Monday, August 2, 2010

A Rant: HEA vs. HFN

I'm in a really bad mood right now, and all thanks to a book. I took a chance on a purchase through Fictionwise from an author I didn't know. The blurb looked interesting and the writing (from the excerpt) drew me in. A character tries to come to grips over the loss of his lover and find his way into a new relationship. The book was listed in erotic romance. And honestly, it was more a romance than erotic romance, because there wasn't much sex in the book, though the few scenes there were had graphic descriptions.

The lack of sex didn't bother me at all because the main character was so well-drawn. Though it took a while to adjust to the author writing in present tense, the story really flowed. A bit slow at times, but decent pacing overall. And through the whole of it, I kept reading on, waiting to see that main character find love again and find happiness.

Except that didn't happen, and I was left feeling cheated and with a WTF?? in mind, realizing I'd wasted several hours pouring through the book.

When I read a romance, I expect a Happily Ever After, an HEA. A Happy For Now--HFN, isn't as satisfying. But if I know going into the book to expect an HFN, I can deal.

However, erotic ROMANCE should have the romanctic HEA. The book wasn't erotica. It wasn't fiction. And though the writing was very well done, the characters well-drawn, and the story catching, that ending robbed me of any satisfaction I might have felt with the book. The author has hinted at a sequel, to find out if the hero, with all his issues and angst, will find that HEA, but honestly, I could care less. Like I need to spend more time reading about a relationship with no guarantee it won't peter out?

The point of romance, to me, is a good story that guarantees a happy ending. If I want reality, if I want sadness and unending misery, the daily drudgeries of life, I can watch the friggin' news or read the paper. So I get really ticked when I spend money to be entertained, only to be feeling robbed in the experience.

Ack! All I can say is that I'm not going to chance more on Fictionwise for a long while. Tied and true, I guess, will work for me.


The Rantings of an Annoyed Reader


ca0ryan said...

I know exactly what you mean. That is why sometimes I tend to shy away from new series which are about only 1 character throughout that tends to go through romantic interests. I don't want to get emotionally involved if there isn't going to be a HEA.
So thank you for giving me HEAs when I read your books!

Elle said...

I've had many stories leave me with the same feelings; I try to look at it as the price of trying out a new author.

(Still ticks me off though!)

Marie Harte said...

Hey car0yan.

I've been getting lucky trying out new authors, so I didn't mind taking the chance on this particular story. But I sure did get burned on this one.

And like you, I normally shy away from series based on one character going through all the books, because the HEA is always in question. There are very few series books I do read, but I've adjusted my mindset so I know there might not be an HEA. I love Kim Harrison's witch series, which is true urban fantasy, with romantic elements in it. They're sparse, but I like the main character of Rachel so much it doesn't bother me. PLUS, I know going in what to expect.


Marie Harte said...

Hey Elle.

Yeah, that is the price you pay. My problem is that I'm an emotional reader. A book can put me into a good mood or a funk. So after my dismal read today, I had to work not to snap at my kids for the stuff I can normally ignore.

A lot of people scoff at romance because it's predictable. But that's the one aspect I love about it, that I'm guaranteed an HEA.

The worst part of today was that the story was well-written and the characters engaging. It's easier to dislike a poorly written or stupid book. This was neither, just really, really disappointing. And it wasn't sad, just abrupt and with big question mark about HEA. grrrrrr


ca0ryan said...

Hi Again,

I actually read through most of the Hollows series until book 6 and 7 and the death of a character. I have Black Magic Sanction and have even pre-ordered Pale Demon. But I don't know if I can actually read them yet. Its just too hard when I get a headache from crying because of a lack of HEA.

Marie Harte said...

Oh, right, ca0ryan. My mistake. I referred to Harrison's series as that witch series, but it's her Hollows books. I haven't read Black Magic Sanction yet. Waiting for it in paperback, to complete the rest of my series.

I know what you mean about "that death", but I'd never considered that particular relationship going the distance, so it didn't freak me out. I know who I'd pair one of those characters with, and I'm waiting to see it happen--if it happens. Harrison's dropped enough hints at who she'd like it to be. At least in my mind. I do look forward to the rest of the series, though. especially to see how Rachel gets out of her many, many problems. Hey, at least Harrison started out her Hollows books as urban fantasy, and she's keeping to it. I dig that.

I read a different romance series--that I loved--that started out as romance and turned into urban fantasy. And it pissed me off, big time. I was 5 books into it and just quit in disgust. Really turned me off to the author. I mean, come on. Finish the darned series in the same genre, at least!!!

Sorry, there I go, ranting again.

Marie :)