Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ah, Romance. . .


What do these two couples have in common? They both fight demons together? No, wait, that's not it. Umm. . . well, just. . . the romance! -- and the fact that they are two ongoing stories in my pop-culture life just at the moment.

Jim and I continue our ongoing Buffy extravaganza. We're midway through Season 4. Watched Hush last night. BEST. EPISODE. EVER. As a writer and a consumer of writing, I love certain kinds of situations -- certain "meetings" and certain ways that secrets are revealed. Well, in Hush there's just a great sort of double-secret-reveal, involving demons and weaponry and a big juicy crush. There's a first kiss in it, too. And it's so delish. **youtube clip below

And then, readingwise, I'm feeding another one of my not-really-guilty pleasures, which is Jane Austen spin-off fiction. In this case, it's An Assembly Such As This which tells Pride & Prejudice from Darcy's point of view. FUN! (And, there are three volumes. I swiped them all from my dad, who shares this not-really-guilty pleasure with me; I think he might have a crush on Jennifer Ehle, and who can blame him? And, by the way, though I love the Joe Wright P & P too, it's totally Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle I'm picturing as I read this. Without that mini series, would this slew of Austen fan fiction even exist?)

But the point is just: ROMANCE. Sure, there was a time when I wouldn't have admitted how much I love it, but that was back when I wasn't reading fantasy either, but just Balzac and DeMaupassant, etc etc. (Or, as I like to call them, Honore and Guy.) Nothing against those guys, great literature, etc etc, but give me Joss Whedon and faux Jane Austen any day. Longing and smoochies and demon fighting! It makes me yearn to be writing the YA book that's been simmering in my brain for a goodly year. But alas, I think once I'm done with revisions, I really need to get on to Dreamdark 3, and not the YA at all. And I love Dreamdark, don't get me wrong, it is my beloved child, but there are no smoochies in Dreamdark. There is the devil fighting, and a wee bit of yearning, perhaps, but no smoochies. Just good, clean family fun with devil wars and scimitars.

And on the subject of romance, did anybody who's reading the Emily books with me get a bit frustrated by Emily's Quest? I found it unsatisfying. I kept wanting to shake everybody by the lapels. I remembered what happened from when I read it years (23 years?) ago, but I didn't remember quite how maddening! It's a fine line for me -- I have a love/hate thing for romance storylines of love denied. Yes, yearning, frustration, all that is a big, important piece. But some books carry it too far, and once a certain line is crossed, the romance is broken and one starts to rather root against it. One of the Eva Ibbotsen books I read this spring did that (A Song for Summer); I really like it until a certain point, after which I drastically disliked it. Instead of reading it, read A Company of Swans a second time. It's way better.

Anyway, Emily lost her charm a little for me in the third book. It was too bleak, and there was the always wanting to shake them that distracted me. I was just as affected by The Seller of Dreams as I recall, though. It hurts, doesn't it?

Here's some clips from Hush, if you're curious. (Warning: creepy!)

13 comments:

Alexandra Saperstein said...

yes yes yes, I hear you Mrs. Cooley Bananabreathbong! Emily's whole 'quest' thing is soooooo, I don't even know how to put it at this point, just maddening! It makes me want to rip all the stuffing (with my bare teeth) out of every last one of my ten thousand and thirty nine pillows on every last sofa and daybed in every last thirty nine thousand and twenty one rooms in my palace. I just want to take all that stuffing and throw it all out the windows. And I will.. right NOW! ....

Stephanie Perkins said...

Oh, you SO knew I'd be commenting today :)

An Assembly Such As This -- I've had this on my bookshelf for two years, and I STILL haven't read it! ACK! Now I have to go find it. Even though I'm not a mystery reader, Carrie Bebris's series is my favoite Austen spin off.

As far as love denied, ugh! I agree with you that the yearing and frustration is important (crucial!), but I must have my happy ending. I haven't read the Emily books yet, so I'm not sure what upset you, but be assured that someday (hopefully), when you're reading my novels, the girl will get the boy.

And there will be smooching.

And sigh! I still haven't seen much Buffy. It's one of those things I've been meaning to watch for years, and have never gotten around to. Feel sad. Must remedy this.

Michele said...

Ah, Emily. I confess, I've been frustrated to the point of peevishness ever since Emily turned down the New York job. For me, that was the turning point that led me down the path to disliking Emily. She became just as much a Victorian snob as her prideful New Moon Aunties, and boy, did she pay a price for that pride and snobbery!

But I did love the Seller of Dreams idea nonetheless. It was a bright spot...ideas percolating...

Mardougrrl said...

Oh, how I loved Buffy...and Angel. So you realize why I just needed to cover my eyes and have a bit of a lie down. ;)

I know JUST what you mean about romance. I think I tried to repress the desire to write and really immerse myself in love, love, love. But it's come back with the vengeance of a million denied love songs.

And Blackbringer DID have more than a hint of romance, if no smoochies.

I still need to read Emily.

Liana said...

As much as I wanted to give Emily a good shake in the third book, her actions/reactions really do match with her over-emotional and dramatic personality.
So, she drove me nuts! Nuts! But it rang true, nonetheless.

I'll always have a soft, sad spot in my heart for Dean, though.

pie said...

I agree with you about Emily's Quest. I've been re-reading the books, and, after enjoying the first two so much, maybe even more than I did when I was younger, I'm having a hard time with the third. I'm at a part where Emily's in a good place, and I'm dreading the painful tangling of things that I know is coming up. Something of the same sort happens in Pat of Silver Bush, too. Lucy Maud Montgomery is a master at giving her heroines magical childhoods/adolescences, but their adulthoods, at least Emily's and Pat's, are rather uncomfortable to read about.

I read Eva Ibbotson's romances last year, and, of all of them, A Company of Swans was the only one in which I wasn't frustrated with the main male character at the point of romance-rift. Rom doesn't let misunderstanding (or thousands of miles) become an obstacle to his love! By the way, Ibbotson's Journey to the River Sea, a younger book than the romances, is wonderful.

Donna Hacker said...

Hello Laini,
Just a note to let you know that your art has inspired me. I've added the link to your blog on mine with a word about your work. You are invited to visit my site at www.dhacker.blogspot.com.

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Liana! I guess I agree Emily's actions rang fairly true. One thing I have a hard time buying is that Ilse would not know, or even suspect, Emily's feelings for Teddy. After all those years! Also, yeah, I feel bad for Dean KIND OF, but I was way more creeped out by him reading it now than when I was a kid. I mean, falling in love with a 12-year-old and deciding to "wait for her." Better, I know, than NOT waiting, but still.

And Pie, I just read Journey to the River Sea and thought it was wonderful! Those two books really have me wanting to go to Manaus -- but, you know, in 1912!

Donna, Thank you!

Michele said...

Dean was an interesting character--I was often tempted to feel bad for him, but his lack of enthusiasm and support for Emily's passion, writing--no correct that, he actively tried to douse that flame in her as long as it was a threat to his own desires-- caused her to destroy her best story and eventually abandon her work! (Good for us, not so good for poor Emily). Not a great qualification in either a friend or husband. That, combined with his creepy attraction to Emily as a child put him on my All Time Creeps list.

myrna said...

I loved the first two books, but the third one made me crazy too. Dean was creepy. It wasn't so much the age thing (for me) as it was his attempt to control who she was. It seemed (to me) that he didn't want her to grow-up. Teddy was annoying because he took too long to say how he felt. I'll admit the characters were realistic though. There are plenty of people out there who want to control the people they profess to love or who are afraid to admit their feelings for someone.

The third book was most annoying for me because after all she struggles through in the first two books to even be able to write, she gives up in the third. That was more annoying than the annoying romance. I need to write more in times of stress or depression than I do when life is going well. When my mom died in a car accident, I enrolled in a creative writing class. I knew it would be better therapy than anything else, and it was. Emily seemed like that too. That's why I wanted to shake her.

Annie said...

I just watched P&P last night for the third time, Colin Firth IS Darcy :-).

Heather said...

Hush is definitely in my top ten favourite Buffy episodes (and towards the top of the top ten)! Let me know when you get to season 7 - I'll bring it on over and we can have a marathon, hee!

danielle said...

Hush is very good. But, I absolutely adored Once More With Feeling in Season 6. If you get Buffy-ed out, be sure to watch at least that one episode...