Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Let's have another rant of the day, kiddies! And this time, I'd like to let off some steam about vampire and werewolf novels. In the wake of Laurell K. Hamilton's success, the world has been flooded with 'alternate present' books where vampires and werewolves are recognized minorities and blah blah blah. Which is all fine and good. But I'd like to address the stereotyping of these characters. Why, oh, why are the vampires always suave, well-dressed types? They own nightclubs, and are sort of mafia-like. In every book! Meanwhile, the werewolves are thugs. Less intelligent, less groomed, and usually riding motorcycles. It was cute the first time. But now it's getting out of hand. Can't we please see something different? Must all the vampires wear silk shirts? Even the ones who weren't born during the 1700's? Seriously, what are the odds that a man who used to be a viking now likes frilly silk shirts? Slim to none, in my opinion. And just because a guy's a werewolf, does he have to ride a Harley, and have unkempt hair? No, he does not. And speaking of stereotypes: just once I'd like to read a fantasy book where the dwarves DIDN'T live in caves and make really neat armor and jewelry, and the elves lived in the forest and were archers. How 'bout some cave-dwelling elves, or some dwarves crouched up in the trees, shooting crossbows?
Wednesday, March 1, 2006
Hey, everybody, let's have a rant of the day! I've been reading a lot of YA lately, lots of new, highly recommended books, many of them from first time authors. And I have to say, what is up with this trend of clumsy, self-loathing heroines? I'm not saying that I want my teenage protagonist to be convinced that she is just gorgeous and can do no wrong, but there's a wide gulf between being shy and a little self-deprecating to being neurotic and filled with self-hatred. I just read a book which I shall not name, where the heroine was so annoying that I was actually disappointed at the end when she DIDN'T die. She whined on and on about how she wasn't good-looking and boys didn't like her, and yet no less than three guys wanted to date her. (She couldn't figure out why, and frankly, neither could I.) She was so convinced that she was clumsy that she was afraid to WALK in front of the guy she liked. When he tried to take her dancing, she became hysterical. Full-on hysterical. She needed psychiatric help in the worst way, but we were supposed to be rooting for her as our protagonist?! Good grief! I'm all for a quirky heroine, a clumsy one, a plain one, but does EVERY female protagonist in a YA novel have to be filled with self-pity, self-loathing, be convinced of her own ugliness, and so clumsy that she's a danger to herself and others? What happened to strong female role models? What happened to giving girls confidence? Good golly, people!