I am sick of pretty boys. It started a few months ago when I realized an overwhelming majority of my books basically had the same love interest cloned over and over—tall, dark, striking eyes, drop-dead gorgeous, and ripped like Ares. Sure the authors threw in a few traits to make an effort at singularity—one was a vampire pianist, for example—but for the most part, it really felt like the same guy rehashed again and again.
(I’m going to stop right here and say I have greatly enjoyed many of these series. I can think of three off the top of my head that are actually on my Shelf of Awesome. If you enjoy writing or reading those kinds of heroes, don’t let what I or anyone else says stop you.)
Back to my rant.
Someone once said that we don’t fall in love with a literary character’s appearance, we fall in love with their souls. Thanks to overtly swoon-worthy descriptions of certain characters, I’m not so sure that’s always true.
One reason I love BBC is that their actors look—for lack of a better word—human. They aren’t the photoshopped, surgically altered, mutant derivatives we get here in the US. For example, when Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) came onto Doctor Who, I was quite a little snob and thought he was rather homely. But as his character developed, Rory was revealed to be the most bad@$$, kindhearted, and awesome bloke on the show.
I think that’s what writers of books should strive for—to make their readers fall in love with their characters for their characters, not their mouthwatering descriptions. Maggie Stiefvater’s Sam Roth was a great example of a character who we loved for his soul. I know there are others, but I’m drawing a blank at the moment.
As a general rule, if a book blurb mentions “darkly handsome,” “alluring,” or anything along those lines, I tend to give it my “tired of this spiel” look. Though I might end up reading it anyway, because there are very few other YA fantasy romance books to be had. But who knows? I might end up liking the book anyway. That doesn’t change the fact I wish this pretty boy mania would stop.