I picked up a book in a series that I used to like.
I say 'used to' because lately, the tone of it has gotten darker and darker. The bad guys are getting so twisted, vile and vicious, and the tortures are getting to be so over the top, it's depressing and disturbing. Even the romance or goal of an HEA isn't worth the trouble or the stress. The enjoyment factor is severely muted.
Add to that the smut language - used to be there wasn't overly much or of a kind and level that was tolerable because of the characters' personalities and backgrounds, now it sounds ...trashy and .... sort of porn-ish. I mean really, "quim"? I used to read that when I sneaked looks at porno magazines when I was younger. If I was reading erotic romance, then I'd have no bone of contention but this is mainstream. This isn't even in the "hot" level of writing so why's a word like that even necessary? And I sure as heck don't find it sensual or pleasing to the ear. I really wanted to make the "hero" eat a bar of soap after that one.
Instead of feeling excited for the hero or heroine, I rolled my eyes in exasperation. I didn't find it romantic in the least but disrespectful - what happened?
As for the heightened and ever increasing sense of violence, why did the author go that route? I understand conflict-stories NEED conflict - but to go into such graphic detail when it comes to torturing the main characters ::shakes head:: - crap likes that goes on in real life. Women are abused, maimed, scarred and sold into sexual slavery, for real. Why would I find that entertaining? Why would I want a romance, of all things, to have such long and drawn out paragraphs of deviant and psychotic actions? If I was reading horror, I'd expect it. If I was reading about a biography of a Holocaust survivor, I'd expect things to shock me, make me cringe and make me want to hide, and to cry. But not a fantasy fiction that is supposed to celebrate life, love and the trials that one goes through to get to their happily ever after.
There is conflict, yes, but then there is pushing the envelope so hard that I have to stop and draw the line in the sand. I respect myself too much to endure such drivel. I read to escape the harshness that can happen in my own life. Why would I want to live someone else's hell? Since when is hell fun? Even Dante knew better.
So, I read the first 2 chapters, and the last five - and that gave me all I needed without being dragged through more torture while reading... the torture. The beginning helped me understand how the protagonists ended up being separated. I understood the curse. The ending was dramatic with the big sacrifices and the pivotal moment when the bad switched to good and all the players breathed a sigh of relief. And the book set up nicely the next character's story. Which, I expect will be equally, if not more so, depraved and horrific.
Bye to a series that initially was fresh, new and unique with fun moments and daring do, populated with quirky characters with amazing and inventive talents, following strong women who tamed men just as strong and equally stubborn. Because now, it's like every other book that's out there. Seen that torture, Been to that scene, and watched the light fade to black.
And no. I will not reveal the author or series. I will not promote it nor revile it. The early books in the series will continue to be on my keeper shelves, they're that good. If the story lines tip back into the light, where there is more positive than negative, less depression and more hope, more power to the good and less to the omnipotent evil, then I might reconsider.
Good thing I discovered a new series that has great entertainment potential.