Slow Burn Is The Superior Trope (Including Recs!)

In my humble opinion, nothing can beat a good slow burn. It can be executed well in book form, on screen, in art form if it’s in manga/webtoon form. Basically, slow burns are top tier and it’s more than just the pining between the characters. Slow burns are great for giving us all the feels but I think they give us much more than the feels. They allow the writers the space to develop the individual characters, giving us more chances to connect to the characters.

Character Development

When I think of all the various tropes we have floating about the world – very few come to mind when thinking of ones that allow the characters room to shine individually and together. By this I mean, take a look at the ‘love triangle’ trope that became very popular in the late 2000’s and 2010’s. Typically this trope is plopped into works, to try and get you to fall for one of the male interests.

Since it was usually used with 2 male love interests and 1 female main character having to pick between them. This trope can of course be executed really well, however it often falls short leaving the reader wondering why the girl is picking between a dark haired broody bad boy and a blond good/straight A’s boy. The trope has since evolved and I’m sure it offers more depth and character insight than it’s original form.

That being said in it’s original form you were basically picking sides for who you wanted the main character to be with. Stereotypes littered the pages and we never really got to see who the characters were beyond, they were hopelessly in love with this apparently flawless girl who could do no wrong.

Slow burns have always made space for a characters flaws to shine through. They may not be perfect, the two characters who are slowly falling each other may not totally see eye to eye but communication is key. We get to see how these individual characters handle conflict, face challenges both regarding the person they’re pining for and in general.

Nothing is more satisfying than watching characters grow and evolve throughout a book, show, series etc. Particularly when it is done well, watching them grow into themselves face whatever demons they have and then see them get slices of happiness. So fulfilling.

Mutual Pining

I really enjoy putting myself through the pining stage, arguably I think this may be my favourite stage in a slow burn. We as a reader/watcher know they have feelings for each other and so we get the full experience of seeing them pine, yearn and fumble through choices unsure of what they’re doing but they’re doing their best with the cards they’ve been dealt.

That being said just because I like mutual pining, does not mean I enjoy it being dragged out without reason. Yes I am staring at a lot of Chinese Dramas because they have many episodes and many enjoy prolonging the miscommunication and pining stage. It’s only enjoyable if done right and not prolonged ok. Stop putting us and the poor characters through that much miscommunication.

I Find It More Realistic

This is a personal and subjective reason but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised slow burns seem on the more realistic side of love to me. Whilst I don’t doubt you can instantly fall for someone and be in love. I do think there’s something quite beautiful about slowly falling for someone. Be it the way they smile, their laugh. How they take their coffee. Perhaps it sneaks up on you unsuspecting like it does the characters. To me slow burns are more realistic in their depiction of love.

It’s kind of beautiful watching characters, whether they’re from a show or our favourite book series, slowly fall for one another. Seeing them realise at some point, that they really have fallen for whoever it is. Love doesn’t always have to be big, grand and full of romantic gestures. Sometimes it’s in the small things, the mundane moments of someone knowing your drink order off by heart. Or already knowing how you’ll react to a situation. Love is being known.


Fairy Tail

I have not read the Manga. One day I fully plan to start reading the manga and collect it because the characters have a special place in my heart. The anime was the first anime I watched and did I fall hard. It accompanied me throughout my teen years. This anime is very popular and hyped up, personally I think there’s good reason for it to be as hyped. The friendships, character development and plotlines are so well done.

As for why it’s here…there are several slow burns that occur in this show. They don’t begin to start blooming until a lot later which is both lovely and agonising. The main two characters that everyone ships are confirmed canon by the creator himself.

Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill

An adult urban fantasy series which has a huge chunk of my heart. Our main characters Merit and Ethan go through so much growth throughout the series and the slow burn is immaculate. This is one of my favourite series of all time too, the books explore friendships, romance as well as politics between the supernaturals (vampires, shifters, witches etc). Truly if you’re a fan of paranormal romance/urban fantasy, give this series a chance.

Falling Into Your Smile

This remains my top favourite drama to date out of all of the ones I have seen currently. The slow burn is paired with a grumpy x sunshine trope. (he becomes a soft marshmallow though and it is the cutest!)

Whilst the slow burn is obviously why it’s here, this drama also explores fandoms and how toxic they can be. The premise being we’re following a group of professional video gamers, who play this video game and the first female is joining their team. Cue the dramas exploration of fandoms, toxicity and just so much more. Truly, if you take anything away from this post go watch this drama.

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Enemies to lovers + grumpy x sunshine + a slow burn all rolled into one? This trilogy broke me. I am still recovering but the world building is stunning. I am definitely never going to the thousand eyes forest described in the book, it sounds scary as hell.

I fell for these characters, for their friendships and the love that slowly unfolded in the pages. If you’d like to get your heart hurt then highly recommend these books.

What’s your take on the slow burn trope? Do you have any recs for me with slow burns in them? What’s your favourite trope, that will make you interested in something immediately? Thank you so much for reading, slow burns are one of my all time favourite tropes in case you couldn’t tell haha.

25 thoughts on “Slow Burn Is The Superior Trope (Including Recs!)

  1. Oh, I love a good slowburn! They are my favourite. I think one of the reasons why I love it so much – beside the delicious pining and the shippiness of it all – is probably because it not only feels more organic, it also often comes with my favourite trope friends-to-lovers. Maybe also because in the end it feels very rewarding when they DO get together?
    I love that you put Fairy Tail as an example. It is a great manga. I also had to laugh a bit because, technically they never really ended up together in the manga? At least we never saw it and we were left without the closure? At least that’s how I remember it. Maybe I have to read it again. πŸ˜€ Or maybe Rave. I loved that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I love when it’s paired with friends-to-lovers as well. It’s satisfying watching the pair finally get together too hehe.

      OMG yes, technically they don’t get together in the manga (although they may have done I’ve not read it but I think I saw something somewhere about them being together in the manga at one point πŸ€”). They also don’t end up together in the anime but the creator himself has mentioned that they are canon so we just get to pine over the moments and scraps we get given. Definitely nothing can hurt me when you’ve watched 300+ eps and they’ve still not even shared a romantic moment yet, it’s all just at the edge of the romance but I do love them. Is Rave a manga?


  2. I looove slow burns, there’s nothing as satisfying as the moment two characters FINALLY end up together after all that pining. But I’m also really impatient, so I don’t tend to read/watch that many πŸ˜… I am watching Sasaki and Miyano at the minute though, which is a super cute slow burn anime.

    I’m a total sucker for urban fantasy so I immediately went to check out the Chicagoland Vampires and it sounds so good! Went straight on my TBR πŸ˜„ I’m trying so hard to think of slow burn recommendations in return but the only thing coming to mind is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, lol. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, totally agree it’s satisfying when they finally get together. Hahahaha I relate to being impatient, there’s definitely moments where I’m questioning whether putting myself through this pining is worth the torture. However I adore the trope too much to not fall for anything with a good slow burn. Ooooo I’ll have to check that out!

      Aaah yes urban fantasy is my favourite genre and I could happily devour books for the rest of my life in that genre. Eeep I hope you enjoy it when you read them! Feel free to DM me if you need to screech about them with someone 😊 Ooooo I’ll check them out! Thank you for reading πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yessss I also love a good slow burn which happens to be in a faster paced book, the contrast doesn’t always work but when written well. It’s just *chefs kiss* since I prefer quicker paced books, the slow burn is a nice contrast to be honest


  3. Yes to all of this!! Though i love the slow burn, the 3rd act breakup absolutely makes me wanna throw the book at the wall 😑 NO! I need a happily ever after, always. And especially after working so long for it ..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. firstly, can i say how much i love this post structure? its something different than regular recommendation posts. i love how you went into what makes slow burn good. and i totally agree about the growth aspect. you’ve been recommending falling into your smile for so long, i think it’s finally time for me to pick it up haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you so much, I was seriously doubting myself with the posts stricture for a while. Mostly I wasn’t sure how I wanted to lay it out but I think this structure actually works really nicely for me 😊 The growth aspect is one of my favs for slow burns. (hehe I know you’ve watched the drama now but I am so glad you enjoyed it, makes my heart happy that you loved it πŸ’œ)


  5. Omg Clo, I love this post so much! You’re so right and the best part is I didn’t know I felt this exact way until you put it down.
    “Slow burns have always made space for a characters flaws to shine through” SO TRUEEE. I love slow burns for this very reason and the fact that it just makes everything much more realistic πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eeep thank you so much Charvi, glad you enjoyed it so much! πŸ’œ Hahaha yep, I’ve always felt slow burns give the characters so much space to be messy and flawed in a way that is very similar to reality. It really adds to the realistic feeling and I treasure slow burns for giving us flawed relationships and showing us that it’s ok.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am WEAK for slow-burn!! I definitely agree with you that it feels more realistic to me, but also just… the yearning! When I get really invested in a couple and they’re slow-burn, I will cry when they touch hands, I swear!! Lovely post, and I will have to check out those recs!!


  7. I never really considered myself to be a fan of slow burn, but I think I prefer it since I got sick of seeing so many instalove/instalust romances in the past and wanted something more realistic. However, I am a little impatient so there are times where I find myself wanting to smoosh the characters’ heads together πŸ˜…


    • Yep, there was a time I didn’t mind instalove/instalust but now I really can’t take it. I much prefer a good slow burn although I sometimes get the urge of wanting to smoosh the characters together too πŸ˜‚


  8. I wish I could send your post to every single person who doesn’t like slow burn, you worded it perfectly!! Especially the slowly falling in love part! Thank you so much for these recommendation; amazing post! πŸ’•


  9. I love slowburn romance! I always wanted to know how an author wrote their book where they used slowburn romance for its characters. Slowburn is not something I read a lot but I think most of noncanon ships on tv shows and films came about because fans somehow has a slight tendency for slowburn mindset. Slowburn romance is a rarity for the books I read (I haven’t read a fiction book for years now). I aim to read this year and hopefully I will read this trope in the books I will be reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re totally right, a lot of noncanon ships on shows and in books are slow burn. Often like you said because fans like the chemistry of the two characters and somehow get caught up in the slow burn mindset haha.

      Ah well I hope you find some awesome books to read soon! Thank you so much for reading πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

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