I have to admit that I’m the type of person who’s constantly on the lookout for something new and entertaining every couple of months. Lately, I’ve been feeling bored about my eBooks. I have over 400 unread eBooks and about 20 paperbacks at home that I haven’t touched yet…but I feel so bored with them. It’s not that my fervor for reading books is fading…it’s more of everything’s the same.
For the past few months, I’ve been hooked on historical romance. Well before that I’ve been into murder thriller/mysteries. It’s just that. It’s all the same plot.
In romance, it’s so predictable. It’s either the woman has been in love with the man for so long but he doesn’t notice her until she wears something revealing (like what courtesans would wear, I presume). Then he feels lust for her but he’s too afraid to make a commitment. Plus, he’s a rake so he tries to seduce the woman for a quick lay in the sack…and the woman tries so hard to resist because, of course, she’s a lady and she was brought up better than that. Of course, in the end, when the woman is feeling vulnerable or the man is feeling so jealous, they end up doing it anyway. The heroine in historical romances are always strong, always quirky. If they’re the haughty type, they most probably have a huge secret and only the strong, very virile, very masculine guy can help them solve.
Of course all the men are dashing, very virile, very sporty, sometimes bookish, always intelligent. They are good in horseback riding, good with cards, dresses like the devil, and very seductive. Most of the time, they have had a painful childhood that prevents them from falling in love. However, because of that powerful, exhilarating one night in bed – that is usually oh so different from what has happened to them before with their numerous bed partners – they feel different towards the lady and starts being protective. And then in the end, this oh so virile guy turns into a sap by declaring his ultimate love for the lass and they get married despite all odds and live together happily ever after.
Add to that the usual twist of the woman is barren…and in the epilogue, they usually end up having a child or two.
Can you sense a pattern here?
Let’s veer away from historical romance and go into the young adult books.
The lead female is depicted as somewhat strange or ordinary. She’s not the most beautiful or the most popular girl in class. Then this somewhat handsome guy falls for her. One of them is the new kid in school. The guy is part of the elite in the school’s social system. He changes for her and they get together. They are so very attracted to each other. Sparks fly and all that. Slowly, they become alienated from their social groups (if any) except for that one loyal friend (who is usually the voice of reason).
Then they find out that they are actually magical after living such a relatively normal, boring life and that the fate of the town/city/world rests on their shoulder.
I’m not even thinking about any particular book here.
If you’re thinking…what about murder mysteries?
Alright. So there’s this ONE case that is just the mother of all cases. It’s so hard and you have to bring in a detective or some other authority figure from another city/department/bureau. You find her attractive but hey, you can’t. She’s not into you at first. Then you find yourself in such a tight situation and you end up in each other’s arms anyway. Then a little conflict, some death, and it’s just so hard to solve this case. Then bam. The answer hits you and on your way to solve it, the killer gets loose or gets away, just always one step ahead of you. Then there’s this big speech or there’s no speech at all, just ‘justice’ and mayhem. And everything’s over and you’re going home with the girl. You can switch genders here, of course.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love historical romance, chick lit, young adult, mysteries as much as the next bookworm. But lately, I feel like authors are just copying the formula or what worked for another author. I think the last book/series I’ve read that was bang for the buck is Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Now that was something.
Shake it up a little, if you please. Lengthen the story to 500 pages and show us real character development like our classical writers used to do. Give us restless souls something different, something new; something that would make us clutch your work to our hearts and ponder over it for a while before putting it away.
Until then, I suppose.