Friday, April 1, 2011

Red Heart of Jade: Why Marjorie Liu is Significant

So, as I mentioned earlier, I am reading Marjorie Liu, I am on the third book of her Dirk and Steele novels.  Really, I think she needs help with names.  Not only do her characters have terrible names, so does the company that she has chosen for them to all work for (but I digress).  I am normally a very fast reader, but I have found it hard to just plow through this series.

I thought about stopping when I hit book three, until the location of her books caught my interest.  I think I shall have to read more.  It is fascinating to see stories set in Russia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  I am really starting to feel the Asian influence in the stories, which is something I have not seen in other books.  I think this is a marker of what is possible in urban fantasy, when the stories are written by a WOC.  The love at first woo woo can get annoying, and in many places gets in the way of the story; however, I am no longer reading for the story, I am reading for the setting.  I think in the Red Heart of Jade she worked harder to make the romance a bit more plausible than in the first two books.

I really think she has the potential to step outside of the paranormal romance genre and move straight into traditional urban fantasy.  It is clear that she has a story tell and the dependency on romance is completely unnecessary.  It’s almost like she is afraid to just create one character as a protagonist and follow the story all the way through.  Behind all of the l lurve you, there is a story buried there, and if she would just focus on that, people would not be tempted to skip entire sections of the book.

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