Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Wicked Wednesday - taboo?
Paranormal romance is a genre that dances around subjects that are taboo. Mainstream novels tend to follow the general romance guidelines in this. Yet there are things you read in paranormal romances that you wouldn't find in other romances.
Multiple partners - Usually we have the heroine and hero together, and the story focuses on them alone. Most publishers require it. There are stories that have the protagonist with more than one person, though. There's a supernatural reason for it, of course. The most popular examples of this are Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Merry Gentry series.
Addiction issues - Most publishers won't consider a protagonist that has a substance abuse problem. It takes away from their likability. Yet in an urban fantasy world, things are different. Characters can be addicted to magic or blood. It's apart from our normal reality and thus more acceptable. An example of a protagonist with an addiction problem is Chess Putnam in Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series. Awesome novels, and you find yourself sympathizing with Chess rather disliking her.
Forced seduction - Rape is not acceptable anywhere. It might be a traumatic event in a protagonist's past, but that's the most publishers accept. When it comes to paranormal romances, we tend to see a lot of forced seductions. Some think this is just another word for rape and it's hard to see where the line is drawn on this. Forced seduction is where one dominant character forces themselves on an at first unwilling character and then that unwillingness becomes yes, yes, yes. An example could be an alpha male having found his mate, but she's resistant to the big arrogant fellow. He hunts her down, loses himself to the need to take her, and after a little bit of a struggle, she decides she wants him too. A forced seduction book is Elfking's Lady by Hannah Howell.
No HEA - Most publishers want a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending, or at least, the Happy For Now (HFN) one. Paranormal romances bring the possibility that we might never be able to have that HEA. War between supernatural creatures, immortality issues, and the more mundane they're-just-too-different-for-it-to-honestly-work-out reason. Also, sometimes readers like tragedies. A good example of this is The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.
What are some things you consider taboo in other books but might accept in paranormal romance? Why do you think paranormal romance can cross the line when other genres cannot?