top 20 romantic fantasy book tropes cheatsheet

The 20 Most Popular Fantasy Romance Tropes Cheatsheet

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What Is A Book Trope?

A book trope is a commonly used theme or plot device in literature. These popular fantasy romance tropes often form the backbone of a story, and readers may recognize them as they unfold. Although some may criticize tropes as clichΓ©, they can also provide a sense of familiarity and comfort when used effectively.

One example of a book trope is the “hero’s journey.” This narrative structure involves a protagonist being called to adventure, facing a series of trials, and ultimately returning home transformed. Another popular trope is “enemies to lovers,” in which two characters initially at odds with one another gradually develop romantic feelings.

Exploring book tropes can help readers identify patterns and explore different ways authors approach storytelling. By understanding tropes, readers may also more easily connect with characters and situations in the story. Whether a reader loves or despises specific tropes, recognizing these patterns leaves room for intriguing discussions and debates.

What Is The Most Popular Book Trope?

Love Triangle Is The Most Popular

The love triangle is arguably the most popular book trope out there. This plot device involves three characters who are all romantically linked to one another, creating a web of emotional entanglement and tension. This dynamic can inject excitement and interest into any story, as readers are eager to see which side of the triangle will ultimately prevail.

Top 4 “Love Triangle” Books to Read

heir of fire small
queen of shadows book maas

Top 4 is based on best sellers with top ratings. The above links are affiliate links. I may receive a small bit of compensation if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you.

Enemies To Lovers Is the Second Most Popular Trope

Another widely adored book trope is the ‘enemies to lovers’ storyline. This narrative follows two characters who initially dislike each other, or outright despise one another, only to eventually find love in each other’s arms. This trope takes readers on an emotional journey, as the characters seek to overcome their preconceived notions and the barriers that stand in their way. The eventual payoff when these once-antagonistic lovers finally unite is truly powerful.

Top 4 “Enemies to Lovers” Books to Read

nectar of the wicked book cover
the secrets in shadow and blood book
the savage and the swan
the scarlet princess lochlann feuds book

Top 4 is based on best sellers with top ratings. The above links are affiliate links. I may receive a small bit of compensation if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you.

Slow Burn Trope Coming In Third

Finally, the ‘slow burn’ makes its way to the list of top book tropes. This budding romance is characterized by the gradual development of a romantic relationship between characters. The slow burn typically involves increased emotional intimacy and trust, with less emphasis on physical attraction. This trope is popular because it allows readers to savor the build-up of emotional tension as the characters eventually fall deeper in love.

Top 4 “Enemies to Lovers” Books to Read

six scorched roses book cover

Top 4 is based on best sellers with top ratings. The above links are affiliate links. I may receive a small bit of compensation if you purchase through my links, at no additional cost to you.

A List of 20 Book Tropes And What They Mean

Love Triangle

A love triangle trope involves a romantic relationship between three characters. Usually, two characters compete for the love and attention of a third character, leading to tension and indecision.

Enemies to Lovers

Enemies to Lovers trope is a romantic theme involving two characters who initially despise each other but gradually develop romantic feelings as they spend time together and overcome their differences.

Friends to Lovers

In the Friends to Lovers trope, two characters begin as friends with no romantic attraction but eventually fall in love as they grow closer emotionally.

Slow Burn

Slow Burn romance trope features a gradual build-up of romantic tension and emotional connection between characters. The relationship develops slowly over time, creating anticipation for the eventual romance.

Forbidden Love

Forbidden Love trope occurs when two characters are involved in an illicit or forbidden romance, often due to societal norms, family expectations, or other outside forces.

Soul Mates

The Soul Mates trope features the concept of destined love, where two characters are meant to be together eternally due to a cosmic connection or supernatural explanation.


Banter trope showcases witty and playful verbal exchanges between characters, often demonstrating chemistry and compatibility through humorous conversations.

Bad Boy/Good Girl

The Bad Boy/Good Girl trope involves a rebellious or troubled male character paired with a sweet, usually innocent, female character who often helps him find redemption.

Human & Vampire

The Human & Vampire trope features a romance between a human character and a vampire character, often dealing with the challenges and obstacles of their different natures.


In the Protector/Savior trope, one character serves as the guardian, protector, or savior of another character, often leading to a romantic relationship as they bond through their shared experiences.

Strong Heroine

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Trope Bookmarks

The Strong Heroine trope features a powerful, independent, and capable female protagonist, often subverting gender stereotypes and challenging traditional norms.

Forced Marriage

Forced Marriage trope centers around romance that blooms between characters who are forced to marry each other due to societal and cultural pressures.

Beauty and the Beast

The Beauty and the Beast trope involves a love story between a beautiful, intelligent, and good-hearted character and another character who is physically unattractive or monstrous but has redeemable qualities.


The Revenge trope features a character driven by vengeance, seeking to right a wrong or settle a score by exacting punishment on those who have wronged them.

Second Chance

In the Second Chance trope, characters are given an opportunity to revisit past mistakes, repair relationships, or find happiness through new circumstances.

Abduction to Love

The Abduction to Love trope involves a character being kidnapped and subsequently falling in love with their captor or vice versa.

Unrequited Love

Unrequited Love trope deals with one-sided romantic feelings that are not reciprocated, often causing emotional turmoil for the characters involved.

Different Worlds

Different Worlds trope highlights the romance or friendship between characters belonging to vastly different backgrounds or societies, facing challenges arising from their contrasting lifestyles.

Elemental Magic

The Elemental Magic trope revolves around characters with the ability to control or manipulate natural elements (fire, water, air, earth), often as a central plot point or story conflict.

Fairytale Retellings

Fairytale Retellings are stories that reimagine classic fairytales, often presenting them with modern twists, alternate endings, or new perspectives that challenge the traditional narrative.

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