Friday, April 20, 2007
Is it romance?
I just finished reading a new romantic suspense. Not only was the title just published, but it was written by an author who is new to me.
Now to analyze...
I liked the book. Sort of. :\ Honestly, the plot was a bit more sci-fi than suspense and I'm not a huge, huge fan of the genre. Oh, I like to watch Star Trek in its various forms; I love the Star Wars movies (the original three more-so); I've even enjoyed the occasional Ray Bradbury story from time to time.
So what's my problem? Well, it wasn't just with this current read -- I've had this come up in two other romantic suspense titles (two of a series). But in all three books I'm brought up short by one simple thing:
The hero isn't quite 'heroic'. In all truth, the stories themselves -- particularly this last -- weren't exactly what I'd term 'romantic'.
There was no real falling in love in this last read--more of an obsessive sexual bonding and manipulation. There wasn't any deep emotion. Yes, lots of hot sex; the heroine slowly begins to sneak beneath the tough hero's shell (this revealed only through his inner dialogue); the heroine doesn't even know the hero's identity until the very last page! Yep, you probably guessed it -- there's a sequel coming out later this summer. ***NOTE: Add this to my pet-peeve list.***
But falling in love? Romance? I didn't see it.
Am I just old-fashioned? Maybe. But now I'm wondering is this is simply another take on the bad-boy hero OR if this is the direction our romance novels are headed?
When I say 'bad-boy', I don't mean the classic rebel in leather riding a Harley... or the tom cat who treats all women like sex-objects until he encounters the heroine. I don't even mean the bad-ass Alpha dudes that prowl the pages of such works as Kenyon's DARK-HUNTER series. I'm talking BAD, such as those men who kill for a living (albeit usually under the thumb of some ultra-secret government agency). I'm talking about men who use sex as a weapon -- literally -- even against the heroine herself.
Exciting? Sure, I'll admit, it can be. After all, if they use sex as a tool, we can safely assume they sure know what they're doing between the sheets. We all have our little fantasies -- even ones we don't recognize until we're squirming as we read the book. ;)
But is it healthy? Is it romance?
I'm not so sure. What do you think?