12 Tropes of 2020 – The Only Option by Megan Derr

Marriage of Convenience from
12 Tropes of 2020

A marriage of convenience is a mutually beneficial agreement, with both parties profiting from the binding – it may even involve a contract – but not always. Sometimes, only one of the partners may be in it for something other than love.

Taken from TV Tropes.

The Only Option by Megan Derr

A desperate dragon. A lonely necromancer. A marriage neither wants.

When he is summoned to the royal castle, Rochus anticipates nothing more than a particularly difficult assignment. The bothersome journey is almost made worthwhile when he is propositioned by a young, beautiful dragon, Tilo, who seems untroubled by the fact that Rochus is a necromancer.

When Rochus arrives at the castle he is ordered to marry the very same dragon he spent the night with. Though Rochus would rather sign papers and return home, he is helpless against Tilo’s pleas for help, even if it means spending more time around a man he is desperately drawn to but who doesn’t seem to want him.

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

Megan Derr is a master at crafting in-depth fantastical locations and lore – in The Only Option were are introduced to a necromancer who is quite different from other magical users. Rochus, said grumpy necromancer, has pearly white skin, so black its blue hair, black teeth, and an appetite for blood. Due to his different and off-putting appearance and diet, Rochus is ostracised and feared by people.

Enter Tilo, a young dragon shifter who would do anything for his hoard – his people. When all of his correspondence for help do not make it to the Queen, Tilo requests a marriage between himself and a necromancer. An emotional misunderstanding colours the wedding of the pair as they set off to save Tilo’s town.

I really enjoyed the romantic pair of the story, the initial resistance because of the misunderstanding as well as the age gap between the two were engaging conflicts that had me reading this gem in one sitting.

As I’ve said before, I am a big fan of Megan Derr’s work as she effortlessly feeds us information about the new fantasy worlds the story inhabits in an unobtrusive manner. Also the queer romances are treated as normal within the worlds she creates, so that you can enjoy the story without being bogged down in traditional homophobic world views. Which is quite nice.

The Trope

I’m not the biggest fan of the Marriage of Convenience trope – often one side of the romantic pair is seen as a commodity or is being used for themselves – which isn’t the best y’all. However I do enjoy them in a time and place and that is in historical romances and fantasy romances.

Within historical romances, the historical context does allow for these romances to take place. I am quite fond of marriages of convenience where it is the woman who pushes for or introduces the idea. Not so much the ones where the women are essentially sold by their fathers into arranged marriages. However despite my enjoyment, when we take a step back they are still quite icky because of this historical context.

So it is in the fantasy romance genre that they are given their freedom to shine as the historical or societal contexts are all at the discretion of the author. So there are a range of different stories that can be told using the trope that aren’t as commodifying as contemporary or historical romances.

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