HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing
This Characterization is So Not Working

When did it become de rigueur for all characters in paranormal romance to sound like self-consciously ironic teenagers? I’m not talking about young adult books here; I’m talking about adult — sometimes very adult — romances, with adult characters.

I’m currently reading I’ll Be Slaying You, the second book in the “Night Watch” series by Cynthia Eden. I liked the first book and I’m enjoying this one even more, because the story has a lot of exciting twists and there’s some originality to the vampire mythology. It’s really steamy too, and the lovers are brought together in an unusual way, rather than just mystically fated to be mates.

But check out some of these internal musings, chosen pretty much at random:

Oh, so not what she needed to be saying to Dee.

Okay, yeah, this was one of those moments in life that sucked.

‘he’ll tear you apart… Rip your world away and tear you apart.’ Ah, nice visual.

She’d been shot as a human, could still remember the fiery blast, and didn’t want to go through that again, thank you very much.

Leaving aside the fact that these are all verbal cliches — is there anything that would clue you in that these thoughts are coming from three different characters? The first book was the same: every single person thought in that terse, ironic slang that’s so ubiquitous, I’ve started thinking of it as Paranormal-Speak.  Perhaps I’ve just become more sensitive to it, but I remember the earlier books in J.R. Ward’s “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series as having distinct characters; more recent characters have all have the same internal voice, and they blend together in my mind.

Like I said, I’m enjoying the book. But I have a feeling the series is going to grate on me over time, the same way Ward’s has. Hot vampires and sexy shifters and weird magical happenings are a lot of fun, but to truly love a book I have to feel that even those vampires and shifters are, at heart, real people.