Saturday, April 23, 2016

She Wants The V

I like vampire novels.

I am not ashamed to say that.

... Yes, yes I am ashamed to say that, but not for my sake.

I am ashamed for those who got into vampire fiction the same way I did but never managed to crawl out of the pit of bad fang-fic (get it?) and other horrid stories of which I almost fell into.

I'm confessing this because I'm currently re-reading J.R. Ward's The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and just loving it. I really really really adore this series and funnily enough not because it has vampires. I love it because the author has an amazing grasp of realistic dialogue and the modern difficulties of relationships. Which is a far cry from where I started.

And I started at Twilight.

Yes! That was me! I was one of those! I used to sit in my English class in high school and talk to the girls about how wonderful Edward was and OMG how could Bella even consider going with Jacob I mean COME ON! Vampires are like, waaaay sexier than werewolves, duh!

No need to hate me, I hate my younger self plenty enough for everyone.

What I came to realise over the years is that if it weren't for Stephanie Meyer's basic grasp of teenage angst and fleeting crushes I wouldn't be reading the amazing novels I am today. And neither would a lot of people.

So here's how it happened:

You're a teenager, right? Angry, lonely, confusingly horny, and you hate and love a lot of different things; sometimes simultaneously. Got it? Good.

So you're in high school and all your friends are talking about this book saying how amazing the character is and how cool the modern vampire is and you're suddenly like "My god, I haven't read a book since I was little? Why did I stop? Oh that's right, because I turned into a lazy piece of shit obsessed with the latest trends and couldn't be bothered putting effort into anything with substance or worth".

And you decide to read this book because everyone is talking about it and telling their friends to read it and you want something you can use to fit in. Great plan, right? What could possibly go wrong?

But what's this?! You actually enjoy the book? It speaks to you on a level you thought you would never be able to express? Hot diggity daffodil!

You consume everything there is about this book. About the author. About the film and the actors and the extra stories and the fans and literally anything you possibly can because when you read these books you feel like you're connected to the hundreds of thousands of other people reading them and somehow you don't feel as empty as you did before this all started.

Plus for some reason you find these people attractive but we can forget about that for now... or forever.

Now everything is in full swing and it's a full on fanfest everywhere you go. There's screaming, and crying, and hysteria of all kinds. But soon you realise something. Everyone is fawning over the wrong things. They're loving the broodiness, not the emotions. They're loving the sex not the relationships. They're rooting for the ending instead of enjoying the journey. And all of a sudden you don't like these people anymore.

Or the books.

But you still loved that feeling of reading something another person has created with their own passionate imagination and you wonder if there is anything else out there like this. Plus vampires.

Oh boy is there!

Just look at all these wonderful books just waiting to be read?

Hold up a sec...

Could it be that, you perhaps don't just like the vampire part of the books, but maybe, just maybe, you are enjoying the reading part? ... No? Okay, nevermind.

And on and on it goes. So many books. So many series. Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris, Shiloh Walker, Cassandra Clare, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, oh it goes on! For years you absorb the emotions and characteristics of these imaginary people who speak to you and softly whisper that life is going to be okay.

Except nothing really fits. You enjoy the books, but you start to notice things. The darkness isn't sexy anymore. The feeling of anticipation is just getting annoying. And why on earth are there so many happy endings? Ugh. Finally it starts to feel like every book is the same.

And that's when you ask yourself the question again.

Was it the vampires you liked? Or the stories?

It was the stories.

I loved the stories. But since I've read so many romance series now I kind of hate it when the villain is an empty shell only there to add tension and force the characters hands. I hated how no matter what happened I knew things were going to turn out alright. And I especially hated that after several years of reading and writing and learning the industry, I could guess immediately how a story would end.

And was very rarely wrong.

This is when I got back in to reading. Really reading. I was finally wandering out of that teenage girl corner with the fantasy and the lust and moving into a bigger world of gripping crime and mysteries and beautiful non-fiction.

And that's when I finally realised I'd crawled out of the paranormal pit of punishment and adventured into the big wide world of wondrous books. Never have I been so glad to come this far.

Except I still allow myself to have one vice.

That little whisper that hides under the mattress.

A delicate inner thought shoved far back in the underwear draw.

One tiny little exception.

And that is J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

I can't predict the endings, sometime the characters die, the villains are the characters themselves and relationships they try to hold together. The series fills all my emotional needs as well as my literary ones.


It has vampires, it has sex, it has romance and sumptuous amounts of ooy-gooy moments. It is my own personal pit of paranormal depravity and I love it to bits.

No joke, but as I was writing this I just bought the entire Fallen Angel series because I trust that Ward's writing is going to be just as good no matter what the subject matter. So what if it's another paranormal romance? I also like eating half of a family-sized Tim-Tam packet as snack most days and I'm cool if people know that.

Then I should also be okay with people looking at the very sexual front covers of the books I read. Behold my sexy front cover and be jealous of the emotions it gives me. Also you should be thanking me for making your train ride more interesting.

I guess what I've somehow managed to confess to is that I think it's alright to have a vice, even when it comes to something is unexpectedly straight as books. I am, and will continue to read the series for as long as it goes, for one simple reason.

It makes me happy. 

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