A Grown-Up Peeta

I loved the character of Peeta in The Hunger Games series; he's loyal, caring and flat-out adorable. But, he's also under 18, which makes thinking he's adorable just a teeny bit weird. So, for all you adult women out there who liked the idea of liking Peeta, may I present the non-creepy grown up version: Geraden from Stephen R. Donaldson's series Mordant's Need.

The first book, The Mirror of Her Dreams, is the very first book I ever judged by its cover and I was completely thrilled that I did. It is now one of my life rules because it's usually quite successful. But I digress. It's a fantasy series, about a young woman named Terisa Morgan who suddenly has a strange young man, Geraden, arrive in her living room through her mirror. He comes from a world where mirrors serve as doorways rather than reflectors and he convinces her to travel back with him. The masters of mirrors are destroying the kingdom of Mordant and he thinks she can help stop them. It's a riveting story with well-crafted and memorable characters and I can't recommend it highly enough.

But we're here to discuss Geraden. He's initially described as having an undeniable inherent goodness and "the type of loyalty that is usually ascribed to puppies," an eagerness that outpaces his actions, which causes him to frequently embarrass himself. Throughout the first book, he is honed from a lovable, fumble-footed boy to a strong, protective and determined man and in the second book, this man grows into his strength. Re-reading the series (again) I found more similarities between Peeta and Geraden than I expected:
  • Their first concern is always the girl. Terisa and Katniss are ridiculously lucky to have these two looking out for them.
  • Each possesses an inherent goodness that he himself seems unaware of. The girls, of course, notice it right off the bat. Everyone loves a good guy.
  • They are honest and dependable. If they say they'll be there, they'll be there. And that's commitment.
  • They have a sense of humor that is just darn adorable. Not only are they good guys who aren't afraid of commitment, they're funny too.
  • Neither of them ever fails to make the right decision no matter how difficult. Both Peeta and Geraden find themselves in tough spots, but they always do what is right, not what is easy.

Donaldson's books are adult novels, so the romance is fully developed, less one-sided, and thus a bit more satisfying than the flirty hand holding of The Hunger Games. Not that there's anything wrong with hand holding. But grown ups have a little more imagination than that. So, for your grown up readings, I give you Geraden. Enjoy ladies!

PS - Guys, there's war and intrigue and betrayals and all kinds of other good stuff. You'll like this book too. Just like you liked The Hunger Games.

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