Beauty and the Beast to from ancient folk tales to modern vampire erotica, humanity has been preoccupied by one single question: what would it be like to get The Shape of Water, down with a supernatural monster? The monsters of these tales are literally non-human: strange and frightening creatures from myth and fantasy, with horns and claws and the whole nine yards. But, despite their supernatural appearance, these monsters nearly always have a very human soul. Whatever makes them monstrous, these "monsters" all deserve to be loved. So here are a few very romantic monster love stories, for romantics who don't mind the occasional pair of fangs.
Some people (mostly men) have expressed confusion or even disgust that a film about a lady falling hard for a fish man made it all the way to the Oscars. But it makes perfect sense that this take on beauty and beast would resonate with a lot of people:
"monsters" have always expressed our social anxieties, like being eaten, or seeing the hetero-patriarchy dismantled. Monsters are deviations from the norm. They're threats to the status quo. And there's nothing sexier than completely upending the status quo with some hot, human on demon (or fish man, or werewolf) action: 1 'The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break' by Steven Sherrill
Once he was an Ancient Greek monster who hungered for human flesh... but these days he's a socially awkward line cook living in a trailer park.
The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break will have you rooting for this bull-headed outcast from page one, as he struggles to open himself up to happiness and love (and stop catching his horns on everything). Click here to buy. 2 'Mrs. Caliban' by Rachel Ingalls
A frustrated housewife opens her door to a seven-foot-tall green lizard man on the run from a team of scientists. Naturally, the two begin a clandestine affair in this satirical, surreal, and ultimately touching love story.
Click here to buy. 3 'The Golem and the Jinni' by Helene Wecker
This one is less a torrid love affair than the story of two displaced magical creatures becoming friends and soul mates. If you're less in the mood for monster erotica, and more in the mood for a thoughtful, nuanced friend-romance between unlikely monsters from two very different worlds, then this is the monster love story for you.
Click here to buy. 4 'Bitten' by Kelley Armstrong
Elena Michaels just so happens to be the
only lady werewolf in the world. It's a lonely, feral, violent life out there for a lady wolf, so Elena decides to pack it in and move to Toronto, to live as a normal human being. Of course, it's not so easy to leave her supernatural self behind, especially when she's torn between a human love and a love who's just as dangerous as she is... Click here to buy. 5 'Warm Bodies' by Isaac Marion
R is a zombie. He has no memory of his life before un-death. But he knows that he prefers riding escalators to eating people. And eventually, he meets a living, breathing girl who he doesn't want to eat at all—or rather, he does want to eat her, but he chooses to protect her instead.
Click here to buy. 6 'In Great Waters' by Kit Whitfield
Henry is a bastard, born of two worlds: the earthbound people of the land and the deepsmen of the sea. He's considered an abomination... and yet, he's pulled into the life of highborn Anne, youngest princess of England, as she struggles to survive at court in a perilous, alternate history.
Click here to buy. 7 'The Devourers' by Indra Das
College professor Alok finds himself entranced by a mysterious stranger, a man who tells him tales about a race of beast-like people. As their relationship develops, though, Alok begins to wonder if there is any truth to these stories of ancient monster-men and their blood-deep desires.
Click here to buy. 8 'The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy' by Clare B. Dunkle
The books of the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy follow Kate, the elder of two orphan girls, who is chosen to be bride to the terrifying Goblin King of Hallow Hill. It's a classic fairy tale, retold with humor and a healthy does of creepy dark magic.
Click here to buy. 9 'Sharp Teeth' by Toby Barlow Sharp Teeth is unusual, as far as werewolf romances go. First of all, it's written in verse, and second of all, the werewolf is a girl. And her admirer is a dogcatcher. It's all-around a beautiful reinterpretation of the paranormal romance genre, set among the lycanthropes of L.A. Click here to buy. 10 'Daughter of Smoke & Bone' by Laini Taylor
Karou draws monsters in her sketchbooks, speaks a variety of languages, both human and non-human, and seems to have naturally-occurring blue hair. Even she doesn't know why she's different from everyone else, but she's managed to capture the attention of a beautiful, haunted stranger, who might have some of the answers...
Click here to buy. 11 'Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast' by Robin McKinley
"Beauty" has never really lived up to her nickname in this retelling of the classic fairy tale. She's thin and gangly, unlike her gorgeous sisters. But she is courageous, and when her father is threatened by a terrible Beast who lives in the forest, she decides to go to him of her own free will.
Click here to buy. 12 'Lilith's Brood' by Octavia Butler
Only Octavia Butler could take human and squid alien romance and turn it into a gorgeous meditation on the future of humanity. Lilith Iyapo is one of the few humans left, you see, after the Earth is decimated by war. Her only hope is to recreate the human race with the help of the Oankali, a strange alien race looking to settled down and start a family with a different species.
Click here to buy. 13 'Honor Among Orcs' by Amalia Dillin
Orc romance. ORC ROMANCE. Princess Arianna is meant to marry a fitting noble (human) man, but then she comes across a chained up orc, trapped within a magic mirror... and she can't help but want to free him, against her father's wishes.
Click here to buy. 14 'Dead Until Dark' by Charlaine Harris
If you're looking for a vampire romance/mystery that doesn't take itself
too seriously, you'll probably have a grand time with psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her various vampire lovers. In Dead Until Dark, the first book in the series, Sookie finds herself face to face with her first ever vampire, and sparks start to fly. Click here to buy. 15 'The Terracotta Bride' by Zen Cho
Sure, ghosts and terracotta robots getting it on in hell is not the
usual thing, even for monster romances... but The Terracotta Bride manages to make it work, with the story of the dead, unhappily married Siew Tsin, and her husband's newest acquisition, the artificial woman Yonghua. Click here to buy.