Shannon Stacey

A hero 'til the morning light

Over on Sybil’s blog, the fabulous Vivi Anna is a guest author. (I just bought her new Nocturne release, Blood Secrets and I’m hoping to read it this weekend.) Anyway, in a list of her 5 things on reading, Vivi said:

4. I don’t read for the heroes in the book, I read for the heroine. If she’s someone I can relate to, or want to be. She needs to be strong and preferably kick-ass.

I’ve heard other readers say that as well. (I’ll give a little caveat here that Vivi tends toward urban fantasy/paranormal, while I’m a little more traditional, so that probably makes a difference. I used her quote because it sparked the thought that became this post, not as a direct comparison.)

I am so totally the opposite. While I don’t like dishrag or TSTL heroines, I rarely relate to them at all. For me it’s all about the guy. I want to completely, irrevocably fall in love with him. A few heroes I can think of that totally rock my world:

* ObsidianRavenous (Book I of The Horde Wars series) by Sherri L. King

* Jamie Frasier — The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon

* RoarkeKismet: Fiery Fate by Jaci Burton

* ZhadistLover Awakened by J.R. Ward

* Rogan PeregrineThe Taming by Jude Deveraux

* Roarke — The In Death series by J.D. Robb

* Ranger — The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich (Okay, so he’s a little iffy with the “hero” title, but I’m a Ranger girl which makes him the leading man.)

One thing I’ve noticed about the heroes I love the most (and I didn’t list them all) — they’re all Alpha, with some of them extreme-Alpha.

Right off the top of my head I’ll brainstorm some words that come to mind when I think of my perfect hero: arrogant, fierce, dominant, proud, protective, strong, honorable …

Okay, I’ll stop. So reading over it—yup, that’s my guy right there. And there’s nothing better than watching him suffer—when an Alpha male falls, he falls hard and it’s naked and raw. Obsidian has a scene in Ravenous that is nothing short of emotionally brutal. Heartbreaking. And I hate to use the word raw again, but…it is. And an Alpha groveling?…okay, where was I?

So, assuming the fact we’d all like both lead characters to be captivating and well-drawn is a given, which really sucks you the most into a book—the hero or the heroine?

12 comments to “A hero 'til the morning light”

  1. Jorrie Spencer
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 3:24 am · Link

    I’m a switch-hitter. I can read for the heroine or hero. I do enjoy falling for the hero, but I can also have a great time identifying with the heroine. But because I relate to them differently, I am probably harder on the heroine than the hero.

    As for alpha heroes… Well, if I fall them I often feel it’s despite the fact they’re alpha, not because. And Zsadist, just too much baggage, it weighed me down, though I know so many people loved this book. Loved Jamie though.

  2. Stacy ~
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 7:33 am · Link

    More often than not, the hero. Yeah, I like Stephanie Plum (despite wanting to smack her upside the head from time to time) but I’m also a Ranger girl (first and foremost) with a liking for Joe too. Love Jamie Fraser, but Clare? Not so much. I think it’s because she’s more practical and less romantic. She probably couldn’t have done what she did to survive if she wasn’t that way, but I still like Jamie better.

    A notable exception would be Eve Dallas. She is the perfect heroine for Roarke, and I love her to death. She’s tough, vulnerable, uncertain, honorable, loyal, funny and she can break your heart. Now she’s one amazing heroine you can’t ignore.

  3. Larissa Ione
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 9:32 am · Link

    Absolutely, 100% the hero. And if the book starts out in the hero’s POV, I’m much more likely to buy it (and, in fact, it’s how I start out most of my books.) I read for the hero. I don’t need to be able to relate to, or even like the heroine, but as long as I like the hero, I can put up with anything from the heroine.

    For me, the romance isn’t about the heroine’s journey…it’s about falling in love with the hero. HIS journey is the one I want to read.

    I’ve noticed that I tend to like authors — like JR Ward, who make their books very hero-centric.

    Yum! :clap:

  4. Wax
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 9:57 am · Link

    I’m all about the guy while reading.

    While writing as well, unfortunately. No wonder I’m always re-writing those ottoman-shaped heroines–I can’t be arsed to care whether they have arcs or conflicts or… stuff in the first draft. Isn’t the hero enough, for cryin’ out loud?

    Ungrateful wretches. :coffee:

  5. Jaq
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 10:03 am · Link

    I do want a heroine I can relate to & root for, but it’s all about the hero for me too. He has to be someone I could fall for (lust & love) so in a way, I guess the heroine is a placeholder (?) for me.

  6. Selah March
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 10:03 am · Link

    For me, it’s the chemistry between the two that gets me. I like snappy dialogue and sexual tension, and it’s hard to pull that off is one of the two main characters is less than charismatic. I like to watch smart, funny, pretty people go through hell on their way to their HEA. And I LOVE to make them suffer. :whip:

  7. Jaci Burton
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 10:21 am · Link

    Imagine that. My Roarke made Shan’s list. Love you Shan! :groucho:

    I love me some heroes. But he’s got to have a strong heroine to stand up next to him, otherwise I’ll lose respect for him. If he falls in love with a dumb-twitted piece of furniture, I wouldn’t want to boink him.

    Well, maybe. :wink:

  8. Shannon
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 11:18 am · Link

    I wonder if that’s why I used to get dinged for unsympathetic heroines, because I’m so hero-ccentric.

    That’s why Wax and I have had conversations like “How goes Trick and…whatsername?” and “Alex and…whatsername?” :rofl: We do love us some heroes.

  9. Larissa Ione
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 12:35 pm · Link

    Shannon, that’s what Stephanie and I do! We call our books by the heroes’ names. “Hey, you working on Remy today?” “Got a handle on Wyatt’s book yet?” “Heroine? Ender’s book has a heroine?”

  10. Jordan
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 3:34 pm · Link

    Like you, I’m a alpha male girl. :groucho: I want a likeable heroine, but unless she’s out and out kick-ass, I could care less. Give me the guy. :devil:

  11. Vivi Anna
      · March 2nd, 2007 at 7:02 pm · Link

    That may be why, I might not do well in the traditional romance market. LOL I love a good hero, but I dont’ know, I read for the heroine’s story. That’s probably why I’m so addicted to urban fantasy right now, and before that female centered fantasy like Anne Bishops Dark Jewels Trilogy.

  12. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · March 3rd, 2007 at 12:19 am · Link

    I Must. Have. Both.

    Probably a great deal of the time when I quit a book it’s because one or the other of the H and h is boring or whiny or victimy.

    So to writers I say: Make BOTH your characters strong, interesting, emotional, deep people, and you’ll please a lot MORE readers. :)

    I just got Plum Lovin’ and was thinking about Joe vs. Ranger today, as a matter of fact. Joe makes a great hero in a one-guy scenario. But I prefer Ranger hands down, because Joe loves Stephanie DESPITE who she is, and Ranger loves her BECAUSE OF who she is. He never wants to change her, and to me, that’s sexiest of all.

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