Posts tagged ‘paranormal romance’

Angel Amour: Sexy or Sacrilegious?

Hush, Hush

Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush

There seems to be a new and emerging trend in romance novels: the bad-boy angel.  Whether it is Nalini Singh’s “Archangel” series or one of the many teen novels about the Fallen Angel, you see these heavenly, celestial beings popping up all over romance novels.

Last night I was doing some late night shopping at my local Walmart–the only store open past 9:00 pm–and I came across a rather large YA (young adult) display of angel romances.  There was Becca Fitzpatrick‘s Hush, Hush, Lauren Kate‘s Fallen, and Alexandra Adornetto‘s popular release Halo.  It was crazy.  All of these books feature angel heroes–Note: Halo actually switches it up with a female angel–and love interests who fall in love with–you guessed it–mortals. Dun. dun. dun! How can it be?!?

So what is the appeal of the angel hero? I mean sure he is hott stuff what with being perfect and able to fly, but isn’t there something a little…shall I say….creepy about a romance novel where the hero is not only another species, but a divine being and holy messenger for God?  Cause, I hate to break it to ya, but the term angel actually comes from the Hebrew word mal’akh, meaning “messenger,” and the Greek angelos, which becomes the etymological root for the English word angel. Historically they aren’t exactly sex-on-a-stick beings. Plus, they were totally androgynous throughout most of history.

Guild Hunter

Singh does sexy archangels in her Guild Hunter Series

Angels–at least biblical angels–really aren’t supposed to be getting down and flirty, falling in love and lust with mortals.  So what is so sexy about a book in which they do?  Books about fallen angels are popping up left and right, and personally, I think it has something to do with the stories of rebellion and redemption. Fallen angels are both good and evil, divinity and humanity.  They are holy and yet they have fallen from grace. Much like the vampire, fallen angels are immortal (or so we would assume), sexy, and have this dangerous edge.  They are in a word–glamorous.

And I get that, but really, are angels the new vampires? Publishers seem to think go. Because of their immortality and heavenly looks, fallen angels have become the new “bad-boys” of YA, according to an article in Publishers Weekly that further states, “YA  angels also appeal because of ‘the intrigue of fallen nobility,’ said Jon Anderson, executive vice-president and publisher of Simon & Schuster’s children’s publishing division. ‘They sat on high and got cast down.’”

Last semester I looked at angel mythology in romance novels–hence the oh-so-pretentious use of Hebrew and Greek and the mini-etymology lesson–and during that independent study, I asked author Lauren Kate–via email on her website–why she chose to write about a fallen angel.  She responded:

“I’ve been writing love stories for as long as I’ve been writing. To me, the most complicated romances make the most interesting narratives, so I’m always looking for new obstacles to throw in my lovers’ paths. When I was getting my masters degree in fiction, I was studying biblical narratives and came across a line in Genesis (6:1-4), which describes a group of angels who fell in love with mortal women. Putting this reference together with a mention in Isaiah and another in Palsm 82, biblical scholars conclude that these angels were actually cast out of Heaven for their lust. Which means—you could say—that these angels chose love over Heaven. I found this to be an endlessly interesting set up for an incredibly complicated romance. I started thinking about what kind of mortal girl it would take to attract an angel’s attention. And what it would be like for her to find herself in this position. What kind of baggage would an angel have? What would her very over-protective parents think? From there, this whole world unfurled in my head with fallen angels, demons, reincarnation, and the war between good and evil all battling for a piece of the action.”

And in her book, angels are sexy. They really are.  Over the past year, I have read a lot of angel romances, and they are all different in their own way.  Michele Hauf‘s angels are bad guys in Angel SlayerNalini Singh‘s angels are sex personified and clearly not human.  J. R. Ward‘s angelic host run around playing polo and talking in British accents in the first of her series CovetBecca Fitzpatrick‘s fallen angel is dangerous, a predator, yet love has the power to make him good.  Sigh.  Even Cassandra Clare‘s popular YA series Mortal Instruments incorporates some angel mythology. It’s crazy and complicated and completely original, but it is still angelic.

But what about you? What do you think about the recent rise in Fallen?  Personally, I think they are fascinating–as long as I don’t stop too long to think about it–but I don’t think angels will ever be able to beat the vamps.  But then again . . . they don’t have to drink blood so maybe they will!


March 29, 2011 at 9:21 pm 3 comments

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