So I’m in the middle of an anthology that I picked up because I thought it would last me a bit longer than a novel. I’m in the middle of it, which means this isn’t a review, but it’s called the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance (yeah, I can be a sucker for this genre too). At any rate, it just struck me for some reason that the there were two basic flavors of paranormal romance.
One: Girl supernatural (born or made) is lamenting the fact that she hasn’t found ‘the one’. It can be the central plot point or sort of an overarching theme of the story or book. Often times she’ll believe (or actually be) terrible at picking out good guys from bad-for-you guys (I’m sure we all have this sort of friend, male or female). My problem with this is that the woman seems to feel that she is incomplete or failed as a woman in some way for not having a man in her life. All of her friends are trying to set her up with the handful (or less) of single guys they know.
So first question is: Are there any books with female leads who are single who don’t think that they have to have a man to be legitimized in some way? Suggestions welcome!
Flavor two: Male lead is thinking that he’s lonely or he’ll never find his mate. He randomly finds a mysterious woman on the streets (serendipity/kismet abounds!) who is in some sort of danger (anything from tripped into a busy street and can’t get up to being specifically targeted by the man’s enemies). Man saves woman who usually starts off being really mad at the man (I can save myself/Let me go etc). Through their trials, Stockholm Syndrome or mating bonds makes woman fall for man and they end up together. This one bugs me a little more because the woman is often the “poor me/save me/Lois Lane” type character who relies entirely on the man. I’m married and I can tell ya, I wouldn’t be fond of such an imbalance in either direction. It wears down on you emotionally, regardless of how much you love the person.
So, question two: Is there one of these mating bond type stories out there where the woman (in particular but I will accept if it is the man) basically says “fuck you, you kidnapped me” and shoves the guy away? I know that wouldn’t really be paranormal romance but I’d like to see where these Speed type situations actually fall apart. And that’s not to say that, if its a series, that they can’t grow together later on but it bugs the crap out of me that its usually a matter of days and both parties are like “I must have you forever!”.
I’d like to put forth the Dresden files as a suggestion. Here’s poor Harry Dresden, orphan, who would like a family except he knows that its a bad idea with him because, well, everything really. Character Karrin Murphy has at least one ex-husband and while she isn’t quite happy that little sister is marrying him (WTF, Butcher?), she at least isn’t “poor me, why don’t I have a husband”? She’s more like “Shut up Harry” and “man I need to get laid” (enter Kincaid-and that rhymed).
I just read a short story in this book where a regular old human woman got bitten by a werewolf (an asshole one who did it deliberately). The pack kidnapped her and while they did treat her as a guest and treated her wounds, she was still a prisoner. The whole time she was going I want to go home/let me go/I’m your prisoner so I don’t like you with the guy who rescued her. He claimed that she was his mate and she told him that she didn’t want any part of that. In fact, she actually escaped and he let her go…and she turned right around and was all “take me to bed big boy”. I was at lunch so I couldn’t scream at my Kindle “WHAT THE UTTER FUCK” but I was utterly flabbergasted by her complete 180 in the span of about two hours while she was escaping.
I’m hoping there is something out there where female leads aren’t feeling like lesser beings because there’s no man in their lives. I’d love if their friends weren’t all “you need a man in your life” but I realize that would probably be impossible to come by. And I’d adore, adore, adore any story where there is some sort of mating or soul bond where the people involved fight it. Suggestions please!