It’s that time of year, and while I personally am more interested in all the discounted chocolate post-Valentine’s Day, I can’t deny that a good relationship is often central to my enjoyment of a good book. So for this bookish Valentine’s Day themed post, let’s take a look at some of my absolute favourite couples in books.
(In no particular order, because the following couples are all my precious.)
Dallas O’Kane & Lex Parrino (Beyond series by Kit Rocha)
He’s the “barbarian” leader of the O’Kane gang, and the king of Sector Four. She’s the deadly former courtesan who’d be perfect for him if they could both stop butting heads over everything.
So begins one of many flawed, beautiful, and totally badass relationships in this post-apocalyptic/erotic romance series, though it is hands down my favourite. I enjoy a good swoon-worthy romance when one lands in my lap, but more than that, I love to see a well-written relationship take shape, with all of its ups and downs and human touches left on the page along with the swooning and the sexytimes. That’ll be a theme with this list, but I figured I’d open with a bang.
October Daye & Tybalt (The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire)
Flawed protagonists are great. Flawed female protagonists are arguably better, in my book. We’re not all moon-eyed connoisseurs of the fainting couch (it IS 2019 after all), and October Daye, in particular, has far better reasons to lose consciousness than mere fluttery heart-feelings. Blood loss, for example. (OK, that’s pretty much the number one example in her case.)
But when she’s not driving herself toward a bloody early grave, she is setting my heart alight with all her, er, fluttery heart-feelings. And no heart-feelings were ever more fluttery than those inspired by the King of Cats, am I right?
Tybalt wears leather, fights like the feline he is, and talks like he just stepped out of a Shakespeare play when he’s nervous. And if you doubt the depths of his appeal, give the audio versions of these books a try. If Mary Robinette Kowal’s narration (and her Tybalt Voice) can’t convince you, then all hope is lost.
But I love them. I LOVE THEM.
James Holden & Naomi Nagata (The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey)
Taking off into outer space for this one, because my Favourite Couples list (at any time of year) would not be complete without Holden and Naomi.
On paper, it seems like they shouldn’t work. But their differences are what make them such a strong couple, as this series – and their relationship – has progressed. They’re a beacon of hope in a dark and dangerous time (and a few such places), and I remain a fan of these books as much for that relationship as for any epic plot it’s thrown at me so far.
Sam & Sybil Vimes (The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett)
Look, if you don’t already read this series then just stop reading this right now and go and investigate it. But if you haven’t read it and you need a little nudge to get you going, then I will happily suggest you start with the Night Watch arc (beginning with Guards! Guards!). Introduce yourself to Ankh-Morpork’s finest (and most rough-edged) copper, and to the keeper of the Sunshine Sanctuary For Sick Dragons, and if you don’t quickly come to love them as much as I do then I honestly don’t know what else to say, here.
But if you have and you do, then I am your flailing fangirl friend.
Sam and Sybil are everything. EVERYTHING. They are good and pure and precious and I want to protect them forever. Not that Sam Vimes needs any help from me, heh. But still. MUST CHERISH.
So there’s a pretty ragtag collection of romantic examples here, and maybe they’re not for everyone, and I know this isn’t a Top Ten by definition but ANYWAY they are Relationship Goals, in my book(s).
I mean. I’m not sure I’d ever want to BE them. But you get my drift.
Love is real.