As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m plotting out an alien romance series. I’m not planning on jumping the PNR ship entirely, but both Candy For Demons and THIRD Shift are wrapping up soon, and The Series I Shouldn’t Have Written is a maybe never sort of project (sorry). It feels like a good time to make another dumb career move by moving to another subgenre that doesn’t mesh with the others.
But I digress.
I’ve been reading a lot of alien romance. The idea for this series I’m plotting came to me years ago, before I had any idea this was a thing, but I wanted to get a good idea of what readers actually expect from the genre. I was expecting a lot of wacky hijinks in space with weird man bits.
Instead, I got abducted for breeding purposes with oversized but otherwise normal man-junk. Over. And over. And over again.
I get it, I guess. I always think of aliens as Star Trek and Stargate, but yeah, abduction is a whole thing. And if it’s going to be steamy romance, the abduction may as well for breeding purposes.
But. Sigh. It just wasn’t working for me. I picked up probably ten different authors, and eight of them were abduction for breeding purposes. And it got really old, really fast. Then there was the totally accidental abduction with man-junk that was not even slightly compatible. It was a good book. But the steamy was…disturbing. Good book, not for steam. The last book was amateur hour. I’m not going to disgrace the author by giving any details except to say it was neither abduction nor breeding, but it was poorly written. I forgive grammar and other technical issues. I can look past a bad story. It was just bad writing. Oh well.
I almost gave up entirely on the genre, and then I discovered the Garrison Earth series from V.K. Ludwig. I don’t know what drew me to the series initially. It was not one of the alien romances recommended to me when I asked for something better than what I was reading. It doesn’t have a remarkable cover (which isn’t a bad thing, just not a good thing when I was already exhausted by the genre). The blurb isn’t anything exceptional, and the reviews are okay but not amazing.
I think what got me was how much people were complaining about the heroine being so uncouth in the beginning. Of her abduction. By aliens.
Who had just invaded the Earth.
But it’s gross that she’s spitting on them.
I was sold on the concept of a spitting heroine, and I’m okay with that. You better believe if someone is abducting me, I’m spitting. And I’m going to keep spitting. That was another complaint. That she was resisting too long. Fuck that. I resist until I die. If it seems like they’re trying really hard not to kill me, I try even harder to resist. Me and Eden, we’re apparently kindred.
And I like realism in my story. I get that this is an alien romance, but I still want my characters to be realistic. This isn’t a scenario where the humans knew there were aliens before, this is first contact, and it’s a total mess.
Speaking of total mess, so are the aliens, and I like that. They’re not perfect. What they’re doing they do unapologetically. Yeah, they do it to save their species–which are actually humans, and I LOVE that–but also they’re total fuck-ups and through the course of the series, you find out they’ve committed some pretty gnarly war crimes.
I like that. I also like that it takes a REALLY LONG TIME for the relationship between Eden and Torin to develop, and they have to go through some gnarly shit first. I like that their first sexual encounter is lame and only kind of consensual. I like that there’s human trafficking and drug abuse in this series.
Not because these are good things. Don’t misunderstand me. A lot of that is reprehensible. But it’s real. It’s what would happen in this scenario. It’s a story I can believe.
Also, the opening sequence is reminiscent of the opening sequence of Angelfall, my favorite YA angel romance. It sold me immediately.