5 Favorite Paranormal Romance Tropes


Firelight by Kristen Callihan // VBCWe couldn’t let Valentine’s Day go by without talking about romance. For me, romance is comfort food all year long. You know it’s going to have a happy ending, even if it rips your heart out on the way there. Readers can also find comfort in the fact that most romances have at least one recognizable trope that lets you say, “Oh, it’s this kind of story.” Here are some of my faves:

Friends to Lovers

These characters have shared history, and sometimes tragedy, that brings them together. And that lightbulb moment when they finally realize how they really feel is always so much fun, even if we want to strangle them for taking so long to get there.

Where to Start: The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre or Grave Phantoms by Jenn Bennett

Mistaken Identity

This trope could include a prince in disguise or an undercover cop. In paranormal it’s often one character hiding the fact that they’re a supernatural until after they consummate the relationship. When the romance begins with a lie, you already know the obstacle the characters will have to overcome to get to their happily ever after. Fairytales and their retellings are also full of characters who are not what they seem.

Where to Start: Firelight by Kristen Callihan (VBC review) or The Emerald Lily by Juliette Cross (VBC review)

Road Trip

I love road trip stories! (In fantasy, we usually call it a quest.) This one can be a lot like the forced cohabitation trope since two people spend a lot of time alone, often in an enclosed space until the sparks between them eventually ignite. A road trip has the added benefit of letting the reader explore the world along with the characters.

Where to Start: Wicked As She Wants by Delilah S. Dawson or Heart of Steel by Meljean Brook (VBC review)

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh // VBCForbidden Romance

Romeo and Juliet is the classic example, but in paranormal the opposite sides of the tracks relationship usually happens between members of different species – a vampire and a werewolf, for example—that traditionally don’t get along. Overcoming their own prejudices and those of their friends and family help bring the couple closer together.

Where to Start: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh (VBC review) or …several books in the Psy-Changeling series would work for this one actually.

Enemies to Lovers

These are my favorite because they have the best banter and the most sexual tension. Their relationship might also be a forbidden one, like cop and criminal or vampire and slayer, which adds to the conflict between them. Just like in a Friends to Lovers story, there’s a really satisfying moment where the characters realize their true feelings, though these characters may not be as happy about it.

Where to Start: Halfway to the Grave by Jeanniene Frost (VBC review) or A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (VBC review)

You might have noticed a major paranormal trope missing from the list. I’m generally not a fan of Fated Mates. I just think it’s boring. Too often it’s also an excuse for a lack of plot development, and even for questionable consent. But once in a while someone switches up Fated Mates in an interesting way, like Kate Baxter did in The Last True Vampire series, in which case I’m all for it.

3 Responses to “5 Favorite Paranormal Romance Tropes”

  1. Enemies to lovers is 100% my trope catnip. I’d say Kresley Cole does this immensely well within the Immortals After Dark series.

    Also, since I like Fated Mates 😀 anyone looking for recs should definitely read Kate Baxter and J.R. Ward.

    • Margaret says:

      Since you mentioned Ward I realized that I haven’t always disliked Fated Mates. It might be more accurate to say I got tired of it. When you read a trope too much, it can start to feel predictable. That’s why I find PNR series harder to binge than UF.

  2. I guess I never thought of Cat and Bones as enemies to lover, but you’re right that they are. Fun post. 😀

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