Disintegration by Thea Landen
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Erotic Fantasy, Futuristic Romance, Adventure
Release Date: January 28, 2013
Amazon ♥ Double Dragon Publishing
Dutiful soldier Callum Renwick wakes up in the underground laboratory of a mercenary organization. He learns he was the sole survivor of an attack that destroyed his unit, his hometown, and his family. In addition to the loss of his loved ones, he discovers that due to his injuries, half his body has been supplanted by artificial skin and cybernetic parts. Once he has recovered, he is assigned to the care of Ro Bernard, who leads the effort to turn him into a powerful assassin.
She is outspoken, yet secretive, and uses unconventional means to mold him into a depraved killer. Mind games and rough sex are in her repertoire of training tactics, and Callum is both infuriated and fascinated by her. As he comes to terms with his grief and his new role, many of his biological body parts fail and must be replaced. Will he adapt to survive in Ro’s world and exact vengeance on the woman who ordered the attack that changed his life?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains explicit sex scenes and/or situations and adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
Most romances end “happily ever after” (HEA). It makes sense – we’ve invested so much time and emotion into the main characters getting together, we can feel cheated if we don’t get the resolution we want by the end. But what makes a happy ending? Are there different flavors of HEA? If the characters don’t get the HEA we’ve been rooting for, is that really such a bad thing?
The first (and perhaps most common) is your standard HEA, where the characters have successfully fallen in love and ride off into the sunset together. We the readers breathe a sigh of relief when we realize that they’ll continue to walk together through life hand in hand beyond the last page of words. It fills us with the warm fuzzies.
There’s nothing particularly exceptional or thought-provoking about this type of ending, but you’re also not going to have your readers coming after you with pitchforks because they’re not satisfied. Some readers only want to read stories with a fluffy HEA, and there’s nothing wrong with that, considering how real life is filled with plenty of scenarios that don’t have a happy ending.
Next up is the HEA with a dramatic/traumatic twist. Our characters achieve their mutual love…but then something happens. Maybe one (or both!) of them dies. Maybe one of them trips into a hole in the space-time continuum and is whisked away for an indeterminate amount of time. Or maybe after testing out the romantic waters, the couple realizes they make better friends than lovers, or they’re just not suited for each other at all, and they go their separate ways.
As I mentioned earlier, life doesn’t guarantee happiness. There’s a certain realism to a story that doesn’t end perfectly, and that can create a strong connection with readers. (Okay, maybe the space-time continuum scenario isn’t totally realistic.) A less-than-happy ending can also be cathartic for the audience – who doesn’t love a good cry every now and then? Better to have loved and lost, blah blah blah….
Lastly, there’s the decidedly UNhappy ending. Life just isn’t fair. Sometimes it downright sucks, and fiction reflects that. When done well, I think the unhappy ending can have a much stronger impact than its cheerier counterpart. When we read a story that concludes with the HEA, we finish it, smile, then put it down and go on our merry way.
A gut-wrenching plot twist that tears our lovebirds apart can stick with us for days. We feel dejected and angry right along with them and stand by their sides as they shake their fists at the cruel universe. Of course there’s always the risk of alienating readers and devolving into clichéd melodrama, but a well-executed “downer” ending can be poignant and unforgettable.
There are pros and cons to each type of ending. So what are my preferences? Like many others, I suspect, I like to mix things up (in both reading and writing). Romance writers can feel pressure to cap things off happily with a pretty little bow on top. I understand the apprehension that accompanies straying from the formula. There are times, though, when a story just doesn’t lend itself to a happy ending. HEA would feel out-of-place and like a cheap ploy to win over the hearts of readers.
I didn’t answer my own question, did I? Oh. Oh dear. Well, I’d hate to give away spoilers, you know….*giggles coyly*
Big huge thanks to the lovely people at Pink Fluffy Hearts for hosting me today! This site is wonderful!
Thea Landen lives in New York with her husband and a variety of houseplants. A former educator, she strives to encourage creativity and passion in all those around her, and uses writing to help inspire. Though she reads and writes in nearly all genres, she has a special fondness for science fiction and fantasy and anything that pushes the imagination beyond its usual limits. When she’s not writing, or thinking about writing, her hands and mind are occupied by either yarn crafts or role-playing games.
Giveaway: (5) eBook copies of any title from author's back list, plus swag pack (bookmarks/magnets).