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7 Unlikely Sci-Fi and Fantasy Couples That Surprisingly Work

These stories offer unforeseen romances, forbidden love, and opposites attracting. 

This collage of SFFs with unlikely couples includes shadow and ice

Sci-fi and fantasy authors are known for crafting vast, intricate worlds for readers to explore, filled with aliens, androids, and magical creatures that exist within very unusual realities different from our own. Although the unfamiliar might assume that these elements make stories difficult to follow and characters’ conflicts unrelatable, this is far from the truth. Stories like these allow readers to engage in escapism while providing rich social commentary for audiences to dissect. 

Despite the unique specificities of these make-believe worlds and strange, often nonhuman characters, we can see our own reflections. Our struggles, our fears, and even our relationship dynamics can be discovered within their pages. Love is a universal theme that is explored in every genre, and sci-fi and fantasy are no different. At the end of the day, whether the characters are flesh and blood, alien or clone or immortal gods, they all desire connection and someone to share their existence with.

The particularly fun and clever aspect of this genre is that authors can take familiar romance tropes like opposites attract and enemies to lovers and intensify couples’ differences while making the consequences of their connection more severe. Whereas in our world, if people fall in love unexpectedly, it usually only affects the pair, or sometimes those closely associated with the new couple, in sci-fi and fantasy novels, forbidden romantic connections can start full-blown wars and have deathly consequences for the couple and their entire civilization. 

Even though these risky relationships can result in shocking travesties, when these improbable unions actually work despite society's lack of acceptance, these stories can end up exemplifying the most beautiful aspects of love. Here are seven unlikely sci-fi and fantasy couples that found romance amidst immense hardship and unimaginable odds.        

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout features a sword and an arrow

From Blood and Ash

By Jennifer L. Armentrout

In the first book in the Blood and Ash six-book series, author Jennifer L. Armentrout introduces readers to the rebellious, strong-willed protagonist, Poppy. Poppy has always dreamed of living a life of independence. She yearns to fill her days as she pleases and to love openly whomever she chooses, but this is far from her reality. From birth, she has been burdened with living a life as a Maiden, waiting for the day of her Ascension, when the gods will deem her worthy or unworthy. Worthiness is not easily granted but earned, and Poppy must follow a set of rules to achieve honor: She must never leave the castle, must speak only to a few, and must never be touched since she has a magical gift that others can abuse. 

However, this Maiden has a mind of her own and a heart that deeply desires intimacy. When a new guard is given the responsibility of watching over her and guaranteeing her Ascension, Poppy discovers that the handsome, stubborn protector, Hawke, infuriates her and inclines her to abandon her duty and hasten her fall from grace. Honor-bound to maintain Poppy’s innocence, Hawke is the last person who should be tempting the Maiden, but will the two be able to resist their attraction?          

Shadow and Ice

Shadow and Ice

By Gena Showalter

Knox of Iviland is a formidable warrior who has spent his life fighting others to the death for a king that has enslaved him. The king forces Knox to participate in a battle known as the “All War,” in which warriors from various realms fight to claim new territory. If Knox can win the battle for Earth, he will finally be free of his duty. There is nothing that can deter Knox from attaining freedom—that is, until he is encased in ice for centuries along with his other ancient adversaries.

Vale London is on vacation with her foster sister when she happens to come across an icy cave housing intimidating and very attractive men frozen in ice. Now unexpectedly drawn into their war, Vale finds herself forming an unexpected bond with her kidnapper. Meanwhile, Knox must admit that the icy walls surrounding his heart are in danger of melting away due to the fiery, uncontrollable desire growing between them. Consumed by this magnetic connection, Knox will have to decide if this love is worth the price of his undoing.

Blood Bound

Blood Bound

By Rachel Vincent

This captivating paranormal series introduces us to a world in which some people are born with special skills: some skills enable people to see into the future, to bind others to contracts, and to track down missing people. Liv Warren is a Tracker who can find anyone by using their blood—both a useful gift and a burdensome curse. After a childhood friend asks her to complete a dangerous mission, forcing her to do the unthinkable, she has no choice but to accept the task due to an oath that was made by a Binder when they were young and naïve. Liv must also keep the promise of finding the son of a domineering man, who is hoping that she will fail in her mission so he can force her to become his eternal slave. 

Desperate to fulfill these two agreements, which will have dire consequences if not accomplished, Liv accepts the help of her past love, Cam Caballero, whose heart she shattered years ago. Although Liv has every intention of keeping Cam at a safe distance, he is desperate to find out why he was unexpectedly abandoned by the woman he was once devoted to and who may still have a firm hold of his heart.    

Your One and Only

Your One and Only

By Adrianne Finlay

The human race has been extinct for hundreds of years, and in their place, clones have taken over. Curious about the humans that created them, the clones decide they will give life to a human boy and study him. This is Jack. Jack is unlike anyone else; he enjoys frivolous activities like reading and listening to music, and he looks unlike anyone else. Most of the clones view Jack as an inconvenience and someone who tarnishes the perfection of their society. But Althea-310 is different from the others. 

Where her sisters view Jack as a threat, Althea-310 finds Jack as intriguing and someone worth learning from. The more time they spend together the more they realize that despite their differences, a deep connection is forming. Their romantic bond is something neither could have ever anticipated and is bound to impact not only their lives but their entire society.  

The Host: A Novel

The Host: A Novel

By Stephenie Meyer

Earth has been taken over by parasitic aliens who implant themselves in their chosen humans. Once they have been implanted, they have control of their host’s consciousness and can explore their memories and knowledge. However, the Wanderer,  a “soul” who invades Melanie Stryder’s body, finds her host unwilling to give over complete control of her mind. Therefore, Melanie and the Wanderer find themselves sharing one body with two conscious souls. 

As the Wanderer learns about Melanie’s prior life, she becomes eager to help Melanie reunite with her loved ones, including her boyfriend, whom the Wanderer gains a fondness for. This is a story that asks readers to think about the concept of relationships and what makes us who we are while giving readers one of the most astonishing and perplexing love triangles in sci-fi literature.   

time travel books

This Is How You Lose the Time War

By Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

Don’t let the short page-count of this novella fool you; authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone have woven an intricate sci-fi, epistolary romance that will require a re-read to unravel the complex layers of meaning throughout this exquisite love story through time and space. 

Two warring agents from rival time-traveling factions whose different goals for the multiverse make them adversaries begin mocking one another through letters and boasting about their accomplishments. Both agents, Red and Blue, are complete opposites, but they find their immortal existence, constantly jumping through a never-ending strand of timelines, to be tiresome and lonely. They find that the only things they can depend on are their rivalry, their letters, and their love.   

Evolved shows a man with a deeply blue eye


By N.R. Walker

It’s 2068, and androids have become common additions to households. Lloyd Salter, a professor who suffers from OCD, finds certain things to be insufferable: loud noises, big messes and superficial people unable to have intellectually stimulating conversations. When his ex suggests that an android would be the only life partner that could satisfy Lloyd’s high standards, Lloyd simply ignores the harsh remark. It’s not until two years later that Lloyd, who is still extremely lonely, admits that his ex might have been onto something. 

So he purchases a Synthetic Human Android UNit, which he calls Shaun, who quickly becomes Lloyd’s closest companion. Their conversations are thought-provoking, and their physical chemistry is intense. When Lloyd realizes that Shaun is becoming capable of adapting and desiring wants of his own, he must protect his partner from those who fear androids' ability to evolve and who want to prevent androids from discovering their humanity.