasy subgenre, this is the place. Dramatic, magical, and very sexy, ACOTAR gets a spice rating of 4/5.
And now *drumroll* the award for the spiciest fantasy romance series at Juniper Books goes to…
From Blood and Ash - Jennifer Armentrout
A woman locked away in a tower to be preserved for her destiny and the hot guard she hates at first (OMG enemies to lovers!!) do NOT follow the rules of her imprisonment in this ongoing High Fantasy series. Dripping with detailed love scenes and reimaginings of classic fantasy tropes, FBAA takes spicy to the next level with a maxed-out score of 5/5.
Phew...its getting hot in here...
All That, Nickelodeon (1994)