“Inside she was in agony – and ecstasy.”
– Hunter's Rise by Shiloh Walker
“Her gaze swept up to meet his. And he felt some icy, lonely part of his heart soften at the look in her eyes. A look she hid almost immediately. Vulnerable… something soft, something gentle, something that made him think she was about as alone as he was.”
I’ve heard similar stories from paranormal fantasy authors recently and it got me thinking. Paranormal fantasy and romance have been phenomenally popular for the last few decades – I’ve described it as the Golden Age of Paranormal Fantasy – but I wonder if the bloom is finally fading for its hardcore fans?
Paranormal fantasy is definitely in a state of flux – blockbuster series like Kim Harrison’s Hollows and Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire saga will soon be ending and there have been decidedly less and less stellar debut novelists over the last few years.
“I delight at restraint and the pricking of my skin and the act of restraining, and a thousand monstrous lovers, a dozen lashes and countless other tortures, mutations and transfigurations (of mind and body), welcome alien violations, negations of gender, and we might go on like this quite a terribly long time. I think not many writers of the weird have ventured into these warpings of the world (and, no, not for a moment, do I count as comrades those recently teeming writers of ‘paranormal romance’ and ‘shifter fiction,’ for rarely do they accomplish anything more dangerous than dressing the safe and normative up in wolf’s clothing; these authors, and their readers, are merely tourists)...”
And speaking of sometime in the very near future, I believe that readers haven’t seen the last of Shiloh Walker’s Hunter saga... let's just call it a hunch.
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.
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