I bought this book because it was on offer for 99p and I was under the impression I would like it. When I think of paranormal romance I think Margit Sandemo and that one summer where I had nothing else to do so I read all 47 volumes of her Legend of the Ice People. It was one hell of a summer.
Then I realized paranormal was big these days and there was pretty much an unlimited supply of Sandemo-like things. I was very excited, until, of course, I started reading those books.
Sandemo wrote more than just erotic fantasies about getting it off with demons, devils and all sort of murky beings. All I know about Scandinavian history I know from her books and that seems to be weirdly a lot. Those 47 volumes, going from the year 1581 to modern times, were like a crash course in in the history of Northern Europe. So where Sandemo had her historical research, the contemporary paranormal ‘writers’ have “I will just make shit up as I go”. The worlds they create are inconsistent, full of contradictions and just have a general haphazard air about them.
The writing is quite often atrocious and makes it seem like the authors have never read a serious book in their lives. And of course, I am not saying Sandemo should be awarded a Nobel Prize – her novels stick clearly to the rules and conventions of writing romance but they are very readable and not really cringe-worthy. Her writing is good enough not to distract you from the story.
So here are the flaws of this book in a list form:
1) Poor world building skills
2) No research into anything whatsoever, it’s all fantasy so just make shit up
3) Bad, bad, bad writing, some of those authors have a vocabulary of 500 words
4) Replace developing the characters and creating a believable connection between them with some dogmatic, nonnegotiable, magic “they were meant to be together” that just leaves me cold because it is a very lazy way to write a romance
5) Short stories are a very difficult form. Short stories are not mini-novels with all the descriptions of the weather cut out. Most of the authors completely failed to understand what a short story should be and how you go about writing one.
And what’s up with all those fantasy males smelling of cinnamon and cloves?
Having said all that, there were a few stories in this collection that weren’t altogether bad and I will keep those authors on my radar for when I need my paranormal fix.
Carrie Vaughn (because of good sexual tension)
Ilona Andrews (interesting world, and a gripping story for once)
Dina James (for giving some dimension to her characters)
Kelley Armstrong (for a tongue-in-cheek look at the whole paranormal craze, I liked the certain irony in it)
Anya Bast (I think mostly because I like when characters walk through snow)
Mary Jo Putney (for the male POV, and a male that is not some hunky, sexy, brooding thing but more
of a Spiderman kind of guy)
Eve Silver (there was some potential here but wasn’t fully realised, but might be interesting to see what she can do in a full novel)
Sherrilyn Kenyon writing as Kinley MacGregor (the writing was really good in this one)