I love demons. Well, Gena Showalter’s demons. Not her personal demons… Maybe I should start over.
Today I’m going to blab about the best sidekicks EVAH. Having been a fan of paranormal romance (PNR) and urban fantasy (UF) for years — though I won’t disclose how many years — means I’m always looking for good books, preferably long-running series. I’m sort of picky about voice. It’s my pet peeve to get a flat voice or a voice I don’t connect with. It’s not the author’s fault, typically, but just my little quirk. Anyhoo, it often seems as if I’ve read everything I could possibly read. Then I find something new. Gena’s Lords of the Underworld series is the freaking best thing I’ve read in ages. No, it’s not new. Yes, I’m ashamed I hadn’t read it sooner. The point here is that I found it and have fallen in love with every…single…alpha hero. I’m talking almost-leave-my-lover-for-a-fictional-character love.
One of the best parts of the series, though, is that each warrior is paired with a demon high lord (i.e. Paris = Promiscuity, Toren = Disease, Amun = Secrets). These demons serve as a type of sidekick, influencing the hero and driving their behavior. It’s a great pairing because it gives each warrior such a distinct motivation because his will isn’t always his own. Every demon has a unique personality as well, and it’s interesting to see the interplay between man and monster. While the monster influences man, so does man influence monster. The author gives you the distinct impression that each demon might be just a little better than he was simply by being affiliated with his warrior. The warrior has ethics the demon lacks. It doesn’t always matter, but as each warrior battles his own story arc, you see how the two must work together to conquer whatever challenge has been set before him.
The other thing I truly love in this series is that the characters carry forward in every book, demons included. I have no idea how Gena manages as well as she does, but you never lose sight of any single character. It’s a remarkable talent she has to keep every character in every book while still allowing the hero/heroine to have their story. I’ve never felt cheated out of the hero’s/heroine’s story, even as I celebrate the recurring roles of the men I’ve fallen in love with.
Who are your favorite sidekicks in literature, movies or TV? I’m always interested to find out what people like about characters!
This week’s post is on why we love our genres so much. It’s something I’ve never really put into words, so writing this has been a challenge. I’ve been mulling it over in the hopes I’d get it right. Here you go–my best effort:
I freaking love romance. Period. I want a good story that gives me a sense of who these characters are and why they’re right for each other, even if it’s only right now. Sure, HEA’s (happily-ever-afters) are brilliant, but I’m just as satisfied with a good HFN (happy-for-now) if it means the book is part of a series. Because I looooove series. But under that broad category of romance, there are sub-genres that really flip my switch. Primarily those genres are paranormal, urban fantasy with romantic elements and (some) historicals. Yes, my likes are wide and varied, but they all have one primary thing in common: kickass women who are not content to let life come to them. They seize the day, whether by choice or circumstance, and show the men around them exactly what a strong woman is capable of accomplishing.
“Fine,” you say. “But this isn’t news. What makes your genre preferences stand out?”
I’m glad you asked.
There’s something about the otherworldly that absolutely thrills me. The idea that there are vampires and shifters and fey (oh my!) in our midst? Wow. It makes me look at the grocery store clerk differently. It makes me wonder if the hot pale guy at the doctor’s office was giving blood or getting it. And what about the gym teacher who can climb a rope, hand over hand, and never break a sweat? (I’m talking about you, Mr. Carson.) Not. Natural. And that’s the thrill.
There’s also the matter of these men being incredibly sexy. You never read a book with an average-looking ocelot shifter. You never find a mediocre fey lover between any set of covers. And you certainly never read about ugly vampires. These men are always out-of-control sexy and, without fail, they’re packing both the goods and the skills to use them. Who doesn’t love that?
Give me a kickass woman with a gun in her hand and her battered heart on her sleeve and I’m your slave. I want fierce women who dont’ shrink away from violence, whether they’re dealing with it or the cause of it. Doesn’t matter. I love reading about women who meet challenges by charging into the fray. “Kicking ass and taking names” is a way of life, and they don’t complain about it. Instead, they learn to manage it, deal with the fallout of bad decisions in battle and in bed, and always find a way to defeat the Big Bad with smarts, tenacity and serious weaponry.
Romance is often secondary to the plot, and that’s fine with me. I do love (smoking, scorching) hot love scenes, and urban fantasy typically delivers.
Also, the world-building fascinates me. I love being able to make up my own rules and fit my characters into those parameters. So. Much. Fun!
This one’s a little different. I don’t like all historical romance. I’m all about the stories where women buck convention and find a way to defy societal expectations. Those are the stories that make me want to read about days gone by. I’m not interested in women who faint and heroes who think they’re superior. Give me Alpha males and spirited women. Those are the characters I love to play around with. I really enjoy researching eras long past and then figuring out how to successfully bend–okay, break–the rules in order to find happiness.
So there you have it–my love of, well, love. The one thing these genres have in common is that, at some point, the girl gets the right boy and, at least in my worlds, love prevails.
What are your favorites? Why? I’m dying to hear from you. Maybe I’ll find a new favorite author. 🙂