February 14: All About Romance Tropes/Types — top ten favorite hate-to-love romances (from books or movies or tv), top ten favorite (or least favorite) instalove romances, favorite slow-burn romances, favorite starcrossed lovers, etc. etc. Can go so many ways with this one).
I am not a fan of romance. A book might be completely amazing, but the romance could easily ruin it for me. I’m not talking about romance featuring LGBTQ characters here. There are only so many books out there with queer characters, I won’t dismiss them just because it’s a romance. Actually, I love reading those kind of stories, because they make me happy. I’m not only talking about M/M ships here! If you only support gay male characters but no F/F relationships, you need to rethink what you are doing.
Anyway, so for today’s topic, I decided to talk about some M/F relationships I did enjoy! And I couldn’t find that many 😮 None of the relationships I am going to mention are my OTPs (except for the first one). It merely means that for once, I wasn’t actually bothered by the romance while reading these books. As usual, these are in no particular order.
Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar (Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo)
I’m a sucker for forbidden romance. Nina is a Grisha, Matthias is a Drüskelle. I loved that they already had a sort of established relationship before the book had even begun. A lot of the relationships we read about in books, are about two characters who only just met. I don’t think that’s necessary.
Anyway, I do realise these forbidden romances can become problematic real fast. If you think about it, you can compare Nina and Matthias to a World War II story: she represents a Jewish person, he a German soldier. And that would be absolutely disgusting. I know there are books out there that romanticise these kinds of relationships and we really shouldn’t promote that. As for Matthias, however, he does redeem himself as soon as he learns to form his own opinion, instead of reciting what the Drüskelle have taught him.
In the second book, we find out that Nina is bisexual and Leigh Bardugo has hinted that she will write a book about Nina in which she is going to explore her sexual orientation further (source)! Obviously, I’m already looking forward to that!
Kestrel and Arin (The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski)
I did not think I was going to enjoy The Winner’s Curse. The romance is very important to the story, but I completely binge-read this book back in April! In the meantime though, I still haven’t read the other two books in this trilogy. The Winner’s Curse definitely needs to be re-read before I pick up the rest of the series.
Lately, however, it has been brought to my attention that this relationship is problematic. The Bookavid wrote a great review and I really suggest you read it! Since I already own the other two books in this series, I think I am going to continue it, but I will point out the problematic aspects as well (by boosting others who have discussed it).
Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
If you haven’t noticed yet, I am very protective of Ron Weasley. Well, I’m protective of nearly all the characters in the Harry Potter series – I age ten years whenever people call Harry ‘whiny’ and ‘rude’ in Order of the Phoenix – but I especially have a soft spot for Ron in particular. Hermione is shipped with many different characters, such as Harry and Draco, and a lot of readers feel the need to discredit Ron while expressing their love for their pairing. Newsflash: you can say you like a character without talking shit about another.
Anyway, even though I am very critical of J.K. Rowling, one of the reasons being the lack of LGBTQ representation, I really like Romione. Hinny, however, not that much. There is quite a lot of sexism in this series, especially in the later books when the romance becomes more prominent. And I’m not here for that.
Gia and Bradley (The Fill in Boyfriend by Kasie West)
The Fill in Boyfriend does not at all sound like something I would enjoy. But when I read it back in 2015, I absolutely loved it. There was no insta-love. Instead, the book started with the ‘fake dating’ trope, which was a lot of fun to read about. If you are a fan of fluffy contemporaries, I’d totally recommend this one!
Kady and Ezra (Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
The only reason why I still added this pairing to this list, is because I wanted to have a fifth one. While reading Illuminae, I was rooting for Kady and Ezra. They too already had an established relationship, and I liked that. Why I was hesitant to add them to this list though, is because Gemina tried to do the exact same thing, but between two different characters. While reading the second instalment, I noticed how heteronormative this series really is. Each time a male and female character interacted, they started flirting. Hanna, one of the main characters in Gemina, had a boyfriend, yet Nik, the other main character, constantly flirted with her and it was starting to piss me off. No means no. That’s one of the reasons why I won’t continue this series. I didn’t even care enough to continue it to find out about Kady and Ezra’s fate.
In hindsight, I should have made a post about LGBTQ relationships instead. I had to do tons of digging before I could come up with five F/M relationships I enjoyed, so LGTBQ relationships would have been 1) much easier for me and 2) much more important.
Which books without much romance would you recommend to me? Are you as critical of it as I am? Leave a link to your ‘Top 10 Tuesday’ post in the comments if you want 🙂 (scheduled on 31 January 2017)