Once upon a time, I was happy with the old story of a strong, powerful vampire finding his one true mate—he bit her, and then they lived forever in undead bliss.
Once upon a time…
But that story doesn’t work for me anymore. I don’t just want a heroine who stands there and waits for her undead prince charming to come at her with his razor-sharp teeth. No, these days, I want a heroine who carries a back-up stake in her jacket. I want a woman who’s never afraid of the dark, no matter what may wait in that darkness.
I want my kick-ass heroine, please.
And, lucky for me, there are plenty of those heroines these days. If you open an urban fantasy novel or pick up a dark paranormal romance, odds are good that you won’t find one of those “too-stupid-to-live” heroines. Instead, you’ll find a heroine who knows how to fight the bad guys and how to romance her man (whether he’s an undead vamp, a howling shifter or anything else…).
Buffy made me love heroines like this. Sure, in season one we saw Buffy falling for a vampire, but, hey, she still killed him later (hmmm…was that once or twice?). Buffy showed me that heroines can be funny, they can be vulnerable, and they can still kick a whole lot of supernatural butt…and these heroines can look good while doing it.
Women are empowered in these paranormal stories. Sure, often they are humans surrounded by beings that are far, far more physically powerful. But, sometimes, it’s not about the physical strength. It can be about intellectual power or even psychic power. What you see isn’t always what you get—and our modern crop of heroines is proving this point amazingly well.
So when you pick up an urban fantasy or a paranormal romance, and you see a woman on the cover (sure, she may be wearing leather and she may have some cool tattoos—and a weapon), then you know you’re not about to read a story about a meek, waiting-to-be saved heroine.
It’s fighting time, and the heroine is ready to save the day.
If a vamp comes at her, ready to take a bite…perhaps she’ll let him enjoy a nibble (if he’s hot), or, well, she may just stake him.
Because the kick-ass heroine is cool like that.
And what are your thoughts on the tough heroine? Did Buffy bring you over to loving the “dark side” of heroines, too?
Cynthia Eden writes tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Her publishers include Kensington Brava and Grand Central (Forever). She loves monsters, haunted tours, and chocolate. Cynthia’s latest paranormal romance, I'll Be Slaying You is available in stores now. Find the ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony.