I’ve been talking books with people quite a bit lately. Like real, in person people I meet. Not that I meet so many people, it’s just that it’s unusual for me to, you know, talk to them.
The main difference is that I’m so out of the closet on this writer thing these days. Either people are introducing me as “an author” (!) or, when asked for my occupation, I’m actually owning it. This leads eventually to the polite question of what do I write, to which I generally answer Teen Paranormal Romance, which often leads to some discussion of Twilight.
At the moment, it seems, the Twilight saga defines our genre.
Which is, like, really weird, because almost no one ever wants to own loving it. I find that I’m usually easier on it than whoever I’m talking to because I enjoyed the first book (except the end when the trouble started), I enjoyed Stephanie Meyer’s voice in that book, I don’t think she’s a terrible writer, and I actually read (mostly on audio) the four books so I got the closure there was to get. While I didn’t like the later ones, still found moments to enjoy and I was still committed to finding out what happened to the characters which I recognize as points for her.
Last week I wore my “…and then Buffy staked Edward, The End” t-shirt to the Magic Kingdom and had at least 6 people take the time to stop me and tell me it’s the best shirt evar. It is, thank you Kait for sending it to me.
Anyways, I don’t hate the books, the story, the writing. I concentrate my dislike on Edward who cannot seem to come into this century and give his girl any kind of equality in the relationship. He’s completely dismissive of her thoughts and wants because he knows best. And the fact that this is a-ok with Bella makes it impossible for me to respect her, woman to woman. I think *spoiler, please scroll*
it’s good she became a vampire because maybe that will arrest her emotional development such that she doesn’t mature to a time when she no longer wants her lover to act like a father, wonders why she ever got into this relationship, and sees his behavior as manipulative and controlling.
*/spoiler* I mean, how often in real life are we seeing girls with weak or absent fathers who get together with much older and/or very controlling men at a young age to fill the lack, then they mature and don’t like what they chose? And yet, really, they’re the ones who have done the changing because they eventually grew up the way they’re supposed to. I see it a lot. I’m not bashing these girls at all, it’s just observation.
So what I saw in Bella, as these stories developed, was a character who was very realistic but, unfortunately, not one I could look up to and admire, which is something I enjoy in my reading.
Anyway, that was just a huge tangent. The real point was that I say I write Teen Paranormal Romance, Twilight immediately comes to mind, “Oh, like Twilight?” and then comes a discussion in which, usually, both of us like YA PNR and neither of us really likes Twilight.
And yet there it is, Twilight more or less defining the genre. Isn’t that weird? It’s come to the point where, when we discuss these books, the first descriptor is “not like Twilight.” Even though that means anything from “strong heroine” to “vampire free” to “no love triangles here.”
Not mad about it, I’m just sayin’: this has been my experience.
So while I was on vacation I read Wicked Lovely. It’s “not like Twilight.” I had this on audio from the library and while I was home I did have a little trouble getting into it. And this may have been because it felt like there might be a triangle and I run screaming from those (which is, like, the only reason I haven’t read past the first book of the Hunger Games). But if triangles are a problem for you, this book ended up getting my seal of approval. The way she works through the relationships of the story is good.
The whole book, really, is very good. The world is very dark and Melissa Marr’s construction, command, and descriptions of it are excellent. It’s imaginative, though it also feels solidly based in lore, and the writing is very vivid yet not drowned in detail.
Basically the story is about a fairy prince, Keenan, who has to find the right girl to break a curse that keeps him under his evil, queenly mother’s thumb. He sets his sights on Aislinn, a girl who, unlike nearly all humans, can actually see the fairies and is terrified of them. Her avoidance of letting the fairies know she can see them and staying below their radar has been the main focus of her life and has very much made her what she is. Which, luckily for us, is not a wilting ‘fraidy cat, but a tough, proactive, resourceful heroine who doesn’t want anything to do with the handsome prince. One of her resources is Seth, your basic solid rock of a male character who quietly cares for her. He’s pretty dreamy. He’s one of those guys who will always stand by her, but he lets her call the shots in her own life and problems.
I’d call this YA Romantic Dark Fantasy, I guess, which I enjoy and yet usually doesn’t grab hold of me and make me have to read it. So any lack of enthusiasm here is about me, not because of the book. I think there was some foul language, but it was pretty minimal, if I recall. There was sensuality but it was handled extraordinarily responsibly–nearly too much so for my adult romance reading self. But as I listened to this in my car with my 6yo not paying attention to it in the backseat, it didn’t make me cringe and say oops. I think I’d be comfortable handing this to any middle school advanced reader.