Sunday, May 2, 2010

Things I Hate About You

You doesn't mean any specific you. I mean it in a general, crankypants sort of you. I'm referring to the you who violates common sense and my own tiny intelligence by perpetrating bad regency tropes. You know who you are.

For starters, I know that romance novels set in regency England get a bad rap. Some of it is deserved. Yes, historical accuracy often gets tossed to the wayside. But not always. Some of us truly strive to makes things as accurate as possible. Really, we do. My editor is a booger on word usage. She'll often bust me if I'm off by just a couple of years. Ouch.

But there are some things that transcend inaccurate words or details. Some trends are just plain bad fiction.

I had an awesome weekend. We went camping and the weather was gorgeous. The kids were reasonably well-behaved. Nothing broke on the camper. But my book.


You ever have one of those books you really wanted to like? This one seemed like something I would enjoy and parts of it, I did like. Other parts made me want to bounce the book off the camper walls.

But I kept reading because I only took the one book with me. I took my laptop and got a huge amount of editing work done on Prudence, but at night I want to read and relax. So I read on.

I now give you without further ado, a list of ten things that made me Madam Crankypants about my book choice.

1. The hero is a spy. And he isn't a very good one. He's impersonating his dead cousin to catch a killer. His plan? He goes around to all the gaming hells and underworld haunts he can find, hoping to provoke the killer into trying to kill him too. So he can bust him. Yep. That's the whole plan. My cat would be a better spy. At least she understands how to hunt things. He's needlessly secretive when it would be better to simply tell the truth about things. But then he wouldn't be a spy. Shhhhhhhhhh! It's a secret.

2. He's the handsomest, biggest, most virile man who ever graced the planet. Chuck Norris is green with envy at his mad skills. Even horses bow to his majesty. Every woman who meets him, wants him. Except our heroine. She hates him on sight. He's tall and wins every card game and bests all opponents. Oh, and he dances divinely as well. Plus he's a good lover. All the trampy women want to sleep with him and the innocent girls want to marry him. He's the most interesting man in the room. He doesn't drink beer very often, but when he does. It's Dos Equis.

3. His chest is covered in black fur. Blech! Not hair. Fur. If the author described it once, it must have been fifty times. Everytime his chest is mentioned (and boy does it get a lot of airtime) we have to hear about how broad it is and how it's covered in a matt of black fur. Do. Not. Want.

4. He's Mr. Wonderful to everyone but the heroine. He loves to tease her by treating her like crap because he likes her so much. Seriously, it was like elementary school where the boy who secretly liked you glued your braids to the chair and threw up on your desk. See, it's fun to make her blush and stammer and humiliate herself. Cause she's cute. :headbang: He treats her like a toy. I hate it. And does he ever apologize? Of course not! He was only funning!

5. The heroine seems to have a brain except for the second he kisses her. At the slightest touch from our hero, she's ready to put out. Seriously, he gets to second base with her during their first kiss even though he's been sweating out a fever for days. Some virgin. It's a good thing this is her first trip to London and she isn't some raving beauty. The girl can't keep her legs together for twenty minutes.

6. The villian is cardboard. He's never on scene unless he's there to menace the heroine. He's been stalking her for something like twelve years. Plus he killed the hero's cousin. He's rich and evil. Why is he evil? Cause he's know? Really bad. Why? He just is, dammit! Accept it and move on. Oh, and he's ugly too.

If you can't say something Nice...

My mama always told me to find the good in things, so here it goes. Everyone had period appropriate names. No girls named Hayley or males named Brad.

It isn't much, but it's a start.

So you don't go away empty-handed, here are some awesome classic links.

Mrs. Giggles Regency Drinking Game
SBTB's Contemporary Drinking Game

BTW: If I was playing along in this novel, they'd be treating me for alcohol poisoning about now.

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