YA Fantasy Books With No Love Triangles – Part 1

I’m mainly a High Fantasy/Grimdark reader but I enjoy reading decent YA Fantasy every now and then. However, all the modern YA fantasy I see in the blogosphere is usually centered around teen romance and the love triangle cliche.

Nothing wrong with teen romances with fantasy elements if they are marketed as such, but it greatly annoys me when the books are promoted as epic or heroic fantasy and turn out to be teen romances centered around love triangles.

Dystopian YA Fantasy these days means teen love triangle with some magic elements, and quite a number of people I know wrinkle their noses when they hear the term YA Fantasy. I still think of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson when you say YA Fantasy, but many other folks think ‘Hunger Games ripoff with annoying love triangle’, and it’s rather sad.

I’ve seen a lot of bookish folk complain about this, so I decided to ask around reddit /r/Fantasy and discover some good books with no love triangles and minimal dose of romance. I got a a lot of great recommendations from the redditors, checked them for ratings/reviews on Goodreads and added most of them to my TBR. Here is my original reddit thread for the reference.

The list is rather huge list of books including all kinds of fantasy (urban, epic, military, heist, grimdark, you name it!) so I divided it up in several parts. This post will be the first part. Some of these books are well known and have been around for a long time, some of them won multiple awards and some are severely underrated masterpieces. I hope this list will be useful for my bookish blogger friends who are looking for good YA fantasy not centered around romance and love triangles.

All right, enough talk, let’s get to business! I added the Goodreads links for the series so clicking on the cover images will take you to the Goodreads profiles. The entire list is quite huge and I’m swamped with review commitments and my own writing, I am unfortunately not able to write up summaries for these great books but I encourage you guys to check the Goodreads ratings/reviews for yourselves.

Abhorsen series by Garth Nix

Shade’s Children by Garth Nix (Standalone Novel)

The Icemark Chronicles By Stuart Hill

Wind on Fire Series by William Nicholson

Howl’s Moving Castle Series by Diana Wynne Jones

I have seen the animated movie of this and totally loved it. These books are in my TBR and I intend to read them as soon as I can!

Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce

Damar Series by Robin McKinley

18 thoughts on “YA Fantasy Books With No Love Triangles – Part 1

  1. Love love love the Abhorsen series. I seem to remember a love triangle in Slaves of the Mastery though… Although it is handled quite well I thought 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Redditors told me none of them had love triangles, there was no mention of it on Goodreads blurb/reviews either, I guess it’s negligible enough 🙂


    • Well this is why I’m making this series of posts! Some truly epic stuff is coming up (you probably read them all, but there are some true underrated gems in it too!)


  2. Woo-hoo! Thank you so much for sharing these promising books, Lena! Truly, these are right up my alley.:) Like you, I’m not very keen on the whole cliched love triangle aspect which seems to dominate a lot of YA books nowadays. Speaking of The Hunger Games, IMO, that shouldn’t even be classified as being fantasy, because it’s not. It’s more like sci-fi/dystopian.

    I’ll certainly check out the GR links above, and I look forward to Part II!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are even more coming! I love reading good YA and I’ve been having a YA withdrawal since the Harry Potter. All the modern YA these days is centered around love triangles and not really proper fantasy. The Abhorsen series sounds really great!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on flaggfan and commented:
    Are you are tired to the hevily cliched love triangle as I am? Then check out Lena’s fantastic blog and Part I of her list of epic/grimdark fantasy which feature very little romance.:)

    Awesome job, Lena!!


  4. Pingback: YA Fantasy Books With No Love Triangles – Part 2 | Leona's Blog of Shadows

  5. Pingback: YA Fantasy Books With No Love Triangles – Part 4 | Leona's Blog of Shadows

  6. There’s a new YA fantasy series by Kamilla Reid that has no love triangle. The main character is a girl who is too busy being awesome for such b.s. lol!. These books are breathtaking and funny and incredibly imaginative!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve seen a lot of bloggers complain about love triangles. If it’s targeting both male and female audience, it can be marketed as such and avoid the YA romance pigeonhole trap. Not all YA readers are looking for romance, Joe Aberceombie’s Shattered Sea trilogy is grimdark YA and was highly successful. The trick is to market to the right audience and avoid the romance-centered YA crowd.


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