I love this week’s That Artsy Reader Girl topic, especially because I’m putting my own spin on it with a but make it friends, so here’s some dynamic duos that have kickass friendships because we need to celebrate more friendships! They’re such an important part of our daily lives, so why not talk about those that we love in fiction? Also, I am sure there are many, many more friendships that I could shriek about, but I only made it through about five pages on my Goodreads before I’d filled this up, so all you’re getting are recent reads.
I mean, obviously. Look, I love royalty in fantasy, but if you’re also going to pair that with a young king who’s scared as all hell, but just wants to be do right by his country and a cast of characters around him that just want to protect him and see him succeed–MY DUDES. That’s my jam. Each of the friendships that Nikolai has in Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo just destroy me. Getting to see other people lift him up and try to help him overcome the monster inside of him is like butter on toast for me. I’m always here for angst, but angst paired with reckless hope is almost too much because Nikolai is such a golden retriever, but he’s being consumed by darkness and despair, and seeing him fight through that with the support of his friends is so damn good.
I don’t have one specific friendship in mind with Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare, but rather the whole damn cast. It’s no surprise to me that I’m thoroughly enjoying The Last Hours, not just because it’s Shadowhunters, but because Clare is always someone that I’m going to shriek about when it comes to characters. She writes truly excellent casts, and the way she’s woven the friendships through this latest series is perfect. I could have honestly listed any of the series in the Shadowhunters universe, and it probably would have made more sense to do The Dark Artifices because the Blackthorns wreck me every time, but the friendships built in TLH are something special, something bigger and bolder than Clare has ever done, and I love them so much.
Liz & Jordan don’t get a ton of page time together in You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, but they get enough that they had me hollering. I love when there are important enough friendships alongside romantic relationships that you’re able to see the MC interacting with people outside of their love interest. It just brings another level of excellent storytelling, and you get to see the MC develop so much more when they’re just hanging with their friends. Jordan was such a good counterbalance to Liz, and their interactions were wonderful.
I was so enamored with The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny recently that it comes as no surprise to me that I’m throwing it on a TTT as soon as possible, but rest assured, the friendship between Mirabelle & Piglet 100% deserves to be on here. It’s a very sporadic friendship–we don’t get to see it too often, and the moments that we do are small–but it’s such an important one to Mirabelle that anytime Piglet is mentioned, my heart grew three times. Really, all of the relationships in this world are fantastic, and I’m so excited to see how Kenny expands on them in the next one.
Broken Web by Lori M Lee was one of my favorite reads last year because of the friendship between Sirscha & Saengo. There’s only just now, in the second book, some inklings of romance in the background, and it’s been really nice to have that in a fantasy book. The focus is solely on Sirscha & Saengo’s relationship with one another, and it’s both refreshing and powerful to witness. They have such a close bond even before the literal bonding of their souls, and to watch that friendship grow and change as they adapt to the wild new world around them was such a treat. It’s so evident to me when authors have really close friendships like this because this. This is exactly how friends who have really gone through it are supposed to act.
Casey McQuiston is obviously an absolute mastermind at casts, and while I definitely am about to talk about two books by the same author, I specifically wanted to put August & Company in One Last Stop on this one. Don’t get me wrong, I love RWRB so much, and that cast is truly phenomenal, but there’s something special about the OLS cast. It’s probably the same reason that I love Honey Girl so much because Grace is lifted up and supported by the friends around her in the same way that August is. The way that August’s character grows because of her friends, the way she flourishes and learns and wants to become a better person is because of the people around her, and that cast of characters just makes me shriek with unending delight.
I’m talking about Vanja & Company in Little Thieves by Margaret Owen first because, though it came out second, it’s definitely the one that stuck with me the most. Though, yeah, I broke probably one of the only rules I’ve ever had on this blog by including a second Owen book, but honestly? What am I supposed to do? She writes exceptional characters, and they’re always overwhelmingly good together, and the way that Vanja goes from feral, hateful, terrified little creature to actually thinking she might be worth having friends because of the relationships she builds is just actual gold.
I will forever and always give my allegiance to Fie, but the friendship that Tavin & Jas have in The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen is next level. I mean, come on. Tavin literally fakes his own death so that he can escape with Jas, and pretends to be the prince so that Jas can continue to remain safe. The lengths that Tavin goes to protect him get me right in the heart, and I love the deep bond that they have with each other, even when both of them are furious with each other.
Grace & Company in Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers absolutely wrecked me last week, and I don’t know how I’m going to stop thinking about that book. It was already good when it was just Grace, Ximena, Agnes, Meera, and Raj, but the second that Rogers added in Yuki, Sani, Fletcher, and Dhorian–oh man, I was done for. What a freaking cast. I love every single one of those characters in such wildly different ways, but the way that they work together is so damn good.
I definitely could have included more Margaret Rogerson books, but most of the characters in her books are in romantic relationships, and even if they weren’t, there’s something special about Artemisia & the revenant in Vespertine. The second they started bickering with each other, I knew I was a goner, and I am so hyped to read this book again at some point this year. They have the vibe of both an old married couple and two catty best friends, and it’s fantastic.