It’s my second week of participating in Top 5 Wednesday and I’m already feeling challenged! If there’s one genre that just isn’t for me, it’s romance. Normally I’ll give anything a try, but reading solely about romantic liaisons between beautiful characters is difficult for me. I have trouble connecting with the characters I suppose, and I think I’d miss the larger plot focus that most of the books I choose to read have.

I was a bit worried that I’d have nothing to talk about for this week’s top 5 challenge when I reminded myself that just because a book doesn’t fit squarely in the romance genre, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t include a bit of angst. When considered that way, I’d suddenly opened up a whole host of romantic pairings I felt fit the bill.

So, without further ado, here we go!

Top 5 Angsty Romances

{Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood}
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare


Alec and Magnus are pretty angsty for the first three books of the Mortal Instruments series (which is as all I’ve read so far). I’m not sure what their relationship looks like in the rest of the series, but I’m excited to find out.

The odds are stacked against them as a romantic pairing from day one: Magnus is out and proud, whereas Alec is withdrawn and closeted; Magus is also hundreds of years older than Alec, who is just 17; Magus is a Downworlder, while Alec is a Shadowhunter and gets all that fun moral superiority baggage that comes along with it.

Still, I felt drawn to them as a couple. Had I read this book when I was a closeted teenager, I would have (and still kind of do) felt major kinship with Alec. I have a lot of empathy for him, and as such they are my favorite romantic pairing out of the books thus far.

{Kady Grant and Ezra Mason}
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


You may be thinking, ‘Angsty, really?’ after reading the book, but I definitely think Kady and Ezra had their fair share of troubles. I really enjoyed their dynamic, especially considering that the book actually starts right after they break up with each other. It was unexpected, and added a really interesting level of complexity to their interactions. Not to mention events quite literally draw them apart and throw them for a loop, but the entire way through I was hoping that they’d find their way back to each other.

Their romantic relationship is probably one of my favorites I’ve read this year, if I’m honest!

{Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar}
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of crows

Okay, this one probably has you scratching your heads. I know when most people talk about Six of Crows, they’re talking about Kaz and Inej – a pairing I adore as well – but I thought I’d go the unconventional and lesser-mentioned route and talk about Nina and Matthias here.

I just loved the unexpected ways these characters played off of each other. We think we know what’s going on with their relationship at the start of the book, and then Leigh throws in a total game-changer by making Matthias strangle Nina during their first face-to-face encounter. I hated Matthias then.

But in true book fashion, the wrenches get thrown in the gears we start to learn why these two are the way they are with each other, and the potential for happiness they seem to close to but just can’t access because of ingrained personal beliefs they were raised with. My heart broke for them. I’m planning on reading Crooked Kingdom soon, so I’m hoping for a resolution there!

{Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchump Randall Fraser}
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


Okay, so fair warning, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book series. I read the first fully through and was mostly put off by the endless sex scenes – again, I really can’t handle reading about other people’s romances xD – but I still love this pairing. Especially in the television show. Their pairing in the show is H-O-T!

Clare and Jamie face more than their fair share of relationship woes. They have the divide of time itself standing between them, in which manners, civility and communication skills have all changed significantly. At times, Jamie appears to the reader as frighteningly regressive, but I really do enjoy when Clare is able to show him a new way of thinking. She introduces so many concepts to him and he helps her to open up and flourish within his companionship. Really, both characters thrive when near each other.

It’s all the outside influence around their relationship that makes it so angsty and fun to read/watch!

{Kvothe and Denna}
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The name of the wind

I should be clear here that I enjoyed The Name of the Wind (and Kvothe/Denna’s relationship in that book) more than I did A Wise Man’s Fear. I kind of took issue with Kvothe a lot more in the second book – particularly the way he treated women.

That being said, there’s a lot to love about Kvothe and Denna’s relationship in this series. Denna is mysterious, enigmatic. Kvothe is at times extremely naive and impulsive. The result is a strange game of cat and mouse between these two characters. Each time one of them gathers the courage to try and allude their true feelings, something happens that pushes them further apart than they were before. They’re still not technically a romantic pairing in the novels – because of reasons – but it’s clear that the feelings are there and steeped in enough angst to drown a horse.

I just want those two crazy kids to be together already and have done with it!

What do you think about my choices? Have you read any of these? What book or character betrayed you personally? 

Thanks for reading!


13 thoughts on “{Top 5} ANGSTY ROMANCES!

Add yours

  1. This is such a great list!! I’ll be honest, I ship Jesper and Wylan so hard. They are one of my all time favorite YA couples of all time!

    And get ready to cringe; I’m a hardcore Feysand shipper as well. Hehe oops. Jumped on that train and it ran me over hard.

    I had a hard time jumping on the Ezra and Kady train until the end of the book. I still have to read Gemina but I did really enjoy Illuminae. Aidan was bae though.

    I’m still holding out thoughts on TOG coupling. I can’t seem to get behind either dude right now. Fingers crossed a better option comes along.

    Also, you gotta read Roar by Cara Cormack. It doesn’t come out until June but it’s up on Netgalley if you use that. It was so unique for a fantasy; no info dump!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Chelsea for the sweet comment!

      I like Jesper and Wylan too! Pretty much the main 3 couples in Six of Crows are all great imo.

      I really need to get on reading Sarah J Maas’ “Court” books. I own the first but can’t figure out where to fit it into my busy life. Although, I read 1.5 books of the ToG series and also found it hard to pick a guy I liked more than the other one.

      I’ll look up Roar on Netgalley tonight. I remember your review for it and how much you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the (many, many) things I love about the Six of Crows duology is that I genuinely love all three canon couples. Kaz and Inej are my ultimate and wound up on my list, but I loved the Nina-Matthias dynamic too, as well as Jesper and Wylan.

    I haven’t read The Mortal Instruments, but am definitely enjoying Alec and Magnus on Shadowhunters so far.

    I loved The Name of the Wind too, but I remember not thinking Denna had been fleshed out enough as a character for me to really connect with her or to her romance with Kvothe. It’s been awhile since I read NotW though, I’m due for a re-read soon (just hoping Rothfuss will put a date on book 3 so I know whether I should re-read now because it’ll be awhile, or hold off a year or two)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leigh Bardugo definitely did a great job crafting characters we cared about as readers. I loved how each relationship felt different, and layered/complex.

      I really need to watch Shadowhunters!

      I kind of agree with you about Denna. I wanted to learn more about her in Book 2 than we did, which is one of the reasons why I thought the second book fell a little flat. I’m dying for a release date too!! It’s been like 6 years -_-


      1. I’d be really interested in seeing what you think of the show as a book reader, but I’ve found it really fun and I like all of the characters a lot. Plus they’re filming it in my home city of Toronto, so it’s been fun to spot some familiar places in the city while I’m watching.

        I didn’t love Book 2 as much as The Name of the Wind either, and was definitely hoping they’d give Denna some background. Maybe in Book 3… eventually!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Kady and Ezra, yay! I loved them so much and just like you, thought it was so interesting to start the book with them having broken up. I loved every single one of their interactions! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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