CONTENT WARNING: illustrated depictions of gore, violence and body-horror.
My experience with books, films and games has always boiled down to which of the side characters are worth having a crush on. What’s so fun about the goody-two-shoe main character, eh?
As a result, my favourite ship dynamics are also of the uncommon kind. That miserable disaster who you can’t help but love-to-hate, the designated ‘horrible monster’ who may be a great ally but absolutely not a conventional romance choice. Or the cutest size-different couple happening in the background while no one’s watching.
I’m certain you’ve already heard of the majority of the mainstream pairings representing the below, so allow me to provide you with a few hidden gems to explore instead (at least, the ones I can find so far). I’ll revisit this article from time to time and add more suggestions!
I’m not sure how you could be on my blog without knowing this is what I’m all about.
A trope as old as time, and before I break into a cliche song from Beauty and the Beast, this is a theme which I am especially fussy about. Nowadays, the genre sports a huge variety of books (of the naughty sort) covering every possible type of monster, but I enjoy a bit more subtlety (in mood) and depth (in design or description).
While you can choose from mysterious biters to shaggy oversized violent dogs, for me to count as a ‘proper’ monster romance, the monster in question has to be pushing the envelope. They’re horrendous, eldritch, terrifying, hulking, unexplainable, bizarre or a mixture of the above. A pair of cute horns does not cut it!
So, here are some of my latest top picks for romantic monster stories that may surprise you pleasantly:
Even though the monster x human combination provides that mesmerising perspective of adoring something more-than-human, surely, we’re familiar with it enough that we can relate to the main pair both being monstrous.
I wished I had examples for this one, but it’s proving to be a doozy to find!
There’s just something amusing about the dynamic of a short and very tall couple trying to reconcile the meters between them. For this to count for me, it has to be more than a head’s length.
Stoop over for good fluff:
A more recent acquisition in my favourite pairings. Romances are chock-full of questionable partnerships, but I struggle to find many where the tragedy is especially poignant (and not just cynical or over-exaggerated).
Have at thee some deliciously sharp besotten enemies:
Can you tell I like contrast? As the adage goes, ‘opposites attract’, although I’ve noticed they’re either terribly mismatched, or the difference is barely skin-deep that it feels more like a passing thought.
A storyteller who can commit to the bit and make two characters work well together while being nothing alike, by design or personality, is gold:
Skeleton’ focused stories are rare, full-stop. I can count them on one hand (Skulduggery Pleasant, Death from Terry Pratchett’s world), and just as few where romance is involved:
As a bonus, here’s a few older sketches expanding on the above themes.. and a few new ones:
If you have any recommendations or enjoy these exact tropes (why, hello, neighbour), then make sure to subscribe to my newsletter, and reply! I will likely cover all of these tropes at least once.