Of Goliaths and Leviathans and Fictional Relationship Happy Buttons™.

Yesterday, right before work, I finished Scott Westerfeld’s Behemoth. And then instantaneously wanted to flog myself for not having brought Goliath with me as well for the trip back, toting about two hefty hardcovers at once be damned.

I more than made up for this once I got home, however, and promptly pulled my Bookslut Energizer Bunny trick. By which I mean I picked up Goliath, intending to read just a few snippets before bed (and save the rest for the train today)…but then I just kept reading…and reading…and reading…

And to make a not-very-long story even shorter, I could not put the book down, instead very happily chewing my way through 500+ pages in a handful of hours and refusing sleep until I was finished, ’round four am.

(Waking up for work in the morning also be damned. Who needs sleep when you’ve got books?)

I woke up roughly four hours later, still in a ridiculously happy post-book haze…until I crashed at the junction of ‘dammit why did I do that I was not ready for it to be over‘ and ‘what the hell do I read now and what could possibly follow this‘, anyway.

Regardless, I regret nothing. Oh my god.

I’m not going to do up a proper review — not now, at least; I’m still far too booklove-hazy to really think straight or be coherent.

But, for now, I at least have to say this:

Alek and Deryn hit almost every single one of my Fictional Relationship Happy Buttons™. ♥

Which are as follows!
1. ‘Oh balls I’m in love with my best friend.’ Now, I understand the fairytale-esque appeal of that magical sparkly (sometimes literally) moment where Beautiful Princess Damsel takes one singular look at Studly Prince Heromuffin and knows, instantenously and irrevocably, that he is her One True Love Forever and Ever (at least until the third part of a love triangle inevitably comes along). I do. Fairytales are supposed to resonate with us, after all, and that is certainly something ripped straight out of one.

However, it also has a tendency to bore me near to tears.

If I am going to become emotionally invested in a pairing, if I am going to root for them, then I need something to invest myself in. Something to root for. I want to watch them grow, both separately and together. I want to see for myself just how they fit, instead of just being summarily informed that, well, they do.

And personally, I think that being in love with your best friend is a million times more romantic and wonderful than some random mystical connection with the nearest brooding stranger (no matter how glittery he may be).
2. Couples repeatedly rescuing each other. Note the key words here: Each other. I’m all for the whole romantic rescue thing, as much as anyone else — so why just have one character only ever rescue the other, when you can have twice as much fun by making it mutual? And why not make both characters that endearing and strong, instead of just the one?

The more your readers have to root for the better, after all.
3. Highborn/commoner pairs. This has been a fictional vice of mine since childhood, for which I fully blame my favourite childhood series. (It had quite a bit of highborn/lowborn drama, and it was all very darling and apparently stuck with me for all of these years.) It’s instant relationship conflict, without vampirism! Fancy that.
4. Secrets. No character trait will endear me to a character more than, well, their traits not actually being known. If you add a relationship into the mix, the elements of unravelling one another and acceptance…nothing sells me faster. (And I’m particularly fond of these two for having said secrets involve genderbending, incidentally.)
These books execute all of these things rather flawlessly, and could have probably stolen my heart on the merits of that alone, even if the rest of the plotting and worldbuilding wasn’t fantastic as well.

And so, all in all?

Why the hell isn’t more YA like this? (Or any sort of romance plot in fiction, really.)


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