Comic review: Fence #1 by C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad

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Original cover by Johanna the Mad and variant cover by Kevin Wada (the photo doesn’t show my SIGNED COPY* because it’s not here yet but thank you Laura for getting me one ♥         *you have to read “signed copy” in a very high pitched voice

★★★★

You might or might not remember this post I wrote when this comic was first announced, and now months later I can’t believe I’m already reviewing the first issue. Most importantly for my ego, I was right on all points.

If you’ve ever read or watched any sports manga or anime, this is a comic for you. If you’re lgbt+, this is for you.

Plot:
Fence follows Nicholas Cox in his dream of making it into the fencing world. His passion is driven by more than just the love for the sport, and this is what helps the reader sympathize with him even if fencing is something completely new to them (like it is for me).

Nicholas is only sixteen but he worked hard for the chance to be taught to fence, and when he finally enters his first tournament he’s introduced to other fencers apparently for the first time. Among them is Seiji Katayama, whom everyone else seems to fear, and for a reason.

Their first encounter leaves Nicholas even more determined to finally enter a fencing school where he can be properly taught, because raw talent won’t get him anywhere. Six months later, he’s shown on his first day at Kings Row, a boys school he’s only able to attend thanks to a scholarship that depends on his making the fencing team, and a surprise is waiting for him there.

Characters:
Nicholas is a very determined character, who will do whatever it takes to achieve his dream. His struggles are relatable and real and they stick with the reader. Even in just around twenty pages it’s impossible not to care about him, also thanks to a couple of flashbacks.

Seiji is quite frankly an asshole so far and I can only love him for it. This is C.S. Pacat we’re talking about, so I’m expecting a hell of a backstory regarding the hard work that got Seiji to be where he is now.

In general:
This a very Japanese-like first issue of a comic that will (hopefully!!!) lead us on a long journey into the fencing world and the main characters’ relationships. It sets the tone for the rest of the series: tension, humor, diversity and queerness.

When it comes to diversity, it’s already very promising even just by looking at the background characters, and even though we still haven’t met them all on the page, we already know from the previews of all the main characters that they’re all diverse and unique.

The queerness isn’t strong in this one yet, but that’s perfect. Think of all your favorite sports comics/anime. I’m thinking Check, Please! and Yuri!!! On Ice. The queerness is just there and it’s just another part of the characters’ lives, just like the sport they love is. These are the kind of queer stories I love to read, and that’s why Fence will appeal to all LGBT+ readers. It promises a broad spectrum of sexualities and gender identities, paired with diversity and a story about passion that we can all identify ourselves with. Its very existence challenges a world of male white allocishetism, as a comic written by a queer and genderqueer person and drawn by a Mexican artist, who have put pieces of themselves into it.

I definitely cannot wait for the next issue to come out and I’m loving how big of a reach this already seems to have. Definitely get on it if you were hesitant because of its hype: the hype was real and it was 100% justified.

Also, make sure to check out Laura’s Q&A with CS Pacat at the launch party for a few extra infos on characters and plot!

 

Talk to me!

Have you read Fence? Will you? Are you excited for it?

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Review: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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★★★★✩

(actual rating 4.25 stars)

This is a freaking long review but there are no spoilers for this book and very minor spoilers for the rest of the series.

After the disaster that was ACOWAR, I was really scared of this book. I know, I know, ACOWAR is another world, another trilogy, whatever, but the thing is my taste has changed in the past year and my worst fear was that the last two books in the Throne of Glass series would be ruined for me because I don’t like the author anymore. Fortunately, I found that that wasn’t true (at least not of this book), but I also had some problems with it.

The thing you have to know about me is that Throne of Glass is what got me into YA high fantasy. Back when I should have been an experienced reader already, but I actually didn’t know anything about show-don’t-tell or any of the basic rules of writing, back when I didn’t realize that killing a POC character is a pretty shitty thing to do (hello if you’re not in the US you just don’t know these things). So I loved the first books and I’ve reread them enough times that I fortunately don’t have to do it anymore, because if I did I know I would have to massively lower my rating. The world of Throne of Glass means so much to me and even if I’m far from the reader I was when I used to say “sjm can do no wrong” and I kind of don’t like the main characters anymore, I still love the feeling of this world and its side characters so much.

I didn’t write the previous paragraph to justify why I have a “problematic fave”, but because I think it’s relevant to my review. If you’re somehow reading this without having read the rest of ToG and see my mostly positive review about this, it’s still very likely that you might not want to start this series, because I’m mostly biased when it comes to it. I’m not telling anyone “read this” or “don’t read this”, but just keep in mind that nostalgia plays a big role sometimes when judging later books in a series.

Despite everything, I also think I’m fairly objective when reviewing this in all its parts, so we can move on from this long premise.

➻ Is reading this book necessary before reading the next one? 
Well, I obviously haven’t read the next one, but I do believe that if you’re planning to finish this series you should read this. I have no doubt that the discoveries that Chaol, Yrene, Nesryn and Sartaq made will be thoroughly summarized in Throne of Glass #7, but that’s still all they’ll ever be: summaries. There is a certain eerie feeling to both major discoveries that take place in this book, and that’s one of the things where I feel SJM’s writing excels. And even if the discoveries themselves could be summarized in a few sentences, they are so deeply interwoven with the world building and the history of this fantasy world that I fully believe all the “side info” revealed will somehow come back to bite our ass in the last book. So, bottom line, if you plan to continue the series, read this book.

➻ World building 
I’ve said it before, but world building is something SJM is very good at. She knows her worlds and she knows when to give snippets of info that will come back later, and she knows when and how to unload a reveal on you.

I wouldn’t say there was any big infodump, but we are in a different continent than the one we’re used to, and one that is very very different from what we’ve seen so far, so there were a couple of explanations about its culture and society. I can’t speak for the types of cultures that she drew inspiration from, but the society and world felt rich and well researched, and it was interesting to see the cultural shock Chaol went through on a couple of occasions.

Besides that, a lot of the new information we get has to do with all the continents we’ve seen so far, not just this one. Things we thought we knew from the ancient past are explored again and not everything is how we thought it was.

And speaking of the Southern Continent, here’s what you need to know: we’ve had three books to get used to the Fae and the Valg, to the point where they’ve become normalized (especially the Fae). But there are no Fae in the Southern Continent, or there haven’t been for many years. There is magic, specifically the magic of the healers, but they’re all human women. The Fae are still as mysterious to these people as they were to us in the first two books of this series, so to see the people from the Southern Continent ask about the Fae is like jumping back to years ago when you first read ToG and CoM and you felt that aura of mystery around the Fae.

Especially because a lot of the new information our characters find has to with a past that is so ancient that it helps us regain a little bit of focus. It’s kind of a “wtf” moment when you realize the Fae have been there since who freaking knows when, and it’s a good reminder of how ancient they are, not any single one of them specifically but as a whole. And it reminds you how small and ephemeral these human civilizations are. They’re talking about new rules they had like the abolishment of slavery like they’re been there for a long time, but then you realize it’s merely been decades and compared to the Fae and the Valg humans are so ridiculously tiny.

It’s not just that she tells us, but it’s how she tells us, and that’s absolutely something SJM’s writing does well. Sure, it’s a little over the top sometimes, but when it comes to telling or re-telling the ancient history she manages to create almost an eerie aura that draws you to this world she created and reminds you why you fell in love with it.

➻ Characters 
I love Chaol and I never agreed with those who said SJM ruined him in QoS because he was kind of an asshole. Look, he’s human and everything we knew about his character before then pointed to the fact that he was never gonna be someone who was simply going to accept magic the moment it came back. We spent a whole book without him and I think that was needed. Coming back to a book that is full of purely human characters has been a breath of fresh air and Chaol has had the chance to think about everything that’s happened to him (not just about his injury). His character development in this book, his emotional healing was great to read and it was cathartic to me personally.

It’s not a surprise that SJM can write emotional healing well. It’s what she’s done with Celaena/Aelin and what she’s done with Feyre, and what she’s done with Chaol in this book. Personally I think his development was perfect, he wasn’t emotionally healed because of love but because he learned to see his past from a different perspective and he’s learned to forgive others and most importantly himself.

Yrene was my absolute favorite in TAB, and that’s because she was so different than the characters SJM usually writes. She was….I wouldn’t say “weak”, but she was her own sort of strong while also being fragile and scared and hopeless and stuck. I related a lot to her character and I couldn’t wait to meet her again in this book. So, you ask, you’ve met her again now, was she everything you hoped for?

I still don’t know the answer to this. We meet her 2-3 years later, and she’s made a lot of off-page progress herself, so it makes sense that she’s not the same character we saw in TAB. And I really liked her here as well. I just couldn’t help but feel that SJM fell again in the trap of creating almost every female character like they’re all slightly different version of the same mold. Don’t get me wrong, she’s miles away from Aelin, but you still know right away that SJM created her. And that’s kind of a flaw in my opinion. To me it felt like she didn’t know where to put Yrene in the spectrum that goes from “weak” to “badass” and she kinda had her float around. She was still interesting to read about while I had my nose inside the book, but thinking about it critically, I was a little disappointed in how she wrote her, and it’s probably because of my too-high expectations of her.

I think something similar applies to Nesryn. We didn’t know her much before, but I really liked her in this book and I love how she felt so connected right away to the continent her family came from. It’s just, I feel like she wasn’t a very unique character at all. “Badass woman with a special fighting skill that has always been seen as emotionally unattached but is actually kinda soft inside and falls for a guy” sounds like too many of SJM’s characters.

Other characters are completely new and they consist most of all of the khagan’s children. I think we had a nice diversity of personalities among them and I really enjoyed reading about them and getting to know them. I have a particularly soft spot for both my ruthless lesbian Hasar and her brother Sartaq.

➻ Relationships 
There are two parts of me writing this review right now. The part that mostly enjoyed the two main relationships in this book doesn’t know what to say other than that, because the part of me that’s screaming “BUT IT’S ALL THE SAME” is pretty loud in my head.

I’m going to repeat something I said in my ACOWAR review: SJM is good at building relationships, but she’s awful at writing characters in an established relationship (see Feyre and Rhys in ACOWAR). Here we had two romances building from scratch, so this book was thankfully free of the acowar-syndrome.

I enjoyed both romances, and yet I can’t help but being annoyed at the fact that it’s super obvious from page one (or idk, whenever the characters first meet I guess) who is going to end up with who. It’s something I was scared of before starting the book and while I did not necessarily mind either romance, one of them especially didn’t feel any different than how SJM writes all her romances basically. It’s always the bickering ones that end up together and yeah that’s fun to read I guess but at some point you wish she would write something different.

However, my problem isn’t specific to any romance in itself, it’s more a general annoyance at the fact that every.major.character. has to end up with someone and do it in a very heterosexual way. I’m not even here to complain that there are no mlm or wlw main romances in this book, but how is it possible that out of all the books she’s written, out of 10 main romances (if not more) in ToG alone and out of at least 14 romances if you count all her books, exactly ZERO are wlw or mlm? Look, she can write whatever she wants but it’s so clearly obvious that whenever she introduces a new character they’re gonna end up with someone and this someone is inevitably always of the opposite sex. It would be fucking refreshing to see some more goddamn rep and GOOD REP not like the awful bisexual rep we had in ACOWAR.

The only thing I really like is that she’s not afraid to make and break couples because that’s how life works, but it’s like a single main character can’t exist without a love interest for one fucking month and that’s pretty fucking boring if you look at it.

There is one wlw couple, Hasar and her partner, that is just adorable and for once a good rep, but it’s also an already-established relationship, which feels like a cop-out. “Here’s your rep,” it says, but that’s too easy. It’s like SJM is scared of writing the actual development of a queer couple and I just don’t get it. It’s her books and she can do what she wants but I am also allowed to speak up about it. It’s 2017 and heterosexuality is just not in anymore (I’M JOKING PUT DOWN THE PITCHFORKS).

Also, I wish she stopped putting very not subtle sexual innuendos everywhere and have it be like, the main way that most characters have to flirt with each other. Ugh. Just no. It’s the opposite of hot and just. no. stop.

Something else I wish would stop is the constant use of vocabulary that I feel promotes toxic masculinity. I want to talk about this more in depth in a discussion on my blog sometime in the near future so I’ll leave it at that for now.

➻ Disability rep 
I kept this point for last because I can’t actually talk about it. I’m an able bodied person so I have no right to speak of the rep in this book. All I can say is that at first I thought it was kind of bad until some point, but then it made itself better. I went and looked for reviews of disabled readers and foundthese two reviews that actually say that they felt the rep is pretty good.

I definitely encourage you to read their reviews and find others (I haven’t been able to find more than these but definitely feel free to link some in the comments), and also I would ask to never take the words of a single person when it comes to judging a certain kind of rep. Most of the time these things aren’t a black and white matter, and some readers might be hurt by something that others have found highly empowering. The best thing to do is listen to ownvoices reviewers and not speak above them one way or another.

Have you read Tower of Dawn? What did you think of it?

Review: The Loveless Princess by Lilian Bodley

I received an ARC via netgalley but all thoughts are my own.

★★★★

The first thing you should know about this short book is that I kept reading it in the car (don’t worry I was only a passenger!) despite my motion sickness and despite the Pokémon GO event with the 4x candies for your Pokémon buddy, y’feel me?

So I guess what I’m saying is that I was hooked from the first sentence. It’s not that the story was particularly original but it was gripping and really well written and I really wanted to know how the whole aro/ace thing was going to be handled. As it turns out, I think it was done pretty well (I’m not aro/ace but I believe this book is #ownvoices so I have to trust the author on this. Also from previous reads and research I felt like everything was handled well).

The plot was pretty simple but effective and to the point: Princess Anette is forced to marry Prince Everett from another kingdom, her parents won’t hear her reasoning and they don’t believe and don’t understand her when she tries to explain that she’s never loved anyone that way and she truly doesn’t believe that she ever will, and her parents keep telling her that she’ll find happiness through marriage. She reluctantly accepts to be married off because she’s an actual rational person unlike many book MCs and realizes there’s not much she can do that wouldn’t put her and her fiance’s kingdom at risk.
After she’s been married for a couple of days she finds out that her husband actually only loves men (that’s what I was hoping would happen tbh) and has a lover. When she sees them together, she gets mad because she was still holding on to the hope that despite her feelings so far (or lack of romantic feeling) she could grow to love her husband the way people expected her to, but if he loves someone else she sees that tiny hope disappear (I thought that was a bit of a weak plot point, but I actually reread that passage and while it’s a bit sudden and she seems to act a bit OOC I think her reasons actually make some sort of sense). She says some things she doesn’t fully mean, and the prince disappears, so she decides to go on a quest to find him since it was her fault that he disappeared.
This quest is full of fairy tale elements (the whole book actually is. It mentions a lot of tales/myths -some of which I haven’t even been able to identify because I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to those) and the book makes it a point to make you understand that this story is set in such a classic, traditional world.

Now, I think that is great because that means that even in a classic, fairy-tale-like world, where Prince Everett’s grandma is literally the Princess form the Princess and the Pea and his mom is the Princess from Sleeping Beauty, aro/asexual and gay people and all kinds of people can exist and find their own place and they can make this world theirs. I think that’s definitely empowering and important and one of the things that made me like this short story so freaking much.

Another thing that was stressed out almost too much (but I never found like it was repeated too often or in the same context twice) was the idea that love/marriage and happiness aren’t two things that go hand in hand. This is stated in the book because the heroine is aro/ace but I feel like it’s an universal message and too often in books (and in life) there’s this silent acceptance of the equation love=happiness but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if you’re not aro/ace, you should reflect on this message because it’s true, you don’t need to find love to be happy (and finding love is nice but it doesn’t automatically make you happy on all fronts).

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone for all the reasons I stated above (plus if you feel like you don’t know much about aro/asexuality but would like to understand it I feel like this book is a good place to start researching).

TW: attempted rape (I kinda skimmed that part, it wasn’t very graphic I think but it’s still important to point it out)

ARC review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

I was provided an early copy of this by Netgalley but all opinions are my own.

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★★✩✩

I really liked some parts but other ones either didn’t make any sense or they were just boring. The only reason I hurried to finish this was so I could be free to read something else and because being in a BR I felt motivated to keep up with my BR partner, but most of the time all I wanted to do was…basically anything that wasn’t reading this.

It was a story with so much potential that I can’t help but feel really sad and disappointed because some things were very poorly executed in my opinion.

Let’s start with Mariko’s character. We’re told she is really smart and clever, and within the book she “invents” shuriken, grenades (?) and possibly other things that I was too confused to really get, but we actually aren’t shown how intelligent she is. Ahdieh deliberately decides to have Mariko invent those things but as a reader that didn’t affect my perception of her as a rather bland character, and not a particularly smart at that.

From her reasons to stay with the Black Clan (so that she could…somehow save her name from “shame” in her family’s eyes…by camping with a group of men…mmh okaaay?) to her acceptance of things that she should probably have questioned (the animal in the forest?), she did not read like a very smart character.

She only shines with a couple of important quotes, but those aren’t enough to make me love the book (or her character as a whole). Still, it’s important for younger readers to see these messages in a book.

I will not be bandied about by men any longer. I am not a prize to be bought or sold.

Was is always necessary for boys to prove they knew more than anyone else around them?

She remembered Chiyo telling her that finding one’s match was like finding one’s other half. Mariko had never understood the notion. She was not a half. She was wholly her own.

Something else I liked was how the other few female characters were portrayed.

Mariko nudged the handle of her spoon with a bound fingertip. “Are you ever angry you were born a woman?”
Yumi sat back on her heels and studied Mariko for a spell. “I’ve never been angry to have been born a woman. There have been times I’ve been angry at how the world treats us, but I see being a woman as a challenge I must fight. Like being born under a stormy sky. Some people are lucky enough to be born on a bright summer’s day. Maybe we were born under clouds. No wind. No rain. Just a mountain of clouds we must climb each morning so that we may see the sun.”

Among the many things I would have liked to see, was Mariko and Kenshin’s relationship. Siblings’ relationships are one of the things I most enjoy reading about since I’m an only child, and since Mariko and Kenshin are twins I was hoping to get a lot of their relationship. Even though they don’t really interact in the book since they are separated, we get a few hints of how their relationship and their differences might be, but not enough to make me feel whether or not they have a strong bond or not. So this is another reason why I’m disappointed in this book. I’m sure it will be explored more in the second book, but I wish it had been built earlier on.

Another thing that completely failed in my eyes (and it was probably the worst aspect of this book for me) is the romance. At first, I didn’t see who the romance was going to be about. I had some ideas and I was wrong about my first thoughts (don’t worry though, there’s no love triangle). I was actually hoping that for once there would be no romance (even though I’m a sucker for it), because I didn’t really ship anyone. Well,that’s not entirely true, since I did ship a couple that ended up being just a brotp.

(I haven’t seen anyone complain about Ahdieh’s lack of LGBT+ portrayal even though there was none in this or, as far as I remember, in TWATD. I’d be interested to know why we only “attack” certain authors but not others for this, but that’s a discussion that I don’t feel like having in a review)

Anyway, there was no romance for most part of this book, and then it just…was there. And I didn’t feel it. Not only was I not given time to ship it, it also felt boring and I didn’t like how it suddenly happened.

The romance and the discovery of Mariko’s gender are two things that go hand in hand in the book, and it’s something that bothered me endlessly. The way Mariko was finally found out was so over-used and unimaginative that I just couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a lot of potential there and it just vanished within half a scene. I’m so disappointed and pissed. I’d say more but without the option to hide spoilers I don’t want to, though you can read this review on goodreads if you want to open that spoiler tag.

Reading the rest of the romantic plot I felt like I had to turn a blind eye to the fact that I hated the way it developed. Again, there were a couple more nice quotes,

“You are first and foremost a person. A reckless, foolish person, but a person nonetheless. If I ever say you are not permitted to do something, rest assured that the last reason I would ever say so would be because you are a girl.”

but I never loved it.

The world building felt quite genuine (although many Japanese terms were used without an explanation – at least not in the ARC version. I think the published book will have some sort of summary at the end like TWATD) but I didn’t get the use of the magic. It was very similar in this to TWATD but it bothered me more. We’re shown a glimpse of magic that is never explained and just confused me. I’m sure it will be explored more in the next book but I don’t like this approach.

I think it’s still worth to give this book a try if you loved TWATD. I might request the ARC of the next book whenever it’s on Netgalley but I don’t think I’ll be purchasing it with my money.

#T5W: Favorite SFF Cover Art

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

May 3rd: Favorite SFF Cover Art *Booktube SFF Awards Crossover Topic*
— Show off some of your favorite science fiction and fantasy cover art!

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There are many more covers that I love but these were some of my favorite off the top of my head. It’s too bad I don’t own any of them in physical form (they’re all on my kindle and Daughter of Smoke and Bone doesn’t even have that cover but I love that edition). Although I did see The Darkest Part of the Forest in a bookstore the other day and I almost bought it even though it was in Italian and I can’t guarantee I won’t go back and actually buy it since it was one of the best surprises I’ve had this year reading-wise.

Fortunately they’re also all books I loved, except for Flame in the Mist, which was just okay and I’ll review soon.

What are some of your favorite Science Fiction or Fantasy covers? And does the actual content live up to the cover?

#T5W: Top SFF books on my TBR

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR *Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic!*

–Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!

I’ll only list books that are already out, so here they are:

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Look, I own the hardcover of this and I read Illuminae as my first book of 2017 and I absolutely adored it. It also caused me so much pain that I still don’t think I’m fully recovered, and that’s why I haven’t started Gemina yet. But hopefully I can read it this month since I’m feeling ready.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

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I own the e-books of this whole series but I haven’t felt like starting a high fantasy lately, especially not such a long one! I mean, each book is extremely long and it’s four books in the series, and I know I need to binge read fantasy to fully enjoy and not forget all the little details of the world. So I’m just waiting for the right time I guess.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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I can’t get over the fact that the person on the cover is dabbing tbh

See what I said above, plus the fact that I’m pretty sure the last book so far ends with a cliffhanger and there’s still too many months before the last book comes out. My friends who have read it loved this series so much but they’re suffering now so since I’m not in the mood for such a long series I’ll just wait a bit, but I’m really curious about it.

The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

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I haven’t read middle-grade books in a while, but what I’ve heard of this series honestly sounds amazing. I don’t know how soon I’ll get to it since I seem to be drowning in my TBR but I’m still very excited about it.

Every single book by Victoria/V.E. Schwab

Because Shades of Magic was amazing and I need more.

#T5W: Favorite Angsty Romances

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

March 22nd- Favorite Angsty Romances
–This topic has been much requested! Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)

I know for some of us seeing the names of the couples in a book/series might classify as a spoiler, so if you don’t want to know about those don’t read this post (I’m going against my interest here but hey, I’d never want to spoil anyone).

So, POTENTIAL SPOILERS BELOW!!!


If you’re still reading, I managed to round up five series where I feel like the romance plays an important role, but they’re not strictly classified as romance. I’ve just never found an actual romance book to be as angsty as some of the romances that are built in books that classify as fantasy.

Damen and Laurent (Captive Prince)

If you know me a bit, you’ll know this is my favorite series. It features a lot of political intrigue, but it’s extremely romance-heavy, and let me tell you, it’s so angsty and slow-burning it almost physically hurts.

Neil and Andrew (All for the Game)

Okay, this is the only series in this post that is not actually fantasy, but it’s not classified as romance either. And it should’t, because the romance is so slow-burning you don’t see it happen until…well, until it happens (unless you’re re-reading and then you see all the signs). As for the angst, boy, it’s there alright.

Kaz and Inej (Six of Crows)

Many of you have read this duology, so you probably know why the way the romance between Kaz and Inej develops is extremely angsty. To say more would be really spoilery for those of you who haven’t read this, so I’ll just say your heart will break a little bit every time you find out some new piece of information about both characters.

Arin and Kestrel (The Winner’s Trilogy)

One of the easiest way to achieve angst in a romance is make it a tale about forbidden love. This is exactly what happens in this series, and the romance between the MCs is constantly hindered throughout the series for different reasons (none of those are the cliched-miscommunication that often happens in contemporary romances). This is another romance that really hurts.

Karou and Akiva (Daughter of Smoke and Bone

daughter-of-smoke-and-bone-series

This is another case of forbidden love, for different reasons and on a completely different level than TWT. The romance starts out pretty heavy in the first book, but as the characters grow and worlds expand, and the series becomes so much more.


I have a question: do you prefer an angsty romance or a “smooth” one? I think for me the most memorable ones are the angsty ones, but once in a while I need something easily shippable and that doesn’t hurt me in the process of reading it.