Saturday, June 4, 2011

An Average of "Average"

Two days, three books, and none of them invoking a strong response either positive or negative.

'A Catered Affair' by Sue Margolis was the bit of British chick lit I mentioned at the end of my last post. Not a bad way to spend a few hours, but not the best example of the genre, either. It was charming enough, but lacking in some things that I've come to look for in this type of book: an extended stay in the country, an eccentric animal (or herd of animals), and the heroine running about in public naked (or nearly so). Although this novel did feature possibly the best chick lit family member ever--the lesbian, stand-up comedian sister in a committed inter-racial relationship. I was super grateful that the seemingly obligatory gay sidekick was the heroine's sister and wasn't played for laughs. So, bonus points to Ms. Margolis for that.

'Wicked in Your Arms' by Sophie Jordan was a fairly standard historical romance. And, I was with it right up until near the end when, out of the blue, there was a kidnapping and a threat against the heroine's life. I would very much like to take this moment to assure every writer of historical romance that it is not necessary for there to always be some dark intrigue to keep the book interesting. It is perfectly acceptable for your hero and heroine to admit their feelings for one another without someone's life being in danger. Really. I promise. There are usually plenty of obstacles in the way of their happiness without throwing in the spurned ex-lover or the crazy cousin who's next in line to inherit or the shady character who's keeping a secret to someone's past or what have you. Unless you establish the intrigue as the reason the hero and heroine were thrown together in the first place, adding that extra bit of plot just makes it feel like you didn't know how to move the relationship forward and maybe the hero and heroine weren't meant to be together at all.

And, finally, 'Rip Tide' by Kat Falls, which is a sequel to 'Dark Life', which was one of my favorite YA debuts of last year. Unfortunately, I wasn't as jazzed about this second book. It was entertaining enough and, were I its target audience, I probably would have liked it better than the first book. However, as an adult, I was much more interested in the new political structure that was just beginning to take form at the end of 'Dark Life'. This second book, while touching on that and having a plot that was heavily influenced by the politics of Ms. Falls's created world, was almost completely action-driven. And that's perfect for the adolescent boys who are Ms. Falls's target demographic. This is clearly a case of there being nothing wrong with the book, but with my being the wrong reader, or at least approaching the book with the wrong attitude.

I'm currently in the middle of a debut spy thriller that I had a very hard time putting down so that I could go to bed. I hope it finishes as strong as it's started.

No comments:

Post a Comment