Every once in a while I find myself in a reading slump. I feel doubly at loose ends when this happens, because not feeling like doing your favorite thing is disconcerting, and because I just feel a bit unmoored if I’m not reading.
I was in one such slump when I stumbled on a Reylo Western AU titled “Wanted” by Inmyownidiom. In this story, it is Rey who is the outlaw, running around with a gang called The Rebels and Ben Solo is a U.S. Marshall hot on their tail. Aside from the fact that “Wanted” is a western, a genre I rarely read but always enjoy, this fic has the enemies to lovers you’ve come to expect with Reylo fics. It also throws our characters together in fun and eyebrow-waggling ways. But I can’t talk about “Wanted” without commenting about the writing–it’s fast, tight, and so clever. Inmyownidiom writes some of the best banter I’ve ever had the privilege to squeal over. I grinned a lot while reading this fic, and I know you will too.
“Wanted” is a really unique read, and I searched and searched to try and find books that gave me the similar thrills of reading something where I knew the general direction that the story was going, but I was still delighted with the originality of the journey I traveled to get there. The first book that came to mind was Barrayar by Lois McMaster Bujold. Part of the Vorkosigan Saga (and there are many ways to read this saga, I recommend chronological starting with Shards of Honor) Barrayar tells the story of Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan and her life on her husband’s planet of (you guessed it) Barrayar. Adjusting to different political and cultural norms, as well as married life and pregnancy, Cordelia soon must face an assassination attempt and a coup. McMaster Bujold’s writing is fast and witty, and the dialogue and banter are pure joy to read, just like in “Wanted”.
Another book where I knew the general direction the plot was going but I nonetheless loved the ride was The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame. A book Montgomery wrote for adults (a rarity) about Valancy, under the thumb of her family and their expectations. When she finds out she only has a short time to live, Valancy decides that her time to live her own life–where she says and does what she wants–is now. Her prospects for a happy life have never been better.
Have you read Wanted or any of the read alikes? Do you have any others to recommend? You can find me on Twitter @AmyWishman.