Disclaimer: I honestly would not have purchased this book had I realized its genre, paranormal romance.
You see, I was at Dragon Con one year, strolling through the aisles of the vendor area, trying to find some fresh new fantasy or steampunk books. When I found a book to purchase from a vendor who was representing many different authors, she told me there was a buy-two-get-one-free special, so I could pick out a free book. Assuming they were all fantasy like the two I had purchased, I plucked Lord of the Fading Lands somewhat at random, because I wanted to experiment with an author I’d never heard of.
Now, I am pretty particular on what genres and sub-genres I prefer to read, and romance, even if it includes fantastical elements, is most definitely not a genre I like. Even if the sex isn’t graphic, there is just something about romance novels that makes my skin crawl from second-hand awkwardness.
So, when I finally cracked open Lord of the Fading Lands a few weeks ago, I began to read it with the understanding that it was the first installment in an epic fantasy series. It wasn’t until I got to about chapter three before I started having my suspicions about what I was reading.
For example, lines like “something warm and hungry unfurled within her as their eyes met” gave me pause. Was I seriously reading something so overtly sensual in an epic fantasy? After encountering a few more such descriptions in the following pages, I finally flipped the book over, inspected the fine print on the spine, and saw the words ‘paranormal romance.’
Well no wonder!
But, I had already begun reading it, and to be fair it wasn’t a bad story, so I decided to finish it.
Lord of the Fading Lands tells the story of Ellysetta ‘Ellie’ Baristani, a homely young woman in her early 20s, living with her humble little family in the fantastical nation of Celieria. Poor Ellie is unlucky in love, being one of the last of her friends not to be courted, when one day the king of a mythical race of shapeshifters, Rain Tairen Soul, literally swoops down from the skies and claims Ellie as his ‘truemate.’
From there, the story blossoms into equal parts romance and political conflict, as the nation of Celieria battles to keep evil forces at bay. It is the romance, however, that takes center stage, as Ellie prepares to wed the Rain Tairen Soul, and the reader is forced to bear witness to their over-the-top physical attraction.
I won’t mince words here: the romance elements really made me uncomfortable. Call me a prude, but I just don’t want to read about “the liquid heat gathering in (Ellie’s) loins.” That’s about as explicit as it got, but still, I just hate being beat over the head with something when leaving things to the imagination would have been so much more scintillating. Then again, I suppose those sorts of in-your-face descriptions are exactly what the romance genre is about.
All told, it was a decent read. The plot was somewhat predictable, and some of the characters felt flat. However, if the purpose of a paranormal romance novel is for the story and magic to take a backseat so that the juicy romance elements can have a stage, then that’s exactly what this book did.
In the end, I can say that, while I am glad I gave it a chance, I will most certainly not be picking up more paranormal romance novels again any time soon.
Tell me, have you read Lord of the Fading Lands? Do you read paranormal romance books? If so, what do you enjoy about them?