Shipping couples in books (and TVs and movies and even real life sometimes) can be really entertaining and can make you more invested in the story and its characters. It doesn’t have to be any of this Team X and Team Y nonsense, you just have to care about a couple and want them to succeed, whether there’s a love triangle involved or not. I’m rarely the one waving the ship’s flag the highest or anything, but I’ve been known to get quite excited about young couples.
Sometimes, though, I really hate the canon couples, which really sucks.
This has been on my mind as the thought of reading Days of Blood and Starlight (the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and which I got from the library not too long ago) has loomed over my head. You see, I really enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone at the beginning. It was interesting, I liked the characters, and I wanted to know what would happen. But then the romance kind of took over. Now, this isn’t always as big a problem for me as it can be for other reviewers, but there’s one problem – I don’t know if I could care less about the Karou and Akiva and their romance.
Needless to say, this really put a damper on my enjoyment of the book. The ending made me want to check out the sequel, but I’m wary of it because of the romance. I don’t want to read about them getting together or angsting about not being together, or anything along those lines. I like Karou as an individual character and Akiva was alright but kind of unimportant (to me, anyway) on his own, but together they just don’t work for me. Which means I feel bad when I see people gushing about these books or the romance – I just can’t bring myself to agree, and rather than making me annoyed with the fans (for no reason, of course), it just makes me sad.
This isn’t the only book where the romance drives me crazy, though.
The romance in Wild Awake gave me problems as well. I was much more on board with this romance initially than I was with Karou and Akiva, but my feelings changed as the book went on. I thought the story continued to be interesting and such, but the romance started giving me problems. The love interest started out normally, but a dubious mental disorder was randomly worked in, and I was a bit uncomfortable with the way it was handled – it seemed like a plot point that didn’t have all the research it needed. I didn’t think it was properly introduced and neither main character Kiri nor the love interest seemed to handle it respectfully – instead, they mostly acted like it wasn’t a problem and that the pills he needed were a problem, which isn’t the best message to send to teenagers.
So, because I wasn’t too happy with this, the romance became a problem for me and thus lowered my enthusiasm for this book. It was still pretty writing and such, but I just couldn’t bring myself to support the romance and it really worked against the story.
Timepiece, the sequel to Hourglass, is another one. I really liked the character of Kaleb in the first book and really liked the scenes where he was flirty with the protagonist, Emerson. I even liked her best friend, Lily, and best friends in YA can be a problem for me (unfortunately). Then came Timepiece, where we were suddenly thrust into Kaleb’s head and stuck watching him start lusting after Lily. Both characters kind of became annoying in my mind and the romance, and thus the book, suffered as a result. My enjoyment of the series overall lessened and made me kind of glad I never bought the first book, no matter how much I enjoyed it.
These are just a few canon couples I’ve disliked, but they all pretty much have the same result – my enjoyment of the book suffers and I suffer while trying to force myself to read it. I know I’m not the only one who can feel this way – I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t at least strongly dislike Mal from the Grisha trilogy after the second book, Siege and Storm.
This can even happen to me in TV shows and other mediums – I’ve really enjoyed the show Scandal, but I don’t support the Olivia-Fitz romance at all – in fact, I pretty much hate Fitz most of the time – which makes it difficult for me to enjoy the show sometimes.
So, yeah, this can be a huge issue for me. Sometimes too much focus on a romance in general can be a problem, but when you specifically dislike the canon couple at the center of a book or series, I think it can be even worse. At least if you like the couple, you can stomach a few too many kissing scenes. Mostly.
Anyway, are there any series/couples you dislike as well? I am definitely up for sympathizing with you, even if I disagree and think the couple is amazing!