Caution: monsters in book are friendlier then they appear

Love Monster

I will probably ask this question about a thousand more times over the course of my posting here, but… Why are so many books for adult readers based on the notion that readers won’t care about dragons, kitsunes, manticores, minotaurs, sidhe, djinns, demons, vampires, were-sharks, or any other mythological being UNLESS said monsters are attempting to straighten up and fly right by simultaneously falling in love with someone?

I think I’d feel better if I could actually understand what the compelling motivation is behind the taming of monsters or the desire to be able to define them by strictly human terms when the initial attraction is usually their otherworldliness. What happened to appreciating the quirky weirdness of monsters? The strange sophistication? The subtle air of menace? The weird unpredicability? The violent mood swings? The anti-social attitudes? The intriguing inhumanity?

This isn’t to to say that there’s nothing wrong with a monster in need of a hug or a cup of cocoa or the love of a kind-hearted mortal like the cute pink blob featured above… But I don’t think that this has to be the default setting for any given monster. Nor does every monster need to be boiled down and reduced to a preternatural pest simply because they’ve fallen in love.  

As a reader, I am much more interested in the actual beastie in any given story than whether or not it will find a special life partner and reform. There are terrific exceptions to every complaint and I have enjoyed the occasional sympathetic supernatural monster falls in love storyline, I don’t go out of my way to read very many of them. I would definitely prefer to find more intriguing monsters in manga, children’s fiction, graphic novels, horror novels or the occasional short story. When it comes to supernatural romance, my favorite examples tend to involve like calling to like because monsters ending up with monsters makes more sense and rarely results in a personality transplant. And even in those cases, I usually am also a big fan of the plot or the new direction being taken in terms of world-building or monster design to anyone else.

Like everything else when it comes to reading, of course, my frustrations stem solely from personal preference. People enjoy what they enjoy, obviously, and there’s nothing I can do about the plethora of books coming out with plots or themes that grate on my very last nerve. And I am well aware that mine is a fairly lonely, unpopular opinion. So the only option available to be is to be even more discerning than I have already been when it comes to anything involving a monster.

But I wonder… Am I the only one who routinely despairs over this sort of thing?


About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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