Ciara thinks the next big thing in romance is steampunk.
I'm a little less cutting edge than that. My predictive powers are weak at best--witness my manufacturing degree, ca 1988 (should've minored in Chinese), and my MBA, ca 1993 -- talk about trend busters! But I think I may have identified a mini-trend already in progress. I'm clearly way better at that.
So while vampires and shifters have been the big story for the last few years, I'm thinking that demons and angels are the next--OK, current-- big wave in paranormal fiction, whether romance, UF, or horror.
Kim Harrison's Hollows series kicked off in April 2004 with some scary-ass demons. I'm only on book 2 so I can't say if they end up being a love interest/hero but at the moment? not. But it could go that way.
While I was a little lukewarm on Jenna Black's vampire world, I really like her Morgan Kingsley series, kicking off with Devil Inside back in November of 2007. Her demon is both sexy and seriously scary. I think she will somehow end up with him romantically (maybe she already has; I'm not caught up yet even though the latest is waiting in my TBR pile!) So, he's kind of a hero, but like Facebook says, It's Complicated.
So romances, with demons as the hero, I didn't start noticing until more recently. The first one I saw was Christine Warren's The Demon You Know, from May of 2007, and Rule is seriously yummy. But demons are only one of a whole pantheon of paranormals in Warren's world, and not the most prevalent.
Then I found Meljean Brook, whose Guardian series features angels most prominently, and a demon as the series' first heroine. Though Brook is kicking off a new steampunk series shortly, the Guardians are continuing-- hot off the presses is the cover for Demon Forged, tentatively due out in October of this year. We haven't gotten a demon hero yet; they're almost by definition bad/evil, but I have to admit I'm intrigued by the demon who plagues Charlie Newcomb and her sister in Demon Night. Since Charlie's sister opts to keep Sammael around, I have to wonder why... coughcoughnovella!cough maybe?
About the same time, I was burning through Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark, and let me just say that Cade Woede can eat crackers in my bed any ol' time.
Larissa Ione debuted her popular "Demonica" series last June with demon heroes. She has a big following but I have to admit I'm not that into them, so no telling if angels will make an appearance. If they do, you won't hear it here first, but you can keep an eye on Literary Escapism -- Jackie always has the scoop.
But wait, there's more.
Nalini Singh, author of the Psy/Changeling series, launches her new Guild Hunter series on March 3 with Angels' Blood. For a sneak peek, an e-novella called "Angels' Pawn" set in the same world will be available tomorrow (check Nalini's site for the right link). Isn't that a gorgeous cover? I love the platinum-blond hair.
And finally (that I know of), last Halloween, J.R. Ward somewhat unofficially announced (read down in the comments) her new series starting off this October, which she describes thusly:
COVET: A Novel of the Fallen Angels is the first of the books and let’s just say it’s all about angels and Harleys and evil and redemption. The tag line’s Destiny’s a witch and then you die… but love always brings you back.
She goes on: So far as I’m aware, the hero of the whole series is a guy named Jim Crane who’s a carpenter and it’s all about him going up against the devil (who’s a very hot brunette, btw) with the help of his two partners, a scruffy dog and his bad attitude. There are other heros who come in along the way and there is a love story in every book. Things may change as I get into the writing, but the bare bones are set and I can’t wait to get started!
Now, I confess, this description kind of gives me bad flashbacks to studying The Red Badge of Courage in sophomore English class with Mrs. Harris in her fluorescent blue eyeshadow, bludgeoning us all about the heads and shoulders with the allegory: "Notice his initials are Jayyyyyy.... Ceeeeeeee...and he sacrifices himself.... What other important historical figure do we know with the initials Jayyyyyy.... Ceeeeeee... ?"
Later on her forum, Ward says that the name Crane was an error and the name is actually Jim Heron. I don't know if she changed her mind or if "Crane" came out instead of Heron because Stephen Crane's analogies got beaten into her by an English teacher with fluorescent blue eyeshadow too or what... but in any event, "Heron" just strikes me as a little weird. Is it an homage to Stephen Crane? It probably wouldn't bug me if I hadn't seen Crane first, but now it's just going to be "Jim Long-Legged-Bird; Heron/Crane/Flamingo etc" in my mind and will probably distract me every time I see it.
Not that I overthink things or anything.
But Ward has me by the short little fan-girl hairs so I will certainly read the first one, and assuming it's better than Phury's book, probably the second one as well. As always, you can keep an eye on my sidebar for the countdown to the next JR Ward book.
Did I miss any good angel/devil series? Chime in!
angel/devil image used with permission, courtesy of Mark Stivers.