For What It's Worth

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Paranormal Pfunk..............

In case you missed my very first post (which I’m sure all of you have since no one was following me then) I said I wasn’t much of a reader until recently. I read Twilight and then the rest of the series in four days. Next was The Host – staying up until 3 am to finish. I could not get enough of the paranormal worlds – pure escapism!
I plowed through the Sookie Stackhouse series in a few days …books 1-8, then Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, onto J.R. Ward Blackdagger Brotherhood. When the genre started getting a little repetitive I moved onto the YA paranormal books consuming them at a rapid pace. The plotting and depth was amazing – better than some of the adult novels. The more complicated the better. I picked my “teams” religiously hoping the outcome would be in my favor.
I read at least 120 books last year and I would say at least 80% of them were paranormal in nature.

Then something happened.

I had my list for this year and eagerly awaited the release dates for my favorite series. One by one they were released. One by one I got more disappointed. OK maybe I expected too much – start a new series! Nope – not working. Everything seems the same….same….same.
Now a few different things could be happening here. I could have just read too many books. Let’s face it – PR and PR/YA are hot now. There are only so many ways to write this. Even if they are good they start sounding the same after awhile.
Another problem could be that I read most of these series in a row. I read the entire Twilight saga in four days. I was team Edward. Didn’t seem like a choice to me – but I didn’t have to wait a year in between so the action just flowed. Same with the Sookie & BDB series. I read most of them at once and loved them all even though other fans didn’t like certain ones. I didn’t have a problem with any of them. Quinn in the Sookie novel?? Did I like him – no - but he was merely a blip on my radar as I just moved onto the next book . If I had to wait a year between books? Probably would have been pissed.
Things I used to love about these series now send me over the edge…lol. I used to love complicated, didn’t mind a good cliffhanger….love triangles? Bring them on! Not anymore. Now I carefully screen the book and get second – third and fourth opinions with promises of no triangles – HEA’s please. That’s a horrible way to read.
I’m know I’m not the only one. There are several bloggers and followers who are looking for something new like I am. Afraid to open a new book or start a new series and be disappointed again. We are constantly consulting each other looking for “THE” book.
Many people have recommended different series to me to get me out of my funk (pfunk) but I have over 20!! series going on right now. Seriously!! I can’t juggle even one more. I read them with a sort of detachment so that I’m not thinking about all of them for the next year until the new book comes out.

At the risk of making this post to long with my rambling…here are a few things bugging me with the recent crop of books I’ve been reading. Whether it be vampires/werewolves etc.
The first thing is series in general. I need to know how many books there are going to be. Some of these things are going on way too long and are getting too convoluted. I really don’t mean to criticize and author’s vision but please understand as a reader we don’t know where you’re headed and it may have a payoff in the end but throw us a bone now. We have to wait a YEAR for the next book. No – I don’t want a sugar coated happy = boring book but two ,three, even four books of tearing everything apart without some hope or direction and sometimes not much of a plot is a bit much. Some series going on have no end in sight.
Next up – the love triangle. I don’t think anything strikes fear in me as much as this! I think I’m on about 80 teams right now!! (slight exaggeration  - but close) Honestly I do like love triangles – especially well written ones. The Hunger Games is a perfect example in my opinion. I have my pick & I’ll just die if it isn’t Peeta (hehe) but I get it when it comes to Gale. The Forest of the Hands and Teeth is another good example of me not getting what I wanted but it was written oh so good.
In most of the current books the “love” triangle is actually a “lust” triangle. A very different thing and I can’t find myself emotionally invested in any of them. I find it really hard to accept the true love concept if you want to make out with the next guy 5 seconds later. That’s mainly for the YA – the adult books I have a problem with hot sex in general being the cure for all that ails you and the only proof of true love.
That’s not to say I haven’t read any good PR/UF. Not at all! I just haven’t had any that blew me away and stayed in my head desperate to read more. My favorite books this year have all been YA books about serious topics. The best so far for me was Split by Swati Avashti. I still think about those characters.
I think I’m getting jaded to the genre a bit and I may be judging books a little more harshly now than I would have if I read them a year ago. Maybe as with all trends – there is a natural ebb and flow of quality vs quantity. I do read books other than paranormal and I made sure I grabbed different genres at BEA but I just love the escape that a good paranormal book provides. I still hold out hope that I'll find something from my favorite genre that blows me away!

OK I’m done with the rant…… you feel that way about your genre right now or are you loving everything??


  1. I agree with you. Too much of the same BS being published everywhere, both in NY and Small Press/ E book. its hard to find those that are doing it different. I personally dont read any Vamps/ werewolves books because that have gotten me to the point of REALLY? THIS AGAIN? that said I kinda did Lie, i read 2 vamp series: Joey W Hill's Vampire Mistress series (hot as HELL and very BDSM) and Alexandra Ivy's Guardians of Eternity series. Love both authors because they are understated but have done some fantastic with the work they do.

    Then theres me. My sister and I started writing because we couldnt find what we wanted to read out there. I write both hot and not so hot, and we write Demons, Djinn, Satyrs, Dragonsand our coup de grace, Weresnakes. I know you probably dont like snakes in general, but its different, has gotten amazing reviews and has gotten many a new reader for us because we have done something no one else has done( write weresnakes as a focus for a book, we are the first and the only!) I urge you to try that out. Or anything else that we write.

    But I'm in the same boat with ya. too much of the same, and not enough to hold my interest.


  2. Oh man, I know exactly where you're at! I think the problem is that with the success of Twilight (which was also the first series that really got me reading again, and LOVING the paranormal - and probably did so for legions of other people out there too), everyone wants to jump on the freaking supernatural book bandwagon ... and publishers are more than happy to sign on most authors because the simple fact is that the books are selling! We can't get enough of them? PERFECT! They'll keep spewing them out and everyone's happy. Right? RIGHT?


    Problem: If they're going to publish ANYTHING, provided there's a vampire, or werewolf, or smeXi-faerie-prince of evolness, or ghost, or psychic, or aggressive and jaded 20-something heroine knowledgeable in ass-kicking, or ... or ... or ... there's so MANY, lol ... I know! ... marshmallow-scented killer smurf :o ... no-one's written about those before! ... I should write the book, and sell millions of copies even if my novel is The Fail ... :P

    Harsh, but that's the problem ... replacing with an obscure creature of your choice ... or, alternatively, changing up the rules of vampires or werewolves etc to the point where they are no longer recognizable as such ... does NOT an original story make. But no-one seems to get this! So there's so many books out there, and more being added to the pile DAILY, and they're all E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. the same. It's boring ... not to mention annoying, having to sift through the crap to actually find something decent to read.

    I don't blame you for being completely over the genre, I'm pretty fed up with it too :s

    I totally agree about the series ... when it's headed SOMEWHERE, I'll happily read twenty (okay, maybe that's pushing it :P) books to get there ... that's one of the reasons I like the Fever series (Karen Marie Moning) so much ... she planned the story out in advance and always knew that there were only going to be 5 books, and never took her eyes off the goal! I don't mind depressing stuff, and cliffhangers, no resolution to anything, etc, if I know it's all for a REASON ... and we'll find out what that is in *this number* of books ... but when authors start messing with us just to keep the series never-ending because their books are selling ... well, that seriously pisses me off. Killing off characters, having them raped, throwing in new love-interests or plot twists at every corner just to hang on to the readers' attention ... NOT COOL. If any authors are reading this, here's my 2 cents: obviously you want to keep selling books, I get that ... but can't you write several COMPLETE series, rather than one stupendously dragged-out and eventually BIZARRE (a la Anita Blake) series. Doesn't that make more sense? You'll keep selling books, because readers know whether they like your work or not ... and you won't be LOSING readers who have completely lost interest since they can see that the plot is going nowhere slowly.

    Jeez, I have a lot to say, LOL! Sorry, Karen ... I've hijacked your comments :D

  3. oh my I this sounds like what has been on my mind lately . Book deals for new authors 3 or 4 ie twilight. Totally agree with you about books and paranormal. I too have become jaded. i've noticed that many times the theme is the same but how they got there is different.

    Or there are times with series that need to end and the author is writing them for the money.

    I agree with you about Hunger Games--need to look at split.

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  5. Karen and I have been discussing this for a while. Granted the normal books I read don't tend to have much plot...zombies, but even that is getting old too. Books are becoming the same as TV/movie series.....milking it for the $$ not content. Lately it seems that authors have been using the old stanby "madlibs" for cranking out their plot lines.

  6. I completely get where you're coming from! I had a vent post a while ago about PR/YA and how everything was starting to feel like the same thing written only slightly differently, none of the series I was reading were moving forward, and the genre felt flat. So, yes, I get it!

    I am, by nature, an eclectic reader, but when I had this stint of 10-15 PR/YA novels in a row, it was just too much. From the advice of other bloggers, I took a step back from the genre for a while, focusing on middle readers and adult literary fiction.

    So, I now pass on the advice I once took - take a step back. Read something out of your comfort zone. Try something new.

    When you come back to it, the genre will feel fresh again.

    Good luck!

    (Team Gale, btw!)

  7. The paranormal (urban fantasy) thing used to be different and unique and then with Twilight everyone wants to throw in vampire and werewolves into a story and try and make it all epic and romancy.

    I don't need that. I need a plot, where the paranomal aspects aren't the main focus. There are a couple of series out there that are still different enough to capture me. Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series (love it), Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series (started out loving it, but am slowly losing the spark, I'll see how book 5 turns out), and Jocelynn Drake's Dark Days series, which reads more like epic fantasy to me than the run of the mill paranormal stuff out there.

    Not a lot of sex and moaning over lost loves, but more plot and deep characters. Maybe try those?

  8. Seems everyone is feeling a little bit of this.
    Why can't someone write a book without a love triangle?? Are there no other ways to write a complex relationship? & if it doesn't work out do you have to run right to the next guy/girl? Not getting it. Everyone keeps saying they have tough characters but I don't think these girls are that tough when they can't live without a boy every second. Sure they can kick ass but....
    I do like Jeanine Frost Night Huntress series - she & Bones have problems and she's had to overcome a lot of predjudices to get where she is now (but i have to say I didn't love the last bk) and also Wicked Game - another good example (IMO) of a character developing and evolving from her past instead of staying stagnant and repeating her mistakes.
    Again - I'm not just looking for perfect happy people....
    I do read a lot of different genres - I just love PR/UF and I'm hoping for a good one soon. But a breather is on order I think. Actually I don't feel like reading at all but that's not an option :-))
    Thanks for the suggestions!

  9. I think we all get frustrated sometimes because we love a particular book or a particular series, then all of a sudden a dozen or so books with similar themes, ideas, character, etc...crop up claiming to be the next big thing, then let us down because they are not original enough. As far as the love triangle goes, you are 100% right about Hunger Games. Unlike many of the other series you at least have an idea where the triangle may go, but with Hunger Games I haven't got a clue who she will choose, and I think I like that! Great post!

    I have an award for you:

  10. :-) Still loving my parnormal genre. As long as I get to whine about my problems in individual reviews, I'm good. But I totally get what you're saying--everything you've mentioned has ticked me off at one time or another.


  11. I like paranormal genre a lot, but it really grows out of my love for magic realism or books with supernatural themes, for example books written by Arturo Perez-Reverte or Nicholas Christopher. I recommend a major mindfloss exercise by reading some literary fiction. I think the best authors in the English language are coming out of India. They are just gifted storytellers or Louis de Bernière, who wrote a great Latin American trilogy in Columbia that has magical black cats and an an Indian sorcerer that revives frozen conquistadors ... see no love triangle there. :) If you haven't read the new Philip Pullman, try that out. Just leave genre for a while and come back when you start yawning. We'll still be here rooting for Peeta. :D

  12. First of all, I love your new layout and header!! Woohoo!!

    I don't read adult paranormals that much, but I do see these trends in YA.

  13. Great post Karen. With out rehashing what everyone is saying. I'm just going to say "I agree" However, I'm a glutton for punishment and keep reading them because sometimes I do find those books that are just incredible.

    My recommendations: Kate Daniels! Read! Please read at least the first so I may see your review! There will be 7, she's just released 4.
    Second: Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. There will be only 5 with the 5th out in December. If you must wait until then then do so. I wanna see your thoughts on this one too.

  14. Carrie - Do you get this way with your HR books since that's your preferred genre?

    Kittnluv & Swinka - Thanks for the rec's. I have Dark Fever but haven't had the guts to read it :-) and people also recommend Rachel Vincent's shifter series. I got one of them at BEA and it also ends this year so maybe I'll check those two out.
    EVERYONE loves the Ilona series but I was leary ...again ....because I didn't know how long it was going to go so thanks for the heads up on that.

  15. I've read the first Shifters book, but not the rest of the series (getting there, hehe) ... and it's really quite good ... just very very violent :( ... and I mean VERY, lol ... NOT kidding. I have to admit that I felt quite disturbed after putting it down, and that's probably one of the main reasons I haven't read the rest yet.

    ALSO ... you may want to know that there is most definitely a triangle! :o

    Oh yeah, the other thing that annoyed me was how freaking ALPHA these males are, I wanted to *bang head on desk* at times ... *growl* ... they're so dominating over the women, and I can't handle that in my books ... which may be one of the main reasons why I'm in a reading slump, hmmm ... didn't occurr to me until now ... all my vampire books are finished, and I only have the werewolves of alphaNESS and fae, which I'm not terribly keen on either.

    I have a long rambling review of Shifters, if you're interested in finding out more:

    I had to rant about Marc (UGH!!!) somewhere :o

  16. I am in agreement with you and everyone else, the whole paranormal genre is overdone. I'm still reading the series that I've started and waiting each year for the next book, but they don't mean the same to me anymore. I think it is funny how many of us began reading the genre or even reading again thanks to Twilight.

    I'm finding that the books I like more are the ones with a strong plot regardless of the paranormal aspect. I've read many of the 2k10 debut ya authors and like the non paranormal better. I'm with Karen-- Split is by far one of the best books I've read this year.

    On a side note Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series has wolves, shifters, vamps, etc. but I was overtaken by the story and didn't even pay attention to the paranormal aspects.

    I've started writing recently and refused to write anything paranormal, there is a love triangle of sorts, but even it takes a different turn than most YA love triangles. Maybe I will be lucky enough to win out over paranormal and get a published book!

    Great post! It's nice to rant occasionally. :)

  17. Karen: Thanks for stopping by my blog and linking your post. This is so similar to what I am going through. I feel like maybe I'm being to harsh on the books I have been waiting to come out, but they just don't excite or live up to my expectations. I will have to look around for something new to read!

  18. I do believe I feel the same as you. I haven't read any new PR/UF in quite a while; I mostly just stick with the same series that I started reading years ago. When I do read a new book I'm really picky and only read novels with a HEA ending.

    Have you ever read any Sherrilyn Kenyon books? Her Dark-Hunter series is the kind that doesn't have an ending in sight, but the way she does werewolves and vampires is really unique. She also has a series called The League which is really good, but not as long as the Dark-Hunter series. She's my favourite author right now :)