So, this is me bringing up something that bugs me with a lot of romance novels and resulted in my burning out on them pretty hard. The thing in question is of course, the alpha male lead, the guy whose chest thumping bravado and sheer force of will sweep the heroine off her feet and on and on. He shows up a lot and, more often than not, could easily be another book’s pushy asshole who won’t leave the female lead alone, that’s a problem.
I focused on this a bit in my review of Alpha Instinct, with Connor disregarding Ana’s requests that he let the mundane police deal with a problem rather than going after it himself. In this case it’s played as “oh he’s so protective of her, he just can’t stand for them to go unpunished” and to set up a later book, when honestly it would have been better for the pack in the long run if they had let the cops deal with it. He seriously murdered two dudes in cold blood for having attempting to hurt “his” woman, that’s taking taking charge way too far.
On the other hand Blood and Bullets shows us what happens when the alpha male is moved from the romance novel to heading an urban fantasy novel. The result isn’t bad so much as boring and repetitive. Chalk isn’t a character who should be boring, but his being an alpha male was focused on more than his actually doing anything to his detriment. As a concept, Chalk is kind of over played but also kind of awesome, he’s the Punisher but against the things that go bump in the night.
So, essentially, my problem isn’t so much with the character type as with how far writers take it any more and how prevalent it is. Like, if I only saw one of these guys for every third or fourth romance novel, that would be great. Seeing more romance novels with a variety of male leads would be amazing, if more than a little unlikely. I want to see guys who’re sensitive, guys who’re there for the female lead when the standard romance novel jerk ex breaks her heart, and guys who’re assholes to everyone but the female lead and admit it. Let’s get some more variety going here.