Don't forget to vote for your top Literary Love couples before Valentines Day!
Let me just start off by saying that I'm not a typical girl. I would take an action movie with stuff blowing up over a chick flick any day. I'd much rather read science fiction or fantasy than romance. I love reading comic books. I love playing sports. Try to get me to sew or scrapbook or craft, and we're not going to get along very well. So you can imagine that when I'm asked my favorite literary love couple, besides the obvious (Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, anyone?), nothing readily comes to mind.
But here's the thing about reading fantasy. I like all the action, and being in a different world and stuff, but if there's not some type of romance, I start to feel a little antsy. So maybe I'm a girl after all. I'm one of those who wants it all. I want an alpha male who will still bring me flowers. Who doesn't want that, though? There are a lot of good romances in the fantasy genre. One of the most recent ones I've read was Fire and Brigan, from Fire by Kristin Cashore. But I had to go a little older when picking my favorite, to an author who is definitely a staple in the fantasy genre, Robin Hobb. If you read fantasy, and you've not yet read Robin Hobb, get to it. I consider her one of the masters.
My favorite couple comes from the Liveship Traders trilogy. And in case you're wondering, yes, it takes all three books for these two to get their act together. In Ship of Magic, Althea joins a ship's crew to prove she is a capable sailor. Brashen just happens to be the first mate on that ship, and they don't really hit it off right at first. But the astute reader can see that there is something there. Or, if they're like me, they just really hope there is because that reader needs to have her romance!
And, of course, there is something there. This is not a major plot point, so don't worry that I've spoiled something important. And that brings me to my next thing that I like about fantasy. There is usually some romance, but it takes a back burner to the action. So, when it does pop up, it doesn't necessarily surprise me, but it's like an unexpected treat.
So, here we get to the third book in the trilogy, Ship of Destiny, and if I may, I'd like to share with you a favorite passage. It's a scene with Althea and Brashen (obviously), where they finally DO get it together. Or, at least, when Brashen finally declares his love.
He struggled desperately to retain his control. "I have great faith in you, Althea. You've stood beside me and we've faced crimpers and serpents . . . . We put this damn ship back in the water together. But during the battle, I just . . ." His voice tightened in his throat. "I can't do this," he said suddenly. He lay his hands, palms up, on the table and studied them. "I can't go on like this anymore."I won't tell you Althea's reply. I can't give you everything. Just believe me when I say these books are worth reading. It's definitely not romantic fiction. In fact, these are three very thick books, and romance only plays a little tiny part. But if your tastes are anything like mine, and you prefer your romance cushioned in a whole lot of action, you'll love Robin Hobb.
"What?" She spoke slowly, as if she hadn't heard him correctly.
He surged to his feet and leaned over the table. "I can't go on pretending I don't love you. I can't pretend it doesn't scare me spitless to see you in danger."
She shot to her feet as if he had threatened her. She turned from him but two strides carried him to stand between her and the door. She stood like a doe at bay. "At least hear me out," he begged. The words rushed out of him. He wouldn't consider how stupid they would sound to her, or that he could never call them back again. "You say you can't perform your duties without my repsect. Don't you know the same is true for me? Damn it, a man has to see himself reflected somewhere to be sure he is real. I see myself in your face, in how your eyes follow me when I'm handling something well, in how you grin at me when I've done something stupid but managed to make it come out all right anyway. When you take that away from me, when . . ."
series reading order:
Ship of Magic
Ship of Destiny
Other books by Robin Hobb