The movie Far and Away is the story of two Irish immigrants making their way in America during the 1890s. Towards the end of Act 2, the main characters are freezing and living on the streets of New York City. They break into an empty home where they could finally eat, but declare their love for each other and make out instead.
That scene drives me crazy. The food is right there, you haven’t eaten in days, and you’re going to ignore it so you can play house?
I think this illustrates why romance really isn’t the genre for me. Characters swept away by love when the solution to so many of their problems is right in front of them. I feel like so many protagonists in romance novels are just stupid.
That’s what bugs me about Tithe, even as we creep towards the end of the book. Roiben and Kaye have escaped the Unseelie Court with their lives, but Kaye is hardly worried about the consequences of the uncompleted Tithe or the death of the Unseelie Queen. When Kaye and Roiben kiss again, the scene is meant to titillate, but doesn’t exactly move the story along.
Kaye’s more concerned with getting things settled with Roiben: explaining the plan, and how she wanted to tell him she was a pixie but never got the chance. They have some of their most “normal” conversations so far during this chapter. I’ll admit, the awkwardness between the two now that they’re no longer in danger is pretty cute.
All this to say, romance really isn’t the genre for me. I like Tithe for the fantasy, but I could take or leave the romantic subplot. Maybe I’m just too old. I’m closer to 30 than 20, and no longer the YA target demographic.
Roiben, presumably older and wiser, at least, calls Kaye out on her skewed priorities.
‘Kaye, Faery is a place governed by a set of customs both severe and binding. What you have done has consequences.’
‘Everything has consequences,’ she said, ‘and the consequence of this is that the solitary fey are free again, you’re free, and the bad Queen is dead. That seems pretty over to me.’
Kaye doesn’t really understand what these “consequences” are until she sees several news stories detailing the chaos the solitary fae created on their first night of freedom.
Roiben spoke as he began to pace the room. ‘Everything is always easier when considered black and white, isn’t it? Your friends, after all, are good and wise, so all solitary fey must be good and wise. Your friends must have some respect and fear and knowledge of humans, so all solitary fey will follow in that example.’
Kaye has a hard lesson to learn, but doesn’t get much time to dwell on it. Kaye soon learns that Corny is missing and is still in the Unseelie Court, most likely with Nephamael.
I didn’t really think about this too much when I was a kid, but we have a gender reversal here. Instead of Kaye needing to be saved, it’s the girl going back into danger to save the guy.