I know, I know. I had an entire entry ranting on contemporary romance novels when I first started this blog. But this is different! This is paranormal romance, not just modern-day love stories. Apparently for me the addition of magic and the supernatural makes all the difference ><.
I recently finished Katie MacAlister’s Aisling Grey series, and while not necessarily my top choice for paranormal romance, it does give a typical example of work from this author. Domineering and somewhat chauvinistic male characters, sassy and headstrong female leads, plenty of communication issues (of course!), and a good sprinkling of the unbelievable (not unlike Janet Evanovich, but I digress). In this particular story, our heroine is a Guardian/ demon lord/ wyvern’s mate (it’s a long story, literally!), and her love match happens to be the leader of the green dragons. It takes four volumes and lot of crazy mishaps, but they do eventually make it to the “happily ever after” part.
First of all, I’d like to say that not all paranormal romance stories are created equal. I admit that dragons aren’t really my cup of tea. I’m much more into vampire stories – I guess I prefer a man who’s fascinated by my blood over one who’s obsessed with treasure. Same goes for werewolves (I’ve never been much of a dog person ><).
But my biggest complaint is actually the main character herself. Aisling’s troubles seem to be part bad luck and part because she stubbornly (sometimes stupidly) insists on resolving all her problems all by herself – and occasionally solving problems that are none of her business. On one hand, I actually like “trouble magnet” characters: bad things happen, the situation is beyond their control, and it matters less how they got there and more how they handle it. This is a reflection of reality, as well as a lesson on trusting God no matter what the circumstances. But I’m less of a fan when it comes to the “unreasonably independent,” and unfortunately, the vast majority of female characters from this author follow that pattern ><. The stories are still fun, but I just can’t relate to these women! That’s not my personality… Or maybe it’s because my life tends to be more boring than chaotic that I can’t relate to them :-/ . Either way, it’s hard for me to connect with these stories (beyond the paranormal aspect that we all know I love so much :-P).
And that’s something important for me. Being able to connect with the characters (as opposed to reading a story that is completely different from my own life) is a key element in my reading experience. That’s part of what separates the stories I like from the stories I love. You can see this in my own books, as well – the female characters all reflect different aspects of me, and they react in ways that I myself would likely react. ;-)
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.