Claws That Catch Feelings: 12 Queer Monster Romances

Claws That Catch Feelings: 12 Queer Monster Romances

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Queer monster romances are the best monster romances. The persistent coding of villains and freaks as gay in decades of straight-created media has got to be part of the appeal, right? After all, the difference between a hero and a villain is often just a change in perspective. When I first looked The creature from the black lagoon, all I could think was that they entered the monster lagoon and tried to poison them! What recourse did the creature have? Even without any villainous attributes, monsters are often misunderstood, marginalized, and feared simply because they are different. And a lot of queer people can relate.

What makes queer monster romances the best is that they tend not to be princess and the frog stories. Monstrosity does not need to be corrected by love. Queer monster romances are often between a human and a monster, where in the end the human has embraced the so-called monstrosity within themselves. This monstrosity may in truth be individuality, or the ability to prioritize oneself, one’s own values, and one’s own desires over what the whole world has to offer. This kind of character growth facilitates the human’s ability to love and be loved back, and it touches me every time.

There’s been a real surge in queer monster romances lately, I’m happy to say: Enough that I can give you a list of some of the best without including vampires, werewolves or aliens, which are honestly all romance subgenres deserving of their own lists. So, with apologies to Lewis Carroll, there you have it: jaws that bite (love), claws that grab (feelings).

What a beautiful view by Violet Catte

As many readers have noted, why insist on a love triangle when a story can resolve happily for everyone with polyamory? So here is a polyamorous monster romance between Voam, an agender winged warrior who falls from the sky; Katiana, a troubled woman who has no time for monsters; and Manny, to whom Katiana confides her monster secrets. It’s a great choice if you’re interested in a queer monster romance filled with sweetness and warmth.

cover of tricked by the gargoyles

Deceived by the Gargoyles by Lillian Lark

To all those who have really gotten into the Gargoyles cartoon in their youth: I see you. If you’re looking for a full monster romance, this is it. And show me a better book cover! Deceived by the gargoyles follows a curvy bisexual librarian in search of a family. And it turns out that the family is the clan of gargoyles who woo her. If you enjoy reading about group activities, those that include talks about breeding, knotting, and size difference, you’re in for a treat.

devil's market cover

The Devil’s Market by Rian Fox

I can’t get enough stories where the inciting event accidentally invokes something from a mysterious, ancient occult book. Silas Cromwell met that exact fate, and now he has a sexy demon on his hands. Be sure to read the content warnings for this short story, as among other content there is questionable consent. It’s a high-temperature book that always lands a sweet, happy ending for our preppy, nerdy Silas and his demon Bazaduil.

blanket on the water

On the Water by Jerica Taylor

It’s so much fun recommending monster romances because the locals are literally the best. Do you want to know more about a woman investigating local disappearances who falls in love with a lady river monster? Yes, you do! Like the above What a beautiful view, On the water is part of the Uncanny Case Files, monster novels written by a variety of authors associating humans with all manner of creatures.

fodder cover

Stream by Aveda Vice

Want a queer romance between two monsters? Good, Feed is an office romance between a genderqueer skull-and-crossbones sphinx fairy and a succubus. Avirin, the succubus, uses an app to organize her feedings. Imagine her surprise when her nemesis from the office, Py, shows up, offering himself for her. It’s a short read, but the list of evil acts described is quite long, if that’s your thing.

cover of exodus 20:3

Exodus 20:3 by Freydis Moon

One of the persistent internet jokes that constantly draws me in are biblically accurate angel memes. This romance between a construction worker and the mysteriously handsome caretaker of an abandoned church intensifies when that caretaker’s human mirage fails and reveals his true nature as one of God’s first creations. With a transmask lead, an angel with all sorts of wings, eyes, and limbs, and a thoughtful take on faith and identity, this novella is particularly sexy.

cover of whispers in the woods

Whispers in the Woods by KC Carmine

While weird monster romances tend to be shorter than novel length, they can do impressive amounts of world-building. Whispers in the woods is one example, set in an unnamed post-Soviet Eastern European country plagued by prejudice against LGBTQIA+ people. Thus, the love between Tomek and his ent-like tree monster boyfriend is particularly strained. It’s a great choice if you want something moving and tender.

monster mirror cover on the wall

Monster On My Wall Mirror by Tam Nicnevin

If you’re looking for the mashup of Regency romance with monster romance, I’ve got you covered. Mirror monster on my wall is an erotic remix of Snow White and Alice in Wonderland. In it, Alice, who is half-black and autistic, finds herself with the strange creatures of her dreams. These monsters, a mix of female and non-binary characters, help Alice escape muggers in her waking life. This novel establishes a striking contrast between monstrous-looking creatures and monstrous-behaving humans.

cover of in the jellyfish room

In Medusa’s Room by Magen Cubed

Evelyn agrees to be Lady Demetria Balaskas’ mate and live in her golden castle. What is the secret hidden by Lady Demetria? It’s a GORGONA. Yes, she covers her face with a veil. The practicalities of managing a gorgon are cleverly linked to sex in the book. Also, it connects to one of romance’s truest underlying themes: what it’s like to be truly seen. Like many of the books on this list, it deftly crosses the line between sweet fairy tale and erotic encounter.

demon next door cover

The Demon Next Door by Chace Verity

If you’re a queer single mom and could really use a hand dealing with snow in the driveway, I hope you’re as lucky as Mollie. In his case, the demon next door uses his magic to clear the snow. Night gets it; he himself is a single father. When Mollie and Nuit’s children become friends, Mollie and Nuit learn to rely on each other and gradually fall in love. It’s a sweet, angst-free family monster romance.

bigfoot buddy cover

Bigfoot’s Companion by Delaney Rain

In real life, I would find an anthropologist in love with a research subject disturbing. But an anthropologist in love with Bigfoot? Let’s go! Ramsey Kaye has spent his life trying to prove the existence of Bigfoot, so naturally he destroys a plane and takes refuge in a cave where a Bigfoot lives. As the two fall in love, Ramsey wonders if he should stay or go. And if you like that, Delaney Rain has plenty more gay freak romances that are sure to delight.

cover of when the tiger came down from the mountain

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

I love stories within stories, especially Scheherazade-style tales that involve characters captivating others through storytelling. When the tiger came down from the mountain is one such story, and inside is the story of a tiger who falls in love with a human scholar. Anyone who has read Nghi Vo knows how gripping his storytelling is. Although this book is part of the Singing Hills cycle, it is independent of The Empress of Salt and Fortune.

If you like to think more deeply about monster romances, we’ve already written here about monster love and the history of monster romance. And if you need more queer romance with imaginative characters and settings, we have queer fantasy and queer sci-fi recommendations. There’s something so powerful about queer imagination applied to romance! I hope you find books that resonate with you.

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