Can a Heroine be too Strong?
If you’d asked me this question a few years ago, when I started writing my snarky, kick-butt heroine Astra Q Phelps, I’d have said, absolutely not! But now, I’m not so sure. I’m currently reading a series by a very talented author whose heroine is so strong she has no time for, or real interest in, the hero. Huh? Now, granted, this is an urban fantasy series and romance isn’t a necessary component in UF, but the author introduced the romance, she put it out there, and IMHO, her heroine is dropping the ball with it.
This heroine is so strong she believes she can and should do everything herself. That’s not really the most attractive or interesting trait in a character. Especially since it’s obvious she can’t! I, as a reader, enjoy seeing a little vulnerability in a heroine. It gives her depth and enables me to relate to her. Besides, there’s so much opportunity for insight into characters when they interact with each other. Without this interaction the author is forced to go inside the character’s head to flesh her out for the reader. Bleurgh!
This leads us right down the thorny path to angst.
Sure enough, in the course of not needing anyone else, this character is constantly mired down by personal angst. My least favorite thing in a heroine. Yes, a story needs some angst, but when the plot, key relationships, and romance are mired in it, it’s not a good thing. In my opinion as a reader, a character should occasionally have brief moments of introspection, learn from them, and then move on to complete her destiny.
Yup, my dirty little secret is out…I live in a no wallowing zone.
I don’t want to read about a character who does it all and doesn’t need anyone else. It’s kind of sad. And it makes for very one dimensional reading. I love a strong heroine, but I also want her to recognize that she has needs she can’t fulfill on her own. I want her to need her hero. I mean, we can certainly survive all alone in the world, but why would we want to? And when you have a perfectly good hero standing there, all hawt and interesting, why wouldn’t you put him to good use? I mean, let’s not confuse strength with stupidity, ladies!
“Sam Cheever does it again in a thrilling tale that features one of my favorite heroines of all time. Astra is a perfect blend of our favorite champions for justice. She’s a healer, a lover, a fighter, and sometimes just a big softie. Her never give up attitude and ability to kick some serious trash has endeared her to me throughout this series.” ~ The Romance Studio
Astra Q. Phelps is turning twenty-five in a few months and she’s starting to feel the effects of her Settling, the time when a half angel, half devil Tweener decides whether to embrace her dark nature or her light.
The delectable Dialle, king of the Royal devils, really needs Astra’s help in Hell to deal with an insurrection. But Astra’s Settling pretty much has her thinking of only one thing—S.E.X.!
Sex with Dialle, sex with her yummy partner Emo, sex with a molten-hot dragon slayer she meets along the way, and sex with assorted other randy Royals cavorting among the fires of Hell. It’s a constant struggle just to keep her mind and body pure so she can concentrate on the business at hand, but Astra Q Phelps is definitely up for the challenge.
Astra Q Phelps gave her boyfriend a magic hickey. Usually not a world-changing issue. But in Astra’s case, her boyfriend is king of the Royal Devils. And Royals have always thought that only males could mark their mates. So how did she do it? Even Astra doesn’t know. That’s the first of her problems.
Now somebody’s trying to kill the naturally curious Astra, which is always a problem.
Thirdly, there’s Slayer. He’s shown up on Astra’s turf and wants her to hire him. Given their undeniable sexual chemistry, that’s probably not going to go over well with her boyfriend. Not to mention that he’s got some baggage that’s gonna come back to bite Astra big time.
Add in the nearly constant sexual need caused by her Settling and you have a whole lot of stuff for Astra Q Phelps to handle. But, as you probably know by now, she’s definitely up to the challenge.