Dangerous Hero Addict Support Group discussion

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Food for Thought > Can a dangerous hero be wicked without being over the top?

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
I just finished How to School Your Scoundrel, and the hero is definitely a class A scoundrel. I liked that he was quite wicked in his way, although I didn't like some of his actions. He committed one of my pet peeves (but at least not against the heroine). It really got me thinking that an author can't be afraid to go there if they are writing a dangerous hero. Of course, there are lines not to cross, but sometimes that do have to step across a few lines or toe those lines.

What are your lines you don't want the hero to cross?

Which heroes do you love that are deliciously wicked?



Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments Well I think Taka in Ice Blue got about as close to the line as I can tolerate when he SPOILERed, changed his mind, and then nearly SPOILERed again, if you get my drift. I forgave him.

The one thing I cannot forgive in a romance is when the hero gets all shocked over a pregnancy. "The hell? How did that happen?" Ignorance is the polar opposite of sex appeal.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Yeah, I know what you mean about Take. Anne Stuart is definitely not afraid to go there with her heroes. Part of why I love her writing so much.

My serious no-no is cheating on the heroine. It's a dealbreaker for me.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Oh, and outright cold-blooded murder of innocent people, and acts of deliberate cruelty.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments For me, I think the cheating thing depends on whether I'm reading a more literary romance or a feel-good diversion. If there's a level of reality in the way cheating and its repercussions are handled - if it's character-driven, and if there are emotional consequences that both parties need to overcome in the aftermath - I will keep reading. But if it's written in just to show that he's a playah and she's a doormat, I'm outta there.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "For me, I think the cheating thing depends on whether I'm reading a more literary romance or a feel-good diversion. If there's a level of reality in the way cheating and its repercussions are handl..."

I can see your point, but I just plain hate it, period.


message 7: by PepperP0t (last edited Apr 25, 2014 12:53PM) (new)

PepperP0t a cheat is the worst for me. because you're never sure why it's happening. (any kind of cheating)

a liar lies to manipulate your thoughts
a thief steals to take something from you for themselves or others but why is the cheat doing it?


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
You raise a good point, Pat. I can't stand low lifes (just morally bankrupt in every way), so I don't like my wicked dangerous hero to get to that level. I would consider a cheat a low life.

I don't mind an amiable rogue. He might have questionable morals, but he does have morals to some extent.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments Rape, and slut-shaming.

I used to put up with, and even expect, a lot of hyper-macho BS in old- school bodice rippers and even some early contemporaries (very early Sandra Brown comes to mind.) Those behaviors turn my stomach now that I'm older. I'm not a stickler against coercion or reluctance on the heroine's part, when it has been made obvious in the story that she wants him; but I can no longer tolerate rapists as romantic heros, or men who can't respect a lover who wasn't a virgin.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
I tend to agree. I can't stomach out and out rape. I don't mind dubious consent/forced seduction.


message 11: by Willow (last edited Apr 25, 2014 02:03PM) (new)

Willow  | 21 comments I think a really good author can almost get away with anything if they keep the tone light. But what really gets my goat is if the heroine always loses. I’ve seen protagonists get verbally abused, psychically abused, cheated on, and they never get a chance to get even. I want the heroine to stand toe to toe with the hero, no matter what. If she’s a complete and utter doormat it just depresses me.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Willow wrote: "I think a really good author can almost get away with anything if they keep the tone light. But what really gets my goat is if the heroine always loses. I’ve seen protagonists get verbally abused..."

It's not any fun if the hero is always stronger/smarter/better than the heroine. I like when they can match wits or their strengths complement each other.


message 13: by Nancy (new)

Nancy | 22 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) wrote: "Susan wrote: "For me, I think the cheating thing depends on whether I'm reading a more literary romance or a feel-good diversion. If there's a level of reality in the way cheating and its repercuss..."

I agree with you. I know it is sexist but I can take a cheating hero if he is redeemed but not so much with a cheating heroine. I now it is illogical but I can't seem to get around it, esp in romance books.


message 14: by Sonya (new)

Sonya Heaney I'm going to say I loved two books with cheating in them: The Tea Rose (The Tea Rose, #1) by Jennifer Donnelly An Infamous Marriage by Susanna Fraser

But it isn't usually something I tolerate.

I guess the things I don't go for are the obvious ones - like rape.


message 15: by Jais (new)

Jais (jetoftherock) | 28 comments Hmmm... I don't think a well-written dangerous hero can be over the top wicked. A wicked hero need not justify his deeds, right? He's gotta be evil. At the end of the day, it'll be the heroine who gets to choose to be with him or not. (Although, when I think about it, I've never read a romance novel where the hero is really wicked. Most of them though are redeemable and forgivable ones.)


message 16: by Sonya (new)

Sonya Heaney I think Lothaire is the 'worst' hero I've read. He's a pretty evil guy!


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments I remember a medieval bodice-ripper novel from back in the 80's, I think, where the "hero" punished the heroine by making her watch him rape her maid. And later, all was forgiven. When the maid became pregnant from the rape, our hero made it all okay be marrying her off to one of his knights... Looking back on it decades later, I can't believe I kept reading past that rape scene. It wasn't dubious consent or even "forced seduction." It was just rape, of a woman the hero considered expendable.... I don't know what it says about girls and women during the seventies and eighties that we didn't mind violence against women in the bodice rippers we devoured back then. I don't think any current-day authors of romance would get away with writing a hero who brutally rapes his lover's friend.


message 18: by Sonya (new)

Sonya Heaney Susan, have you read Stormfire? That was quite the eye-opener for me! The first thing that happens between hero and heroine is him raping her.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments If I did read it, it's been a long time ago. I'll look it up here and see if it looks familiar.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments I don't think I have. The author's name doesn't seem familiar.


message 21: by Sonya (new)

Sonya Heaney It's infamous for being one of the most violent bodice rippers. It's like the author sat there with a list of all the horrible things that could happen to a character, and then made sure she included all of them.

I looked at buying a second-hand copy but a few years ago they were going for about $100! Someone loaned me one instead.


message 22: by Pallavi (new)

Pallavi (threequartersthedevil) | 76 comments I've read Stormfire. And I was disturbed for weeks after that. It's probably the most horrendous pile of shitte I've ever read in my life.
I had a phase where I read only bodice rippers and enjoyed them too. The Silver Devil was one.
But Stormfire was *insert barfing emoticon*
If I could unread a book, this would be it.


message 23: by Jais (new)

Jais (jetoftherock) | 28 comments Now, I don't want to read Stormfire. Haha! Is there a more wicked hero than Sean?


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "I remember a medieval bodice-ripper novel from back in the 80's, I think, where the "hero" punished the heroine by making her watch him rape her maid. And later, all was forgiven. When the maid bec..."

Ick!!! That's just appalling. I'm so glad we're past that rape, rape, rape historical romance fad of the 70s and 80s.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Sonya Heaney wrote: "It's infamous for being one of the most violent bodice rippers. It's like the author sat there with a list of all the horrible things that could happen to a character, and then made sure she includ..."

Pretty much. I read it a long time ago, and once was enough. It wasn't a badly written book, just too much yuck.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
I love redemption as a theme, and I think that's part of why I am drawn to dark heroes. I like to see love redeem them. I admit I like if they stay edgy though.


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