Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character?
They’re often so much better than real men. Better looking, better backstories, better personalities, better kissing…
And in honor of this week’s release of Kingdom of Ash – authored by Sarah J. Maas, the queen of book boyfriends – I couldn’t think of a better topic to discuss or a better person to guest star on the blog.
Please welcome my friend and fellow fictophile Lindsay Landgraf Hess! Lindsay’s an expert in all things romance and part of the wonderful All The Kissing team.
Today we’re sharing our favorite swoon-worthy fictional men as well as the ideal dates we’d plan if, you know… They were real.
So let’s dive in, and be prepared to add even more books to your ‘to be read’ list!
Because I am a kind-hearted friend, I let Lindsay choose first. And she had the gall to STEAL some of my picks. Therefore, I chose alternates. But that doesn’t mean I love them any less or that they would pick her over me in real life…
Also since Lindsay got to choose first, I get to pick six instead of five. HA!
Tauri’s Pick: Rowan Whitethorn from HEIR OF FIRE
You say ‘brooding Fae warrior’ and I come running. Especially for the silver-haired, pine and snow-smelling, tattooed Rowan. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a total dick at first. But then the hardened exterior falls away to make room for his warm-hearted, wounded and witty sides.
The warrior thing is super hot, but what I like so much about Rowan is that he and Aelin are total equals. They’re both just as powerful as the other, and Rowan never once treats her as a damsel in distress nor acts like he’s afraid of her like everyone else. He lets her do her thing without any hint of male insecurity. It’s also a superrrr slow burn which I am HERE FOR.
“I spent centuries wandering the world, from empires to kingdoms to wastelands, never settling, never stopping – not for one moment. I was always looking toward the horizon, always wondering what waited across the next ocean, over the next mountain. But I think… I think that whole time, all those centuries, I was just looking for you.”
Our first date: We’d head to the beach. Just so I can watch him shirtless, flicking drops of saltwater from his shining hair. We’d pack a picnic and go for a swim where things may get a little steamy… Then of course the mating bond would kick into gear and we’d spend the rest of our lives together. Duh.
Lindsay’s Pick: Griffin from A PROMISE OF FIRE
Griffin is a warlord, part of the family ruling over the newly conquered realm of Sinta. To maintain his newfound power over the land, he needs Cat’s lie-detecting “kingmaker” magic… So he abducts her from the circus where she works as a soothsayer (as you do). Enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope ever, and this one does not disappoint. Plus add in a fun, fresh take on Greek mythology, some steeeeeeeeaaaaaaaamy romance, and you’ve got yourself a killer read.
Our first date: Since he recently conquered the realm of Sinta, we’d go on one of those sightseeing Bachelor-style dates where we Explore All The Places and Experience All The Things. I’m talking eating weird foods in the markets, segway tours around town, giggling together as we sit beside a picturesque fountain in the central town square, etc. Don’t forget discussing our hopes and dreams and fears – we’d definitely do that too. And then, of course, we’d kiss and he’d fall hopelessly, irrevocably in love with me. *contented sigh*
Tauri’s Pick: Mr. Darcy from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
No book boyfriend list is complete without the incomparable Mr. Darcy. Any character that is still this loved more than 200 years after publication is a no-brainer. Tall, dark and handsome. Noble, awkward and soft-spoken. Sure, he starts off insulting our spunky and outspoken heroine, but he recovers quickly. He’s got a big heart, great character growth and deep pockets. What more could you want?
Our first date: I mean, if I lived at Pemberly, I’d never leave. So we’d wander the sculpture exhibit, walk the grounds, listen to his little sister play the pianoforte… And the soft, innocent touches and heart-warming whispers would slowly drive me wild.
Lindsay’s Pick: Michael Phan from THE KISS QUOTIENT
If you’re not familiar with this book, it’s about Stella, a brilliant but unlucky-in-love scientist/economist with Asperger’s who hires Michael, a male escort, to teach her how to kick ass at dating and romance. And OF COURSE he’s completely charming and drool-worthy, and OF COURSE they fall in love, and OF COURSE it’s wonderful. Michael is gentle and patient, strong and sexy. His thoughtful, tender way with Stella had me swooning all over the place.
“All the things that you make you different make you perfect.”
Fun fact, Sarah J. Maas (author of the above mentioned ACOMAF and ToG) just recommended this book as her new read of choice on The Today Show!
Our first date: He’d take me out for delicious Vietnamese food, we’d have sparkling conversation all night long. His quiet confidence and overwhelming sexiness have me practically drooling the whole time. He doesn’t mind though, he thinks I’m an adorable goofball, and we make plans to go out again the next night…and the night after that, too (and I have to stop myself from actually falling down swooning on the floor).
Tauri’s Pick: Henry Charles Albert Edgar Pembrook from ROYALLY MATCHED
Watching this irresponsible, dashing, and raunchy prince grow into a man and great leader was the pleasure (pun intended) of a lifetime. Whether he wants it or not (he definitely doesn’t) he’s the new heir to the throne of Wessco. But despite his rogue-ish ways, he’s the perfect choice. Everyone loves him, and he commands every room from the throne room to the bedroom. Guys, be prepared to get all hot and bothered. Henry knows what he’s doing even if his quiet and bookish new love interest doesn’t.
Oh, and did I mention he sings and plays the guitar?
Our first date: He’d take me to a charity ball where he’d whisper naughty but sweet nothings in my ear while we danced. Then when he was done with his princely duties, we’d sneak off for a drink at the pub, some pool and a lot of flirting and touching. I’d pressure him into singing a song for me, and he’d never takes his eyes off mine.
Lindsay’s Pick: Rhysand from A COURT OF MIST AND FURY
Okay y’all, buckle up. Rhysand. RHYSAND. He is the high lord of the Night Court in Sarah J. Maas’ gorgeous and sexy trilogy… And also the high lord of my heart. I think the reason I love him as much as I do is because, though he’s absolute sex on a stick (he really, really is), his connection with Feyre is mental and emotional, too.
“I heard every word between you. I knew you could take care of yourself, and yet… And yet I found myself deciding that if you took his hand, I would find a way to live with it. It would be your choice.”
“And if he had grabbed me?”
There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.”
He helps bring her back from the throes of a deep depression, quietly encouraging and supporting her and giving her the space to re-connect with herself as she rediscovers her own inner strength. It’s a suuuuper slow burn, allowing for all of this relationship building, and when they finally get together… Hot damn y’all. Hot. Damn.
Our first date: A secluded cabin high up in the mountains, with no subsequent scheduling commitments, so as to allow plenty of time to admire his, uhh, *wingspan.*
Tauri’s Pick: Damon Salvatore from THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
So this is kind of cheating because technically I fell in love with Damon because of the TV show based on the book series. But I couldn’t bear to not include him. He’s sassy, he’s selfish, he’s reckless, but GOOD LORD. He’s wonderful. And love makes him a better man, whether he likes it or not.
I… can’t even think of anything else to say, words don’t do him justice. Y’all I’ve fallen hard.
Our first date: Anything. Everything. Whatever he wants. In fact, I can’t think of a date that wouldn’t be perfect as long as he was there.
Lindsay’s Pick: Gavin Pope from INTERCEPTED
Where do I even begin? His chiseled body? His gentlemanly manner? His deep-running loyalty and devotion? Gahhh. I could go on for hours. If you’ve not read INTERCEPTED, it’s a swoon-worthy new football romance by Alexa Martin. Even if you don’t like football (I really don’t), you’ll still LOVE this book. Gavin is everything I want in a book boyfriend – he’s sexy and powerful and charming and delicious and what are you even still doing here, go read this book immediately.
Our first date: Hmm. I’d probably try to go above and beyond and act like I care about sports for him, but he’s too thoughtful and considerate and would see straight through it and would insist on a romantic picnic instead. We would eat croissants and drink wine and he would let me wear his Very Important Football Ring.
Tauri’s Pick: Sheriff Jackson Deveau from HIDDEN CURRENTS
If you haven’t read The Drake Sisters series, it’s chock full of worthy book boyfriends. But Jackson has a special place in my heart. He also sort of starts out like a dick (sensing a theme here), but his longstanding love for Elle is the sweetest thing ever. He’s totally the hero-type and swoops in to save her after a spy mission gone wrong. And then he steps up to help her recover from the traumatic kidnapping because of his own PTSD-issues that only she can understand. His tender but blunt, no bullshit-attitude while he takes care of her will bring tears of loveliness to your eyes.
“There’s no room for him in your head, Elle. I’m there. I’ll always be there and if he tries to come in I’ll drive him out until you’re strong enough to do it yourself. And there was never room for him in your heart because I was already there. He couldn’t touch your soul. It belongs to you and no one else until you decide to share.”
Our first date: I definitely think we could get into a little bit of trouble. A high stakes car chase or shoot off where sparks and sexual tension fly. Then a dramatic and passionate ‘we survived’ kiss after we’ve saved the day. So in reality, maybe like laser tag or paintball.
Lindsay’s Pick: James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser from OUTLANDER
Jamie. Ohhh, Jamie my love. Battle-honed warrior, defender of family and ancestral land, strong-willed survivor against all odds. That first scene where Jamie meets Claire and threatens to throw her over his shoulder and carry her if she won’t walk willingly makes me scream “I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE” every single time. He is kindhearted and fierce in his devotion, this immense powerhouse of a man who could kill you in eleven different ways in half an instant but who is soft and loving with Claire (dammit why am I not Claire?!).
I’m not even writing proper sentences anymore, I’m too distracted by my deep and abiding love for Red Jamie. Fun fact – one of my favorite hobbies is to comment “Lookin’ good, boyfriend” on Sam Heughan’s (the actor who plays Jamie in the TV adaptation) Instagram pictures. One day he will respond and I will die, and that will be very awkward for someone to have to explain to my husband.
Our first date: He takes me for a walk through the beautiful Scottish woods on his family estate, and we stop to rest at a babbling brook. As we soak our feet in the stream, he opens up and tells me about his family, and how he came to be wanted by the Redcoats. I’d tell him I don’t care if he’s technically a criminal, because the only crime I think him guilty of is stealing my heart. (*hold for jeers*) We make out in the woods and live happily ever after with our many red-headed children.
Tauri’s Pick: Chaol Westfall from TOWER OF DAWN
I actually didn’t like Chaol in the first several books of the THRONE OF GLASS series. BUT when it came time for him to get a book of his own, I fell head over heels. He always had the noble and loyal soul, the wicked sword skills and the bronzed abs. But now he’s got FEELINGS! AND SO DO I!
In the previous book, Chaol ended up in a wheelchair and now he’s arrived in a new country to not only work with the esteemed healers there but convince its king to join the war. No small task, right? The transformation of this man is one of the most beautiful emotional journeys I’ve seen, and when he emerges on the other side… He’s sexy and funny and passionate and everything you could ever want. And while his skills in the bedroom are just as hot as the others on this list, it’s the deep, emotional connection he brings that makes me want to jump his bones.
Our first date: We’d definitely ride horses through a vineyard and end up racing. He’d think about letting me win but then our competitive streaks would kick in. Then we’d camp out under the starlight, roast marshmallows, laugh til our sides hurt and then make our way to our tent for… Well, the aforementioned bedroom skills.
Tauri’s: Will Herondale from CLOCKWORK ANGEL, Jon Snow from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, Ian O’Shea from THE HOST, and Patch from HUSH HUSH.
Lindsay’s: Jen Deluca’s Simon from her forthcoming book WELL MET, Maxym Martineau’s Noc from her forthcoming fantasy romance trilogy, Joshua Templeman from THE HATING GAME, and every love interest my CPs have ever written.
So that’s it folks! Plenty of new book boyfriends for you to fall in love and wish were real. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below so we can swoon along with you!