And finally we’re here, day 3 of my ode to tropes. Today we’re featuring two brilliant tropes. First up, is monster romance (which rather got out of hand as it turns out I love quite a few). Secondly, we’ve got a trope hugely important to all of us in the queer community: found family.
I am a sucker for monster romance. Give me dark monsters falling in love with soft, cinnamon rolls everyday.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Let’s start with a book I’m pretty sure might be THE sapphic book of the year. Releasing in July, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is about a princess who is poisonous to touch. When she tries to rid herself of her curse with the help of a demon, she unleashes unimaginable consequences and must question everything about herself. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a book with a monster girlfriend, a morally grey princess, a descent to villainy, and wings!
Blood Countess by Lana Popović
So whilst Blood Countess doesn’t have a typical ‘monster girlfriend’, you can’t get more monsterous than the most prolific female serial killer of all time. Hence I think this book deserves to be included in this trope! This is a dark, horror retelling of Countess Elizabeth Báthory, the inspiration for Countess Dracula from the POV of Anna, a servant in Elizabeth’s castle. Check out my full review here.
Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
In Missing, Presumed Dead we have a ghost, Jane, who’s out for revenge on the person who killed her. Lexi, a woman who can see how a person dies, sees Jane’s death but doesn’t do anything to stop it. So when Jane sticks around to destroy her murderer, she enlists Lexi’s help. And monster romance begin. Check out my full review here.
Beyond the Black Door by A.M Strickland
In Beyond the Black Door, not only do we get a gorgeous asexual biromantic heroine, we also get a monster romance! This is a dark and lush YA fantasy with people who can walk through the souls of others, and I’m not going to say anything else about the monster romance because spoilers!
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
In Sawkill Girls, there’s a dark and spooky island setting, where girls keep going missing and there’s lots of talk about a monster hiding in the woods. This books has a horrory-mythical vibe, a focus on female friendship and monsters to fall in love with.
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
Does a gothic horror tale about murder and monsters and a man who loves himself some of both sound interesting? Then this is the novella for you! The night is dark and full of corpses. The town of Elendhaven was left to die thanks to a plague outbreak and then stripped of all its industry. But the people in Elendhaven are going to have their revenge. Enter evil, murderering magicians and monsters.
In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard
A dark sapphic Asian retelling of Beauty and the Beast inspired by Vietnamese mythology beats all other Beauty and the Beast retellings, I said it. Even more so when the Beast is a motherfucking dragon.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
And we’re ending with another ghost romance, one that is already one of the most talked about books of the year! Not much gets better than a gay, trans, Latinx brujo accidentally summoning the wrong ghost then falling in love with him.
Found family is quite possibly the most important and queerest of all these tropes I’ve talked about, which is why I’m leaving it to last. It’s a trope that resonates with those of us who can’t trust the family we’re born into, and instead must find our own in life to keep us going. It’s such a powerful, hopeful trope and I think these books really emphasise that positivity.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune
This is one of the most gorgeous, wholesome, joyful, queerest books in the whole world, I love it! Featuring found family at it’s very best, The House in the Cerulean Sea follows Linus, a caseworker who goes to investigate an orphanage with some very special magical children (of whomst one is the Antichrist). This book is warm and cosy and utterly delightful. Check out my full review here.
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
K.Ancrum is an absolute genius and one of my auto-buy authors, no matter what she writes. Her debut The Wicker King was incredible, as is her second novel, The Weight of the Stars. This features a group of rough kids who’ve found each other thanks to Ryann, a girl who dreams of going to space. It has a soft sapphic relationship, Ancrum’s usual lyrical writing, and a beautiful page design!
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
I’ll take your found family and raise you a found family made up of queer, librarian spies fighting fascists in a Western-style dystopian future. Yes that does sound as incredible as you think it is. This story is told from the POV of Esther, a stowaway who catches a ride when the librarians come to town and then realise she’s in the place she’s always needed to be.
The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
This is an absolutely weird and wild Sherlock Holmes retelling where Holmes is a pansexual female sorceress and Watson is a trans man who just can’t catch a break as he’s beset by vampires, pirates and sharks during his efforts to help out his fellow lodger. Full of fun and friendship and acceptance, everything the found family trope is known for.
And that’s a wrap on my trope posts! What’s your favourite trope? Are there any you love that I’ve missed?