Friday, October 17, 2014

The Book Lover's Den #8: Gothic Fiction and Its 'Spinoffs' (Part II)

Welcome to my Friday feature!

In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.

Gothic Fiction has spawned several 'children', or, to use TV terminology, it has created 'spinoffs'. The most logical descendant, or relative, of Gothic Fiction is, of course, the Horror genre. As I explained in my previous post, I detest this genre, as I don't like to feel terrified, and see no entertainment value in this emotional state. I also dislike reading about a lot of blood and gore. It's just disgusting and sickening. Therefore, I stay far away from such popular Horror writers as Stephen King. He might be popular with lots of people, but certainly not with me!

What I like about Gothic Fiction such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca is that sense of mystery, of doom and gloom, which I expect will turn into a happy ending after everything is resolved by the author. The 'good guys' will win out, and everybody will go home happy! To me, this makes the dark elements in the story worth reading.

The other two genres descended from Gothic Fiction are Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, which usually appear together in the same book. Although there are dark elements in these genres, too, again, the plot ends on a lighter note. This is especially true of the PNR genre, since the paranormal heroes and heroines are romantic ones.

My favorite PNR series is The Twilight Saga. I find the story of Edward and Bella totally beautiful, romantic, and passionate without any graphic sex scenes. Some people criticize this series as being 'too cheesy', but I completely disagree. Edward, a vampire, falls in love with Bella, a human, and she with him. Throughout the books, the author, Stephenie Meyer, keeps the tension and action going, thus pulling the reader along, feverishly turning pages! I have already read the entire series three times, and I know I will read it many more times in the future!

I particularly enjoy paranormal romance in the Young Adult genre. In addition to Stephenie Meyer, I also love the Revenants series, by Amy Plum. Set in Paris, it tells the love story of yet another paranormal creature -- Vincent, a revenant -- and Kate, a human girl who has recently moved to Paris with her sister. A revenant is similar to a zombie, and I hate zombies..... However, the characters in these books are not of the flesh-eating kind. Instead, they have come back from the dead for the purpose of saving innocent human lives, over and over again. This is a great creative twist by Plum! This series does remind me somewhat of The Twilight Saga, but it's still original enough for me to recommend it -- and very highly, too!

This is the first book in the Revenant series.

Another series of Young Adult Paranormal Romance I've read, and loved, is The Night World Series, by L.J. Smith. Originally, these books were published separately, but were later compiled into what are called 'omnibus' editions. These are usually three books published together in one volume. This is how I first encountered the series.

I've read the first two omnibus volumes of The Night World Series, finishing them as quickly as possible, as the characters and plots are utterly compelling! 

Although I've also read some of the books from The Vampire Diaries Series, by the same author, I don't like that particular series very much. I definitely prefer The Night World books! The vampires in these books are much more attractive to me than those in The Vampire Diaries; they just seem more romantic and likeable.

This is the first omnibus edition volume
of The Night World Series.

There are great PNR novels for adults, as well. One of my favorite writers is Lynsay Sands, who writes humorous vampire romances. Although that might seem like an oximoron, she definitely does combine humor and the paranormal in her novels, and it's an unbeatable, very entertaining combination! Another writer who mixes PNR with humor is Kerrelyn Sparks, whose Love At Stake Series is just wonderful! Both of these authors have invented very lovable, romantic vampire characters who wouldn't hurt a fly. It's incredible, but true. So, rather than read about a traditional horror vampire, who sucks victims dry without a qualm, I'd much rather read about one of these! 

This is the fourth novel in the 
Love At Stake Series.

There are also dramatic PNR novels for adults. Two of my favorite authors of this type of novel are Amanda Ashley and Kendra Leigh Castle. The latter has a very exciting vampire romance series, titled Dark Dynasties. When I first came across Castle, three years ago, she was a brand-new author. Now, she has several books out, not only in her vamp series, but in a new werewolf series, as well. These books, like most of the ones I've been discussing in this post, are also classified as Urban Fantasy.

As for Amanda Ashley, she was the first vampire romance author I read. Although I do like several of her books, some of them are not as high-quality as others. However, she does write some compelling characters. I have reviewed some of her books, which may be found on my Book Reviews page. I will soon be reviewing another one, titled Desire After Dark (see the picture in my sidebar).

This is the third book in the 
Dark Dynasties series.

This is such a fascinating topic, and so perfect for the month of October, that I'm going to continue with it next week. I will be discussing more books in the Urban Fantasy genre, which, as I mentioned above, frequently overlaps with the Paranormal Romance genre. There are specific characteristics for each of these genres, though.

Online Links

Do you like PNR/UF?
Have you read any of these
Which ones are your 
own favorites? 


  1. This IS a fascinating topic Maria.

    I do like darker stories and horror stories though I really do not get anything out of blood and gore. I do like happy endings too but I do think that not - so happy endings have a lot of value as they are a reflection of reality. I think this is also true of horror. At least sometimes I think that art needs to do examine the negative.

    Thomas Ligotti has written somewhat extensively about why the horror and other such dark things seem to fascinate us. He has some interesting points, some of which I agree with, but he has a terribly pessimistic outlook on existence.

  2. Hey, Brian!

    Oh, definitely! I find it fascinating even though I hate the Horror genre. Ironic, right?

    As you say, happy endings do not reflect the very tragic events of the real world. But I think that's because the media concentrates on tragedies. We might hear about happy events occasionally, but not all the time. For some reason that has to do with human nature, tragic events make more of an impact, for most people. Not me, though. I don't want to watch the news anymore, and I've told my husband not to turn on ANY news, morning or evening. I have sometimes burst into tears when seeing a tragic event reported on TV. I strongly wish I could do something, but feel totally impotent.....

    I have just looked up Thomas Ligotti, and discovered that he's a Horror writer. OMG, the pictures I just saw on Google gave me the creeps!! He looks almost as scary as Stephen King! BTW, I think King looks more than scary; he looks positively INSANE. I can't stand the guy, and not just because of the terrifying stuff he writes (remember that I read one of his stories once), but because he has DARED to criticize Stephenie Meyer!! I don't know why he prefers J.K. Roweling to Meyer. I LOVE them both!! Anyway, I LOVE The Twilight Saga, so I don't take very kindly to his criticism!

    What I love about paranormal romance is the fact that the vampires in these stories are NOT bloodthirsty killers. If they were the traditional Horror vamps, they would just go ahead and kill people without remorse.

    I think it's interesting that I'm drawn to the dark elements in these stories, while hoping for a happy ending. It's like when there's a terrible thunderstorm; part of me feels fascinated, in spite of my fear of thunder. Then, I'm so glad when it's all over! I find this to be a very curious phenomenon.

    In recent years, I have gotten into the habit of checking out the endings of books, BEFORE buying them (at a bookstore, of course). If I don't see there's a guarantee of a happy ending, I won't buy the book. I wasn't like that when I was younger. I think I'll dedicate a TBLD post to this!

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!! : )

  3. Hi, Ms. Maria! This is a wonderful post! I really enjoy PNR -- especially the Twilight Saga. I haven't read any of the others, but they definitely sound like great reads! Thank you so much for stopping by! *hugs*

    ~ Mckenzie

    1. Hi, McKenzie!

      Oh, thank you so much, sweetheart! I greatly enjoy PNR too, and The Twilight Saga is my TOP FAVORITE PNR read!!! Yeah!!

      "Die For Me" and the Night World books are AWESOME YA reads!! As for the others, they're for adults. I haven't read the ones pictured, either, but I HAVE read other books by these authors, in the same series, too.

      Thank you SO much for your super sweet comment!! : )


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