I think I need to take a break from YA paranormal romance. Too many times, they follow the same formula, and even if the world building is well done, and I like the main character, etc. etc., I just can't bring myself to care. Here's what I perceive the formula to be: Protag meets romantic interest, romantic interest is 'dangerous' or 'mysterious' or 'enigmatic' etc. etc., protag knows she should stay away from romantic interest but she doesn't, romantic interest does something that is perceived as attractive to protag., but there's still that 'should I be around him? no, yes, no,' etc. etc. And so it goes. Lots of angst along with it. And then there's some sort of enemy introduced about halfway.
The paranormal romance that shakes up this formula or is written incredibly well or focuses less on the romance - those end up being the ones I like most.
Take Touched by Corrine Jackson for example.
Remy O’Malley heals people with touch—but every injury she cures becomes her own. Living in a household with an abusive stepfather, she has healed untold numbers of broken bones, burns,and bruises. And then one night her stepfather goes too far.
Being sent to live with her estranged father offers a clean start and she is eager to take it. Enter Asher Blackwell. Once a Protector of Healers, Asher sacrificed his senses to become immortal. Only by killing a Healer can a Protector recover their human senses. Falling in love is against the rules between these two enemies. Because Remy has the power to make Protectors human again, and when they find out, they’ll becoming for her—if Asher doesn’t kill her first.
This is Book One in the Touched trilogy.
There's nothing fundamentally wrong with this story. It starts off with Remy getting beaten so badly by her stepdad that out of necessity, she goes to live with her estranged father. Insert angsty, sad Remy who I actually found quite heroic and interesting, and who can't stay in her father's house when she first arrives - she's still coping with what happened - and bam! Guess who she meets.
Asher. Very attractive guy who acts strangely and figures out her secret and who holds all the answers. And who, of course, is someone she can't get out of her mind, and who also is angry with her for no reason except for him being a jackass (Okay, here's another secret. Most of the time, I just don't find the paranormal romantic interest attractive. He either acts like a jerk or is so unrealistically romantic that I have a hard time believing in him). Then he and Remy reach some sort of standstill, and they keep on flirting, and her friends predict that they're going to get together soon etc. etc. That is when I stopped reading (~page 70).
Like I said, nothing fundamentally wrong with the story... But that's it. It doesn't challenge the system. Though the writing is nice and the idea interesting, why should I choose it over another paranormal romance? Why should I like Asher?
Don't get me wrong. It seemed like the world would be developed, and the writing was fine and flowed well, and I liked Remy... but I'm starting to think that unless the paranormal romance is unique (i.e The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer) or the writing is extraordinary (i.e. Daughter of Smoke and Bone), I'm not going to enjoy/read it.
PS - Different topic, but what do you guys think about mash-ups? I think they fit into the category of paranormal romance I would read... After all, I did enjoy The Diviners by Libba Bray, though it too is a paranormal romance of sorts.
PPS - Thanks to ATWT for allowing me to participate on the Touched tour.