I've been hearing a lot of readers getting bored with the kick-butt heroines and Alpha males in paranormal romances. All the characters from various books blur together. The heroine and hero are becoming caricatures of themselves.
I still love a good PNR even when it has these same types of heroes, but I perk up when I find something new. I don't see these characters disappearing any time soon. Many readers still love the fantasy of a super possessive and domineering man and the beautiful warrior woman with a wit sharper than her blade. Yet there's room for different power couples out there.
Here are four trends that I'm seeing.*
1) The Alpha male beneath the surface of the "every day"** guy. You have the nice guy, usually smart and successful. He doesn't stand out in the heroine's eyes until he falls for her. He becomes driven to make her his. He might be smooth and savvy, but he gets arrogant and possessive.
2) The Alpha female and the Beta male. Many say this is the perfect match. Some women do fantasize about being in control. Just remember that the Alpha female isn't necessarily bossy and the Beta male isn't weak.
3) Geeky heroes. The girls who idolized Hermione Granger have grown up, and they prefer brains over brawn. A smart hero is better than one who muscles his way through life.
4) The "every day" woman emerges as the heroine. A woman with a crappy job, bad fashion sense, social anxieties, and/or obnoxious family members. The supernatural hero sees something special in her and falls in love.
Have you seen any new trends lately?
*I'm looking for new stories in PNR with different heroes, and I dig around all over the internet to find them. Are these books going to become the new big thing? I don't know, but I love seeing how romance novels evolve over the decades. (Check out this article on the evolution of the romance novel.)
**We are told these characters are every day folks, but it is fiction. Their lives have to be much more entertaining than ours!