Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Or, as the card my boyfriend gave me this morning said, Happy Let's Get Ripped Off For A Shit Card And Some Overpriced Flowers Day (who says romance is dead?)! This week's Top Ten Tuesday's romance-based theme is All About Romance Tropes/Types, so I've gone for my top ten hate to love romances - these are romances where the characters start off hating each other and end up loving each other, not romances that I hate to admit that I like.
(As always, a big thanks your to the fab bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish for this weekly meme!)
I love good hate to love romances that are done right as much as I loathe ones that are done wrong. I couldn't come up with ten I hated or ten I loved, so I decided to do five of each. So, here are my best and worst hate to love relationships in fiction, plus a couple thrown in from TV (I'll let you guess which show I've been binge-watching lately).
Ones I love
Buffy and Spike - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Forget Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Spike were by far and away the better pairing. Plus, they hated each other more on meeting, so their journey to sort-of love by the end of the show packed more of a punch. Also, you can keep David Boreanaz's sullen pouting and I'll take James Marsters' dry humour and tight t-shirts. His back and forth hunter vs hunted relationship with Buffy, their hilarious banter and their genuinely sweet moments were the highlights of later series'. Okay, maybe she didn't really love him at the end. But she said it anyway.
Nym and Eogan - Storm Siren
I love this series, I love the characters, and I love this couple! The hate was pretty one-sided, coming almost entirely from Nym towards the man who was training her to harness her storm powers as a weapon of war, but Eogan supports her every step of the way. There's no instances of the guy treating the girl like crap, disrespecting her or mistreating her just to make their eventual love seem more of a transformation, Eogan's too much of a sweetheart and Nym's too much of a badass for that to fly!
Karou and Akiva - Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well. Okay, so this one's more hate to love, back to hate, then back to love again, but it's epic! I don't want to say too much because spoilers, but this is Romeo and Juliet amongst warring angels and demons. A blue-haired, demon serving girl and a winged, vengeance-seeking angel-boy. Their highs are high and their lows are low as the pair find themselves on opposite sides of a centuries old war, but their souls always find each other. Even if they don't always want them to.
Mia and Tric - Nevernight
God damn you Jay Kristoff! Was it too much to hope that these too would get a happy ending (no spoiler by the way. It's made abundantly clear in the opening chapters that this story is not going to end with "and they all lived happily ever after")? From the gender stereotype switch up - they're both wannabe assassins, but she's the ass-kicking, foul-mouthed, hyper-violent one, and he's the sensitive, moral, considerate one - to their back and forth between rivals, lovers, fighters and friends is beautiful, all the more so because it's overshadowed by the spectre of inevitable heartbreak.
Shazi and Khalid - The Wrath and the Dawn
Khalid is the boy-king who takes a new wife each night and executes her each morning. Shazi is the volunteer bride looking to avenge her best friend's murder by killing Khalid. Sometimes the "hate" in hate-to-love relationships in YA is forced to make the "to-love" bit seem all the more dramatic, but in this case, it's perfectly justified! The slow-burn relationship between the pair and Shazi's uncertainty about her mission as she learns more about the boy behind the mask, all set against a dreamy middle-eastern backdrop, is front and centre of the story as Shazi falls foul of her own heart.
Ones I hate
Cordelia and Xander - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I love Cordelia and I love Xander. But I hate Cordelia and Xander. I love an odd couple pairing but never go on board with this one. It felt like one of the writers randomly said; "hey, wouldn't it be funny if Cordelia and Xander got together?", and then they all went home for the day and it got left in the script. It never felt believable, it never felt fully developed and it was just weird. Good thing it didn't last! Although I still maintain that Xander should have ended up with Faith!
Ananna and Naji - The Assassin's Curse
Ananna was an amazing character, and until she was paired up with Naji, this book was great. Unfortunately the author saddled an amazing character with a crappy love interest and killed the pacing of the story dead. Ananna turns from a total badass to a whiney pushover who traipses around after Naji, talks shit about his exes because they're prettier than her and just generally sulking. I fail to see what either of these characters see in each other, and to top if all of, their continued presence around each other is down to another of my pet peeves; an unbreakable magic bond. I hate these so much! Because magic is not a basis for a relationship, it's a lazy way of sticking two characters together and allowing one character to treat the other like crap (usually the guy to the girl) and not be called on it.
Lea and Les - Assassin's Heart
Both of these characters are a stupid and unlikable as each other, so they're at least a good match. But they're both also amoral, selfish, idiotic and just downright unpleasant. Still, their hate to love romance was one of the worst things about a book that I absolutely hated.
Daenerys Targaryen and Khal Drogo - A Song of Ice and Fire
Their romance fares a little better in the books that on TV (he doesn't rape her at least), but the fact remains that Dany is a thirteen year old child bride sold to a brutal war lord against her will by her own brother. Regardless of where their relationship goes, it's forever tainted by how it started in my eyes.
Cyra and Ako - Carve the Mark
This relationship is far from the most problematic thing about this book, but it's certainly up there. My main issue with this one is that it was just so by the numbers. Every stage was obvious, every "twist" was signposted and every conflict was glossed over. I knew from the blurb alone exactly how this relationsip would start, develop and end, and I wasn't wrong. Nothing about it surprised me and nothing felt original. I felt like I'd read it a hundred times before, and while I could probably level that criticism at any number of hate to love relationships in YA, this book is the last one I read, so it makes the list.