10 Cliffhanger High Fantasy Books Like Caraval

High Fantasy Books

Step into a world where magic dances at your fingertips, and every page turn is an invitation to adventure! If “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber swept you away with its blend of enchanting mysteries, captivating characters, and a setting as spellbinding as the story itself, then your magical journey is far from over. In this post, we delve into a collection of books that capture the same mesmerizing essence of “Caraval.”

These novels are gateways to fantastical worlds where illusions entwine with reality, where secrets lurk behind every corner, and where the daring venture in search of their deepest desires. From grand magical spectacles to intricate games of power and passion, prepare to be enthralled by stories that promise to ignite your imagination and steal your heart. So, gather your wits and courage, and let’s go on this enchanting literary adventure!

10 Books Like Caraval (High Fantasy Romance)

“Caraval” features characters who undergo personal growth and transformation. Exploring their journeys is emotionally engaging and relatable. The atmosphere, magic, and sense of mystery are similar to the Night Circus. But the entire plot of this story and the characters’ direction is very different. In contrast, Caraval is very much a fast-paced and action-packed story.

If you enjoy young adult literature, books like “Caraval” cater to this demographic with relatable characters and themes. Here are ten such books for you. Let’s go!

NameKey FocusTropes
The City of Brass by S. A. ChakrabortyA fantasy novel set in 18th-century Cairo and the magical city of Daevabad. It follows Nahri, a con artist who accidentally summons a djinn warrior and becomes entangled in the political intrigue and ancient magic of a hidden, mystical world.Historical fantasy, magical city, djinn and mythical creatures, political intrigue, strong female protagonist, Middle Eastern folklore, cultural richness, supernatural elements, adventure and discovery, complex world-building.
Spinning Silver by Naomi NovikThe story of Maia, a talented seamstress who disguises herself as a boy to compete for the role of an imperial tailor, embarking on an epic journey that involves magical tasks and forbidden romance.Gender disguise, magical quest, imperial court setting, tailor protagonist, forbidden love, adventure and challenges, Asian-inspired fantasy world, family loyalty, craftsmanship, mythical elements.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasA fantasy novel set in a bustling modern city where humans, fae, and other magical creatures coexist.Urban fantasy, murder mystery, supernatural beings, intricate world-building, strong female protagonist, forbidden romance, revenge plot, complex magic system, emotional depth, high-stakes adventure.
Jade City by Fonda LeeA fantasy novel set on the island of Kekon, where jade grants powerful abilities.Magic-infused jade, gang wars, family saga, political intrigue, martial arts, power struggles, Asian-inspired fantasy world, complex characters, urban setting, cultural depth.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaA fantasy novel about Finnikin, a young man who, alongside the novice Evanjalin, goes on a journey to restore the royal line and free his homeland, Lumatere, which has been cursed and trapped within an impenetrable barrier for ten years.Epic quest, exiled royalty, magical barriers, political intrigue, prophecy and destiny, adventure and romance, complex world-building, struggle for freedom, dark past, hero’s journey.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. BrownA fantasy novel set in a West African-inspired world, where a princess and a refugee find their fates intertwined in a story of magic, ancient lore, and a deadly competition.African-inspired fantasy, magical competition, political intrigue, star-crossed lovers, elemental magic, cultural mythology, complex characters, kingdom politics, vengeful plots, supernatural forces.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirA fantasy novel set in a brutal, Rome-like world follows Laia, a slave fighting for her family, and Elias, a soldier questioning his role, as their destinies intertwine in a story of rebellion, oppression, and the struggle for freedom.Military academy, oppressed society, rebel spy, forbidden love, ancient prophecies, moral dilemmas, complex characters, survival and resistance, tyrannical government, supernatural elements.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah HarknessA fantasy novel blending elements of history, magic, and romance centers around Diana Bishop, a historian and reluctant witch, who discovers a bewitched manuscript that draws her into a world of vampires, daemons, and witches, leading her to cross paths with the enigmatic vampire Matthew Clairmont.Witch and vampire romance, hidden magical world, academic setting, supernatural creatures, forbidden love, historical intrigue, magical lore, secret societies, power struggles, alchemical themes.
The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternA fantasy novel about a mysterious and magical circus that appears only at night, serving as the venue for a competition between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who are bound in a duel by their mentors’ rivalry, unaware that their fates are intertwined with the circus’s survival.Magical competition, star-crossed lovers, enchanting circus setting, intricate magic system, dual narrative, atmospheric storytelling, Victorian era, romantic fantasy, mysterious rivalry, immersive world-building.
Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiA young adult dystopian novel that follows Juliette, a girl with a lethal touch, in a world ravaged by environmental catastrophe and oppressive government.Dystopian world, superhuman abilities, oppressive government, resistance movement, internal struggle, romantic tension, self-discovery, moral ambiguity, survival, poetic writing style.
Books Like Caraval List

1. The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy)

Like Caraval, this series has the most dynamic and fascinating characters and heart-wrenching political plotlines. You’re also going to get some heart-wrenching romance in there as well. The story opens up with our main character, Nahri. It’s set in the 1800s in Cairo, and we follow her as she is a thief to make ends meet.

However, one day, she steals the wrong thing and accidentally unleashes a trapped Jinn Warrior named Dara. Dara sweeps Nahri away to the faraway and very magical city of Brass. There, she discovers that her family history is connected to a specific magical ability and is also very central to the politics of the city.

This is a multifaceted tale, and I cannot emphasize how political it is. You follow different characters on all sides of a complicated, painful conflict between religions. Nahri is quickly thrown into the center of this conflict, which cannot be solved overnight or within one book. Throughout the series, you experience multiple time skips, and it’s also not as straightforward as it seems. The story expands in unexpected ways.

The City of Brass

Author: S. A. Chakraborty
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Historical Fantasy, Cultural Heritage Fiction
Number Of Pages: 533
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

2. Spinning Silver

I love this book for many reasons, including the romance from the captivating writing style to the historical setting. You’re following different points of view of girls in different social standings within this historical time. So, this book is a historical fantasy story that is also a retelling of Rumplestiltskin.

One of the points of view, as we follow, is Miryem. She is the daughter of a moneylender. They are ostracized in town. Her father is not the best moneylender.

So, her family is very much in debt. Miryem decides to take the profession to save her family and makes an unexpected deal with a magical individual. If she can turn silver into gold, she can escape her fate. So Miryem tries to weave her fate and capture her destiny. This magical figure is very central to the story, similar to Caraval. Also, it is a standalone, so it’s a beautiful book to pick up and fly through.

Spinning Silver

Author: Naomi Novik
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Mythology & Folk Tales
Number Of Pages: 465
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

3. House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City)

This steamy romance is set in an urban fantasy, and Sarah Maas does a fantastic job fleshing out the world and the magic. As Caraval, it’s also still incredibly entertaining and action-packed. A massive plot shift occurs early in the story, transforming the overall reading experience and making it fun.

Bryce, in her opinion, lives the perfect life. She spends her days working in an archive at a job she likes. She spends her nights partying with all of her best friends until her entire life is turned upside down one night. She finds herself in the middle of an investigation into a horrifying crime. Moreover, she will do anything to get her revenge.

Enter our other main character, Hunt, a fallen ark angel involved in the magical police force. Our two main characters link up to try to solve this crime. The story’s center is within Crescent City, a very realized urban fantasy setting. It’s a cool urban fantasy setting with different city sections controlled by different magical creatures.

Each section also has its government and structure. Magical artifacts and power plays occur between the different divisions. All of this is seen through the eyes of a very fast-paced and very steamy investigation. I found this book incredibly entertaining. It was a page-turner with a romantic plotline.

Crescent City

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Action & Adventure Fantasy Romance
Number Of Pages: 803
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

4. Jade City (The Green Bone Saga)

This is more of an action-packed, incredibly political, and intense urban fantasy story with well-written and steamy romantic subplot lines. Jade City is not a romance story by any stretch of the imagination, but you follow many different character points of view. Also, romantic subplot lines are so well-written and steamy that you can’t help but appreciate them.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, The Green Bone Saga is set on the fictional island of Kekon. There is a powerful substance called Jade, where you’re stronger, faster, and better than everyone else around you. But only certain people can harness the power of Jade. Two major crime families control the production and distribution of Jade in the area.

In the Green Bone Saga, you read different points of view from one single crime family and follow characters at various positions within this organization. Family drama, backstabbing, and action between these two families also heat up. You can relate the worldbuilding and theme with Caraval.

Jade City

Author: Fonda Lee
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Fantasy Action & Adventure
Number Of Pages: 560
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

5. Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles)

Like Caraval, this is a YA fantasy trilogy. Melina Marchetta is more known for her contemporary stories, and her ability to write relatable and heartbreaking characters shines within this trilogy. Each book follows a different main character’s point of view throughout the trilogy. You’re following a variety of heartbreaking and emotional romantic plotlines that will stay with you forever. I read this series long ago and still think about all these characters.

The series provides justice, and you follow so many fantastic characters through a large expanse of time that you will want to bleed for. They’re unique, and their journeys as individual characters and seeing them fight for what they want in their love is extraordinary. The first book is a prequel to the last two books within this trilogy. But it primarily follows our main character, Finnikin, who is from The Land of Tree.

Ten years before the start of this novel, an imposter murders the royal family and sets a curse on the land, trapping a part of the populace within the borders of the land itself. At the story’s beginning, Syndicate is approached by a young woman who is a novice, telling him that the prince of this lost royal family is alive and he must go on a quest with her to reunite and break the curse.

But as he begins this journey, he realizes this young woman might be holding some secrets. This story is good. It’s about generational conflict and the search for home and belonging. Also, it has some of the best romances, so you will find it excellent.

The Lumatere Chronicles

Author: Melina Marchetta
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Loners & Outcasts Fiction
Number Of Pages: 416
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

6. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

This series has a Hate-to-Love Romance. Two faded individuals like each other but must kill each other for various, very complicated circumstances. So, it creates a lot of dramatic scenes and tension with a dual POV story similar to Caraval. One of those characters is Malik, who is seeking to start a new life with his sister and the prosperous town of Zintan after they’ve both fled their war-torn hometown.

However, upon their arrival, Malik’s little sister is kidnapped by the desert spirit to get his younger sister back. He strikes an impossible deal: to kill off the Crown Princess of Ziran to save his little sister, Nadia. The second POV we follow is Karina, the crown princess herself, facing a tricky political situation at the book’s opening. Her mother, the previous ruler, has been assassinated. So she realizes that the court surrounding her is threatening mutiny, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

Karina decides to pursue the only thing she feels will save her from this dire political situation: using ancient magic to resurrect her mother. This requires the beating heart of a king, which can only be obtained by marrying the winner of the upcoming Solstice competition.

As you can see, the fates of these two characters are on a collision course to collide in so many different and dramatic ways throughout this first book. Also, it makes it the perfect timing to pick up this fantastic first book to the Duology, which also has a very intense and dramatic romantic plotline.

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Author: Roseanne A. Brown
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Multicultural Fiction & Romance
Number Of Pages: 466
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

7. An Ember in the Ashes

This is another dual POV, a fantasy story with a very intense plot, politics, action, romance, and angsty. Pacing can be problematic within a series, but Sabaa Tahir did fantastically. We’re entertaining throughout these books, making them a page-turner and fun to read. But this is a Roman military-inspired story.

One of our main characters is Laia, part of the Scholar Group that the current military power has subjugated. At the beginning of this book, her brother is arrested, working as a rebel. She makes a deal with the rebel group that if she becomes a spy for them, they will work to try to break him out of prison.

The other main character we follow is Elias, a mighty soldier at a very elite military school. Their fates and lives begin to intertwine. The politics grew quite a bit from there. The story explodes quite dramatically from a political aspect, making it incredibly enjoyable. But the real draw of the story is the romance between the two main characters, the expansion of the magic, and the introduction of some other fantastic side characters.

The multi-POV aspect of the story does it justice as well. It allows us to get to the heads of not only our two main characters but, as the story expands, other characters as well. So, It’s a fun and action-packed series with a fantastic, sizzling romance that will carry you through all four books. If you like Caraval, you must read it.

An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Dystopian Fiction
Number Of Pages: 446
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

8. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls)

This is a very over-the-top romance story between a witch and a vampire set in an academic and incredibly pretentious Oxford setting. That provides a beautiful ambiance to this overall romantic story as Caraval. The story follows our main character, Diana, a witch and scholar working at Oxford on her research.

At the story’s beginning, she is in the library doing a bunch of analyses on various manuscripts as she focuses on archival history. She calls for a specific manuscript that hasn’t been able to have been called for hundreds of years, which sets the spark for a variety of magical conflicts within this world.

Some demons and vampires exist. But these different magical creatures don’t interact with each other.
They’re supposed to hide in the human world. At the story’s beginning, Diana runs into Matthew, who happens to be teaching at Oxford. Their love story begins then.

A bunch of dramatic political things also begin to explode. You have to suspend your disbelief because they’re also incredibly annoying, but at the same time, it’s so hard to put down. If you’re looking for a dramatic urban fantasy romance story set in our world in our time, it is a good one to check out.

A Discovery of Witches

Author: Deborah Harkness
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Paranormal Romance
Number Of Pages: 579
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

9. The Night Circus

The Night Circus, like Caraval, takes on its personality in its atmosphere. It is a magical circus that travels around the world. Everyone who encounters this circus falls in love with it but doesn’t know how it operates. That is because it is the arena for a magical competition. It’s not an offensive competition. It’s more of a display of their abilities.

At the story’s beginning, you get to meet the two main characters, and one of them is a magician trained by somebody who has an innate ability. One of them was a magician trained by somebody who gave them the skills to have magic.

They were pitted against each other in this competition when they were very young. This story is told so beautifully. Throughout the book, many things are woven in and out, so you don’t know what is building up. You get to experience how the circus was built. The circus plot and action are very similar to Caraval.

The Night Circus

Author: Erin Morgenstern
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Metaphysical & Visionary Fiction
Number Of Pages: 387
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

10. Shatter Me

This is one of the most popular books in the dystopian genre about a girl named Juliette. She lives in a new world where there is a society called the re-establishment, and they are in charge of everything. Global warming has hit, and everyone freaked out. There was no food for everyone. Animals started dying off in the world epidemic. The re-establishment took over the world. Juliette has a lethal touch. Whenever she touches someone, they inevitably die. She thinks it’s a curse.

As we first start the story, Juliette is imprisoned. She’s living in an isolated cell, alienated from society. Then, a person shows up. They’re a love triangle in this book. Warner is a part of this love triangle. He wanted to take Juliette’s powers and use them for his gain. Like the Caraval series, the story was gripping. The characters became way more interesting than they were in the beginning.

Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Supernatural, Dystopian Romance
Number Of Pages: 338
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

The books we’ve explored offer a rich tapestry of fantasy and adventure, where the lines between reality and illusion are artfully blurred. They remind us of the thrill of the unknown, the beauty of daring to dream, and the power of hope amid uncertainty.

So, as you turn the pages of your next enchanting read, may you be swept away by the magic that lies within, finding joy and wonder in every twist and turn. Until our next fantastical foray into enchantment and mystery, happy reading, and may your adventures be as boundless as your imagination!

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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