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The Best YA Books with Kings, Queens, and Royalty

The Best YA Books with Kings, Queens, and Royalty

Kings, queens, princes and princesses. Royalty, in general, has captivated the hearts and minds of people around the world, from real-life royals to mythical ones that form the bedrock of many cultures – from King Arthur and beyond. Stories of kingdoms, successions, and prosperous and troubled lands always make for excellent tales, and the fact that we are still telling – and reading! – them serves as testament to that fact. No wonder so many YA books are about kingdoms and royalty! 

In this list, we’ve collected some of the best stories featuring royalty, from lost warrior princesses, to kingdoms in turmoil, to fairytale retellings with a twist, and even to royalty in actual history, these YA books are sure to engage and excite you! If you’re craving a great read, check out this list and maybe you’ll find the next book – or two, or even three – that will keep you up until very early in the morning!

Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair, a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. 

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.  

What the Readers Are Saying:

Thoroughly enjoyed it. The format, articles, etc.. gave it a real feel. Daisy, the main character, was delightful and witty. I wish we’d had more of her father though, especially since she has his sense of humor. It’s a quick but fun read. Can’t wait to find out more about this family.Elizabeth Marr, Amazon user


One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr

Now that Lilywhite Abernathy is the heir to the Hidden Lands, everything is about to change.

The Queen of Blood and Rage wants Lily to help broker peace with the human world, but Lily knows that harmony won’t come easily. After decades of waging war on the humans, who cost the queen her firstborn daughter, the fae are struggling to accept Lily, a half-human monarch. And the humans, while no match against faery affinities, will hardly agree to the queen’s détente without resistance.

Lily wants to be a fair ruler but fears having to abandon the life she’s known. Now that she and Creed are more than just fellow Black Diamonds—operatives for the queen—her priorities have shifted. But her worries about assuming the throne are derailed when it becomes clear that someone—or some fae—is masterminding violent attacks to discourage peace.

Who can end the war between humans and fae?

What the Readers Are Saying:

The spot light shines on multiple characters and switches around to give you a full view of what’s happening, but it’s not confusing with the changing characters. This volume ties up many story lines from the first book. We learn many new things about all the characters, some good, some “well I didn’t see that coming” moments. If there is another book that’s great, but if not Ms Marr left her characters in a good place.Marty T., Amazon user


King by Ellen Oh

This thrilling and romantic conclusion to the Prophecy series brings Kira her final quest. Girl warrior, demon slayer, tiger spirit of the yellow eyes—Kira is one captivating heroine. Author Marie Lu raved, “After finishing my journey with Kira, all I wanted was more!” Here is the much-anticipated final installment in the Prophecy series!

Kira, once an outcast in her home village of Hansong, is now the only one with the power to save her kingdom. All eyes are on her. Kira braves a sea of tigers and battles armies of demons as she learns to trust herself, the romantic feelings for Jaewon that are growing within her, and the destiny that must be hers.

What the Readers Are Saying:

Overall, King is an amazing conclusion to one of my favorite fantasy reads. It’s on the lighter side of fantasy, I’ll give you that, but that’s exactly the kind I tend to like. The story is unique and riveting and I love the sense of empowerment and strength Oh conveys with her characters, especially Kira. She’s definitely one of my all-time favorite YA heroines. If you’ve read the rest of the series, you’ll definitely want to see how it ends, and you won’t be disappointed. If you’ve yet to start the series, get on it now, because it is unbelievably awesome and a series I”ve already added to my “favorites” shelf. Vi Win Win, Amazon user


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi LeeSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

What the Readers Are Saying:

A Gentlemens’ Guide is a book that expertly balances humor and charm with provocative social commentary. I was very surprised by the darker, more weighty elements. The author navigates themes centered around racism, slavery, domestic abuse, sexism, homophobia, disability and mental illness, dysfunctional familial relations, and so much more. These heavier themes add great purpose to this romp of a good time, and I really couldn’t have imagined a better way of going about it. As a whole, this book is a perfectly blended adventure complete with fantastic characters. A total reread, if you ask me.Azia, Amazon user


Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

What the Readers Are Saying:

The magic system of the Conduits was fascinating, and I look forward to reading more about the chasm of magic and the Decay in future books. I always appreciate it when limitations are written into the magic system – often, they are as interesting as the magic itself. In this case I enjoyed the fact that certain artifacts are limited by gender and can only be used in certain ways. I loved reading how the various wielders of the Conduits worked within those limitations to either serve their own ends or help their people. – Canadian eReader, Amazon user


The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

What the Readers Are Saying:

Carson constructs a lush and unique fantasy world, with characters that are well fleshed out, relate-able, and above all inspire readers to invest in their story. Fantasy lovers will find themselves equally bemoaning Elisa’s lack of confidence and cheering her on as she discovers just what she is capable of when she begins believing not only in God but in herself. It is by far one of the best coming of age stories I have ever read. Even knowing what will happen, even expecting the events to come, Carson’s words still transport me with each read.mgraves, Amazon user


The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Eugenides, the queen’s thief, can steal anything—or so he says. When his boasting lands him in prison and the king’s magus invites him on a quest to steal a legendary object, he’s in no position to refuse. The magus thinks he has the right tool for the job, but Gen has plans of his own.

What the Readers are Saying:

By the end, I’m hooked. This author is brilliant, she tricked me, fooled me, led me around by the nose and her own characters mocked my ignorance….and I can’t wait to come back for more. Somehow, being surprised by events, and truly likable characters that I had disliked for most of the book was refreshing. It reminded me that sometimes you have to look deeper, I don’t know the whole story, and people can surprise you. Gidman Family, Amazon user


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

What the Readers are Saying:

This really is a book that has everything. Agnieszka is such a charming, likeable main character. She loves her family, her friends, and her life – all before the Dragon chooses her to serve him. The interactions between these two are often hilarious. He’s a total brat – grumpy, rough around the edges, argumentative. And Agnieszka is his stubborn, sassy counterpart. The descriptions of magic in this are one of the best parts. And the plot!! You’ll be on the edge of your seat for most of the book. The most beautiful aspect, to me, is how deeply she and Kasia love each other. Realistic female friendships are hard to come across in literature, but it never felt as if their love was put on the back burner for anything else. A wonderful, imaginative read.Meghan, Amazon user


The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

On the eve of Princess Sophia’s wedding, the Scandinavian city of Skyggehavn prepares to fete the occasion with a sumptuous display of riches: brocade and satin and jewels, feasts of sugar fruit and sweet spiced wine. Yet beneath the veneer of celebration, a shiver of darkness creeps through the palace halls. A mysterious illness plagues the royal family, threatening the lives of the throne’s heirs, and a courtier’s wolfish hunger for the king’s favors sets a devious plot in motion. Here in the palace at Skyggehavn, things are seldom as they seem — and when a single errant prick of a needle sets off a series of events that will alter the course of history, the fates of seamstress Ava Bingen and mute nursemaid Midi Sorte become irrevocably intertwined with that of mad Queen Isabel. As they navigate a tangled web of palace intrigue, power-lust, and deception, Ava and Midi must carve out their own survival any way they can.

What the Readers Are Saying:

The Kingdom of Little Wounds is most definitely an homage to the old-style fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers. The characters took a while to get to know but they were vividly developed as the story went on. I definitely think that a high school age young adult could read this book. Yes, it is disturbing, but if parents are really seeing what their kids are watching on television, or the lyrics of the songs they are listening to, or the video games they are playing, they will see that this book is much less disturbing than much of that content. The book is true to of what life was like back then, and it was grim. The ending was perfect – not too bleak, but also not too “Disney”. Bravo for another fabulous piece of literature. I hope there will be many more books by this author. ML Reed, Amazon user


Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer

The story of Mary Tudor’s childhood is a classic fairy tale: A princess who is to inherit the throne of England is separated from her mother; abused by an evil stepmother who has enchanted her father; stripped of her title; and forced to care for her baby stepsister, who inherits Mary’s rights to the throne. Believe it or not, it’s all true. Told in the voice of the young Mary, this novel explores the history and intrigue of the dramatic rule of Henry VIII, his outrageous affair with and marriage to the bewitching Anne Boleyn, and the consequences of that relationship for his firstborn daughter. Carolyn Meyer has written a compassionate historical novel about love and loss, jealousy and fear–and a girl’s struggle with forces far
beyond her control.

What the Readers Are Saying:

Certain personalities, or masks, are assigned to the major players in this story. This establishes the time and place, the voice, by which the author relates her version of reality. The basis for this story is framed by historical fact and decorated by the history of “writers” as is always the case of historical fiction. Believe what you will, but realize much of what you read here is a product of a series of writers’ imagination and belief.
This book is among the best and most enjoyable, superbly written, accounts of the reign of Henry VIII, and the immediate years following. Well worth reading and enjoying, but don’t lose sight of the genre-historical FICTION.
Clay Brown, Amazon user


Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

What the Readers are Saying:

I could not stop reading this book the moment I picked it up. Laura Sebastian snares you on page 1, and the action and stakes keep building and building until it’s 4 am and you are awed and shocked and full of all the feelings, so glad to have stayed up all night reading. Theo is everything you want in a heroine: determined, gritty, clever, ready to do whatever it takes to help not just herself and her friends but her people. It is incredible watching her journey as she first must believe in herself then rise to the occasion. And the surprises! Just when you think you know what might happen, the book throws in a new twist. The ending is a high-stakes, amazing stunner. And Blaise, Soren, Cress, Artemesia, Heron—these are characters you will fall in love with and want to read about again and again. I just wish I had the pleasure of reading Ash Princess for the first time all over again. I cannot wait for the second book in the series!Laura B., Amazon user


Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

When Queen Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea, she was a child, and her advisers ran the kngdom for her. Now she is beginning to question their decisions, especially how they handle the legacy of her father Leck, who who ruled through his Grace—a special talent for mind-altering—and his taste for darkness and violence. Bitterblue needs to know Monsea’s past to lead it into the future, so she begins exploring the city sreets at night, disguised and alone. As she does, she meets two thieves, who hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

What the Readers Are Saying:

Cashore’s writing has developed greatly since her debut novel, and I believe she will continue to grow even stronger in that skill as time goes on. She writes great characters and interesting political plotlines with shocking revelations throughout. This story was long, but it didn’t feel that long because every bit of it was entertaining. One neat thing about this book in particular is the considerable amount of bonus content at the end, which really enhances the reading experience. We have beautiful drawings of the three bridges in Bitterblue City, detailed maps of different parts of the castle and the land, a character list with helpful descriptions, and Cashore’s writing process for Bitterblue, which was actually very eye-opening. She wrote two complete first drafts of the story over the course of many years to get all the details of the plot where she wanted them to be. While that would have been a grueling rewriting process, I know that Bitterblue was only better for it in the end. Koryne Michele, Amazon user


Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village. But she was also reckless—straying from the forest path in pursuit of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in a vain effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her hunt for the legendary sword that might save their world. Together, they navigate the opulent world of the courtly elite, where beauty and power reign and no one can be trusted. And as they become unexpected allies, they discover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. Within a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

What the Readers are Saying:

Rose Hodge’s “Crimson Bound” was an absolute must for me after I finished her “Cruel Beauty” novel earlier in the year. I was not disappointed with her second novel, and I was very pleased that the “payoff” of the novel was quite different from “Cruel Beauty”, in which I appreciated the T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis references, and the very satisfying story which I already knew, although I didn’t know *this version*. While “Crimson Bound” purports to be a retelling of the Red Riding Hood tale, it does so in a way that is not obvious, and folds many layers into the tale.  MaraJade, Amazon user


The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.

What the Readers are Saying:

I loved all the characters. All of them have so much personality and so much life in them. I’m convinced that Kutkoski cannot write a bad character. I was frustrated with Kestrel, but not because of the way she was written, but only because I know that if she were a real person I would just be frustrated with her all the time. But, I liked the way she pulled herself together near the end and how quick on her feet she is.Marybeth P., Amazon user


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war―and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried―and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

What the Readers are Saying:

“King of Scars” is a worthy addition to the Grishaverse, and will leave you impatient for the next work in the duology. The book is written to stand on its own, and it can certainly do so. That said, your appreciation of it will be much deeper if you have read the back story presented in the original trilogy, and the “Six of Crows” duology which came next. Frankly, I’ve never read a work by Bardugo that didn’t leave me wanting more, or warrant multiple re-reads. This one, for reasons that go back to the initial trilogy, left me downright giddy. – DDR, Amazon user


Everless by Sarah Holland

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

What the Readers Are Saying:

I loved the mystery of the story. I couldn’t predict anything that was going to happen! The twist in Everless really threw me for a loop. All the predictions I made were WAY OFF! Once everything came to light, it was awesome! I’m fangirling right now and I don’t care at all. I liked Jules as a protagonist. She was clever and didn’t back down from anything. – Kayla Brunson, Amazon user


The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

When Princess Wilhelmina was a child, the Indigo Kingdom invaded her homeland. Ten years later, Wil and the other noble children who escaped are ready to fight back and reclaim Wil’s throne. To do so, Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate the Indigo Kingdom palace with hopes of gathering information that will help them succeed.

But Wil has a secret—one that could change everything. Although magic has been illegal for a century, she knows her ability could help her save her kingdom. But magic creates wraith, and the deadly stuff is moving closer and destroying the land.

And if the vigilante Black Knife catches her using magic, she may disappear like all the others….

What the Readers are Saying:

You know me internet. You know how hard I can be on fantasy so believe me when I tell you that Jodi Meadows hits all the right notes with The Orphan Queen. Its a solid piece of writing and world building and I just long for more. I am desperate for more and the wait until the The Mirror King is going to be a long and excruciating wait indeed. But even with the killer ending The Orphan Queen is so worth all the pain and heartache to read the words within its pages. I know this is a book that I’ll re-read often and its one that I can’t recommend enough to all lovers of fantasy. Irish Ticket to Anywhere, Amazon user


The Iron King by Julie Kagawa


Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth.

For Meghan is the daughter of a mythical faery king…and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

What the Readers Are Saying:

I thought this book was going to be good, but I didn’t think that It was going to be this damn good! The plot is amazing, and the characters were great. Kagawa wrote this book brilliantly, it felt as if you were seeing everything before your very eyes. This book made me love the fantasy genre even more and it is defiantly one of the best Fantasy novels I’ve ever read. It had everything you could ever want; creepy creatures, constant action, romance!, magic, courage and suspense! It kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, but they are extremely different in many ways. – Amazon Customer


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction.

One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

What the Readers Are Saying:

This was fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed this crazy adventure of a book. I will say though that it did take a bit of time for me to really get into this book. I also felt the world is still a bit underdeveloped for my liking, but I’m hoping that I gain a better understanding for everything in the sequel. Other than that such an exciting read, full of twists and turns that will leave you flailing all over the place! HECK I’M STILL FLAILING. – JesseTheReader, Goodreads user

Do you know of other awesome YA books about royalty? How about some favorites of yours that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

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