You’ve heard of enemies to lovers, and while that is a delightful trope that I literally will never get sick of, have you considered strangers to hasty political arranged marriage in space? If so, check out Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell!
This wintery, atmospheric, very queer space opera is…a lot! It’s both funny and deeply serious, and equally plot and character-driven as it is concerned with galactic political intrigue and corruption. This debut novel really has it all: comedy, romance, murder allegations, political corruption, and getting trapped on a snowy mountain and needing to cuddle to stay alive! All important components of a good sci-fi novel in my books, anyways.
Notorious playboy and royal, Prince Kiem of the Iskat Empire, who is often known for bringing shame to the royal family for his hedonistic habits, is informed by the Queen that he is set to be married to Jainan, a recently widowed diplomat from another planet. Jainan was married to Prince Kiem’s cousin, Prince Taam, who died under mysterious circumstances, and Prince Kiem is subbed in as a replacement to ensure good diplomatic relations with Jainan’s planet, Thea.
While this arranged marriage may seem cold, there is a really sweet and complex slow burn romance between Kiem and Jainan that works really well. I loved the political intrigue, much like I loved the court politics of The Bone Shard Daughter and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogy, two substantial fantasy series that are also delightful to get lost in on a cold winter’s night.