There’s been a lot of interesting posts and comments around the blogosphere of late.
Since I have become more fully immersed in the urban fantasy and cross over books, I find myself becoming increasingly impatient with books directed toward the romance reader that are really fantasy-lite.
Great comments there too. In fact, one comment by Janine was so wonderful I wanted to quote it:
Here are my thoughts on world-building. While I think consistent rules are certainly more helpful to suspending disbelief than inconsistencies in the world-building, I also don’t think it’s the explanations for the superpowers or the mythology that makes a world more convincing — to me as one reader, at least. You can poke holes in any world’s mythology and any character’s parnormal abilities, including Shakespeare’s.
So I think it’s the use of detail, and the mixing of realism amidst the fantasy. For example, in Ursula K. Le Guin’s YA fantasy novel, A Wizard of Earthsea, which I love to bits, she creates a seafaring world. And for me, it was the little details of the physical labor of sailing, the physical strain of the main character’s muscles, the sweat that formed on his skin, that made me believe in that world as much as anything.
In today’s Romancing the Blog, Angela T. discusses the hero-centric romances and heroine-centric urban fantasies. It’s an interesting post and gives one possible reason for the rise in popularity of UF. Certainly many covers code for this, with romances displaying male chests and urban fantasies showing tattooed women. All that said, I felt that the last romance I read, The Spymaster’s Lady, was heroine-centric although the hero did hold the balance of power–which doesn’t happen so much in UF, I think.
Oyceter’s Alpha Males post touches on some of the above issues, i.e. hero- and heroine-centric books. She also discusses alpha heroines.
My issues with the alpha male and with the romance genre as feminist lie in the prevalence of the alpha male and the lack of other types of fantasy…. I have no set conclusions, except that someone needs to write me a romance with an actual alpha female and a hero in distress, in which all the codings of a traditional alpha male romance are followed, only gender-reversed.
And the comments remind me that I am getting all excited about so many good historical romances coming out. Loretta Chase’s Your Scandalous Ways sounds awesome. I also have to pick up Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas (all that good buzz), The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (because, if I understand correctly, India and part-Indian hero), another Joanna Bourne novel, My Lord and Spymaster, comes out in the summer, and, hey, I still have If His Kiss is Wicked to look forward to. Plus, in fantasy romance, must read Lord of the Fading Lands. Too much to read! Too little time!