I was at my favorite bookstore lately, and looking through new books to buy from among all the glossy jacketed ones on display. Each one of them suggested mostly the same theme- a boy, a girl, an impossible romance that the authors finally make possible in some insanely complicated way (Trust me on that one. These NEVER have sad endings). Most of the books were black, and most had eerie looking boys or girls or moons or crazy looking talismans or fancy curvy writing superimposed over inky black backgrounds.
There was a new book about vampires falling in love with mortals, as there had been for the past one year on every alternate Tuesdays and occasionally even on alternate Saturdays. The girl was the mortal of course, a weak looking thing with zero zits and apparently too much hair for her own good. The vamp was macho and cool, with blond hair and highlights and blood-colored eyes that were oddly hot and (as a racy blurb proclaimed) pretty spicy looking. He had a wristband with spikes in the front cover…a black and silver thing that I wouldn’t want anywhere close to me. The book proclaimed something along the lines of will she survive him or something…and I sort of immediately knew that she would, even if it meant something as dramatic as the arrival of Renesmee (Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer) or frightening as a war of the Fallen Angels (Fallen, Lauren Kate) or good old stakes through the heart (Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead) or even just the well clichéd but difficult “act of true love” (as in The Dark Divine.)
How many more of these paranormal books could the world stand before it reached a critical point? Why is it necessary for the guy to be at least a werewolf for the girl to fall in love? We’ve been through ghosts and vampires and angels and Cherokee demons and werewolves and even Casters (as in Beautiful Creatures). The question is…how long before it becomes aliens (pardon me if someone’s already onto this) and inanimate objects that turn into people?
Last week, asked to write about something funny (for a change) I started on this story about a girl and the influence these books have on her. At the end of the story, I found I pretty much hated the story…the heroine was too weak, the hero too stereotypical, and I had somehow forgotten that someone called the villain…and decided to ditch it…not before saving a few paragraphs though, the good ones…about the cult of paranormal YA books….
I peered at the stack of books (classic, ugh) Nandika had dumped in front of me distastefully.
Boring, boring and boring people wrote about even more boring things before I was even born, and all of that boring stuff was now unwanted by the rest of the universe and was sitting here on my desk, looking up at me with their bookie eyes.
I looked back sadly. Where could I put these? No one ever even went into the classics section anymore. The journey ended for book-lovers in front of books with glazed front covers and sassy back-cover blurbs. Those books had lines on top of them that said they were meant to be, too bad no one else thought so…or will she realize what he is before he sucks all her blood…or something along that line, anyway. Those were in the front, directly beneath the air conditioner. Those shelves were the beginning and the end of the Reader’s Eden.
The rest of the bookstore was never visited. Nandika and I both knew that, but we did nothing about it because there was no use. People only got as far as the first shelf.
‘Can I burn them?’ I asked listlessly, poking the cover of one with the tip of my little finger. There seemed to really be no use to them.
Who cared about Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice when the allies of the good bloodsuckers were fighting the bad ones? Who gave any damn about Adam Bede or Silas Marner when they could worry about werewolves following the pretty girl around? Who wanted anything to do with Tom Sawyer when the gorgeous angel was ready to proclaim undying love to the other pretty girl?
I’ll tell you.
Not you, not me.
Not even the legions of supernatural creatures that seemed to have made this the season for falling in love with unsuspecting mortals.
I don’t mean to sound like a hypocrite. The truth is that I read them, not for the supernatural impossible (or claimed to be) romance, but for the spooky atmosphere and the beautiful descriptive writing.
In Fallen, by Lauren Kate for example…I found the story not very arresting (just a medley of YA romance elements all thrown together into a messy salad form) but read the big book just because of the loveliness with which she writes. There are parts of Fallen where she has brought out Luce and Daniel with a sensitivity that makes them human and lovable. I rather felt the story didn’t have the oomph factor, if you know what I mean, but the writing kept me going.
The case is the same with some other books…The Dark Divine for one…the characters are lovable but the story is tiringly familiar. And every time Grace goes on about the act of true love and Daniel’s mud-pie eyes I want to roll my eyes. It would have been a great book if it hadn’t gotten lost in the great Post-Twilight Paranormal Romance Deluge or PTPRD as my group calls it.
There are gems of books in this deluge though…Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves, for one…it’s a whole new concept and features a whole new kind of character. We haven’t seen anyone like Hanna before…and that makes this a special book. Again, the three books by Melissa Marr…Wicked Lovely; Ink Exchange and Fragile Eternity stand out because those are just really different in terms of relationships and writing…and let’s add House Of Night to the list because I don’t know whether to call it a Paranormal Romance or just a treatise on Cherokee myths. Still, I wonder if they would have come out into the stands the way it did if not for PTPRD.
I get the obsession with paranormal romance. In the past few weeks, no one really read my post the Son of Fire, but I got a tidy little following for Darkest Light. Darkest Light is my new book where I’m trying to redefine vampires, and to not make it one of the PTPRD books I’ve just talked about.
No one will die for anyone in the Darkest Light, you can be sure of that.
And it was funny, because the cover image I had put on the blog was black too, with an eerie boy-girl in the front. The covers have become stereotypical!!
No one is to blame for this scenario…perhaps all girls are like me and love spooky-atmosphere stories. But too much of anything can’t be good, can it?
When will the PTPRD books stop raining into bookstores?
I think, that day is pretty far.
Till then, we will read about supernatural creatures proclaiming undying love for their frail mortals.