Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hunter's Moon

Note To Self:
Henceforth you will avoid "Romance" novels. Romantic fiction, i.e., "romantic suspense," "romantic fantasy," etc., is okay. But no more novels from Romance lines or with Romance printed in small letters somewhere on the spine. Should you chose to read another romance novel, you may not whine about it on this blog. You're annoying yourself and readers.

You are allowed one last rant, Self. Have at it.

Hunter's Moon (C.T. Adams & Cathy Clamp) is a book built on cool ideas. It's a pity all that relationship stuff gets in the way.
I bailed on Hunter's Moon about 80 pages in, so this isn't a real review but a commentary on romance in general.

Except for an over-reliance on a particular device--the hero's keen sense of smell--the writing isn't bad and the authors takes the novel approach of using the hero's first-person point of view.

Sue is an extreme people pleaser, the ultimate girl who can't say no. Tired of being manipulated and controlled by her family, she decides the only way out is death. Except she's a bit squeamish about the killing part of suicide. Dr. Kervokian is in jail, so she hires hit man and newbee werewolf, Tony to do the job.

Independent of the inherent romance formula flaws, the novel's biggest weakness is the heroine. We are told--repeatedly--by Sue that she "must" help her worthless and abusive family because "they are family." I know there are people like this, people who take a perverse pleasure in their martyrdom. I hate 'em. If someone treats you like shit, family or otherwise, you kick them to the curb. Easy-peasy. You can only be used if you let yourself be used.

But the real issue is the conflict between what Sue says she is and her personality. Despite being beaten down by all the bad people in her life, she is intelligent and bizarrely self-assured. And she doesn't seem to have any problems deserting her precious family to shack up with a werewolf assassin.

Even more vexing is the fact that--like every other romance I've read--nothing happens for 80 pages. Sue meets Tony. She hires him to kill her and then--Look out, it's the Contrivance Iceberg!--accompanies him to a hotel to "talk." They have mind-altering sex followed by more amazing--like nothing they've ever experienced!--sex. With the exception of a bartender and similar folks in the service industry, Sue and Tony are the only people in the story. It's like being stuck in an elevator with a couple of horny teenagers who are making out like crazed weasels.

It seems like romance readers can't multi-task. Rules for writing romance:

1.Thou shall not have a strong subplot that runs throughout the entire novel
2. Thou shall not let the hero and heroine out of each other's sight because the reader might forget they're "hot" for each other.
3. Thou shall not let the hero or heroine have lives. No jobs or employment that might separate the two lovers. (See Rule 2)
4. Avoid employment or the issue of rent/mortgage by making the hero (or heroine) fabulously rich. Never, however, expect rich boy-girl to spend any time managing money because this might break Rule 2.
5. When crafting paranormal heroes, always go for glamourous and/or dangerous professions--assassin, art collector, etc. Heroes must be urbane. No night managers at Wal-Mart. Remember, actual employment would require H/H to leave each other's sight. (Rule 2)
6. Vampires and werewolves are afraid of barbers. Long flowing Fabio hair is a must.
7. All tortured heroes can be redeemed via the love of a good woman. Hero must accept the heroine for what she is--fat thighs and all--but must give up a perfectly lucrative profession as a burglar to "make her happy." Cuz, they will live on lurve.
8. When in doubt, consult Rule 2. In lieu of plot, harken to Rule 2. In lieu of good dialogue and characterization, see Rule 2. The reader must never forget that the hero and heroine are hot for each other.

Since I jumped ship less than a third through Hunter's Moon, I don't know if it adheres to all of the above. The early chapters are textbook Rule 2, however. Hiring a hitman to kill yourself is an idea loaded with original possibilities; too bad the authors chose the trite and uninspired.

Why rant...?
My poor greyhound is still at the vet's, on an IV and doing poorly. I needed a rant. Thanks for endulging me.

Have a good weekend.
P.Kirby

 

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