Book Recs: 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books with No Romance

 
 

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I have decided to make a post for all the people out there who are NOT looking for love! Well, not in books, at least ;-)

Romance in books is great. I like it. I really do! But, on occasion, I’m just not in the mood for it. And a book doesn’t have to have romance to be amazing!

I can’t promise there’s not a single mention of romance or feelings in all of these, two of these have a mild sex scene or two, and some of these are series starters which means there could be romance in future books, but none of the books on this list have romance plots or subplots (that I remember, though I apologize ahead of time if I’m wrong).

So anyway, here are ten sci-fi/fantasy books without romance for you to check out!

 

 
Slowly We Rot by Bryan Smith
A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
Toric's Dagger by Jamie Edmundson
Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil
 

1. Slowly We Rot by Bryan Smith

This dark post-apocalyptic zombie book is, surprisingly, not about zombies. It’s about a guy struggling with alcoholism, obsession, and mental illness trekking across the country to find a girl he used to date. Despite the premise, and despite a small romantic encounter, you’re just going to have to trust me that it’s not a romantic book. (Review)

2. A City Dreaming by Daniel Polansky

This urban fantasy is about a mage who gets himself into all sorts of strange trouble in New York. I’ll admit it wasn’t quite my cup of tea due to its episodic nature, but it’s got an absurd type of humor and could be a fun way to pass the time. (Review)

3. Gallow and Ragged Series by Lilith Saintcrow

This is the only full series I have on the list, and it’s about some half-fae getting tangled up in problems with the Queen of Summer and King of Unwinter. The writing is uniquely flowery and not for everyone, but I really liked it. (Review)

4. Toric’s Dagger by Jamie Edmundson

This is the first in an epic fantasy series, so I don’t know what might happen in the rest of the books, but this one was about a motley crew of characters going on a quest to get a dagger back. There was magic and intensity and even a bit of humor. (Review)

5. Graveyard Shift by Michael F. Haspil

This is another one that’s first in a series, and it was a gritty urban fantasy/police procedural about two cops in Miami—one of whom is a mummy, the other a vampire—taking down the bad guys when supernatural craziness started happening. (Review)

 
All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe
Long Walk to Valhalla by Adam Smith & Matthew Fox
Hell Divers by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski
Smoke City by Keith Rosson
 

6. All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe

This gritty, dark Peter Pan “sequel” is about Wendy’s granddaughter, who, if you ask me, had a much more suitable response to a strange boy showing up and talking about flying away to Neverland. (Review)

7. Long Walk to Valhalla by Adam Smith & Matthew Fox

I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite “get” this graphic novel, but it’s kind of odd and sad with a bit of supernatural thrown in, plus the artwork was nice.

8. Hell Divers Series by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

So I kind of forgot when I put this on the list that the second book does have relationships, plus a bit of side character romance (if I recall correctly). BUT I’m leaving it because this post-apoc about people living in airships with hell divers who skydive to the deadly surface is so intense and gritty, with flawed but heroic characters, that you won’t be thinking about romance anyway. (Review)

9. Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski

This urban fantasy/mystery is about a zombie detective in the Prohibition Era. There are festering wounds and a talking head sidekick, and if that doesn’t scream “not romantic,” then I don’t know what does. (Review)

10. Smoke City by Keith Rosson

This literary/paranormal cross-over about an alcoholic and a reincarnated man who was Joan of Arc’s executioner is all about friendship, redemption, and character growth set on a road trip backdrop. (Review)

 
 
 

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  1. Greg

    F@ck yeah to this! Because any post where you can sneak in Trailer Park Fae is the best. That’s still probably in my top 3 covers by him. But anyways… happy Valentine’s Day!! Even if this is, um, a no- romance post. Cause yeah not EVERY book has to have it. Toric’s Dagger is totally new to me but sounds good? I like motley crews.

    Graveyard Shift sounds fun too. Long Walk to Valhalla looks interesting with that cover, whatever it’s about lol. Love these picks, you have a lot of different stuff here. :)

    Greg recently posted: Top Ten Love Freebie

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha you know me so well. The Trailer Park Fae cover makes any post better ;-) Happy V Day! But yeah, I’ve started to enjoy no-romance books more lately! Although I do still like a good romance too. Toric’s Dagger was a good one! You might like it.

      I honestly still don’t know what Long Walk to Valhalla was about lol. But I really think it was a “me” thing. Thanks!

  2. Roberta R.

    Books without romance are totally my thing! I don’t mind a small dose of it, but it has to take the back seat for me to read/enjoy the book. As far as sci-fi and fantasy go, the first titles that come to mind are Child of Nod by C.W. Snyder (first in an afterlife-meets-fantasy-meets-mythology series – inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but NOT a retelling) and Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman (old-ish but great – there’s time travel and a hilarious tentative friendship between a snarky girl with a flair for rebellion and a clueless but adorable alien from a race without genders who lost their twin).

    And now I’ll have to check your titles out ?.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, hopefully I’ve helped you find some new books then! I’ve seen Child of Nod, it does sound kind of interesting. I’ll have to look up the other one, the friendship sounds fun!

  3. Lark

    What a fun idea for an anti-valentine list. I’m intrigued by All Darling Children! I like that Peter Pan tie-in but with a darker twist. :)

  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I actually am awful at books without romance! I was contemplating doing something like this for a TTT, but then I realized I straight up didn’t KNOW 10 books without romance. Oops? I don’t know if they are that rare, or if I am just not that drawn to them? These are all new to me, but some of them sound quite interesting, so I will be checking them out for sure!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Behind the Screen: A Book Blogger Tag

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I struggled to make this list, if it makes you feel any better, which is why I still ended up with one book that had relationships in it. I think, it some genres at least, it IS very rare! But most of these are good ones!

    2. Sam@WLABB

      Shannon, me too! I was just looking at this list, and was trying to recall if I read ANY books without romance. I’m sure there is one or two in there someone (a middle grades book, maybe? Some non-fiction?).
      Kristen, I am amazed by this list. I know there area tons of people out there looking for books without romance too. I see threads all the time for it. So, gold star for you.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Everyone has different taste! I usually prefer romance too, but lately I’ve been enjoying some books w/o it. Maybe this list will at least help your friends get into reading!

  5. imyril

    While I’m happy to read romance from time to time, I’m always delighted when a story doesn’t focus on it. Friendship, family or just getting the thing done with like-minded people are dearer to my heart; giving everything a romance subplot quickly annoys me (there are other emotional stakes just as compelling). So HOORAY for books that side step it and carry on. They often feel rare…

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, both romance and non-rom can be great! And I love when books have friendship and family in them too. There are definitely other emotional stakes that can be just as compelling.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I figured there were already posts out there about romance, so I’d help everyone who didn’t want to think about romance on V Day :-P I’ll have to check that book out!

  6. Lily

    Gallow and Ragged Series by Lilith Saintcrow looks interesting thought looking at the cover I wouldn’t think this had flowery language

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it just looks like straight-up urban fantasy, which it is, except I guess the author tried to make it very flowery since it’s about faeries and half-faeries. It’s hard to describe, it’s almost like reading Shakespeare where you just need a few pages to get used to it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly! And yes, you do, although I’ve kind of forgotten a lot about the series already lol. Even though I don’t think I even posted my review for Book 3 yet…

  7. Olivia Roach

    It’s not that I don’t enjoy romance, but it’s refreshing when you have a book without romance in it. Actually, the novel I am editing this year doesn’t have any romance in it either for exactly for that reason. I thiiiiink Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card doesn’t have romance in it seeing as the main characters are mostly children but mayyyybe something slipped my mind?

    Olivia Roach recently posted: My True Love… [Nails Extravaganza]

  8. Lola

    I actually prefer books with at least a bit of romance, but I most important is that it’s a good read. Most of the books I read have at least a hint of romance, but I was actually surprised I read a few books without romance and quite some with only a hint of romance last year.

    I do agree that a book doesn’t need romance to be good, but I still like to read about romances in one form or another. A lot of cozy mysteries I read have less focus on the romance as the focus is more on the mystery. If there is a romance in a book I do want it to be well done and not just added for the sake of romance.

    I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but I do remember reading your reviews for some of them.

    Lola recently posted: Sunday Post #270

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do often prefer a bit of romance, but lately I’ve found myself really enjoying some books w/o it.

      That’s nice to have the romance not as the focus. I agree that if there is going to be romance, it should be well done, not just thrown in for the heck of it.

  9. Bookworm Brandee

    I love it! I love that you’re recommending books without no (or at least little) romance because you’re right…books can be good and have no mention of love. Not that I read that many but… LOL Trailer Park Fae and Long Walk to Valhalla are of particular interest to me. And I think Hell Divers is already on my tbr. :) See? I can read or at least think about reading a book without romance. :D

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: #COYER Review ~ Sparrow ~ L.J. Shen #ShelfLove

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Lol I don’t read many either considering how difficult making this list was! You might enjoy Trailer Park Fae if you don’t mind the writing. That was something I know many people had issues with, but I enjoyed that aspect. Lol thinking about reading books w/o romance is a step forward at least ;-)

  10. Daniela Ark

    haha love that you made a list of no romance for Valentine’s Day :)
    you definitely have the best titles and blurbs on your blog! “Slowly We Rot”??? :) “Trailer Park Fae”??? I remember that one! I remember when I added it because of your review. You really liked that one. :)
    AND
    HELLOOOOOOO
    LOOK
    WHO
    IS
    HERE!
    HELL DIVERS!!!!
    yup this series doesn’t belong here! because It is SO a love story!
    My love for X! Such a heart-wrenching emotional tale! Me falling in love for him in book 1! Me losing him at the end of book 1. Me hoping desperately for him to be rescued in book 2. Me wanting to avenging by killing Leon slowly and painfully. Me grasping my hands in desperation waiting for book 3 when we finally be reunited again. The last scene: me running towards him, we embracing. the sunset behind us. yup 100% romance :)
    I’m SO glad you include it :D xoxo

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol those good titles just draw me in apparently :-P

      Wait, so did you actually read the second book finally??? (Did you tell me that already?) But lol, I wish you the best of luck in your romance with X EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE CHEATING ON ME. I’ll let it slide this one time… ;-)