Wednesday Words – Going Dark

mobile phone and booksAs some of you know, I got sucked into rereading the Carpathian novels (at least the first few) by Christine Feehan. I discovered the series at a time when I was NOT reading romance and paranormal romance was an unknown “species.” 😆 I found one of her books in a bargain bin, decided it looked interesting, and bought it. I think, if I’d read the books from the beginning, and back-to-back, I would have picked up on things much quicker. Maybe. Since I first started reading them, I’ve also learned a lot about the craft of writing. That makes a big difference, as far as I’m concerned.

First, I’m not belittling Ms. Feehan in any way. She has legions of fans–including me–and is a NYT best-selling author. What I’m saying here is something many of her fans are aware of and choose to ignore. I get that. 🙂

In the beginning of the series, there is a lot of repetition–in language and in plot. The young, virginal heroine is fighting her destiny, the alpha hero is overpowering but it’s all due to his DNA and instincts to protect her from her own folly. It’s not until the fifth book that this starts to lessen somewhat. Oh, and the sex scenes. Yeah, once I started skipping over those, I read the books in no time. raised eyebrow gif FYI, there are a LOT of sex scenes. And they are very similar. Because, seriously? How many ways can you describe Tab A and Slot B when the H/H are going at it like rabbits? Not to mention the fact they stop to have the sexxy-sexxors at like the WORST possible time–the evil vampire is hunting them, the sun is almost rising, one of them has been hurt… I mean, srsly?

The good thing about the series is there is intricate world and mythos building. That’s my thing. If that foundation is there, and it’s good, I’ll overlook a lot of other sins. Ms. Feehan has that in spades. And her heroes are pretty darn yummy, too.

The problem becomes, however, especially with a reread, is that the “art” of paranormal romance has grown by leaps and bounds. Jen Lyons’ Wing Slayers, Larissa Ione’s Demonica series, Nailini Singh (though I haven’t read her), Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones…they all grabbed the idea, expounded and expanded, and ran with it. Their writing, characterizations, and plots are more sophisticated. It’s hard to go back and not nitpick all the little irritating things. Like “black magic,” “black velvet,” to describe the hero’s voice. And OMG, EVERYTHING is dark. His dark eyes, his dark mood, his dark heart, his dark hair, his dark emotions, dark possessiveness…ad infinitum ad nauseum. Oh, and “masculine,” “feminine,” and erotic.

Yes, I know. It sounds like I’m really ripping this series but I’m not. This was ground-breaking stuff when it was released. Publishers were trying to cash in on the LKH/Anita Blake popularity (which is a whole ‘nother deal!) and Feehan’s Dark Carpathians was a credible venture. I read almost every book, up to a point. I stopped when the books became too repetitive for my liking. Ms. Feehan branched out, pulling in a group of leopard shifters into the Carpathian world, added a series about genetically enhanced soldiers and women experimented on as children (Ghostwalkers), and her Seven Sisters, about witches. I enjoyed those series, though I’ve fallen behind as other authors grabbed my attention.

Should I mention that I have 3 books waiting for me to pick up at the library, 3 book were just downloaded to my Kindle from pre-orders, and I’ve found an Allison Brennan Lucy Kincaid book I haven’t read yet because it got lost in the shuffle? *headdesk* This should tell you that I AM a fan of the “Dark” series because I was drawn in to rereading the first 5. The rest will have to wait–even though I’m curious about book 7, which was the first one I read in the series. I have other books to read.

So…is there a series that you find irritating but you keep reading anyway? If so, why? What compels you to pick up a book to reread it or grab the new release? Is it the hope it’ll get better? Or is there something that keeps sucking you back in for more? Yeah, I get that. 😆 I want to know what you think!

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About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of two award-winning series--Moonstruck and The Penumbra Papers, Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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16 Responses to Wednesday Words – Going Dark

  1. Janet says:

    For a minute, I thought you were going dark, as in dropping off the radar for a while! Whew – glad to know I was wrong!

    I’m not a re-reader, but what you say is important to writers! Writing changes as the years go by – look, for example, at the mid-80’s bodice rippers (oh, my, I loved those books – and Kathleen Woodiwiss especially). They were ground breaking – and readers gobbled them up – but now they’re the brunt of jokes and anyone who writes one will (most likely) never be published! Writing changes – readers change – I think that’s why things go out of favor with agents and publishers.

    I’m rambling this morning! I wonder if Ms. Feehan were to re-write her books how different they would be (for she has grown as a writer and the paranormal genre has changed greatly)? I wonder if any writer goes back to earlier pieces and asks themselves, ‘What was I thinking?’ I wonder what will be said of the Fifty Shades craze that has taken on the publishing world 20 years from now? I wonder if there’s more coffee in the pot….

    • Silver James says:

      Ha! I hadn’t even thought about my title. 😆 Nope. I’m here for the duration, Janet. And I remember those romances from the 70’s. They drove me nuts in many cases which is why I quit reading them for over a decade. Feehan did re-release the first book, DARK PRINCE in an alleged “Author’s Copy.” I was disappointed. She’d added very little and most of it was repetitive information and she made no changes to the rest of the book. Luckily, it was a digital-only sale and very cheap. That’s the reason I started rereading the series. It has NOT aged well, unfortunately. 😦

  2. I’ve never read Feehan. The Kid’s read them all, I think, but I was too busy reading other things. I’ll have to put her on my list. (Along with Scott Westerfield and Stephanie Meyer and Laurel K Hamilton and… Yeah, so many books, too little time. But hey, I finally read Andre Norton and Nora Roberts, so there’s hope.)

    I just don’t have the time to stick with a series that irritates me. :cough:HarryDresden:cough: Heck, I don’t have time or finances to stick with some series that I’ve loved over the years. And then I keep discovering new series that I want to continue with. OMG, I need to pick up the next unread book in Linda Robertson’s Persephone Alcmedi series and the next Runelords by David Farland and… Arrgghh.

    • Silver James says:

      I don’t really see them being your thing, B.E. and that’s definitely okay. 🙂 And yeah, I’ve drifted from several series for the reasons you mentioned. There’s always something new and shiny. Which of Andre Norton’s books did you read? I LOVED her as a kid/teen and then the Witchworld series as an adult. I need to go back and reread them to see how they’ve held up over the years. I know her SciFi reads a bit dated but I’m still a big ol’ fangirl. 😀

      • After I commented, I remembered that I had read Star Ka’at as a kid, so when I read Witch World last year, it really wasn’t my first Andre Norton. I picked up a huge box of her books at a garage sale years ago, but never read them. Lucky I moved them with me (unlike the old Heinleins that I’m still kicking myself over).

        • Silver James says:

          I devoured the Witch World books and stayed up with them for quite some time. I still have fond feelings for the series. As for LKH, let me know if/when. 😉 And yeah, I’d kick myself over the Heinlein too. DOOR INTO SUMMER is on my Top 100 list.

    • Silver James says:

      Oh! And as for LKH, I wouldn’t read much beyond book 9 or 10. Once her personal life sort of…devolved, it really showed up in her characterizations. Anita became her self-cipher. I really enjoyed the early books and have them in paper. I’ll share if you’re interested. 🙂

  3. Liza says:

    You need to read Nalini!!! I can totally mail you all my print copies if you want to borrow them. I now have them all on my kindle.

    This statement might get me attacked…JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is the one series I can’t give up. There is lots of repetition in some of the books, and she loves the letter “h” way too much. Seriously think almost every character has an “h” somewhere in their name. I never connected with any of her Jessica Bird books or her Angel series, but even when I’m like really?!? with the BDB, I keep buying and reading. Also driving 5 hours to book signings once a year. lol

    • Silver James says:

      I may take you up on Nalini’s books–at least the Psi-Changling series if that’s the one you have. But I have to get through a HUGE pile of reading before I can take on another series. 😆 Plus, I just got notice that the RITA books I’m judging are in the mail.

      Lots of people LOVE the BDB. I read the first one. The H’s drove me nuts. I liked the book but I didn’t find it compelling enough to keep going. Her fans are legion, though, and loyal. I certainly won’t attack any reader for her tastes! Hey, I read almost all of Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolen, The Executioner series–back in the beginning. Talk about pulp! 😆

  4. I absolutely fell in love the the Carpathians but I found them when they were first released and there was no other books like hers out there. It was magical for me. But the repeat got old and then I found Sherrilyn Kenyon. Oh wow! Mystical and captivating and the characters do not repeat. Then I found the Highlander series and my heart did a pitter-patter because I was obsessed with Scotland at the time. Oh yeah…I still LOVE those books. And now her Fever series. Mmmm, Jericho. I do love the BDB series but I had to stop because I just could not see Qhuinn and Blay together. (please don’t hate me people!!)

    And speaking of the 80’s writers…what about Rosemary Rogers? Love her stuff but I tried to re-read them about 5 years ago. Uh, no way would she get pubbed today. But who can’t help but love Steve and Ginny??? She was the first romance I ever read at 13! lol

    • Silver James says:

      I discovered Kenyon not too long after I’d discovered LKH. Enjoyed her books but then sort of drifted away. I need to catch up with them one of these days. And I’d like to reread Moning’s books. I have DARKFEVER on the Kindle. It’s slowly working it’s way toward the top of the shelf but I know if/when I read it, I’ll want to read all the rest in the series.

      Isn’t it amazing how the romance genre has grown, spread, and matured? Thankfully!!! 😀

  5. ban says:

    I’m like Janet – I don’t re-read. I have too many books to read through a first time !!! I still haven’t re-read the first series I fell in love with (Dragon Prince – Rawn) and I’m not sure I will because I’m scared it won’t live up to my memories. 😦

    I think I will skip the Carpathian series – if I’d read them when they first came out, I’m sure my opinion would be different but I’ve gotten way too picky over the years and I must confess, if there is one thing that annoys the heck out of me, it is repetition – seriously, just ask my daughters!!!

    I do want to read Nalini though so Liza’s thumbs up will put those higher on my ‘To Buy’ pile. Oh, and I second Ash’s KMM recommendation for the Fever series. I read those years ago and they are fabulous! She has a lot of twists and turns and I’m still amazed at all ‘STUFF’ she managed to fit into those books!!! The characters are great/believable and they grow, which is soooo nice. And the best part – the romance is NOT overwhelming. The stories could exist without it – meaning the point of everything is not just to get guy and girl together but when they do – you are sooo rooting for them 😀

    And Ash – I don’t hate you. That’s not my cup of tea either. I never finished that series.

    • Silver James says:

      The Carpathians are dated, Ban, though she does add new titles periodically. There’s a new one coming out about one of the Carpathians first mentioned in the early books. I’ll probably break down and get that one because I’ve always wanted Dmitri’s story. I definitely need to check out KMMs Fever series and Nalini’s. Hello, library! First though, other books on shelf, on Kindle, and coming in the mail because it is contest season. 😀

  6. I was so looking forward to Dark Wednesday blog! My 1st taste of paranormal was Donna Boyd, The Passion and The Promise. I had always loved wolves so my addiction was done. Next came Christine and I started to devour her books, I have 17 of her twenty something, I had never been a big reader but I made up for it- lol. I have both version of Dark Prince, I read re it a few months back, it is one of my fave and Raven was such a different heroine. My fave character out of the series is Gregori he was badass to a new level. Next was Kenyon Dark Hunters and the list continued… but then I fell into paranormal burnout at a bad rate, and I think I had some much else going on so I stopped reading for awhile. I never got into LKH series, read the 1st 2 and then I said don’t think so. I started back up with BDB and right before Matthew’s book I lost interest. Paranormal was/is mixed in with Military, Special Ops- Leigh, Gerard, Tyler, Roth..), and Fallen Angels( Kristina Douglas, Heather-Walden….) Never got into The Wardens- Fallen Angel.
    Samhain publishing and I were on 1st name basis. Covers and titles get my attention.
    I did not do the Twilight series- Vampires to me were more of Anne Rice series. And I will take a Wolf over a Vamp any day- lol.
    Silver- if you havn’t read the The Dark Celebration by Christine I recommend it, it revisits the old characters and thou I didn’t read all the books in between I was not totally lost.
    I heard Christine is doing something that has to do with prequel to the Dark Prince?
    I love my Romantic Times Magazine to keep me in the know!!!
    Well that is my take on Dark Wednesday- Carpe Noctem
    I write better at night also, strange but it works that is why I like this daylight savings time!!
    Have a great evening everybody!!!

    • Silver James says:

      Isn’t it curious how similar so many of our reading experiences–and tastes–are? My critique partner is a HUGE fan of the Carpathians and all the offshoots. She’s told me the same thing about CELEBRATION. I’ll grab it from the library one of these days and then I’ll also grab Dmitri’s story. Gregori is a fav but I think I still have a soft spot in my heart for Lucian because he was my first. 😉

      Hope you got a lot of writing done!

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