Superntural Love Interests

discussion

Hello and welcome! :) It’s time for another discussion here on Of Dragons and Hearts. I know you’ve missed my rambling posts (right?) and here I am again. As usual, I’m linking this up to the Discussion Challenge, where great posts are collected by two awesome ladies who are hosting it.

This time, we’re chatting about SUPERNATURAL LOVE INTERESTS. In paranormal romance or fantasy (am I missing any other genres?), the species of the protagonists is often something other than human. I won’t go into the deep symbolism of each of the creatures I’ve listed below, though that could be a fantastic post to write, as well. I won’t go delve into why male protagonists are more often inhuman while the woman (the heroine of the story) is often a “weak” human, though that does rub me the wrong way sometimes, too. (So many possible future discussions!)

Personally, I have to admit that I prefer that love interests are warm-blooded and human-looking at least part of the time. Not all creatures are created equal and though I’ve heard of things like tentacle erotica, they mostly just make me shudder in horror. What can I say, I’m a traditionalist. I like to imagine supernatural love interests as humans with some supernatural abilities – because I like humans a lot.

Now, why would anyone even want to read about a human falling in love with an inhuman? I think that in paranormal romance, it’s the thrill of, er, doing something (or someone) forbidden with a set of attributes (like extra great stamina or, um, extra great parts of the male anatomy) that human men lack – or so these romances would have you believe. *sigh* In fantasy, however, a partner of a different species can offer a chance to explore issues like gender and societal expectations. If you have any good examples of this, I’d love to hear about them!

srcek

This is a list of the supernatural love interests I could think of, along with some examples of novels where they appear (where I reviewed the book, the link goes to that review, otherwise you’ll be directed to Goodreads).

  • Vampires. Hello, obviously. This is probably the most common supernatural creature in paranormal romances I’ve read. I see why they are attractive to a lot of people but if I had to pick one species, vampires definitely wouldn’t be it. Something about them being dead just gives me the creeps (am I the weird one here?). Try: Twilight (haha), A Discovery of Witches, Dark Lover, The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires.
  • Werewolves. Again, obviously. These guys are probably the second most common ones? I like them better than vampires, especially in their modern reincarnations, where they shift form at will, not just at full moon, and they retain some humanity and reason even when they’re furry. Try: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (seriously, Molly Harper is the best), Shiver, Soulless.
  • Shifters. Every possible kind of werecreature. Werecats, werebadgers, werebears – I’ve seen them all. I can’t even remember where they popped up but there were even wererats. I think they weren’t meant to be seen as sexy but there you have it.
  • uprooted-naomi-novikWitches. These are probably the most humanoid. I mean, they are just humans with magical powers, no pointy ears or animal attributes or fangs or whatever. I like witches, they can be seriously badass. Try: A Discovery of Witches, Half Bad, Book of ShadowsWhite Cat, Uprooted, The Near Witch. So many good ones here!
  • Aliens. This one is probably the most disturbing to me. How cocky are we to assume that aliens would be humanoid and capable of having any sorts of relations with humans? *sigh* Try: Obsidian, Saga (okay so there aren’t any humans in this one so far but still).
  • Demons. Ooh, demons. Maybe my favourites? There are just so many types of them. And okay, I wouldn’t want to meet an actual demon, like the servant of Satan, but they can be pretty cool. Try: Dark Desires After Dusk.
  • angelfall-susan-eeAngels. Angels are interesting because in both series that I’ve read that feature them, there’s a big debate over whether they are all good or not (not) and whether being a gorgeous winged person means you have the right to rule over humans and other creatures (nope). Try: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Angelfall.
  • Fae. The Fae are just amazing. Along with demons, they are my favourite supernatural creatures. They are usually described as gorgeous and alluring but they are, in fact, not human at all and have little patience for mortals. *shudder* Greg discussed them recently if you want to take a peek. Try: Darkfever
  • Valkyries. I only read one series (Immortals After Dark) with valkyries, but they were significantly changed from the maidens who welcomed warriors to Valhalla in Norse mythology.
  • stardust-neil-gaimanStars. Okay, a star. Because I can only remember one, from Stardust.
  • Dragons. Okay, so these are kind of awesome. They have human forms, of course, but are capable of turning into full-fledged, winged, fire-breathing monsters. So COOL! Try: Nice Dragons Finish Last, Talon.
  • Demigods. Okay, so this one is more of a middle grade novel, not a romance, but there’s still some falling in love! :) Try: Percy Jackson.
  • Trolls. This is a really weird one I can’t get my head around. I only read one series with trolls and excuse me, but aren’t trolls grey and enormous and relatively unintelligent? Eh. Try: Stolen Songbird.

srcek

Have you read any of these? Do you have other (romance) recommendations for me?

Do you like reading about supernatural creatures or do you prefer your hero(ine)s to be human?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Follow me: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

  • Greg Hill

    I want PNR or fantasy where the dude is romancing some weird otherworld thing lol. Maybe a hot slyph or nymph or something. Okay I’ll stop. Seriously tho fun post. I’m not into vampires either because of the dead thing, but a female werewolf? Or a shifter or fae (I think my slyph falls in that category). And a valkyrie would be awesome (that Norse shield maiden thing). Thanks for the shout out BTW. :P

    I would add maybe a hot mermaid or sea chick of some kind. :)

    Tentacle erotica lol. You might want to check Voracious Readers Monster Porn posts- or maybe not. :)

    • I remember Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark has some nymphs (driads?) that are, um, very eager to entertain. But they are merely side characters, never main ones, which IS a pity. The valkyrie in this one are nothing like the shield maidens, really, they just share the name. Okay well, they are warriors but they’re mostly just sex bomb heroines. Cool but not really authentic. I’d love to read a romance/erotica more seriously Norse inspired, that would be awesome.

      Mermaids? Yeahhhh…. Aren’t they FISH from the waist down? :D I always have a problem with that – where do the vital parts go? Maybe a selkie, though, they are skin changers, so seal in the water, human on land.

      And yeah … do I need those images in my mind? I’ll see if my curiosity gets the best of me.

  • Very good point that it seems the guy is usually the supernatural being – what’s up with that?? The Kate Daniels series has some female shifters (Kate’s best friend is a were-hyena) and is also a good “shifter” book in general since the main love interest, Curren, is a were-lion. Also could you include Seraphina in the dragon category? She’s only half dragon but at least it’s something. Fun post!

    • I KNEW I read about weird shifters somewhere – Kate Daniels! :) Thanks for pointing that one out, I’d completely forgotten about it.
      Ooh, Saphira is a good choice, I loved how dragons were written in that book!

      And I think it’s the fact that paranormal romance is mostly read by women, so a human heroine is easier to identify with and then you can daydream about being carried off into the sunset (or, er, lair) by an ultra-strong supernatural man. *sigh*

  • The Kate Daniels series definitely comes to mind and, though it’s a little low on the romance to start, I think Anne Bishop’s “The Others” series would fit in well. Great post, Kaja! And yes, ample fodder for future discussions. :)

    • Thanks, Kel! :)

      Yeah, the Kate Daniels books feature lots of shifters, I forgot about that one. Ooh, and The Others series looks great, I’ve seen some good reviews but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Thanks for reminding me!

  • I’ve got to admit werewolves are a guilty pleasure of mine. Vampires I’m done with, but I love faeries, angels,demigods, and even dragons as protagonists too! I have a thing with demons similar than with vampires though, all their, ‘Ha ha, I’m so alluring and forbidden you just can’t resist me’ thing.

    • Yeah, demons are usually really cocky and arrogant. With werewolves, I sometimes find myself rolling my eyes with the whole alpha male thing, but they can be cool.
      I used to find vampires more alluring but then I thought about them some more and decided that NOPE, I’d never want to date one. :)

  • I’m fine with romances involving supernatural creatures. As usual, for me it’s not about who or what you’re romancing, it’s how its written. For example, romances with werewolves is a particularly thorny subject for me because so often authors take that “wild instinct” of wolves and especially the “dominant behavior” of a male wolf alpha and try to apply it to the relationship with the human partner and oh my god how I hate that. In cases like these, the guys are usually huge possessive and aggressive jerks but oh, it’s suddenly “okay” because “they’re werewolves”. Ugh.

    • Ahh yeah, the alpha males! Ha. I have read SO MANY bad romances about alpha males, be it of the furry kind or not. Ugh indeed. I really like Molly Harper’s books for that reason – one alpha gives up his position and the one who replaces him is a woman, so YAY for new gender roles in romance! :)

  • I agree with Greg: I want Fantasy/PNR or UF where the guy is normal and he falls for an all-powerful supernatural chick! I liked thinking about all the different beings you listed here :) Love reading about magical characters, much more than normal ones, which is why I never (or rarely) read contemporary romances. My favorites are witches, fae and dragons!!

    • Ha, yeah, I wish there were more of those, too. One of Molly Harper’s werewolf books features a female alpha who is pretty damn awesome, I love that series. But I wish for more variety in the genre! :)

      Yeah, witches, fae and dragons are great. Seriously, if an author can make me fall in love with a dragon character, then I’m like: “TAKE MY MONEY” because dragons are my favourite magical creatures (see my blog name for proof). :p And if you mash dragons with romance, that’s just pure genius. Have you read Rachel Aaron’s Heartstriker books? The third one is to be published later this year and I can’t wait!!

  • I cannot claim to be any kind of paranormal romance expert, but I know I enjoy reading these books. I don’t know why we find it so appealing reading these books with supernatural love interests in, but there is something about them, right? Maybe it’s that they are not just normal people but instead they are more and there’s a reason for their unnatural hotness factor. I don’t know. I agree that the heroines in these books need to stop being ordinary humans, why can’t they be the supernatural beings luring in some unsuspecting human to fall in love with them. Actually, why isn’t there a series where there are sirens or something who are meant to be luring human men to their death but one foolishly falls in love? Why can’t women be badass too?

    I wish I could offer some recommendations for you, but I haven’t read enough to offer any (not in paranormal romance, anyway). I will be looking into some of these books I’ve not read, though. I have a lot of book buying (or library borrowing) to do.

    • Oooh, “luring in some unsuspecting human”: we need more succubus books. I know Richelle Mead has something like that but I made a promise to myself I’ll never read another one of her books (ugh, just ugh).

      Sirens would make fantastic characters. Imagine a siren with moral issues, like she doesn’t want to lure any more men to their deaths and starts saving them instead and falls in love with a pretty sailor. *sigh* Make somebody write that for me! :D

      • I know I want a succubus book, I want a mermaid book. I want the world! Or, you know, a larger variety of books to feel my paranormal romance needs. And I have to say I’ve read no Richelle Mead so can’t judge but I do know she wrote Vampire Academy and those books sound terrible (but also like something I should read, but terrible, how do books sound bad but you still want to read them?).

        We need to hire an author to write that siren book for us because I want to read that. Why is there not a book about a siren going through a moral dilemma? There would be demand for that kind of book I’m telling you.

        • Ha, another commenter mentioned mermaids and I always have a problem with imagining those in ROMANCE novels because, well, aren’t they FISH from the waist down? :D All the vital parts are … missing?

          Oh DON’T, don’t even go there with Vampire Academy, it’s not worth it. Honestly, just… put your time and money to better use and just trust me. :D Or, you know, don’t and we can chat about how awful those books are? :) I translated about half of her other series set in the same world, it’s called Bloodlines and it’s a spinoff of VA, and it’s just as bad, I can tell you that. I have no idea what her adult books are like, those might be better?

          I know, a soft-hearted siren would be great. Let’s wait a couple of years and maybe I’ll write it. :D Or not.

          • Have you not seen The Little Mermaid? There are totally witchy mermaid folk who can give them magical legs. Or they can become people on every third moon or something equally farfetched. If someone can come up with a very good bookish mermaid lore I would read it.

            I know, I keep talking myself out of investigating the series. I know it would annoy me and not be worth it. It would be like regressing to my teenage years and I would probably enjoy it far more if I just re-read an actual book from my teenage days where I could roll my eyes and rejoice in the absurdity of the books I loved. It’s hard when the books crop up every so often on a blog and you begin to think, should I give them a try? And that must be a nightmare translating books you don’t actually enjoy reading. I feel like I need to read one of her books just so I can decide what I think. I’ve got far too many books to read to think about it now anyway.

            And do it. I will be your first reader and I will rave about how much I love it because I’ll have been waiting so long for the story.

          • Yeah, I’ve seen The Little Mermaid. I also read Andersen’s original, which is GRUESOME (like she has to cut off her legs at some point? Disney versions of fairy tales are so much cuter/PG). I guess I could do with a grown-up version ofThe Little Mermaid. :D

            And be warned, I might hold you to that. Like ten years from now, when we’re out of the blogging world and old and such, you’ll get an e-mail from me, reminding you of your promise to beta-read. ;)

          • Exactly, we all want a grown up version of The Little Mermaid which mixed in the gruesome elements of Andersen’s version without her feeling like knives were stabbing her legs as she walked.

            And you better. I will be able to offer excellent criticism of the story for you (or, far more likely, I will be too excited about the book and will say I liked everything about it even if I don’t because it’s the story that I was waiting for and it finally got written).

          • Aw, thank you. :) I hereby promise to give you the chance to beta-read my siren/mermaid novel if I ever get around to writing it, even if our blogs will long be history by then. ;)

  • Maraia

    Paranormal romance—one of my least favorite genres, haha. I’ve finally realized that it’s not the paranormal aspects that bother me but specifically ancient, immortal paranormal (male) beings somehow falling in love with young, weak, mortal girls. *rolls eyes*

    That being said, I love the DoSaB series (the relationship never felt imbalanced), as well as Angelfall and World After (I still haven’t convinced myself to read the last one). I even enjoyed the Unearthly series. Have you read that one?

    I love dragons! I can’t think of any human-dragon romances, though. I guess that’s even more reason to read Nice Dragons Finish Last. :D

    I’m currently reading and loving Red Glove. It didn’t even occur to me to think of them as witches, but I guess you’re right. I also want to read the Half Bad series, because I’ve heard good things.

    The Fae are probably my least favorite paranormal creatures, at least when it comes to the kind in ACOTAR or Throne of Glass.

    One thing missing from this list is elves! I love Tolkien’s elves, especially in The Silmarillion.

    I can’t think of any books to recommend, but I do have a movie: The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns. Have you heard of it? I watched it over and over growing up. :D

    • Ah, yes, the older man falling for a girl is always something I struggle with. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me with Uprooted? I don’t know, that book just seems like it was written for me. *happy sigh*

      Ha, go and finish with End of Days, I wonder what you’ll think! :) Huh, I haven’t even heard of Unearthly, that’s weird. I added it to my to-read shelf, I’ll pick it up when I’m craving something angsty. :)

      YES YES go read Nice Dragons! It isn’t even a romance, it’s just really good urban fantasy. Other commenters mentioned Seraphina for dragon characters, that’s a good one, and I read Talon by Julie Kagawa, that’s another angsty teenage series but I quite enjoyed the first part and recently bought the second when it was a Kindle deal.

      Yeah, I know Holly Black has “casters”, right? But they’re basically witches. So I’m counting them. I need to read more than just one book in a series, really, I’m horrible at this.

      And I think your problem might be with Sarah J Maas, not fae :D Fae are pretty cool, actually. Coldhearted bastards.

      ELVES! Of course! :) Do you know, I never managed to finish The Silmarillion. Maybe I should give it another go. I’ve also been craving a LOTR reread/rewatch, it’s been way too long + I kind of want the full review on my blog. We’ll see. Maybe as an audiobook?

      No, I haven’t heard of the leprechaun movie, I’ll check it out! :)

      • Maraia

        It didn’t bother me in Uprooted, either, but I think that’s because, like in DoSaB, the relationship never felt imbalanced. Or if anything, it was tilted in Agnieszka’s favor. :P

        Ooh, yes, do read on. I actually gave Red Glove 5 stars!

        Hahaha, yes, I think you’re right about SJM and fae. The cover for Darkfever doesn’t exactly make me want to read it, though. /o

        Haha, the other people I know who’ve read The Silmarillion took two tries to read it, so you should definitely try again. I was just thinking the other day how long it’s been since I watched the movies—and even longer since I’ve read the books. I believe there’s a full-cast BBC version that’s supposed to be excellent!

        • Ha, EXACTLY, I always felt Sarkan was kind of trying to follow Agnieszka but failing badly at it. :D His temper at the beginning was nothing but frustration because she REFUSED to learn anything and once she decided she wanted him, he didn’t really stand a chance.

          Oh, a 5 stars from you is rare, right?! I have to buy that soon.

          NO, don’t read Darkfever, I think you’d hate it with a passion. I’m not even sure I like it even though it’s absolutely addictive.

          Someday, I’ll have enough time to re-read all my favourites. *snort* But seriously, I should make LOTR my priority…

          • Maraia

            Exactly! It was great. :D

            Haha, well, the audiobook is narrated by Jesse Eisenberg, so that helps. :P (They’re not that rare, though. I think I’m quite liberal with my ratings. :D)

            Hahaha, thanks for the warning. XD

            Maybe when you’re retired? :P (Ooh, or you could have your boys learn to read by reading out loud to you from your favorite books. xD)

          • Yeah but if you give a book 5 stars I can be fairly certain it’s actually good, and that the rating isn’t the product of your crazy fangirling obsession with the author or whatever. We might not agree on all genres (like horror, ugh, or romance) but if it’s fantasy, I can be reasonably sure I’ll like it. :)

            I can’t wait for the kids to be old enough so we can skip past picture books and go on to novels like The Hobbit. I’ll tell you this: I’ll be a happy camper once I no longer have to re-read the same picture books to him every night because he’s obsessed with them. (Yeah, kids really get hung up on certain things.)

          • Maraia

            I hope so! :D

            Hahaha, I can’t blame you. They’ll probably watch the same kid movies a million times, too. Do you only read them children’s books in Slovenian?

          • We’re currently in a “Shaun the Sheep” phase. Those cartoons are FANTASTIC but after a while, I just want to murder the person who wrote that theme song. It just stays with you for days!

            And no, we also read books in English and I even have a couple in French (A. doesn’t speak French so those are my domain). It’s not a conscious effort to teach Kiddo another language but we figured it can’t hurt him to listen to the sound of it. But mostly we still read in Slovenian, yeah, it’s a great help with acquiring the vocabulary.

          • Maraia

            Hahaha, good luck with that. :D

            That’s great! I definitely think it helps on some level to be exposed to foreign languages.

  • Generally I sort of stick my nose up at PNR because it’s weird to me. But, I just started reading Soulless by Gail Carriger and I’m starting to understand it. Alexia and Lord Maccon, FTW!

    • Ha, Lord Maccon is enough to change anyone’s mind about paranormal romance! :D I can see why you wouldn’t enjoy paranormal romance, it’s a) an acquired taste and b) really weird if you think about it. Personally, I wouldn’t actually want to be with an immortal/inhuman man, I think it would freak me out. But then you never know, right? ;)

  • I’m a big fan of supernatural romance – yep, it seems weird when you think about it in REAL terms, but that’s what fantasy’s for, right? One other type of creature that you didn’t mention – Jennifer L. Armentrout has a gargoyle love interest in her Dark Elements series!

    • Yes, exactly, fantasy is for dreaming and imagining things that aren’t possible in real life. I love it. :D

      AH, how could I have forgotten JLA!? She also has Fae in her Torn book – I’ve been waiting for the sequel of that one. Dark Elements was my first contact with JLA and I loved the first book but the ending just sucked. Ugh. Still, her books are my crack. What can I do? *shrugs*

      • I haven’t read the final book yet – I’ve had it on my shelf for months!

        • Let me know if you read it – I’d love to hear what you think about it! :)

  • Carriger’s Soulless series is the bomb dot com, and I’m not even normally into paranormal romance as a genre. For an example of dragon romance, I’d include Seraphina by Rachel Hartman — it isn’t really about the romance strictly speaking, but it does have a lot to do with dragon-human relationships.

    • I’ve only read Soulless so far but I intend to continue with the series, I liked it A LOT! :) Carriger is so funny.

      Oh yes, you’re right, Seraphina is a great addition to the list! I was really impressed by how Hartman wrote the dragons, they are such a complex species.

  • I’ve noticed men are often the supernatural being, as well. I guess the exceptions in YA I can think of are Unearthly and Daughter of Smoke and Bone (though in the latter they’re both supernatural, so maybe that doesn’t count.) I do think there’s something going on with making the love interest “exotic” by making them supernatural. I do wish authors would explore more what it means to been an IMMORTAL (or really old) supernatural being dating a human. Why would an immortal date someone so immature in comparison?

    • Yeah, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a really good example, especially because you first think it’s your average paranormal romance and then it turns out to be SO MUCH MORE! :) I love that series.

      “Exotic” is a great word to describe this phenomenon. But yeah, I always wonder why a 400-year-old man who’s seen and tried everything would fall for a 17-y-o girl with little to no experience. And I’m not talking about sex, either, I mean, of course sex is (or can be) a big part of a relationship but it’s LIFE experience that’s more important, I think.

      Thanks for stopping by, Briana! :)