Sunday, April 29, 2012

Romance Characters with "morals" -- does it spoil the fantasy?

I tried to read Colleen Houck's "Tiger Curse" series earlier this year after blogging about it here. I barely got through the first book. I kept bouncing back and forth between liking it, loving it, and hating it. Colleen has flashes of real talent. But she also makes massive rookie mistakes. She has long, boring, pointless scenes that do nothing other than drag the book out and make it longer. She has "Info dump" scenes which is when a character will either explain to the reader or another character an important part of the plot. She had those a lot. And the main character in her series Kelsey acts like a real bitch toward the end of the first book and makes you want to reach into the book and either shake her silly or strangle her to death. In the "Tiger" series Kelsey develops a relationship with cursed Indian Prince Ren who turns into a tiger every few hours throughout the day. In the first book when Kelsey realises she has feelings for Ren she panics and decides since Ren looks like a fashion model, is a prince and very rich, that it was only a matter of time before he cheated on her or broke up with her and broke her heart so to protect herself from harm becomes a rotten bitch and treats him like shit for the second half of book one before breaking up with him (even though they'd never reached the point of being in a relationship) at the end of the book and then runs back home to her America. Sound like a weird plot for a romance? Yeah, you bet. Firstly, what sort of heroine treats the hero like shit? And why would he just stand around and take it and still like her at the end of the day? In the second book I struggled through 177 pages of boring, pointless fluff before one moment made me put the book down and not pick it up again. It was when Kelsey said that she wanted to wait until marriage before doing it with Ren. Oh and I should mention that before she dropped that bombshell she acted jealous if Ren spoke to other women and still wondered if Ren was making a mistake being with her and wondered, again, if she should dump him "for his own sake" as if he is not capable of making up his own mind and understanding the consequences of some things. It wasn't until I got to the part about sex that I decided I could not read any further. When I read romances I want to be swept away on a ridiculous fantasy train ride of fun. I don't want to read about up tight, bitchy, "moral" heroines who want to save themselves for marriage. There's a market for that. It's called Christian Romance. And if that's what floats your boat, more power to you! But it's not me. I don't read romance just to read the sex scenes. Actually, I find the sex scenes rather boring and have started skipping them. It's the lead up to the sex that gets me in now. The flirting, the build up, that's what gets me. I have to like the characters and their relationship. And frankly I don't know how anyone could like Ren and Kelsey's relationship. I thought Kelsey was a believable, flawed character, she just was not likable. I liked Bella in Twilight more! And that's saying something considering she's as detailed and deep a a bit of card board! I almost felt a bit cheated with Colleen Houck's series. I don't know if it should have been labelled romance. Maybe it would have fitted better in Christian fiction? It certainly is tame and conservative enough. Kelsey not just runs from any sign of attraction or affection from Ren - she swings a wooden club at it!

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