Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Good, Evil & Nothing in Between

I love romance novels, have for a long time. But I do have a pet peeve that seems to pervade the genre. Characters tend to be either good or bad. Rarely do you find a gray character.

Maybe that's why I've really started reading mostly paranormals. The characters are inherently good and bad, struggling to balance the two sides. Too often in romance, the good guys are so supremely good and the bad guys so evil, it makes them predictable and uninteresting.

Even if the heroine is doing something bad, she generally has a higher reason for doing so, something so noble it totally counteracts whatever naughty she is forced to do. Same goes for the hero. The villain has no redeeming qualities about them, they are purely rotten, even if they do appear to be friends of the hero or heroine.

I'm not asking that bad guys get the girl or good guys die in the end. But it is difficult for me to see these characters as anything but two dimensional cut-outs. They lack a soul. Because humans are a combo of right and wrong. We sometimes do things for our own selfish pleasure. We try to take the easy course.

Perhaps I'm missing the point. Perhaps this is what romance readers want. Maybe they want the fantasy of a world where the good and bad are obvious and its easy to root for the hero and boo the villain.

What do you think? Am I too harsh? Should I be banned from the romance aisle at the Borders?