When I first watched The Force Awakens, I told my husband about the crazy-sexy chemistry I noticed between the Big Bad, Kylo Ren, and Rey, the last-nameless junk dealer who is just brimming with raw Jedi talent. He looked at me like I was nuts. (Not exactly a rare occurrence in our house, but still, it was mildly insulting) He pointed out that the film was clearly setting up a relationship between Finn, the Stormtrooper turned rebel hero and Rey, to which I said, Pfffttt. Those two will never be anything more than friends. There’s no chemistry there. (Now, Finn’s chemistry with fly boy Poe...well, that’s another story entirely. But I digress…) Then just last week we went to see The Last Jedi, and I came away from it feeling pretty darn smug. This time around, there’s NO denying that the real relationship in this film series is between Kylo Ren and Rey. (Known from this point forward as “Reylo”) And I doubt there’s a romance novel lover out there who would disagree with me. Let me prove it.
****Contains spoilers for The Last Jedi*****Proceed at your own risk*******
Now, before the hate mail starts rolling in, I want to clarify something. Yes, I’m perfectly aware that the state of Reylo’s relationship at the moment is what many consider to be abusive. They fight. They physically harm each other. And Kylo Ren says some not-so-nice things to Rey in an effort to get her to turn her back on the resistance and rule the galaxy with him instead. But I think I speak for most Reylo shippers when I say that a ship for these two is actually a ship for Rey and a REDEEMED Kylo Ren, aka: Ben Solo. No one actually wants Rey to go dark, bend to the will of Kylo Ren, and enter into an abusive relationship where he isolates her from her friends and makes her do terrible things. (At least I hope they don’t.)
Kylo Ren has made some horrific mistakes (not sure I’ll ever totally forgive him for the whole Han Solo thing) and decisions, and his redemption won’t be easy, but with Rey’s help (and love), I 100% believe Ben Solo can have a healthy HEA with Rey. (Key word there, folks: healthy.) Now, if you still feel the need to come at me, internet, BRING IT ON. Because in the immortal words of Dido, I will go down with this ship.
Now that that’s out of the way, here’s why romance novel lovers will ADORE Reylo in The Last Jedi:
A classic enemies to lovers romance
One trope that consistently rates high with romance novel lovers is enemies to lovers. Reylo are star-crossed in the worst possible way. He’s the darkness, she’s the light. She’s inherently good, and while there’s conflict in him, he tends to skew more towards evil. And yet they still have an intense connection. Sure, that connection was strengthened by Snoke, but it was there long before Snoke set up their Force-fueled Skype sessions. (Remember the look on Rey’s face when Kylo removed his helmet in The Force Awakens, and he looked more like a Disney prince than a villain? We sure as hell do.)
If romance novels have taught us anything, it’s that there’s a fine line between love and hate, and it doesn’t take much for both parties to cross that line in an attempt to find their HEA. We’ve seen a childhood bully fall ass-over elbow for the girl whose life he once ruined, a hitman fall for the woman he’s supposed to kill, and a young vampire slayer fall for a centuries-old vampire. (All phenomenal 5-star reads, by the way)
Long-story-short: fans of the enemies to lovers trope will find a lot to love about Reylo.
Off-the-charts sexual chemistry
There’s nothing overtly sexual about Reylo’s interactions in this movie. There’s no kissing, there are no love declarations. And yet their scenes together are more intense and powerful and rife with sexual tension than anything that happened in Attack of the Clones, which was an overt love story (and a ham-handed one, at that). The moment Reylo touched hands was sexier than any full-blown make-out session ever could have been. And if there’s one thing romance novel fans adore it’s good sexual chemistry. Jill Shalvis, Melanie Harlow, Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland, Kylie Scott, Kristen Ashley, Emma Chase, Lauren Blakely...they’re all MASTERS of writing gut-wrenching sexual tension that leaves readers panting for more. Anyone who has read and enjoyed their books will undoubtedly enjoy watching Reylo.
A strong heroine
And we don’t just mean that Rey is strong with the Force and a lightsaber. A lesser heroine might’ve caved when Kylo held his hand out to her, begged her to join him, then threw in that absolutely heart-crushing please, complete with spectacular puppy-dog eyes. (I for SURE would’ve caved at the please.)
But not our Rey. She chose instead to leave Kylo behind and help her friends (and the resistance) fight for freedom in the galaxy. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned here at Romance Rehab, it’s that romance readers ADORE strong, kick-ass heroines. Rey more than qualifies.
So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get to the theatre, romance lovers!
What about y’all? Anything you’d like to discuss? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!