Can’t believe I’ve been talking about genre for the past week. Today’s post is the end of a seven day run, and after today I’m going to take a short break because all the books I’ve read are starting to run together. Which is never a good thing, to be sure!
So what is my favorite couple in a genre novel? Tricky question. Tricky, tricksy. In my head, I automatically separate a romance novel (including paranormal) from any straight-up adventure novel. Why? Well, because I view romance novels as being heavily focused on relationships. For dark fantasy, which is the genre I like to read, I enjoy a good romantic relationship if there’s other things going on in the story. My answer today may surprise you. And I’ll tell you why in a minute.
My favorite couple in a genre novel is…
Wait for it.
Wait for it.
Richard Cypher and Kahlan Amnell from the first book in Terry Goodkind’s series called “The Sword of Truth.” The book is dubbed Wizard’s First Rule.
To be clear, they’re my favorite couple — until they get together.
Okay, let me back up for a second and explain this little Gordian knot before your heads explode. The reason why I like this romantic relationship is because it’s one that, from the start, is never supposed to be consummated. They cannot touch one another. In this book, we don’t know how uber-powerful-rare either one of them is. We know they are battling evil and we know they are falling in love in the midst of all these chaotic things.
But they can’t touch. No smooches. Not even a little peck on the cheek. If she did, she would turn Richard into a mindless slave that did whatever she wanted.
To me, that’s impressive worldbuilding and great conflict because there’s a tangible reason why these two kids shouldn’t be together. Kind of like Buffy and Angel. They get happy, Angel loses his soul and changes back into Angelus. So they can never be happy. Ever.
The reason why I said only the first book, is because although this premise is inventive, they eventually get married and discover they’re not as limited as they thought. (If at all.) The first book is, by far, the strongest one in their relationship because their love happens gradually, highlighting how they get together and how they’re vested in one another. As the series continues, the characters become more and more powerful, and the relationship arc begins to look the same, even with the obstacles and other women thrown in their way. The minute they become oh-so-powerful, my interest wanes because of the type of reader that I am. To connect with the characters, I tend to get into those that don’t evolve into (for lack of a better word) gods.
Now, what’s funny about all of this, is that Wizard’s First Rule is Terry Goodkind’s first novel. I thought it was a solid first for his characters and for his work. The story does teeter more on the dark side, so this is more of an adult novel than one I’d recommend for kids.