So Jim sent me a link to an interview with Marjorie Liu on Newsrama a week or so ago. While it was an interview about her comic book writing her work as a romance novelist also came up quite a bit. Now the only comic of Majorie Liu's that I read on a regular basis (as in, every issue - sometimes Marvel books get skipped if I don't have enough time to read all my comics) is X-23. X-23 has surprised me a lot as a book seeing how it was a book about a character I knew little about and cared little for. I've ended up enjoying Marjorie Liu's work on X-23 and in her interview she encouraged her fans to give her romance novels a try. Of course, being labeled as romance novels makes me want to read something less but she insisted in her interview that her novels are only labeled that way for marketing purposes. That they could just as easy be sold in a different genre. So I figured, hey, why not. I have a kindle app on my phone so it's not like anyone will see me reading a book with an embarrassing (and probably not work appropriate) cover. So over the past week I read two of her books.
The first book I tried was the one Marjorie Liu talked about in the Newsrama interview: In the Dark of Dreams.
Early on I could see how it could easily be put into a different genre with a little tweaking. While the book does focus on the relationship between the two main characters there is a lot of fantasy/sci-fi action drama going on the the background. The book is one of a series of books that take place in a world where there is both magic and magical creatures. The hero of the book is a merman while the heroine is part of some family with magical abilities. The general plot is that a beast that could rip apart the world is awakening and the main characters need to find a way to stop it. While the two main characters falling in love is a centerpiece in the book it's fairly well written and was a surprisingly enjoyable tale. The connection between the two characters is built up well as they knew each other from childhood. The heroine is a strong female figure and both of the characters have to rescue each other along the way. I was entertained enough by the first book to give another book in the series a try.
The second book I read was an older one - The Wild Road. During the course of this book was when I decided I wasn't all that interested in reading any more of her books. This book was also well written to a point - the characters were decent and the plot was fine (the heroine has lost her memories and the hero, a gargoyle, is trying to help her figure out what happened to her) but my problem was in having to recently read In the Dark of Dreams. There are some reoccurring plot point that bothered me quite a bit. First of all - in one book seeing the hero 'accidentlally' injure to heroine while he's dreaming is one thing. But Marjorie Liu has her heroes in both books hurting the women they're with. That was a disturbing point. Then there's the fact that in both books the heroes are over dramatically tormented souls. Again, this probably wouldn't have bothered me as much if I hadn't read the books back to back... but as it was I can only take so much emo-boy. Then there was the mystical mind links between the hero and heroine in both books. It seemed like a crutch in which to make sure the two main characters have a plausible connection.
In conclusion while reading one book was entertaining I feel like there is a little bit too much of a formulaic approach to these two books to make me interested in reading any more. Even so it was an interesting experience. I never would have suspected reading X-23 that Marjorie Liu also wrote these books. In the end I think that I enjoy her comics more than her novels.