This week in Fantasy Romance, there is a marked preference for the Werewolf and Shifter niche, with some push back from the Magical Academy niche and Fae, Fairies, and Elves bringing up the middle, if not quite the rear. Dark Romance is almost a given throughout the chart this week, every niche and trend has some elements of this running through it. There is vanishingly small amounts of clean or sweet romance.
Bears and wolves are the favoured species for romancing in Fantasy Romance this week, though lions and dragons are also proving popular. A lot of the stories in this niche, this week, play with the idea of Fated Mates, Alpha Males, Omega Verse, BDSM and Menages. There are also several books that involve Capture or Abduction Fantasies. Obviously these promise a higher level of Heat in the stories, with sizzlingly hot heroes the norm. Generally speaking, the heroine of many of these stories is usually a human, or a member of the same magical species who has found herself on the outskirts of her community. This usually ensures that the male characters have a more powerful position than the female characters, and they are often more than happy to use it to their advantage. Pregnancy and Breeding Kink, plus Marriages of Convenience are also featured in the niche. Many of the settings also lean dramatically in the direction of the wild and untamed areas of nature, lots of forests and mountains in particular.
Magical Academy Romances, along with their attendant niches of Bully Romance and Reverse Harem, are also doing well and are providing a lot of the medium heat stories people are reading this week. Some of these books also involve Student/Teacher relationships, and Second Chance Relationships. Like in a lot of other niches in the genre, the main character is usually a young woman who is living on the outskirts of society because of being newly arrived, or from in-world bigotry and prejudice. This puts her in a vulnerable position, and usually requires her to make deals with the heroes of the books.
Vampires are picking up a few of the spots on the chart, and are oddly enough both in the more traditional Romance and Fantasy options on the list. For example, the next J. R. Ward Black Brotherhood novel, Where Winter Finds You, is currently up for pre-order, and despite the fact that it is not due until late November, it is already at a good spot on the chart. The Vampire Romance Novels of Deborah Harkness are also doing well, with multiple books on the chart. These books feature more developed plots and characters than a lot of the other books on the chart, perhaps showing that, when it comes to Vampires, readers need more to get them interested.
Fantasy Romances featuring Revenge Fantasies are also doing exceptionally well this week, with Rage, by K. A. Knight, and Before the Broken Star, by Emily R. King, both having strong elements of that niche, while also being fantasy novels with romance. Violence and threats of abuse from villains is also a popular trend in the novels this week, often being used to justify the actions of the heroine and to make her a more sympathetic character.
Speaking of Emily R. King, her Fantasy novel, one with a Romantic plot line, The Hundredth Queen is also doing well, as is James Maxwell’s, Enchantress, and Charlie N. Holmberg’s, The Plastic Magician, showing how Fantasy Romance is not losing track of the Fantasy elements. Magic and fighting against autocratic regimes feature heavily in these stories.
In fact, those novels in this genre that stir out of the bedroom tend to be very focused on rebellion, typically focusing on a female central character to see it through. This is an important point for anyone writing in the genre and should not be forgotten.