Friday, March 21, 2014

Fantasy Friday 3 - Paranormal creatures


This is a meme hosted by Rinn Reads where anyone can join in and talk about anything Fantasy!

It seems like there's been an explosion of Zombie/Vampire/Werewolf/Angel-Demon/Fae fiction recently (especially under the "Paranormal Romance" heading - which in my opinion does not need to exist!). I'm not much a romance reader, and I get so annoyed when protagonists put their love interests before their other obligations (family? friends? saving the world? You know, no big deal). But when there's a great story with a dash of romance on the side, I'm a happy reader.

I think in general I enjoy books about the Fae folk more than any other type of paranormal creature. I'm a little tired of the vampire books, and I haven't read many books that involve werewolves. Considering the fact that I don't like gore, I've read a surprisingly large number of zombie books.

If I'm going to read a book involving paranormal creatures, I prefer books that invent their own creatures or ones reimagine existings ones. I've read so many books that involve a clueless protagonist who finds out s/he is actually somehow related to these creatures. Some of these books did a really great job of turning tropes in their heads and adding a new spin on the old lore, and others...didn't. So here's my take on the good and the bad of paranormal creatures:

Zombies

Great:

Literary and zombies. Never thought those two would ever go together did you? This book by a MacArthur Grant (aka "genius award") winner is just that. It's a zombie book that's not about the zombies, and the writing is brilliant!

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I guess I'm cheating a bit because I haven't actually finished this one yet, but I'm reading it right now and so far it's great! It combines journalism and zombies, which is pretty crazy - it's also super snarky and intense!
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Not So Much:

This sounded really awesome - imagine those proper Victorian ladies waving parasols at a horde of filthy zombies! I didn't like this as much as I thought I would, though. There were just a lot of historical inaccuracies and really confusing aspects of the book. It was so convoluted that by the end it just seemed like a random jumbled mess.
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Vampires

Great: I really liked how the world in this series isn't humans with a few secret clans of vampires, bur rather vampires with some humans on the side as blood cattle. It's really intense, and it's interesting to see how the MC adjusts to being the creature she hates the most.

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Not So Much: 

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Werewolves

Good: Love love love Stiefvater's writing style - it's gorgeous! I also thought the way she related changing into a werewolf with temperature was really cool. 

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Not So Much:

This is another book that could have been really cool - werewolves on the Titanic! - but didn't live up to my expectations.
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Fae folk

Angels/Demons

Great:

This one twists the Angels and Demons into Seraphim and Chimaera, but the concept is generally the same. I loved how both races are given such interesting mythology and I absolutely love Taylor's writing style. This book is funny at times, intense and even heartbreaking at others.
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This is an excellent example of a "paranormal romance" that is about a lot more than the romance. It's about Clara learning her purpose and deciding whether to do her duty or follow her heart. It's about family and loyalty and friendship; Clara's mother is epic, and Clara never forgets about her family when she has other things to worry about.
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Not So Much:

There are just soooo many things wrong with this book, the most bothersome being how much it reinforces rape culture. I'm no expert, but if someone is stalking you, publicly humiliating you, and threatening to kill you, I'd say STAY AWAY. 

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What paranormal creature books have you read? Do you love them? Hate them? Any recommendations?


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2 comments:

  1. Rinn (Rinn Reads)March 23, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    Yay, thanks for joining in with Fantasy Friday, Kritika! =D I love the theme you've chosen too.


    I've had Zone One on my to read list for a while, but haven't heard anyone mention it until now, so I'm glad the first mention is a good one. I've also heard some rather negative reviews of Something Strange and Deadly.


    Daughter of Smoke and Bone was AMAZING, and I can't wait to read Days of Blood & Starlight (I still haven't!). I'm going to a Laini Taylor event at the end of April actually, so I'd like to have read it by then. And Hush, Hush... ugh. No. It's pretty horrific, isn't it?


    When it comes to vampires, I will always recommend Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin =)

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  2. Thanks! I join in sporadically (aka when I actually have time to write a post haha)
    My English professor actually had one of his classes read Zone One - it's very literary, but not intimidatingly so. I don't know, I loved how you could have something so cultured come out of a zombie story :)
    Yes! Days is even better than Daughter, and the final book is coming out in a few weeks! so excited!
    Haven't heard of that one - I will check it out!

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