Well, this is lame. Would it make me a complete grandma to say that I fell asleep last night at 7:30 and therefore didn't get this post up? Because that's totally what happened. But we can just pretend this isn't late, right? Right. Carrying on. Last day of Fall-O-Ween :0
Because I didn't want to write any old boyfriend-appreciation post a few weeks ago for my date-iversary, I drew inspiration from the happy occasion and posted a discussion all about instalove in books. I really enjoyed writing that piece. So I thought "why not discuss a variety of book-related topics? It's nothing new but it fits in well with the focus of your blog". And well, once the inner monologue kicks in, it's as good as done. And this season seems like the perfect time to discuss some of the book worlds most haunted characters - vampires and other supernatural creatures.
Vampires and supernaturals have probably become as cliché in storytelling as insta-love and love triangles (a topic for another post). In fact, Twilight actually had all 3! Readers generally fall into two camps: those who love the trope and those who hate it. Some are sick and tired of beautiful sparkling vampires, ripped and sweaty werewolves, and other mysterious supernaturals (or sups) that frequent the fantasy genre, especially young adult literature, especially in romance. There's the more recent novels like our multiple offender Twiliight, the Vampire Academy series, The Lux series, the Shadowhunters Chronicles (the list goes on...). And then of course, there are classics: Dracula, Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and the like. And those are just off the top of my head. Whether you liken it to a particularly strong strand of a gruesome disease or the greatest gift we've ever received, the stories of supernaturals seems to as popular now as it was at it's inception.
But aren't we past that stage? Aren't stories of supernaturals just getting old?
Well, vampires and other sups will always be interesting to me so long as they are well explained and purposeful. By this I mean, if supernaturals are just thrown into a story to make the unattainable boy sexier or the tough girl a total badass, then I'm not a fan. In that way, it just seems like a poor device, a cop-out for writing intriguing characters. Sure, if you tell us that this girl is a werewolf we will assume she's tough as nails or that this guy's got to be drop dead gorgeous if he's a vampire, but that's laazzyyy writing. Show us instead. Using supernaturals solely as a storytelling tool is a non-starter for me.
In my opinion, Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters Series is a good example of supernaturals put to good use. Her books are chocked full of vampires, werewolves, faeries, warlocks, demons and last but certain not least - her own original sup - shadowhunters. Shadowhunters are human-angel hybrids, created thousands of years ago when an angel appeared to a man and granted his wish for a race of people strong enough to protect humankind and keep the Downworlders (all those other sups mentioned above) in check. Clare then continues to expand this world, exposing the truths of how these sups were created, what lead to their creation and the interesting dynamics between the groups. The inclusion of supernatural creatures in her story don't feel arbitrary and they definitely aren't baseless. She weaves an intricate backstory, borrowing from classic supernatural rules and instituting many more of her own. I think this is what allows her to keep creating in her world, having written a dozen books so far.
What do you think about the vampire/supernatural trope? And most importantly...
I really hope you enjoyed my Fall-O-Ween series this year. It wasn't perfect, life got in the way as it typically does, but I still very much enjoyed sharing all things Fall-O-Ween and seeing all of your festivities! Please do link up below to share your final posts of the season.