Queer monster romances are the best monster romances. The persistent coding of villains and monsters as queer in decade upon decade of media made by straight people has to be a part of the appeal, right? After all, the difference between a hero and a villain is often only a shift in perspective. When I first watched The Creature from the Black Lagoon, all I could think was that they came into the monster’s lagoon and tried to poison them! What recourse did the creature have? Even without any villainous attributes, monsters are frequently misunderstood, marginalized, and feared simply for being different. And lots of queer people can relate.
What makes queer monster romances the best is they tend not to be Princess and the Frog stories. Monstrosity does not need to be remedied by love. Queer monster romances are often between a human and a monster, where by the end the human has embraced the so-called monstrosity within themselves. That monstrosity may in truth be individuality, or the ability to prioritize oneself, one’s own values, and one’s own desires over what the wider world is offering. That kind of character growth facilitates the human’s ability to love and be loved in return, and it gets me every single time.
There’s been a real uptick in queer monster romances as of late, 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 sub-genres unto themselves deserving of their own lists. So, with all apologies to Lewis Carroll, here you go: the jaws that (love) bite, the claws that catch (feelings).
What a Lovely Sight by Violet Catte
As many readers have noted, why stress about a love triangle when a story can resolve happily for everyone with polyamory? So here’s a polyamorous monster romance between Voam, an agender winged warrior who falls from the sky; Katiana, a struggling woman who has no time for monsters; and Manny, whom Katiana entrusts with her monster secrets. This is a great pick if you’re interested in a queer monster romance that is filled with sweetness and warmth.
Deceived by the Gargoyles by Lillian Lark
To anyone who got realllllly into the Gargoyles cartoon in their youth: I see you. If you’re looking for a full length monster romance, here you go. 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 family is the clan of gargoyles who court her. If you like reading about group activities, ones that include breeding talk, knotting, and size difference, you’re in for a treat.
The Devil’s Bargain by Rian Fox
I can’t get enough of stories where the inciting event is accidentally summoning something from a mysterious and ancient Occult book. Silas Cromwell met this exact fate, and now he’s got a sexy demon on his hands. Be sure to read the content warnings for this short story, because among other content, there is dubious consent. It’s a high heat book that still lands a sweetly happy ending for our preppy, nerdy Silas and his demon Bazaduil.
On the Water by Jerica Taylor
It’s just so fun to recommend monster romances because the premises are the literal best. Do you want to read about a woman investigating local disappearances who falls in love with a lady river monster? Yes you do! Like the aforementioned What A Lovely Sight, On the Water is part of the Uncanny Case Files, monster romances written by a variety of authors pairing humans with all manner of creatures.
Feed by Aveda Vice
Do you need a queer romance between two monsters? Well, Feed is an office romance between a genderqueer death’s-head hawkmoth fairy and a succubus. Avirin, the succubus, uses an app to arrange her feedings. Imagine her surprise when her office nemesis Py, shows up, offering themselves up for her. This is a short read, but the list of kinky acts depicted within is quite long, if that’s your thing.
Exodus 20:3 by Freydís Moon
One of the internet’s persistent jokes that consistently gets me are the biblically accurate angel memes. This romance between a construction worker and the mysteriously handsome caretaker of an abandoned church ramps up when that caretaker’s human mirage fails and reveals his true nature as one of God’s first creations. With a transmasc lead, an angel with all manner of wings and eyes and limbs, and a thoughtful take on faith and identity, this novella is uniquely sexy.
Whispers in the Woods by K.C. Carmine
While queer monster romances tend to be shorter than novel length, they can do impressive amounts of worldbuilding. Whispers in the Woods is an example, set in an unnamed post-Soviet Eastern European country festering with prejudice for LGBTQIA+ folks. So the love between Tomek and his ent-like tree monster boyfriend is especially fraught. It’s a great pick if you want something poignant and tender.
Mirror Monster On My Wall 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, gets together with the strange creatures of her dreams. These monsters, a mix of female and nonbinary characters, help Alice escape the abusers in her waking life. This novelette draws a stark contrast between monstrous looking creatures and monstrously behaving humans.
In the Bedroom of Medusa by Magen Cubed
Evelyn agrees to be the companion to Lady Demetria Balaskas and live in her gilded castle. What’s the secret Lady Demetria is hiding? She’s a GORGON. Yes, she covers her face with a veil. The practicalities of dealing with a gorgon are cleverly tied into the sex in the book. Also, it connects to one of romance’s truest underlying themes: what it is to be truly seen. Like many of the books on this list, it deftly walks the line between sweet fairy tale and erotic encounter.
The Demon Next Door by Chace Verity
If you’re a single queer mom, and you could really use a hand dealing with the snow in the driveway, I hope you get as lucky as Mollie does. In her case, the demon next door uses his magic to clear the snow. Nuit gets it; he’s a single dad himself. When Mollie and Nuit’s kids become friends, Mollie and Nuit learn to rely on each other and gradually fall in love. It’s a sweet, low-angst found family monster romance.
The Bigfoot’s Mate by Delaney Rain
In real life, I would find an anthropologist falling for a research subject troubling. But an anthropologist falling for Bigfoot? Let’s go! Ramsey Kaye has spent his life trying to prove Bigfoot’s existence, so naturally he wrecks a plane and takes shelter in a cave where a Bigfoot lives. As the two fall in love, Ramsey questions whether he should stay or go. And if you’re into this, Delaney Rain has many more gay monster romances sure to delight.
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 the Mountain is one such story, and within it is the tale of a tiger who falls in love with a human scholar. Anyone who’s read Nghi Vo knows how entrancing her storytelling is. Although this book is within the Singing Hills Cycle, it does stand alone from The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
If you like thinking about monster romances more deeply, we’ve written here before about monster love and the history of monster romance. And if you need more queer romance with imaginative characters and settings, we’ve got queer fantasy and queer science fiction recommendations. There’s something so powerful about the queer imagination applied to romance! I hope you find books that resonate with you.