Based on the genre, readers have different expectations. Fantasy includes supernatural elements or magic as an integral part of the plot. Science fiction deals with futuristic technology, space travel, extraterrestrial life, parallel universes, and more. It’s rare to find any sort of supernatural element within science fiction, unless you begin delving into science fantasy, which combines elements of both science fiction and fantasy.
However, it’s not unusual to find a romance subplot within fantasy and science fiction. Romance is marketable. But what happens when the romance overwhelms the intended plot?
Ever read a back cover blurb and gotten excited about a book? You purchase (or borrow) the book and as you’re reading discover that the book is nothing like the blurb? I have. It’s not a good realization. Most times the book is much heavier on the romance than the blurb indicated. (This is one of the reasons I tend to read reviews before spending money on a novel. Romance is great…in moderation. If I purchase a science fiction novel, I bought it for the science fiction, not the unexpected romance.)
I am a fan of the TV show The 100. The first season was a bit iffy, mostly because it felt like a young adult show and I found myself questioning some of the main characters decisions. But then the show got good, fast. So, I thought I should read the books, since books are most often better than the TV show or movie.
Once I read the reviews on this book series, I decided against reading it. Many people stated that the romance, a love triangle, took over the plot to the point where the book was no longer a “post-apocalyptic tale of survival,” but a teenaged romance. (The link leads to an expletive heavy review. Be warned. (Here’s a link to The 100 blurb and other reviews: The 100 book series.) Other issues with the series was noted, however most of the issues related back to the romance.
Now, some people loved this book series. That’s fantastic. Everyone has different tastes and I encourage everyone to take the time to decide if this book series is something they might be interested in reading. I happen to like my romances as subplots, unless I specifically choose a romance. Otherwise, when I’m expecting an epic space battle, but all I get is googly eyes, I feel cheated.
Some books that are romance light:
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- Sabriel by Garth Nix (This is one of my favorite YA trilogies, though it’s nothing like the YA novels of today’s literary world. Much more mature.)
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
What do you think when romance overtakes all other plots in non-romance novels?
(Photo courtesy of darwin Bell.)