* * *
The heroine is a young girl, living in a place she really doesn’t want to be. She meets the hero at her new school, and is instantly attracted to him, though he seems to take an instant dislike to her. Then they get to know each other, and it turns out that he is more than he seems. She unearths the secret of what he really is. He admits that he can’t resist her any longer, and that she is the great love of his life. They are blissfully happy together, though they can’t get too passionate as it’ll be too dangerous for her. Then her life is threatened and he has to come to her rescue in a dramatic finale which involves a great deal of flying glass and an entourage of superhuman beings.
So far so good. It’s a winning recipe that works well for both books.
Their sequels are also remarkably similar:
For her own good, the hero separates himself from the heroine. In his absence, she undertakes a series of dangerous adventures. She meets another boy, one who seems a great deal more normal and warm and considerate, and who becomes her closest friend. Though his interest in her is obvious, she doesn’t love him as she loves her One True Love.
The difference between these two books is that in New Moon, though the heroine’s depression at losing her love is a tad annoying and you’d like to slap her upside the head with a wet fish, she isn’t Too Stupid To Live. Whereas Luce, the heroine of Lauren Kate’s Torment, is.
Maybe I’m dating myself here when I say that Luce comes across like a spoilt, whiny teenager. Yes, I know she is a teenager, and yes I know it’s possible a lot of teenagers behave like that, but seriously, this is fiction. The heroine is the person whose head the reader is going to have to spend hours and hours inside. And having her whine on about how everyone treats her like a baby and doesn’t tell her anything is enough to make the reader want to put the book down.
Chicky, I counted at least three people telling you not to leave the safety of the school grounds before you left the safety of the school grounds. And you know what? Claiming afterwards that you didn’t know it was dangerous because nobody tells you anything is TOO STUPID TO LIVE.
Luckily for Lauren Kate’s next book, I still hear Mrs Steen’s voice in my head. She was my primary school library teacher, and the one thing she ingrained in me was that you had to read the book before you could decide whether you liked it or not.
I’m looking forward to Passion, due out in 2011.