I admit it. I love to read romance fantasy books. It’s a genre that has spawned a million embarrassing paperback covers lately (because of Laurel Hamilton I think), but there are some real fun ones that I can’t get enough of. I’m hooked on Maria Snyder’s “Poison Study” series, and I’m recently an addict of Michelle Sagara’s “Cast” series, which occasionally doesn’t make sense, but has one of the yummiest man characters I’ve read about since Jean-Claude wasn’t emasculated around book 5 of “Anita Blake.” I think I’ll die if the two characters don’t end up getting it on 🙂 I think Jaqueline Carey transcends this classification, but the romance between her two main characters is my favorite in any fantasy. I worship her first Kushiel’s series. Anne Bishop, Kelly Armstrong…if you have any other guilty pleasures series please post them, I’m always looking for more!
The point is, I notice a decided trend in a lot of these books with the female/male romances: Hot, powerful (immortal/magical) man, and girl who unknowingly has powers and hates said man, slowly grows into her supernatural powers and closer to him. And there’s also always a standby “good” guy for her to fill out a love triangle. In some books the good guy gets the girl and the “bad” one gets rejected. I hate those endings 🙂 If anyone reads the Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels, you’ll understand why I hate every page where Sookie’s not making out with the evil yet oh-so-bad Erik. Laying it out like this, it sounds like every Harlequin romance where a nanny gets the estate owner at the end of the book. Why is this such a powerful cliche in throwaway literature and why does it work so well in the fantasy genre?
From most the comments here I think there are mostly guys reading this on a regular basis. So I’m assuming you avoid these books like the plague 🙂 I’d love to read a book where a young, naive, “chosen” GUY fantasy character has the same kind of romance arc with a sexy, powerful older woman. But I can’t think of anything like that off the top of my head. Clue me in, if you know any, I’m all eyes! Does anyone think this surge in merging romance and fantasy is hurting the fantasy genre? Or will there always be the Steven Eriksons cutting off heads to balance it out?