Note: This post first appeared in the Roswell Daily Record.
An interesting trend in scifi romance is the rise of the Naga. I’d never heard of this concept before I began seeing them appear on SFR covers and in the plots. Doing my research (which is thing authors love to do and which can distract us for hours at a time if we’re not careful) the word ‘naga’ is Sanskrit for serpent. The basic concept is found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and views nagas as half human, half cobra, strong and handsome. They can be benevolent or harmful spirits and may appear in the half human form, as fully human or as completely serpentine.
I can see how authors would find characters with these attributes perfect for romance novels, which already employ a variety of beings in all kinds of forms from human to not. As always, a reader should check the trigger warnings for each book prior to reading.
Naomi Lucas has a series entitled Naga Brides, which currently stands at three books (the fourth entry will be released in six weeks or so) and her nagas are definitely aliens. As she says in the blurb for the first book Viper: “With the charm of a snake, and the wiles of a devil, these males will do anything, and I mean anything, for their females.” Set on a dystopian Earth of the far future, the series features strong human heroines, which is always a plus for me. Readers are generally quite positive in their feelings toward the series and even snake-phobic reviewers for the most part find the world building and the stories offset their aversion to snakes. It should be noted the hero is all snake from the waist down and does not shift into a more human form even in the most intimate moments. This is true for all the books I’m mentioning today.
When I think of nagas, I tend to think first of Regine Abel, a USA Today Best Selling Author whose I Married a Naga (Prime Mating Agency) was a big hit in the SFR genre. The world building is again quite detailed and the hero is an alien on the planet Trangor. The human heroine comes to the planet to participate in a special hunt, which is aimed at controlling the population of a predator, so that aspect of the plot isn’t too offputting. She breaks the rules of the event for a very good reason and must marry the hero or face execution. The forced proximity of the relationship works out well and the efforts of the couple to adapt and understand each other’s viewpoints are well done. Again, the hero remains half snake throughout the entire book but most readers appear to deem the intimate scenes as being spicy and well done.
Celeste King has a naga series with book one The Naga’s Mate (Nagas of Protheka) set on another alien planet. So far she’s written four books in the series. Apparently the planet Protheka has a plethora of ‘monsters’ to love as she also has minotaurs, demons, orcs and dark elves in other series taking place on the same world. Something for every taste! Getting back to her nagas, who are sexy half-snakes, in this world the humans are the lowest on the list of beings and while a naga might rescue a human, and even fall in love with one, as the hero does here, it’s a long way to gaining recognition of her as a mate and an equal. Again, strong heroines and a lot of steamy “slithery’ sex along the way to the Happy Ever After endings.
Honey Phillips’s entry into the world of the naga romance is Nancy and the Naga (Alien Abduction Book 14). The heroine escapes after a year of hard labor in an alien mine and is rescued by a former naga prince, who finds her strangely attractive and will do anything to protect her. Their growing relationship fuels the story and carries them through all kinds of plot developments which test their bond to each other. The hero is fully snake from the waist down and has some unusual endowments to wield in the spicy intimate scenes. A very popular book with SFR readers, the author manages to win over most of the “snake phobic” audience with her story telling abilities.
Heart of a Naga (Monster Hearts) by Cara Wylde starts with an alien being kept as a prisoner and studied in a lab. He’s sixteen feet long, highly venomous and to say he’s unhappy about the way he’s been treated by the humans would be to vastly understate the situation. The heroine is a herpetologist brought in to do advanced studies on the alien but of course romance soon blooms. She can’t stand the way he’s being treated and he finds her irresistible. There are quite a few twists and turns along the way to the HEA ending. The “alien prisoner in the lab” is one of my own favorite tropes and the fact the hero in question is a snake (a very large snake) wasn’t a barrier to my enjoyment of the story.
The Serpent’s Mate (Iriduan Test Subjects Book 3) by Susan Trombley is a bit different in that the alien hero has been genetically engineered to acquire the reptilian characteristics. He finds his true mate in a human woman he rescues and there are many complications to the relationship besides his form and attributes but true love finds a way and the HEA is fulfilling. The author has major world building going on in this series, which adds depth to the story.
Heart Beat: Dimension Jumpers Book 3 by Melissa Blincoe, Millie Lowell’s Operation Colonise series, His Forbidden Mate (Loch Ness is involved) by Julie L. Vance and Serpents of the Abyss: The Darvel Exploratory Systems Book 2 by S. J. Sanders are other naga or naga-like scifi romances to check out if your find this trope intriguing!
Wishing you many hours of happy reading!