I’ve been reading the m/m genre for several years now and like any genre it has it’s ups and downs. I tend to be more author and subgenre specific, and picky you could say, so I don’t bounce around as I once did. This has led to the happy side benefit of not reading as many horrid books as I perhaps once did, but it also tends to give me a feeling of sameness. The problem is really two-fold.
First the book that tends to earn author loyalty is so good it can’t be matched. These books tend to be the epic, tear jerkers, or hilariously funny comedies that endear the author to me forever. Such books like Keeping Promise Rock, Angels of the Deep, Ender’s Game, Uneven, Shades of Gray – the list goes on. These nearly once in a lifetime excellence of these books that make me want to buy ANYTHING these author’s have written. Yet I find that while I appreciate and still love these great books, other books by the authors may be decent to really good and some may be horrible.
Sometimes I find that after loving a book so, so, so, so very much that nothing the author ever does after compares. Orson Scott Card (repugnant personality aside) has never written anything that comes close to Ender’s Game. I’ve read just about everything he’s written and it’s total crap, with one brilliant exception. And that exception is so good it’s one of the only books I re-read consistently. Likewise within the m/m genre there are numerous authors that are my “go-to” when choosing books but they tend to be decent, if familiar, reads and nothing extraordinary. I can feel my loyalty waning with each mediocre (to me) book.
Then I also realize that the familiarity of the genre works against itself as well. I enjoy the tropes that make it a romance genre – as I still feel my discussion of m/m meaning erotic romance is true today as it was then – but many times I feel as though I’ve read the story before. Change out a few details, if even that, and it’s the usual romance with the added bonus of a particular author’s voice. Sadly I sometimes confuse or forget which author I’m reading. I’ll think it’s one favored author and then remember it’s actually another and they blended together for me.
I wonder if I’m fatiguing on the familiar voice of authors I like. Usually this is never a problem for me due to the time in between reading. Previously – in the world of print books I bought from old time brick and mortar stores – I’d wait a year or more for another book by an author I liked. It was like discovering a gem I didn’t realize I was hunting. Now it seems authors publish so much more quickly that I don’t have a chance to fondly miss the authors I like.
I realize these issues are likely mine alone… but I wonder if anyone else has had any similar feelings and how they overcame them?