What is a monster romance?
A monster romance is one of the many tropes contained in the romance genre – sometimes it is also referred to as a creature romance. It usually means that the hero – usually the “monster” is male – is extremely non-human. And I don’t mean Ruby Dixon Ice Planet Barbarian non-human, where the character is basically human shaped but with bigger muscles and a few added extras. I mean heroes that are considered taboo, ugly and non-humanoid. In the dark you know they’re a monster.
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Should I read a monster romance?
If you’re not sure whether you would like a monster romance, here’s a test for you: watch the 2016 Warcraft film. If you, like me, completely overlook Travis Kimmel’s character and instead start having some spicy fantasies about the orcs… well then, you’ve come to the right place.
We are going to explore some of our favourite monster romance books. Where skin can be green, blue, scaled or furry. Where horns, tusks, tails and mandibles are a must have. In fact, the more likely they are to give the muggles nightmares, the more we want them.
Recommended monster romance books
So, here we are, here are some of my favourite monster romances. I’ve added a variety of books from holy-crap-you-want-that-in-your-lady-garden to books that are a little more entry level.
Let’s ease you into the monster romance trope: Radiance by Grace Draven is set in a fantasy world where our hero and heroine are pushed in to a political marriage. Our heroine Ildiko is human, and our hero Brishen is…not. As Ildiko so succinctly says about his looks: “Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.” However, both are considered beautiful in their own cultures but, look strange and ugly to each other.
At its heart this is a friends to lovers story, where characters both have to overcome not only their physical differences, but their cultural ones as well. This book is also packed with political intrigue with some action thrown in as well as the romance. It’s a great book to give a try if you want to dip your toe into both the fantasy genre and the monster romance trope.
If you want to hear me gush some more about Radiance, check out my review!
Don’t you just hate it when you pass out in the wilderness and then get kidnapped by an orc who takes you to his dimension and decides to keep you as a pet? I know I do. Or maybe I won’t mind too much if I take The Orc Wife by S.J. Sanders as my guide.
After mentioning the Warcraft film in my introduction, I had to get in an orc romance recommendation. The Orc Wife is a cute romance between our grumpy orc hero and the baffling human woman he accidentally kidnaps. I say accidentally as initially he thinks she’s an animal and he fancied keeping her as a pet.
If you aren’t in the mood for an orc, S.J. Sanders dominates the monster romance trope and has a variety of monster heroes for you to chose from. I recommend The VaDorok by S.J. Sanders for those of you who want your hero on the furry and horny side.
As a third child Susan doesn’t have many prospects on her farming colony, which is why she signs up to a mating agency. She never expected to be matched with, well…. a lizardman. A massive, scaly grumpy lizardman.
This books is a favourite of mine for a number of reasons: one, I adore a grumpy hero and Olix is grumpy, stubborn and adorable. Two, I love a competent heroine. Susan has grown up and worked in a farming colony. She knows her farmer stuff and her skills become an important part of the story. But, what I loved most about this book was seeing Olix and Susan working hard to understand and communicate with one another. And with that understanding their romance blossomed, overcoming their different appearances and cultures.
Did anyone else like that old Gargoyles animated TV show? Maybe had a little thing for Goliath? If you did, then I have the perfect book for you Carnage by Sandra R. Neeley. Carnage is a gargoyle who, along side other gargoyles and other paranormal creatures, lives in the South Louisiana Bayou. They keep their existence from humans secret. Until one day Carnage rescues Carolena and takes her home with him.
Carnage is considered dangerous, erratic and violent by the other members of his kind. This image isn’t helped by the fact that he is unable to speak and he’s a bit more in touch with his instincts than others. But one look at Carolena and he’s devoted. And Carolena quickly begins to feel the same. It’s. Adorable.
If you want to see me talk more Carnage, check out my review!
Tiffany Roberts – a husband and wife author team – write some of my favourite alien and monster romance books. For me, it all started with their Kraken series where the heroes live in the sea and have tentacles instead of legs. That series was a prime contender for a place on this list and I would definitely recommend reading them. However, Claimed by an Alien Warrior cinches it as my favourite book by Tiffany Roberts.
I really loved the whole concept – Ren, our alien hero who is green, scaled, has four arms and Predator hair is an alien monster on the run from a government facility where they were experimenting on him. Julia happens to be in the right place at the right time and has a car….so he kidnaps her and her car to get away. Thus begins their road trip/escape and the beginning of their romance.
See more of my thoughts about Claimed by an Alien Warrior in my review.
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You may remember years ago that dinosaur erotica got thrust into the spotlight. I don’t usually like to malign any type of romance but a lot of them were, well…terrible. However, Ursa Dax has created a race of alien people that definitely have that dino vibe. They have scales, sharp teeth, spikes, run on all fours and are about 9 feet tall. But, despite their terrifying appearance and fighting prowess, they are complete teddy bears when it comes to their mates.
You’ll notice that this is book 9 in the series. The previous 8 books has a different type of monster hero. They aren’t quite as non-human as Grim, our hero from Alien Keeper, but they are still almost 8 foot tall with tails. I would recommend reading this in order, just know that the heroes get taller and more monstrous as the series goes on. Yum!
If you want something cute, with a dirty talking wolf daddy then you need to read Muscles & Monsters by Ashley Bennett. It’s the beginning of the Leviathan Fitness series, which promises to be choc full of sexy monster heroes. As well as wolven heroes, it looks like we will be treated to orc, griffin-like dudes and tentacled hotties. Sign me up!
Kidnap a human goth girl? Check. Be experimented on by evil, yet beautiful, aliens? Check. Fall in love with an alien scorpion monster man? Double check. This may have been one of the first books I ever read which had a true monster as the hero. And, not just in appearance. Thrax is not only unhuman, he’s had a brutal life. That life has moulded him into a maim and kill first, maybe ask questions later kinda guy. And I am here for it!
Wan to hear more? Check out my review of this monster romance.
I feel like there should be a subgenre of monster romance for all the heroes that have a striking resemblance to the Predator, you know – the alien in the film Predator that first graced our screens in the 80’s. Saving Askara would definitely be part of the sub-genre, not only does the hero look a bit like Predator he also has, what I imagine, is a similar culture. War and violence are just a part of their lifestyle, so much so that they are almost on the brink of extinction. It made for an interesting clash with our heroine, a doctor who is thrust into the job of ambassador between humans and the Askara.
This was a great story, beautifully told and I loved seeing Elizabeth and Aderus work together and see the respect and attraction grow between them. Warning though…it does end on a cliffhanger. However, the next book Chasing Earth is already out and available on kindle unlimited so – unlike me – you won’t have to wait long to find out what happens next.
For more of my thoughts on the book, check out my review of Saving Askara.
Have you ever had the urge to have carnal relations with the abominable snowman? If you have, welp, I have the book, nay the series, just for you. In fact, let’s make it better, how about a menage with the abominable snowman and his brother? You would definitely need a vacuum cleaner with a pet attachment (all that hair!) but judging from The Bridal Hunt, it would all be worth it.
There are certain plot devices that will immediately have me grabbing for a book. One of them is when the characters can’t speak or understand the same language, and for some reason aren’t able to learn. For example, in Transcendence by Shay Savage, the hero doesn’t have Wernicke’s area, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing language. This book has that plot device. Due to Gron, our hero, being a completely different race it somehow makes him unable to ever understand human language and our heroine Ruth likewise can’t, and will never, be able to understand his. I just love that way it means they have to find other ways of communicating with each other. And it’s just so…romantic. To fall in love with someone with such a huge unmovable obstacle in your way.
For anyone else who adores this plot device, or just wants to give a try, I recommend picking up Ruth’s Bonded, it’s a lovely story and Gron despite his fearsome appearance is a marshmallow.
You want an adorable Christmas romance, with a grumpy minotaur monster hero…who makes the best damn coffee and pastries in the universe? I know I certainly do. This novella was a lovely little read to get you into the Christmas spirit, monster style.
Welcome to the end of the human race. Humans are almost extinct and the ones that survive are becoming increasingly ruthless, savage and murderous as they compete for resources. That is why Terri avoids other humans and has learnt to survive on her own. Until she meets Veral, an alien cyborg with a remarkable resemblance to Predator. This was a romance mixed with post-apocalyptic survival story – complete with cannibals – which really makes you question who the real monsters are.
Strange yet wonderful. Those are the adjectives I would use to describe Strange Love. It’s also another romance where the hero has a close resemblance to Predator. However, he may look like a scary mo-fo on the outside, but he’s a complete cinnamon roll on the inside. In fact, it is our heroine, the poor woman who was accidentally kidnapped who ends up competing in a bloodthirsty tournament so that she can be with the alien guy of her dreams. Annnnd, as for sexy times (I don’t want to give away too much), lets just say who penetrates who isn’t quite what you expect.
If the cover of this book doesn’t make you want to grab it and never let it go then there isn’t anything more I can do for you. But I am going to try. The hero has tentacles, is adorable and worships our heroine. ya know, once they figure out the whole communication thing. He does make the initial mistake of thinking she’s a pet. Luckily, he likes to pamper his pets, and it doesn’t take him too long to figure out she’s a sentient being. When it comes down to it this book is a sweet pet-to-friends-to-lovers book where the hero has tentacles and I loved it!
The tagline/blurb for this book is: “They never meant to come to Earth. They were never allowed to leave. Welcome to Cottonwood.”. It gave me chills when I first read that, and now knowing what it means…it doubles them. If you are in the mood for a darker read, which has some uncomfortable parallels to the current world and how humans like to treat those they consider “other”, then this is the book for you. Amidst that, it does have a lovely slow burn romance, but it is a difficult read that I guarantee with have you weeping.
I should probably also add a content warning for violence, cruelty and torture and, if memory serves me correctly, sexual assault and rape.
For more of my thoughts of Cottonwood check out my review!
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What are some of your favourite monster romances?
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