Far too often I find myself reading a book where the romance just fails to deliver. Even when scores of other people are raving about the book, I’m left feeling rather “Meh” about it, such as with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I loved the characters and the writing, but once it got to the romance portion, it completely lost me. I use that book as the most recent example, but there are many others that I felt similarly about.
I started really thinking about what it is that bothers me so much about many of these couples and I think that it’s the fact that I want the author to sell me on the characters first. I want to fall in love with this guy and I want it to feel like it was my idea that the two characters get together. I don’t want to be forced into a relationship that I am not yet comfortable with. I want to know why they should be together other than his blue eyes and perfect body and her incomparable beauty and need to be protected.
Another issue is that the romance moves entirely too quickly from attraction to obsession to be taken seriously. The fact that it becomes obsession at all is an issue for me. Stalking is not romantic and neither is the whole “I simply cannot function without him” thing. I understand that there is only so long that a relationship can be drawn out in 300-400 pages, but many other authors do it beautifully so I know that it is quite possible to write a believable romance in just a few hundred pages.
Finally, if a book is supposed to be fantasy, dystopian, mystery, thriller, etc., I loathe when a romance is focused on to compensate for a weak plot. If it is supposed to be a romance in a fantasy (or whatever) setting, that’s fine, but if the book begins with a strong exciting plot and fizzles into a cheesy romance then I am going to be left feeling frustrated and cheated.
Do any of you feel the same? What do you find frustrating about romance in fiction? Leave me a comment and let me know what you like or don’t like about the romances in the books you read.