So after yesterday’s dive into queer enemies to lovers, the trope to rule all other tropes, I also want to talk about several other tropes that I just adore. And midway through writing this post, I realised it was going to be SO LONG because there are SO MANY books that I love with these tropes. So I had to once again split it up. Today, we’re going to get three tropes: disaster queers, slowburn romance, and everyone’s favourite ‘there’s only one bed!’
Disaster queers, aka the trope where a group of queer people or an individual is a complete and utter disaster/mess/loveable idiot who just cannot catch a break and no matter how much they plan, shit gets fucked up. I LOVE THEM. Such messy angels.
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn
First off, a group of French Revolution queer disasters to rule all queer disasters forevermore. These idiots are trying to rescue innocent people from the guillotine, but their rescue keeps going wrong (and like, really wrong.) The opening action sequence of this book is quite possibly the most hilarious, fun disaster rescue in the whole world, and all these characters know it and accept it with such resignation and snark, I love them all so much. You can read my full review here.
Finna by Nino Cipri
How about two queer disasters who just broke up but now have to travel the multiverse in search of a lost customer because their corporate overlords tell them they have to? Enter disasters such as almost getting eaten by a plant chair and paying in blood at a parallel universe Ikea with creepy clones all around you.
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
The main character of The Ruin of Kings has been called the literal definition of a bisexual disaster by so many people I follow on Twitter so the fact that I still have not read this book is really letting down the team, I’m sorry. This book sounds like it puts the epic in epic fantasy, with gods, demons, dragons, prophecies, war and a long lost prince.
Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald
In Beyond the Ruby Veil we have the brand of disaster queer known as ‘chaos lesbian’. This beautiful foolish idiot kills the only person in her city capable of creating water and now her whole city might die of thirst and so she has to try and figure out how the fuck to get water back. What a disaster.
Not much is better than a long, drawn out romance where they don’t kiss until pretty much the last chapter. Slowburn romance + speculative fiction is pretty much my favourite genre of all time, I read so much of it so here’s four of my favs!
The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood
This has been one of my favourite books of the year so far! The Unspoken Name is a portal fantasy with an absolutely huge, expansive world with magic, necromancy and powerful gods. And it also has a brilliant slowburn romance that’s one of my favourite relationships of all fantasies ever because it has: one idiot lesbian orc who doesn’t think before acting (yes she probably could also appear in the previous trope), one extremely powerful mage who might be a gateaway to a fallen, evil god so must always remain in total control, and said aforementioned completely-in-control mage TOTALLY FUCKING LOSING IT over the idiot lesbian orc, I love it. You can read my full review here.
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
This book is one of my favourite YA fantasies and as it’s a genre I’ve been struggling with recently, that means it is extra, extra special!! This is such a relevant and uncomfortabley familiar book about illegal immigrants crossing walls into Medio, an island city. Dani illegally crossed the border with her parents but is now at the Medio School for Girls where, hiding her past, she is top of her class. At the school women are trained to be wives for important men, Primera’s and Segunda’s. Each man chooses two girls to be his wives – and in We Set the Dark on Fire, two wives fall in love with each other instead of their husband. It’s slowburn sapphic fire, a book full of revolution and courage, a must read for YA dystopian readers. You can read my full review here.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Possibly the most unique book I’ve read recently, this is a science fiction unlike any other: it combines massive space empires with poetry and murder mystery. And obviously a very (and I mean very) slowburn f/f romance. It’s a twisty turny political-technological-sci-fi-ode-to-poetry-murder-mystery-romance! It sounds complicated (and it totally is), but it’s absolutely amazing and full of humour as well, which brings a much needed lightness to this complex book. You can read my full review here.
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
I’m terrible at sequels so whilst I still haven’t read the sequel to this brilliant debut fantasy, I have read (and loved) Girls of Paper and Fire. This book was the kind of fantasy I read the first page in bed and then had to put the book down to start the next day because I immediately knew I was not going to be able to stop reading. There is an incredible world with different castes of people, human, demons, and Steel (a mix of both). It’s a very dark book (the entire premise is basically a King choosing 8 girls to be consorts – regardless of whether they want to be or not), but the relationship that develops between our two lead girls is beautiful, and Ngan writes in an empowering manner, putting focus on the strength and recovery of these girls than on the acts themselves. You can read my full review here.
There’s only one bed….
I feel like this is one of the most popular tropes, and that’s because it’s just so tense and awkward, I love it. There’s only one bed aka ‘here are two people who may not really like each other (or perhaps do like each other but it’s a secret and the other doesn’t know) and now they have to sleep really close together because there is but one bed’.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
Yes this book appeared in yesterday’s enemies to lovers trope list, and yes it is appearing here too. But that’s because it does both these tropes so well! This is ‘there’s only one bed’ at it’s most classic and excellent: with two characters who kind of hate each other.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
Queer novellas are winning right now (in fact so much so I have a separate post this month all about them!) and Silver in the Wood is one of these, a lyrical, mythical folklore romance about a man who lives on the edge of the woods. And of course a ‘oh! look! we have but one bed, where shall I sleep!’ scene.
The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutiskie
Okay there’s really something about enemies to lovers and there’s only bed going together because this is another that is on both lists. And that’s because THIS is the moment when feelings often change, when people who used to hate suddenly consider other feelings that change everything. And it’s pretty awesome when we’re on a pirate ship with a pirate and a monster trainer too.
If We Were Villains by M.L Rio
Dark academia is one of my newest loves so when we take dark academia + nostalgic theatre gays + murder + there’s only one bed, it becomes something even more extraordinary.
That’s it for today’s list of tropes! Join us tomorrow for my last two favourite tropes: monster romances (and hot damn did this list get rather long, I clearly have A Type), and a trope I think particularly personal and important to us queers: found family.