8 Fantasy Books Featuring Court Intrigue

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

In the underground city of Caverna, babies are born without the ability to show emotion and must be taught Faces to express themselves.  The richer you are, the more Faces you have.  But then Neverfell appears from the world above.  Her face, with its ability to show exactly what she is feeling, makes her a danger to a world carefully built on lies and intrigue.  Frances Hardinge imagines an extraordinary world full of magic and madness–a world so original that you will want to return for me.  Unfortunately, this one is a standalone.

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Nineteen-year-old Kelsea Glynn is heir to the Tearling throne, but may not live to be crowned queen. As a baby, she was stolen away from the castle and raised in secret by servants. After the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, her regent uncle ruled as the puppet of the Red Queen, the cruel tyrant (and rumored witch) of neighboring Mortmesne–a nation that has subdued the surrounding realms and looks to solidify its control over the Tearling. Now of age to take her rightful place on the throne, Kelsea plans to restore the independence of the Tearling and to erase her family’s legacy of bad politics. But first she must not only survive the journey to the castle but also win the love and support of her people.

The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMater Bujold

As a soldier turned tutor, Cazaril is now responsible for instructing the sister of the man who will one day rule.  But he turned from politics long ago and he is not certain he wants to be involved with the intrigues of the court.

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Ten years ago, Wilhemina Korte, princess of Aecor, watched her parents die at the hands of the Indigo Kingdom.  She and the other noble children were taken to the capital of their conquerors.  But they escaped and now they live as spies, determined to do whatever it takes to return home.  Even if they do, however, the wraith, a toxic mist born of magic, is slowly wiping entire lands off the map.  Wil wants to become queen.  But can she protect her people from the Indigo Kingdom and the wraith?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Years ago a young man set out on a quest to save the land from darkness. He rose in power as the Lord Ruler, but his world became one of darkness and ash. Now the skaa work as slaves under the nobles, who alone possess the genes that can impart the magical skills of Allomancy. Kelsier, a skaa thief escaped from a life of labor, dares to challenge the might of the Lord Ruler. He, after all, as a result of his mixed heritage, possesses all the skills of a Mistborn. But, if his plan is to succeed, he will also need the help of an unlikely ally–a young street urchin who does not yet know the power she wields.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith

In fulfillment of a vow made to their father on his deathbed, Meliara and her brother Bran declare war against the monarch whose greed now threatens the prosperity of the kingdom.  Against the odds they struggle valiantly on, but find that peace can sometimes prove more dangerous than war.  Treachery lurks everywhere at court and Mel fears to place her trust in anyone.  Her reluctance to own to her mistakes and to take sides, however, may ultimately cost her her chance at happiness.  Contains Crown Duel and Court Duel.

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

As twenty-third in line to the throne, Freya never expected to be queen.  But when someone murders the king and a number of his successors, Freya suddenly finds herself fighting for her crown.  Unable to trust her own family, she will have to find a way to win the respect of the people and forge her own destiny.

The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M. Valente

Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have spent countless hours imagining stories in the room at the top of the stairs.  Now, however, Charlotte and Emily must go off to school–where their two older sisters died from fever.  But just as it seems separation is inevitable, they find themselves in a magical world where the Duke of Wellington still fights Bonaparte.  Even stranger, the world seems to be the one they themselves have created and it is populated with their toys.  At first they imagine they can stay there forever.  But when Branwell and Anne are kidnapped, the siblings realize that this world may be out of their control.


21 thoughts on “8 Fantasy Books Featuring Court Intrigue

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Yay! I love lists like this. Court intrigue is something which is fairly hit-or-miss for me, sadly. When it comes to adult novels I adore The Goblin Emperor but I detest the court intrigue (or, uh, just general intrigue) of Game of Thrones. Mistborn is high on my To Read list. I am looking forward to picking it up. But now you’ve added so many others to my list!

    Would any of these be considered more fluffy or light-hearted? I’m definitely looking for that…


    • Krysta says:

      I think I’d enjoy GoT if it weren’t so violent and so explicit. I had to stop watching the TV series and haven’t even tried the books. :/ I haven’t heard of The Goblin Emperor before, though.

      The Glass Town Game is probably the most light-hearted. It’s not so much court intrigue as a moment where they need to infiltrate a court by pretending to be courtiers. It’s a rather whimsical book.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

        I don’t like Game of Thrones for the same reason. I haven’t seen the show, but the book is similar. Obviously, the graphic part is only in our heads then… but still. Plus, honestly, I don’t think George R R Martin cares that much about his characters. I just don’t get it.

        The Goblin Emperor is a stand-alone adult fantasy court intrigue novel focused on what happens when the half-goblin 4th son of the Elvish King takes the throne when his father and siblings all die in an “accident”. It’s quite interesting!

        Oooh. I just read the synopsis for The Glass Town Game and I am completely entransed. That said, I’ve never read anything by the Bronte sisters. Oops. I might want to get on that. 😉


  2. Sammie says:

    Oh, these books sound great! Mistborn is on my TBR list for hopefully this year (and not just because my husband has threatened to divorce me if I don’t read it, I swear). Great list!


Leave a Reply! We'd love to read your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s