Jul 5 2011 4:54pm

Happily Ever After the End of the World

Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThere is a dark, depressing, and emotionally draining cloud over YA. Books like Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games,  Veronica Roth ’s Divergent, and a growing host of others all but torture their protagonists only to have them succeed by winning mediocrity. The worst of it is that these characters are happy with their reward, even if it makes Oliver Twist’s pleas for more seem like the demands of an insatiable glutton.

The question is, where are all of the dystopian/ brutal romances? Sure there is the occasional Battlestar Galactica or Firefly where we have our cast of battered vagrants fighting against impossible odds with the sole goal being to survive, maybe even find love. However, in one case you have a show that has yet to be successfully replicated and in the other you have a show that was never able to find an audience when it was on the air and now thrives on a cult following and dvd sales.

Given its success in different markets, why hasn’t Romance caught the apocalypse bug? Is it that the genre isn’t built to handle these themes? What do you think?

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
I'm a big fan of dystopian romance because I like how such situations bring out both the best and worst in people and how emotionally charged everything you do is. However, I think that yeah, because HEAs are a mandatory part of romance and you certainly can't guarantee those at, say, the end of the world, it's a hard thing to sell in the genre.

But personally, I'd love to see more adult fiction similar to Divergent and The Hunger Games, even if it's not strictly classified as romance buy has romantic elements (one hopes, lots of romantic elements).
2. mochabean
Very intersting post. I can think of apocalyptic novels with romantic elements -- Justin Cromin's 'The Passage" and Steven King's "The Stand" for example, and the show "the Walking Dead" (I have not yet read the graphic novels) -- but not as many out and out romances playing out as the world goes to hell in a handbasket. Since I love both genres I'd be interested in other recommendations from people who may have read more out there. I know a zombie romance was written last year, but my sense is that it was , if you will pardon me for saying so, tongue in cheek.
3. ChelseaMueller
I think romance has taken that post-apocalyptic turn, too. Sometimes they get labeled as UF/PNR cross-overs, but still are romances at heart.

A couple novels fitting into the post-apocalyptic romance niche are Joss Ware's Envy Chronicles, which begins with BEYOND THE NIGHT, and Ellen Connor's recent release NIGHTFALL.
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