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Romantasy: The New Cure-All Genre For Your Reading Slump

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

I know I’m not the only one when I say that my nostalgia for 2010s Tumblr fantasy and dystopian novels runs deep. For many of us in college and our early 20s, that era of YA, from Twilight to Percy Jackson to The Hunger Games, embodied the peak of our bookishness, and it’s been downhill ever since. Required course readings and general academic burnout are quick to submerge you so deep in a reading slump that reading for pleasure again feels nearly impossible. 

That is, until BookTok. Or, rather, until books reestablished their rightful place in social media and popular culture. Thanks to BookTok and other online communities for book enthusiasts, like Bookstagram and BookTube, our generation is rediscovering their love for reading. And now, the nostalgic genres of our childhood are taking a grown-up twist. 

BookTok has created a new genre to make space for the beloved fantasy genre with a sexier or, as BookTokers would say, “spicier” touch. That genre is “romantasy” (Romance + Fantasy), and it has pulled hundreds of thousands of people from year-long reading slumps. Some of the most popular books under this new genre, such as the A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series by Sarah J. Maas and the (now) 2-book series including The Fourth Wing, have amassed an immense online following, with the hashtag #acotar currently at eight billion views. 


Some specific book recommendations for you! Romantasy, Enemies to lovers and some romance books with 🌶️🔥 #bookrecommendations #romantasy #romantasybooks #enemiestolovers #enemiestoloversrecs #bookswithspiceplease #spicybooks🌶 | cr: @✿ 𝓥 ✿ such a cool idea!

♬ original sound – TheBoredBitch

This new genre is perhaps so successful because it has the potential to use every possible mechanism to hook you in—from elaborate, immersive worldbuilding to intricate high-stakes plots with unexpected twists to the most impassioned, complicated and potentially morally grey romances you’ve ever encountered. I find myself far more invested in a romance when potential death lurks in every next chapter. The stakes and, therefore, the tension are just that much higher. Not to mention, whatever flavor of romance trope you’re craving, romantasy’s got it. From enemies to lovers to forced proximity/partners to the “one bed” trope — romantasy has it all. 

I will never stop ranting about ACOTAR. It is, in my opinion, the ideal place to start with the romantasy genre. It has the perfect balance between spice and plot, and the characters are unique and well-developed; I was literally dreaming about them as I read the series. Not to mention, it also features my favorite book boyfriend of all time. You literally will not be able to put any of the books down and will be running to Barnes & Noble (like I did) after finishing each one. Unlike Sarah J. Maas’ other beloved series, Throne of Glass, ACOTAR is also much more approachable because of its length. And, if you love ACOTAR, I highly recommend Maas’ other series-in-progress, Crescent City (the next book comes out in January!). 


Here is your roadmap and I hope this helps answer your questions and understand what in the world is going on😂 #acotar #booktok #cresentcity #throneofglass #sjmreadingorder #sarahjmaas #cresentcityseries #booktoker

♬ original sound – Abi.Reads📚🍂✨

Yet, I know there are some ACOTAR haters out there and some people who might not want to read a long series during the school year. If you identify with either of those things, I recommend the book currently taking over BookTok: The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. You can literally devour this steamy novel about a university for dragon riders in one sitting. I also suggest The Cruel Prince if you prefer a more closed-door romance and Caraval for a magical story without fae. 

With constant action to hook you in, worldbuilding to immerse you in the story and high-stakes romances at the forefront, romantasy is the perfect recipe to hook you back into reading. It quite literally rescued me from the immense burnout associated with reading as an English major and reinvigorated my childhood passion for literature (which was why I became an English major in the first place!). Happy reading!

Kylee is a fourth-year at UCLA double-majoring in Communication and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in Train River Poetry, The Mandarin, Open Ceilings, and our very own Westwind (among others). She also writes feature articles for Her Campus at UCLA. In her free time, she acts, drinks way too much coffee, romanticizes everything, and buys more books than she can keep up with.