I recognize that I’m in the minority here when I say that I love slow books, but holy hot damn, they’re amazing. Honestly, I feel like this might be a product of my time kind of situation? Back in the early fanfiction days, when AO3 wasn’t even kind of a concept and we were all crossposting on Livejournal and bemoaning about the moderators on HPFF not allowing us to do anything more than a chaste kiss and a fade to black, slow burns were where it was at. And I am still fully living in that world.
Immediately, two of my old fics come to mind. I wrote a college au Marvel fic that was–HOLY SHIT–264k words, and I’m pretty sure Steve & Tony had only just gotten together toward the end of that? It was meant to keep going forever, too, and they were definitely going to have troubles and break up a few times, but the chase on that bullshit was at least 150k words long, but let’s be real, it was more like 200k, GOOD GRIEF. Okay, yup, I don’t think I even need to talk about the other fic to explain myself?
I also wrote a James Bond/Q trilogy, and while they did get together in the first 70k, there was a solid, like, 40k before that happened. Probably more, if we’re being honest, because ya girl truly loves a slow burn.
This totally does not translate across my own novels because I can’t be bothered anymore, and I’m like chapter fifteen, and they haven’t kissed yet? What in the actual hell, vamos! But I do definitely still employ chase because my characters always know that they like each other by at least chapter five or something, and there’s a whole heck ton of pining and yearning and ughhhhh just get together already nonsense, and, truthfully, I’m not out here writing a 250k word novel, okay.
Except that I kind of am, given that Andrew learns about Rafael a full 1500 years before he meets him.
But why? Why do we love slow books? Y’all, I like to languish. The fact that Alex doesn’t even admit that he likes Henry in RWRB for, like, a solid 100 pages is just glorious. And that’s well before anything even happens between them! Give me the memories of Alex smudging the picture of Henry in his youth because he’s tracing the lines of his hair and not even realizing that that means he likes him, UGH YES PLEASE. I am quietly flailing just thinking about it.
This is probably why I love Shadowhunters as a universe so much, too. I’m halfway through Chain of Gold right now, and we are actual lightyears away from anything happening between Cordelia & James, but there was just a scene where James shows up to fetch Cordelia, and I was honest to Satan melting right off the bed just reading it, like holyyyyyyy. Cordelia’s kind of even given up on hoping that there might be something between them, and I’m still over here like YES THEY’RE INTERACTING OH MY GODS THEY SAID WORDS TO EACH OTHER AND JAMES IS IN AWE OF THE GOLDEN GLOW OFF CORTANA BECAUSE HE’S TOO STUPID TO REALIZE HE’S REALLY JUST JAW DROPPING OVER CORDELIA.
And like? That’s all of Shadowhunters. How long does it take Alec & Magnus together? Wait, whaaaaaaat, they get together in City of Bones? Alright, well, here I was thinking it was at least City of Glass, whatever, the point remains that Alec takes forever to even admit he likes Magnus, never mind tell his friends that. Ugh, it’s so good, I love it, I LOVE SLOW BOOKS.
Now, I know what you’re thinking–oh, we’re just pining over slow romances, that’s not the same as a slow book. But I also do love slow books. I feel like Anna-Marie McLemore is a good example of this because it feels like so little actually happens in their books? I mean, a lot does happen, but a lot of it is also just really elegant purple prose and, like, leaves turning into glass and flowers coming out of veins. Which is wild, sim, one hundred percent, but also not all that earth-shattering in the grand scheme of their plots. And I love it. I love being able to just slowly drawl through a world. Shea Ernshaw’s Winterwood is literally just a girl wandering through the woods in the winter and hanging out with a ghost, and there’s probably ten whole pages of action in the entire book, which feels generous, and it’s amazing.
And these aren’t even long books! I mean, yes, I’m not going to say no to The Daevabad Trilogy and all of its glorious slowness, but books don’t have to be long to also be slow. Although I’ll be the absolute last person to turn away from a long slow book because those are truly where my heart lies. Something that takes actual eons to setup the world, get all the characters acquainted, and then maybe even have a slow burn romance on top?? It’s like freaking catnip.
This is definitely personal preference, too, because I know a lot of people get very ugh about high fantasy books that take eons to get anything done, but I love it. I mean, my favorite series is LOTR, so it’s not that surprising that this is how I feel, but an almost exhaustingly slow fantasy is the actual way to my heart.
Even just looking around my bookshelves is a testament to how much this is true. And I realize I haven’t really said anything specific about why I love slow books other than I like to take my time with them, but that’s really it in a nutshell. The fact that Lisa Maxwell’s The Last Magician quartet is almost 2000 pages with a final book still to be released almost gives me shivers of excitement. I love big, hefty books that are going to take their sweet time doing anything. And I also love short, lingering books like A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth where there’s, like, actively three scenes of action in the whole book, and most of it is just waxing poetic about how much a house means to someone.
Give me slow books that I never have to leave, and I’ll be happy forever.