“Teenage girls are being told that romantic desirability is the proof of, and the reward for, individual worth.” – The NewStatesman
Sacred Blood was carefully crafted to be the polar opposite of this. I want to scream the ending because it is the exact opposite of typical romances, to the point I can’t even think of it as a romance, but don’t want to spoil it.
I strongly agree that young women today have been facing an onslaught of books defining the female value by how much she is desired by men and how much they can stroke her ego. Right from the first chapter of SB, Juliette establishes herself as a smart little spitfire who knows it, and while she’s in a bad relationship to start, she doesn’t need her intelligence validated by others.
I also agree with the insta-love. What once upon a time was called infatuation, feelings of love for someone you really don’t know, is now treated as the real thing. Most romance-type books I can think of are guilty of. Physical attraction isn’t the same as love. Real love is built on common interests and experiences together, truly knowing each other. Want to guess how I carried out the relationship between Juliette and Tristan?
Oh goodness, yes, the best friend who is there to serve as the ugly bridesmaid. Old trope, and a tiring one. Libby is, of course, the opposite, a true friend who isn’t some rarely-seen background character. She stays in the trilogy until the end. I tire of the prop-friends who are replaced by the love interest and his family. In my opinion, this is lazy writing. Letting her drop off the planet would be a lot easier, but what kind of relationship mandates friends from before the love interest cease to exist? Bella dropped her non-paranormal friends. As Tristan tells Juliette, she’s not Bella.
I am thoroughly convinced I have a story people want, though agents are snapping up more of the same, tired story lines where girl falls in love in a second, girl gets ego stroked, girl gets into a love triangle with a couple hunky guys, girl often completely misunderstands the point of literature despite claiming to be a lover of it, girl is weak, girl gets rescued, girl gets won like a prize by the nicer guy. Guess how many of these happen in Sacred Blood.
Our young women readers really do need something different to read. Why are they presented with the same entree over and over? I will be replacing my writer interviews with reader interviews. So many other blogs already cover writers. We need to start listening to the readers and learning if they really want to the same dish all the time, of if they’re simply choosing the most palatable among what they are presented. I am sensing a desire for a shift from more of the same to something more empowering, a longing for stories where women are strong and aren’t demoted to eye candy. Already our world stripped a murdered woman of her law degree, her other accomplishments, and even her name, reducing her to nothing more than a nameless sexy girlfriend of her well-known boyfriend. I am purposefully withholding her name. If you don’t know it, you’re helping make my point.
The pendulum needs to start swinging back toward the center. I don’t think we need to sort of stories where the woman trample all over the men and devalue then any more than we need more books where women are worth only as much as they are desired by men. How about respect and each person being valued for their own uniqueness?
All this talk of hetero love in books full of the same cookie-cutter people… Well, not all my characters are straight, nor chaste, nor Christian, nor white, and it’s no big deal. As writers we can give readers better than more of what they’re already read and get more creative. Stop with the “there are only X number of unique story lines anyway” excuses and start figuring out how to make a story your own. We want readers to pay for us, right? Let’s give them what they deserve while helping send a better message.