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An adventurous fantasy novel with a clean side romance and male lead
#1  InNeed 05-29-2020, 10:25 AM
Hey guys!

I'm looking for a fantasy adventure novel with a clean side romance. I've recently read through the Mysteries of Cove and Percy Jackson series and would like something that captures the feeling of both of these great reads, not only in terms of the adventure itself (doesn't have to be centered around mythology or steampunk necessarily), but also the 'innocent' romance that develops alongside the adventure. I know I'm somewhat out of the target demographic of these books (I'm 19), but the fact that it's aimed at a young audience spares me the focus on the appearance of the characters and how hot everyone is, which is prevalent in YA literature and just brings the whole thing down for me.

One thing this category doesn't offer in spades is the depth of the world-building, which I understand, seeing as your audience is young and you'd rather focus on the action to keep them hooked. That's why I decided to broaden my horizons and look into the YA category as well (doesn't mean I'm not open for any tween/middle-grade books though!).

If there is another thing that both of those series share, it's the somewhat dense male lead. I really enjoy seeing the mc get confused about how the whole thing works, miss some hints along the way, get fought over without realizing it, and just come out of the story mature enough to understand that he's not as unpopular as he thought he was. Love triangles and the like are fine as long as they don't feel forced.

Thank you.
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#2  pwalker8 05-29-2020, 02:20 PM
The author of the Percy Jackson series actually has a number of books out, you might want to check some of his other series out.

You also might want to consider some of the older YA authors, i.e. the books that have been out a while - Tamora Pierce and Patricia Wreade come to mind. There is always the Harry Potter books, but I assume you have read those.
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#3  hildea 05-29-2020, 02:33 PM
By "clean", do you mean no sex at all, or no explicit sex?

Sarah Rees Brennan's "In Other Lands" is one of my favourite books, a portal fantasy where Elliot from our world travels to the Borderlands when he's thirteen, and we follow him for five years. It's both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Quote
“When he said all that stuff about duty and protection . . .,” he said. “Is this a military operation?”

Surfer Dude looked pleased to be asked. “Yes. They train you up, those who can pass through the Border on either side, to be guards and keep the peace between the peoples in this land and those who may come through from the other. You learn how to handle all sorts of weapons, how to form a unit, all this cool stuff.”

“Oh my God,” Elliot said in a hollow voice. “We’re child soldiers?”
There is some sex later in the book, but it's not explicit. Here's a typical example:

Quote
There was no door to speak of, since they were all in tents. Through the rough cloth of the tent, Elliot could hear the murmur of people passing by, the crackle of fires and sound of blades being sharpened and all the other sounds of a battlefield settling back into peace. War was over, at least for a time, and he was warm, his head on a soft pillow, tangled up in soft blankets with [spoiler removed] tangled up with him. She hovered above him, murmuring words that only meant, to him, that she did want him after all.

Elliot could not help but smile, and he felt her smile blossom against his mouth in response to his. He curled his fingers around her long [...] hair and tugged her down the last fraction of an inch toward him.

“Besmirch away,” he said.



He didn’t know whether he had Peter’s educational manuals or [...]'s helpful instructions to thank, but Elliot thought the whole thing had all gone rather well.
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#4  hobnail 05-29-2020, 02:34 PM
The series set in the Nine Kingdoms by Lynn Kurland should fit the bill. There's a prequel that's a novella that I recommend reading first (and reading them in order). It's in a book of 3 or 4 other novellas by other authors. Wikipedia or her site should provide the details.
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#5  InNeed 05-30-2020, 01:55 PM
Quote hildea
By "clean", do you mean no sex at all, or no explicit sex?

Sarah Rees Brennan's "In Other Lands" is one of my favourite books, a portal fantasy where Elliot from our world travels to the Borderlands when he's thirteen, and we follow him for five years. It's both hilarious and heartbreaking.



There is some sex later in the book, but it's not explicit. Here's a typical example:
I meant no sex at all. May seem a bit childish but what can i do But thank you for the recommendation nonetheless.
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#6  Deskisamess 05-30-2020, 02:16 PM
Quote
I meant no sex at all. May seem a bit childish...
It's not childish to not want sex scenes in your books. You can have adventure and romance without sex scenes. Everyone has their preferences in their reading likes and dislikes.
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#7  hildea 05-31-2020, 04:02 AM
Quote Deskisamess
It's not childish to not want sex scenes in your books. You can have adventure and romance without sex scenes. Everyone has their preferences in their reading likes and dislikes.
I agree completely. (I used to be embarrassed over liking romances, it took me some time to internalize that it should be no more or less embarrasing than liking any other genre.)

I thought of another book which you might like: The Spirit Ring, by Lois McMaster Bujold. It takes place in a renaissance Italy with magic, where a young man and a young woman get caught up in dangerous political/magical/military intrigues. The chapters alternate between the male and the female lead. The main focus is on the plot, but the romance is also an important part of the story.

Quote InNeed
If there is another thing that both of those series share, it's the somewhat dense male lead. I really enjoy seeing the mc get confused about how the whole thing works, miss some hints along the way, get fought over without realizing it, and just come out of the story mature enough to understand that he's not as unpopular as he thought he was.
It doesn't quite fit this, but Thur, who is a miner from a small village, has less experience with the wider world and with love than Fiametta, daughter and unofficial apprentice to an (in)famous alchemist and sculptor.


Another book which may fit the somewhat dense male lead who doesn't understand his own strengths is Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer. This is a historical romance, not fantasy, so you might not be interested. There's no sex in Heyer's books.
Quote Cotillion, by Georgette Heyer
“You think I’ve got brains?’ he said, awed. ‘Not confusing me with Charlie?’
‘Charlie?’ uttered Miss Charing contemptuously. ‘I daresay he has book-learning, but you have—you have address, Freddy!’
‘Well, by Jove!’ said Mr Standen, dazzled by this new vision of himself.”
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#8  InNeed 05-31-2020, 08:09 AM
Thank you all for the suggestions. I still have yet to find something that suits my taste, but I really do appreciate you guys taking the time to leave an answer.

With that said, I think I have a preference for middle grade novels just because of how innocent the romance can be, as well as how back seated it is most of the time. So if you have any more of those, please don't hesitate to leave a recommendation
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#9  InNeed 05-31-2020, 12:13 PM
Quote InNeed
Thank you all for the suggestions. I still have yet to find something that suits my taste, but I really do appreciate you guys taking the time to leave an answer.

With that said, I think I have a preference for middle grade novels just because of how innocent the romance can be, as well as how back seated it is most of the time. So if you have any more of those, please don't hesitate to leave a recommendation
On a side note, a book series sparked my curiosity which is Guardian of the Gryphon's Claw, and was wondering if there was any romance in it
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#10  John F 05-31-2020, 03:07 PM
How about something classic, like John Carter of Mars series?
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