Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Trashy novels

One day I am going to write a short and funny but endlessly expandable taxonomy of trashy novels, in the spirit of showing why they are such a good thing and exploring the individual charms of each, ah, phylum or whatever (you know, urban fantasy; fantasy with dragons; fantasy with telepathy; sex-orgy fantasy [this isn't my favorite, the sex is usually incredibly cheesy]; historical fantasy). (It would be restricted to mass-market paperbacks. The day I write a novel that appears in mass-market paperback will be the day that my most cherished ambition in life is realized.)

But for now I will just say that the latest excellently trashy novel I've read is Haunted by Kelley Armstrong. It's not as good as the first of hers I got, Bitten; but then I have often held forth (though possibly not here on the blog?) on why I think it is that when it comes to a certain kind of urban fantasy werewolves (well, animal shapeshifters more generally) are more immediately appealing than vampires, angels, demons, witches, sorcerors et al. (I think there are aesthetic reasons but perhaps it's just a matter of personal taste, I have been obsessed since childhood with Jane Goodall, Franz de Waal, animal behavior and ethology and such. And I love animals. And I like the way werewolf novels tend to have to think about animal and human behavior, as opposed to just making it all up as many of the others do.)

Anyway, the best thing about this one is that it's got an excellent first-person female narrator, tough and funny and highly personable, who goes around beating everyone up. It's implausible even beyond the whole angel-demon-witch apparatus, but in a good way. Very enjoyable.

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