Two "Adult" Parapseudos

I've sprinkled in two novels from the Fantasy Romance section of the library as I wait for a massive Amazon.com shipment of young adult parapseudos.  In a strange way, reading these made me appreciate stuff like The House of Night series.  Odd.

First foray:  The Devil Inside, by Jenna Black

I was excited to read this story because it had a cool premise.  Humans live alongside demons.  There are legal and illegal possessions.  Humans can offer themselves as hosts for legally registered demons, and then together host and demon use their skills for stuff like firefighting.  Then there are the illegal demons.  They possess unwilling hosts, and they do nasty stuff, like engage in orgies of S & M.  The protagonist is a sexy exorcist--a legitimate contract job--and she's got the reputation of being an ass-kicking top dog.

Fun story.

And then there's the sex.  More like SeXXX.  Some would use the term "erotica."  I would describe it as "Penthouse Forum" a la goth.  Lots of thrusting and words like "pre-cum."  I suppose this is what the online ladies are talking about when they say, "This is one steamy novel!"

Second foray:  Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison

Again, an okay story.  One side of Cincinnati is a regular old suburbia.  The other side of the river is where the monsters live.  Some time in the past, some sort of virus got into tomatoes and something or other started killing off people.  But not all people...or were they people?  Then the two factions of life--the humans and the everything else--found that they had to live together, or the human race would die out.  There are two law enforcement factions at war, and our protagonist is a member of the freaky one.  She's a witch.  Other freakies include vampires, pixies, faeries, and were-things (I say "were-things" because there are were-foxes and stuff).  Anyway, the protag has a hit out on her for most of the thing, so there's a lot of action.

But not a lot of sex.

At all.

Actually, there isn't even a kiss.  Not one.

It's like the opposite of the first adult parapseudo I read.  Not that there isn't some flirtation--if you want to call being hypnotized by a vampire whose tongue flicks out a couple times flirtation--but that's about all.  There is some promise of kink, but the closest it gets is a shape-shifting demon turning into a freaky talking dog creature who scratches at her underwear, trying to see if rape is her biggest fear.  Turns out it isn't--being bitten lesbionically by her sexy vamp roommate is.

As I finished Dead Witch Walking, I reminisced about the tummy-tickling teen groping of the young adult parapseudos.  I know what you get now.  It's a pretty good representation, I'd guess, of the typical young adult reader's sex life--although I don't know if I'd call a 14-year-old girl "young adult."  (Barnes & Noble may have it right, labeling the section "Teen Supernatural Romance," as that includes 13-year-olds.)  It's all about the anticipation and the almost in young adult.  There's something moving behind that zipper, but we won't ever get to really experience it unbound.  The girls feel "burning" between their legs, but never from flesh-to-flesh friction; rather, it's from an intense desire of the sensually mysterious--something that, obviously, the whole paranormal aspect of the romance genre is a metaphor for.

So, with my tail between my legs, I return to the teen stuff, looking forward to the in-between.


  1. Gwen,
    Excellent analysis of the benefits and appeal of YA parapseudos! I laughed out loud and am intrigued by your blog.
    Alas, I don't read this genre much so I guess I'll just visit to enjoy your writing.

  2. Ellen,

    I refused to read this genre for years. Then I read Twilight. It made me cry--because I couldn't believe that legitimate authors of literary fiction were losing publication contracts while DRIVEL was being published and consumed en masse. I had to know what the deal was.

    40 books later, I'm still trying to figure it out. Ha ha!