Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance
Trisha Telep, editor
Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Running Press (March 10, 2009)
2/5 stars

Why yes, I AM embarrassed by the cover and the title and quite nearly chose not to review this. . .

Having read many reviews that noted that this collection was not particularly heavy with romance and gave a good idea of the style of these 24 paranormal writers, I decided to set aside my dislike of the romance genre and give it a try. I'm a fan of paranormal fantasy and am always looking for more authors to read; I thought this would be the perfect way to find some.

What I found instead were 24 tales of sappy romance or lust, with our hero and heroine thrown together in blatantly contrived ways that, even for paranormal fiction, simply didn't feel believable. On the whole, the writing was poor, the characters shallow and the settings loosely constructed.

I did enjoy "Paranormal Romance Blues" by Kelley Armstrong, though. Her heroine had personality and a mind of her own. Unlike the rest, it didn't have the romance genre's general attitude toward partners and romance (and my reason for not caring for the genre), i.e. that to have a real romance, one must be perfect physically and that romance and passion is always incredible, mind-shattering and lasts forever. Ms. Armstrong's story had average characters who seemed real. While it was no five star story, I enjoyed it enough that I will look up more of her work. (This one is also the reason for a two star rating, instead of a one star.)

As for the rest, it could simply be that these authors were not able to write a good short story. It is an art, quite unlike that of writing a novel, and just may not be their strength. None the less, the plots of these stories give an idea of the interests and abilities of the author, and having read them I know I wouldn't be interested in a novel-length plot by any of them.

Note: This is just my opinion; on Amazon, 44% of the reviews were 5 stars.

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