What Went Wrong?

Image from Lisa Renee Jones
Earlier this week I blogged at the SFR Brigade about my idea of a perfect hero. It's no secret I love heroes best. I was all set to enjoy this book about a man with a reputation so vast he's become a legend.

Problem number one: He's supposed to be Special Forces, but his hair is past his shoulders. Excuse me? This guy is not a soldier, he's a psychopath in a uniform, with psychopaths for parents.

Problem number two: He's an ass.

Problem number three: He had no respect for boundaries.

Problem number four: I would not run away with this man. I'd be afraid he'd kill me.

Problem number five: Stereotypical "I'm going to take over the world because I'm EVIL" bad guy. Sorry, Ms. Jones, in the 21st century this only works for Dr. Doofenshmirtz. But he has motivation (make his perfect older brother look the fool). Adam has no motive for what he's doing.

Problem number six: Good twin/Bad twin. Good twin leads the good guys, bad twin leads the bad guys. FOR NO REASON! I made it halfway through the book and learned *zero* about these twins.

Problem number seven: Michael does not in any way cherish Cassandra, nor did he show any compassion or kindness. Even toward her. This is a HUGE problem for me. He doesn't tell her what to do either, he demands it and makes her give in by kissing her or tearing her clothes off. Preferably both.

Okay, deep breath here. Need to calm down. This book really pissed me off. On to why I think Michael is an ass, and other character issues.

The author is well established in the romance genre, specifically erotica and paranormal. The heat level on this one was average, but there was one scene with Michael and Cassandra that was borderline rape and it's what sealed the deal for me to put it down. Why do people continue to think stuff like this is okay if it's the hero doing it because he's so hot for her?

It was like she took the stereotypical paranormal hero, the ultra possessive alpha male with a bad attitude, and gave him 'roid rage. I don't remember ever having such strong negative feelings for a romance hero. Usually it takes a character like Theon Greyjoy or Joffrey Lannister to set off such passionate hatred in me. (I want to dig Theon's eyeballs out with a rusty spoon and shove them down his throat. And who doesn't love to hate the little bitch king?)

The setup I can buy, though it's not the most original. Area 51, the 1950's crash, experimental alien DNA injections to see what happens. Here's where she started to lose me. Too much PNR stuff, like dissolving into the wind, being able to control said wind, and controlling animals. How on earth does that qualify as alien? We have no idea what the aliens were like, whether they had psychic abilities or were able to control matter at the molecular level. If you're going with alien DNA you need to know the science of it and what the aliens were like.

Then there's the heroine's father, the man behind the experiments, supposedly a general. Don't buy him as military either. He's a megalomaniac, also in pursuit of world domination. What is it with all the world domination going on here? Really? You couldn't dig deeper and make these characters real instead of stereotypes? I flipped through the second half, and HE gets sexually-aggressive-bordering-on-rape too. With Michael's mother!

Next up, the PNR trope of bonded mates. In some series it's very cool how it's done, like Sherrilyn Kenyon's Were-Hunters or the mating bond in Psy-Changeling.. But this one was too much for me to swallow. I have a hard time buying alien DNA causes a mark to appear on the woman's neck and it creates a psychic connection between them, with physical repercussions ONLY on her while the bond is forming. When the process is complete she becomes a hybrid like him. Except the story harps on the fact the alien DNA can't be duplicated or cloned in any way. Unless, apparently, there are multiple exchanges of bodily fluids and then it can clone itself all it wants in the new body. I have problems with this.

So what went wrong? In short, everything. Unfortunately as I peruse the more mainstream SFR this type of shoddy worldbuilding and reliance on stereotypes is turning up quite a bit. Since this is what readers have been exposed to, it's no wonder pulling them in is so difficult.

Tossing in aliens, or in this case alien DNA, does not science fiction make.


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