We've read a lot of great paranormal romance around here and even though Sinead is on paranormal romance hiatus and Maureen is loving urban fantasy - I'm still reading paranormal. But, I'm beginning to not love it. I think the subgenre is jumping the shark for me because recently, every paranormal romance I pick up - messes up the romance.
All these subgenres - paranormal, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, historical etc...etc... work for me and millions of other avid romance fans because the machinations of the subgenre make the romance better. More poignant, more exciting.
The alpha males and danger of paranormal romance, make the romance taste better. The internal conflict that the characters have to get over to be in love is made worse by the fact that they are a demon, or a demon hunter or whatever...
But suddenly it seems like not only are there too many of these kinds of details muddying up the world, but what the characters have to do to truly be in love comes as a huge surprise in the third act. Instead of just overcoming all the internal stuff - which is what we all love romance for- they also have to kill the demon and embrace their vampire side and mate in a pool of fire - but we didn't know that from the outset. It's like the writer changes the rules of the world, or didn't tell us all the rules, or becuse of all the external plot drama they've put in the book - a simple I love you doesn't work anymore -- and I hate that. I really hate that.
If the big premise of the book requires a huge suspension of disbelief - then the romance needs to be simple. Ward, Liu, Cole - simple romances. Really simple. And I think that's why it works - that, of course, and the characters. But when everyone starts jumping on the sub genre bandwagon, they get so distracted by the shiny elements - the things they can do with plot and external conflict and world building, forgetting that in the end, it's still always about characters and it's still always about romance.