The Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead is a textbook example of why I try to avoid the Paranormal Romance genre. The only women I know who act as stupidly and irrationally as the main character in this series have major psychological issues (unhappy childhoods, coupled with bipolar disorder). The main character isn’t actually described as having those sorts of psychological problems, but her decisions and actions would easily lead to that conclusion if she were a real person. As a main character in a Paranormal Romance novel, however, this sort of stupidity and irrationality is just par for the course.
On top of that, much like the Georgina Kincaid series by the same author, these books contain a great deal of graphic sex scenes. There are two major things that differ from the previous series, however. One is that I’m listening to this series in audiobook form. I’ve already mentioned that I don’t like sex scenes in audiobooks (that’s not the author’s fault; just a personal quirk). The second issue, however, is a much bigger problem: the sex senses in this series have ever increasingly strong overtones of dominance and possession. That wouldn’t be a problem if the sex acts took place in relationships founded on justifiable trust. Instead, these relationships are based on their ability to make a nice angsty love triangle. On top of that, the main character is now inarguably stronger than both the characters she’s sleeping with. These dominance and possession games really make these men look pathetic and desperate; like an old Beagle humping a recently full-grown Pit Bull in an attempt to prove it’s still Alpha. And all that is apart from the attempted rapes that are almost ever-present in books one and two.
What may be worse than all that, however, is that I still sort of like the series. There’s that small part of me that enjoyed watching Felicity with my mom when I was growing up. But more importantly, is that I’m a whore for a good story. Stupid romance aside, there’s actually a good story happening in these books. Granted, it’s happening amidst a bunch of angst ridden junk, but it’s still a fun and interesting story. It’s a story about a character that hates Fairies, but gets caught up in Fairy politics, becomes a Fairy queen, and tries to fight against prophecy, only to… You can guess. It’s not original, but it’s fun and engaging. I only wish the story was happening without the accompanying junk.