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SERIESous Discussion: Let Fiction be Fiction

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SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


It’s no secret that I read a lot of New Adult Contemporary novels. I cycle through them like good candy.

So that means I come across a lot of reviews for NA works and a common comment I see is “it wasn’t realistic”. I’m sure I’ve said it in my own reviews before as well.

And I get why people (myself included) say that. When you read a contemporary novel, you expect a certain amount of truth. I mean, I basically equate “contemporary” with “everyday life”. It’s a novel that doesn’t take place in some mythical world or has lead characters that are not human. If the character goes through a particularly hard time like moving away from home or the grief of losing a loved one, you might even label it as “realistic”.

But at the end of the day, it’s still fiction.

That means you can have over the top scenarios and situations a regular, everyday person wouldn’t face. Like a vindictive ex-girlfriend who hatches some elaborate scheme to get the boyfriend back. Sure, they kinda suck when they get to be soap opera-y but it’s still fiction. It’s not supposed to be real.

fic·tion
ˈfikSH(ə)n/
noun
 1. literature in the form of prose, especially short stories and novels, that describes imaginary events and people.

Which is why it grinds my gears when people get upset at novels like Fifty Shades of Grey and the like for being “unrealistic” or pushing boundaries.

Yes, Fifty Shades is not your everyday romance. It romanticizes a relationship that many see as abusive and because of that, it often gets slapped with a “unrealistic” label.

But let me remind you that it is sold in the fiction section of the book store.

Meaning it is an “imaginary” story and to a certain extent, it can have some artistic license in what it can do. It can create over the top drama because it isn’t supposed to be real. It’s a fantasy that is supposed to appeal to the reader.

Now this isn’t a conversation about Fifty Shades or the themes presented. It’s just an example that most people seem to be familiar with regardless of whether or not they have actually read the book. I could have picked any TV drama to prove my point.

And my point is, I agree with people when they are concerned with how culture integrates art (like books and TV) into their lives. When something is presented as normal and is done so in many ways (and gains notable attention for it), people start to think it is OK to have in everyday life. Like the idea that violence in video games breeds violence in real life (though that has been disproved in many studies). If you appropriate a certain attitude in society, it becomes the norm.

But where I differ is: why can’t people let fiction be fiction?

I tend to see novels as conversation starters. They open discussions about topics that society would usually shy away from. Look at the number of discussions that started regarding sexuality and romantic partnerships after Fifty Shades was released. It created a national dialogue that got people thinking and talking.

I just don’t understand why people look past the fiction label. It’s a fictional story meant to entertain its readers. And so long as the reader knows that, I don’t see any problem with it. But what we need to do as readers is make sure people do understand that. That they know when fiction is being fiction and not simply life imitating art.

How do you feel about fiction imitating life?

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SERIESous Discussion: When Your Fave Author Switches Genres

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SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


We all have those authors…

You know, the ones that you will read anything that they ever publish because they write amazing books. You don’t even need to read the synopsis because all you see is their name on the cover and you are sold.

But what happens when they completely switch genres?

Like I said above, it probably doesn’t matter. You’ll read anything by them regardless of what the critics or fellow reviewers say. You have faith in them and know that you more than likely enjoy the hell out of that book.

So I suppose my question should be:

Do you change your expectations when they change genres?

Personally, I know that I struggle with this.

Case and point: Richelle Mead. Her most recent work, The Glittering Court, is actually the inspiration for my this post.

Richelle Mead writes two of my all time favourite series: The Vampire Academy and Bloodlines. Now both are set in the same world and are classified as YA Paranormal Romance. I’ve also read her adult Paranormal Romance series Dark Swan. Basically, I equate Richelle Mead with strong female heroines in paranormal worlds.

So when she wrote Soundless, which is YA Fantasy/Mythology standalone, it was quite the change for me. It had a great concept but the execution wasn’t what I wanted nor expected. I wanted something fast paced like her previous works–something loaded with action and a strong, independent heroine I could admire. And that didn’t happen.

I did the same thing with The Glittering Court as well. I thought the book could have had a faster pace because I know Richelle Mead can and has produced books with faster plot-lines before.

Now, I’m not saying that I want a carbon copy of the author’s previous works for all their future works.

Far from it actually. I hate authors that seem to follow a formula. I want a book to surprise me and entertain me. And if it follows the same sequence of events with the same character traits–yeah, I get bored.

It definitely happens though. Authors have the subjects and character types they are comfortable with. I think Jennifer L Armentrout is a perfect example of that. You always know when you are reading her books because they all have the same basic foundation–it is what she is known and liked (and disliked) for. And you get comfortable with that too as a reader–it’s what makes an author a favourite or a must-read.

And sometimes, authors want to break out of that mold and write something new. It gets tiring writing the same thing all the time. Readers change genres (I know I rotate genres what I read on a weekly basis) and even bloggers change the type of posts they do on a regular basis. If all goes well, they will get some new fans in addition to their previous fans who like and support their new work.

But there will always be those fans that compare the new book to the old.

It’s human nature to compare things. I try to be really cognizant of that fact when I write my reviews. While I like to compare new works to old works for context but I don’t want it to be the entire basis of my review.

Yet I struggle to not do that when I read.

When I read that book, I might think to myself “well this isn’t as exciting as BLANK was”. And I really wish I could stop because I almost feel like I’m not giving this book a chance. ESPECIALLY, when it is a genre change. I shouldn’t expect a fantasy mythology novel to have the same type of action as a paranormal romance but I can’t help it.

It’s what I am comfortable with and I’m not always the biggest fan of change, even if it is my favourite author.

What about you? 

How do you feel when an author changes genres?

Are you constantly comparing?

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SERIESous Spoilers: A Court of Mist and Fury

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SERIESous Spoilers: A feature where we discuss what happened in our favourite (or maybe not so favourite) books. Did you like the plot changes? The romance? What surprised you? What angered you? And what do you think will happen next?

This month’s SERIESous Spoilers Pick:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas | A Court of Thorns and Roses Trilogy

It was probably one of the most anticipated sequels this year so I think it goes without saying that I wanted to share some of my thoughts on it. Please join me!

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–So Long Happily Ever After!–

In my series review, I state my problems with Tamlin and Feyre’s romance. In short: my biggest problem was Tamlin’s alpha tendencies and how it made their relationship pretty unhealthy to me. I wasn’t totally sold on it though I did warm to it in time because I did see why they would connect romantically.

So, I think it goes without saying that I wasn’t totally disappointed that things didn’t work out between the two of them. Their relationship is SO UNHEALTHY and I’m glad that gets touched upon in this book as well. Feyre’s character development in this area really impressed me–even if it did seem to take her forever.

It weird though, in this series I’m not a huge fan of the romance overall. I’m rather indifferent to Feyre (I think her jaded personality in ACOTAR prevented me from totally loving her) and I would say the same about Rhys. It’s bizarre for me because I’m not really attached to any of these characters in any way. Not like I am in the Throne of Glass Series or, say, The Mortal Instruments Series.

BUT, I do prefer Rhys for Feyre and I loved watching their relationship develop as a romantic partnership. The key is the partnership part–I love when the romance makes that the focus.

–Reversal of the Beauty and the Beast Story–

In ACOTAR, it’s pretty obvious how the Beauty and the Beast Story works. Tamlin is the Beast and Feyre is Belle who challenges and eventually frees the Beast. Rhys might be the Gaston but his role isn’t as romantic as that, though he is the “bad guy” to a certain degree.

But what’s so great about ACOMAF is that we see these roles shift. Gone is the “is-it-Stockholm-syndrome?” story and instead, we get one that focuses on the healthier side of things.

What happens if Belle had had the choice to stay like Feyre did in Rhys’ court?

What if Belle was able to grow and exert her independence in a positive way?

What does a love look like that isn’t simply a result of forced proximity and protection?

Perhaps the English Literature student in me read too much into this aspect, but what I think Maas did here is pure genius and is easily what made this book a 5 star read for me.

–What’s going to happen next?–

I was warned that some serious shit goes down at the end of ACOMAF but I wasn’t totally prepared for everything that happened. So many great plot lines to be resolved! I thought there was going to be a little more bloodshed but I love these deceptive games that are now afoot!


What are your thoughts? Agree or disagree?

What are you looking forward to the most in the next book?

Please leave a comment below!