Loving the Romance in AKHöst’s Novels

Here we have a guest post from Chachic, of Chachic’s Book Nook! I must say, I had no idea that Chachic only started reading romances last year. I would definitely not have guessed that, since she’s the one who got me started reading more romances! But I’m not surprised to see that’s the focus of her guest post today. Lots of romance-y goodness in Andrea Höst’s stories. So, welcome, Chachic!

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Yay for Andrea K. Höst week! I’m honored that Rachel invited me to take part in this. I’m more than happy to contribute a guest post because I really think more readers should pick up Andrea’s novels. There are many reasons why I would recommend her books but one of the aspects that I love about them is the romance. While I’m fairly new to the romance genre (I only started actively reading romance books last year), I have always loved well-written romances in my speculative fiction reads.

Andrea has a knack for writing wonderful romances that I can totally root for. What usually works for me is slow burn romance between two characters who are very reluctant to admit that they’re attracted to the other person – it may be because they feel that they’re not ready for a relationship or they feel that there will be a lot of difficulties involved in pursuing the object of their affection. The tension between them simmers and builds until they have to acknowledge what’s between them. Even better if one of them is a stoic and unreadable character, barely giving hints that the attraction will be reciprocated. I don’t mind if it’s obvious from the start who the main character’s romantic interest is, just as long as they don’t get together in the blink of an eye.

I haven’t read all of Andrea’s books but in the ones that I’ve read, I feel like they all have a form of slow burn romance. A lot of subtle staring, seeing the other person’s strengths and weaknesses, getting to know him/her through various interactions, recognizing what they’re feeling and trying to ignore it. Andrea manages to incorporate all of those features, with the added bonus of unexpected elements. I can still remember reading And All the Stars and going, “WAIT, what?!” when I reached a certain section. [Yeah, and we all know exactly what bit THAT was, don’t we? — Rachel]

I had a book hangover after finishing both the Touchstone trilogy and the Medair duology because I couldn’t stop thinking about the events in them, including the romantic elements within. I love how she manages to surprise me with the twists and turns in her writing. I have given up trying to predict the direction her stories will go and I’m perfectly willing to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Aside from the non-instalove quality, what appeals to me about Andrea’s romances is the type of main characters that her novels have. Her MCs are always smart, strong and capable young women who eventually meet men who recognize their positive attributes and grow to admire them. These men are equally capable and are worthy of being admired in return. Working on this guest post is making me want to reread Andrea’s novels. Maybe I should give in to the temptation and indulge, I’m pretty sure I will enjoy reading them just as much (if not more) than the first time I picked them up. If you haven’t read any of Andrea’s books, now is the perfect time to do so!

Touchstone and hot choco
“…sometimes I wonder if he goes around deliberately striking dramatic poses, because whenever I let myself look at him he seems to be particularly photogenic. Though I guess gazing intently into the distance is part of his job description.” – Touchstone Trilogy

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Thank you, Chachic! I totally agree; Andrea is VERY likely to take her readers off in a completely unexpected direction halfway through a book. Especially with AND ALL THE STARS and the MEDAIR duology, I had to re-read them just to look for hints of what was coming!

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10 thoughts on “Loving the Romance in AKHöst’s Novels”

  1. I feel that the main thread of any AKH book always squarely remains on what happens to the main female character and how they grow by their experiences – so that the romances are always a subthread, an important one (which I think female writers understand portraying better than male, because males are possibly taught that romantic emotions and the foundation of love and family is a weakness – I’m speculating here), but never the be-all and end-all that they would be in a romance.

    That makes for more realistic emotional development, I think. Of course when the outward situation is dire and under time pressure, like in And All the Stars, the emotional development will correspond to that – and I can’t begrudge The Blue Musketeers any of their love (naq rfcrpvnyyl abg gur Ybeq-bs-gur-Evatf anzrfnxr, jub jbhyqa’g unir rkcrevraprq nalguvat cbfvgvir va uvf yvsr sebz gur gvzr ur qrpvqrq gb punatr gur jnl uvf fcrpvrf qrpvqrq qbzvanapr – I hope I’ve been reasonably cryptic here for anyone who hasn’t read that book and the startling twist… you know, I’ll go back and rot13 that…) even if the actual time frame is surely the fastest we have seen for any AKH book yet.

    And the appeal of a well-rounded male appreciating a well-rounded female, both with their own hang-ups and problems but finding that working together makes life’s challenges easier to bear, that’s just such a satisfying message, you’re so right, Chachic.

  2. Broken link to Chachic’s site.

    I finished my last Host book, Stained Glass Monsters, last night. Yep, slow burn romance, a blink and you’ll miss it development. I didn’t blink. :-) i do prefer my romances as subplots; best when they tie in to the major plot, but definitely sub. This one did that in spades.

    Sometimes I’ll read a book where the emotional plot and the umm… plot-plot, action plot aren’t really connected, and it shows. Host hasn’t done that and her work is the better for it.

  3. Estara, I agree that the romance is not the main plot thread in Andrea’s books. It’s just an aspect of her writing that I feel that she does really well and that I enjoy reading about. :) I love what you said about realistic development because I agree with that. I think I love her romances because they feel realistic and I feel invested in the characters.

    elaine, I haven’t read Stained Glass Monsters! Looking forward to reading it now that you’ve mentioned that there’s a subtle, slow burn romance in it.

  4. I haven’t read Stained Glass Monsters either! That and Hunting are the two I have left. Fortunately, Andrea has a couple others scheduled to come out in the near-ish future, so none of us have to worry about running out of her books for a while.

  5. I totally agree with you Chachic. You guys have mentioned a few of my faves but I have to point out another story with a romance thread that I loved. That is ‘Hunting’. I mean it takes subtlety to the nth degree but it was very real. I loved the feeling that Ash wasn’t doing quite as good a job of hiding her gender as she thought and that she was very much appreciated by Thornaster. Because there was so much else going on that part of the story had to take a back seat but it was definitely there.
    I do enjoy a story with a stronger romance thread too but these low key ones that Andrea excels are very satisfying.

  6. The principal romance in Touchstone is certainly slow-burn. I could empathize with both sides when he asked her to read him her diary, and she said okay, but there’s going to be an awful lot of hopelessly mooning after you. I was kind of hoping for them to reach the point of getting some of what all that looked like from his perspective (especially with the superhuman Sights gumming up the works), but if that ever happened I missed it.

  7. When they reached that point, I felt compelled to go back and re-read the beginning so I could think about how it would feel to him to have Cassandra read those entries to him. You’re right; I do wonder if he picked up on her dreams and everything the way she thought he might.

  8. kyahgirl, I still haven’t read The Hunting. Thanks for letting me know that there’s a very understated romance in there. That makes me want to read it more! Like you, I also enjoy strong romance plot threads but can still appreciate the subtle ones.

    Craig, I really liked that part as well – when he asked her if she could share her diary entries. I would have liked to see how he would have reacted to all the mooning after him. I think it wasn’t mentioned even in the epilogue?

    Rachel, that’s a good point that I’ll have to remember when I reread Touchstone – how it would have felt like for him to hear her version of everything. I was wondering about the same thing, whether he was aware of her dreams either because she was projecting or because of his sights.

  9. Okay, you’ve sold me. I need to try one of her books soon. Great post. I love slow burn romances as well. They’re much more realistic and believable.

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