Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Confirmed: Romance is one of my least favorite genres

Remove Formatting from selectionI swear I went in with an open mind. I finished Goddess of the Sea by PC Cast last week, her sort of modern retelling of the Little Mermaid tale. A modern women is transported into the middle ages in a magical parallel world into the body of a mermaid after a traumatic accident. Capers and mermaid/human sex ensue. I think the biggest problem is that it was just way too predictable. When you know there is going to be a happy ending, you don't get the same kind of suspenseful tension in the story that makes you want to keep reading to figure out what happens. Cast did a good job in trying to avoid a stereotypical Romance heroine. Unfortunately, too good of a job in that the numerous New Agey, women are divine and empowered messages were delivered with sledgehammers. And the amount of New Age and Neo Pagan/Wiccan language thrown in was almost as exasperating to me as trying to get through Orson Scott Card's Folk of the Fringe. As far as I can tell through the interwebs, Cast claims to be private about her personal religious beliefs, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt that it may not be an issue of proselytizing or glorifying a personal faith as it seems to be for Card (or more egregious examples lurking in the Christian fiction aisle). The issue isn't so much that there are religious themes addressed or religious characters. I enjoy many books that deal with serious religious themes. It's an issue of subtlety and allowing the reader to contemplate the issues, rather than the concepts being thrust forward as completely true and without much nuance or complexity. I realize that Romance is by and large about escapism and I was likely expecting too much going in. I'll keep that in mind and try to avoid the genre in the future, unless I get solid recommendations on notable exceptions.

All in all, if you want fairy tales retold in a magical world with strong female characters, I would recommend Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment