I’ve long stated that I’m paranormaled-out, that the struggle of Good vs. Evil with the hairy and the fanged doesn’t do much for me anymore. Too often the Presto Instant-Lurrrve because They Were Meant To Be frustrates me and I stop caring about the fate of the world. Really, if the planet blew up because there wasn’t enough emotional tension between the protagonists, it’s a justifiable loss. I much prefer a plot that forces the hero and heroine to come to terms with their relationship for reasons other than The Fate of the World, and having the attraction and fated attachment mixed in like romance novel Ovaltine bugs the ever living hell out of me.
Sometimes the hero is unable to control his compulsion – they are Meant to Be, and there’s no use fighting. It creates brittle conflict and for God’s sake the world hangs in the balance. Yawn. Other times they hate each other but find out that their hybrid child can save the world, or that they’re being manipulated into hatred because of whatever reason.
At times, the paranormal romances I’ve sampled are like Bond movies: there’s sex and romance in there as a garnish. At no time in a Bond movie are you supposed to believe that old James is hanging up is eternally erect gun and his watery martini because he’s found True Lurrrrve. The Bond women, and sadly, some heroines, are transient and about as emotionally deep as sneeze splatter.
I think my frustration rests with the idea that too often the plot in paranormal romance assumes that the relationship working out, instead of the plot BEING that their relationship will work out, no matter what obstacles are in their way. “We must fuck to save the world” is like a bad pickup line. (I now challenge you to go use it in a bar or club – PLEASE.)
Yet I do like stories about shifters and to a lesser extent vampires that aren’t too angsty or too gleeful about it (what Heather Osborn calls, “OMG I just woke up in a COFFIN – AWESOME!” syndrome) so I’m still cautiously trying out different books that might grab me. My solution: novellas. Paranormal ones. Even if the story isn’t as developed as I’d like, or there’s room for more, often the novella is a strong indication of the larger novels to come, or work really well as a sample for the writer’s world building.
Do you like paranormal novellas? Do you buy them? Do you prefer that they’re free? And if you read them, which ones rock your world, or your otherworld? Are there other novellas you adore? Share, please!