Olivia O’Neil ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Recommending a book to someone can be a very difficult thing to do, especially when they ask, “what is it about?” That question can lead to some very strange answers especially if the book being recommended is by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The answer might sounds something like, “well, it’s like Greek Mythology, plus vampire type things, but not vampires, and then there is a love story cause it is a romance novel.” Then after seeing the confused expression on their face, “but trust me it’s really good!” is hastily added at the end.
The thing that usually ends up working against Kenyon’s book is that they are romance novels. When that part is mentioned it is obvious that the person being recommended the books, is thinking about some guy with long hair and lots of muscles wearing a puffy white shirt, and then internally cringes at the disturbing cliché. However, the thing about Kenyon is that she is a great at crafting stories. Her writing might not be the best, but every character has a complex, well thought-out, and probably tragic, back story that is woven together with the main plot. It is one of those books that when the series is reread, it is clear that every detail was planned out from the very beginning, which normally is not a difficult thing to do, but when you are talking about a series that is 23 books and counting that is a bit impressive.
What really makes readers love her books is that it almost seems as if Kenyon is writing for herself, rather than to sell. Her stories are ones that she dreamed up for her own entertainment, and her passion for these characters leaks through the pages and draws in the reader. Her interests are what she writes about. She likes Greek mythology, so that is what she writes about. She wants to explore Roman culture so she’ll write a character from ancient Rome. She wants to showcase the myths she was raised with, her next book will be about Cherokee legends. The best part is that while reading her books, from any of her ten series, it almost seems like she is just as excited as the reader.
Her books are definitely not the epitome of great literature, but they are entertaining, educational, and addictive, and that is why despite being relatively unknown she has managed to become a New York Times #1 Best Selling Author. Her fans, though relatively few in number, are loyal and will always come back for more. It seems as if the only real thing working against her is the genre her books fall under.
The stigma around romance novels is a little warranted. There are many cheesy, cliché, and horribly written romance novels out there, but Kenyon’s don’t fall into that category. So maybe almost all of her stories end with the main couple in love together, seemingly forever, and probably with a ton of money. It isn’t the plot line of the individual books that make her stories so great, it is the overall series arc that entices the reader. (Although is should be mentioned that the sex and the love stories certainly does not make the story boring.) The way that she justifies everyone’s point of view and makes the reader question who is good and who is bad, and the way that she educates the reader by bringing in myths from all different cultures is what makes her stories mind-blowingly wonderful. Her stories are so much more than just romance novels and it is a travesty that they are not treated as such.
So right now pretend that a friend is saying, “go read this amazing book, there is sex, and they fight demons, and it’s really funny.” This time instead of thinking “I’ll never read that” while saying “I’ll have to check that out” actually check it out because maybe it will lead to a new amazing adventure.