Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Annoying Alphas

What is it about those infernal alpha males that keeps us reading? Do we love to hate them? Are we waiting for them to redeem themselves? Waiting for the heroine to open a can of whop-ass? What is it?

I'm reading a book right now with an alpha hero who I have nicknamed "dickhead". He is a vampire, a dark prince, with a massive attitude from centuries of being treated as if every word out of his mouth is verbal gold. No one disputes any of his demands they just go off and do his bidding, even if they don't agree. He is egotistical, selfish and jaded. A total jerk!

The heroine is the exact opposite. She is compassionate, giving and naive. He bound her to him without getting consent, turned her for selfish reasons, and every time she asks him questions about what he's done to her or about his people and their beliefs, dickhead changes the subject to avoid answering. She's very independent, accustomed to being alone, and still she stays with him. Grrrrrr!

I want to cuss him out, smack him upside the head with this heavy book. I want the heroine to get a backbone and kick hiss ass! I want nothing more than to feed the pages, one by one, into my paper shredder while laughing maniacally. Yet I keep reading, devouring every word, simultaneously captivated and annoyed.

Why? Because it’s fabulous! Any book with the ability to draw such intense emotion from a reader is priceless. I love it when a book can increase my heart rate and get me so wound up in the story that I feel invested in what happens. And he does have redeeming qualities, other than being a dark, sexy, alpha vamp.

Here in lies the real magic—balance. There is hope for dickhead. He is a man worth fighting for. A man worth keeping.

His actions prove that he wants to keep her safe, even when she messed up and puts herself in bad situations. His internal dialogue gives the reader a glimpse of the endless love and devotion he feels for the heroine. This is a man who would die for her and literally kept her alive through the sheer power of his will. Oh, and he’s beyond good in bed. *g* When he makes love to the heroine…whoo-damn! He’s still all alpha—primal, dangerous and exciting. And he’s not a total bully with her. Even though he wants to encase her in bubble wrap and keep her locked away safely in his home, he doesn’t.

I read one book which made me come close to throwing my precious ebook reader at the wall. The hero, a dragon, took the heroine as his "primary mate" but still has "lesser mates" who he would turn to in order to increase the dragon population. Just after claiming the heroine, one of the lesser mates shows up and he is all over her, right in front of the heroine. OMG! I was so angry my chest got tight and I broke out in a cold sweat. And I didn't even like the heroine. She was a slut at the beginning of the book. But my feelings of outrage were so strong they affected me physically. I have a love/hate relationship with that story. Eventually, I came to grips with the fact that in the hero’s culture this was the expected behavior. He changed for the heroine, wanted to do so to please her, and in doing so, he won me over by the end of the book.

What about you? Have you experienced books that brought out intense, conflicting emotions? Are there alphas characters who you have a love/hate relationship with? That's what it all boils down to for me. A part of me wants a semi-alpha man like in the books. One who will desire only me and would sacrifice everything for me. One whose first priority is taking care of me and who puts me first. Strong, capable, dominant but not domineering. Someone who can get me riled, in more way than one. Yup, I want the fantasy! Doesn't every woman?


candycay said...

Oh Yeah! Alpha Males. They can be sooooooooo sexy and yet still be very annoying. Sometimes you just want to jump their bones and other times you just want to deck them.

But hey, alpha male vs. average joe schmo? I'll take the alpha or even semi-alpha. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Damn that book really got to you.
What's that old saying? Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen?
Gotta love a good bad boy, especially the ones that are just a bit of a jerk. sigh

TK Winters said...

Great insights, Nic! I love those domineering alpha males in stories as long as they have redeeming characteristics.
I don't think I've ever read a book that got me riled--not like you seem to. lol I've read ones that make me cry like a baby, but none that make me want to shred them or break my e-reader. 'Course I rarely feel that way in life, so maybe that's why. LMAO
I used to think a man like the one you are talking about would be my perfect mate and then I met my perfect mate and he doesn't seem to be much like my imagination. He has all those protective qualities, he puts me first, he sees to my every need, but he isn't domineering. I kind of like that. Means I don't have to get so angry I shred him. LOL

Minime said...

What would be the point of keeping a guy when your reaction is "Blah blah blah"? And you can't remember his name?

At least the strong-willed Alphas or jerks make you want to do some violence on their butts. *smile*

And I have had so many books where my reaction is "I just want to reach in this book and smack the hero upside the head and ask What are you doing, you idiot?" For the heroine, sometimes it is reach in and shake her shoulders, saying "Get the with the program, please for the love of my sanity."

But those kinds of books, I love because they produce a strong emotion out of me.

Sally Painter said...

Hmm... Nic! That is a great topic. It reminds me of art school and being told that if the piece evokes an emotional reaction it is art, no matter what the emotion is - repulsion, anger, disgust - it's still art. (g)

Alpha males in my taste MUST redeem themselves by the end of the book, otherwise, what's the point of all that emotional roller coaster riding?

N.J.Walters said...

Great topic, Nic. Sounds like you're really enjoying that book. LOL

Seriously though, I love books that make me laugh, cry, and want to smack the hero for being so stubborn. Alpha heroes will never go out of style.

Nicole Austin said...

Exactly, Candy!

I haven't finished it yet, Rhian. I can only take small Mikhail in small doses. LOL!

Ah, but I said dominant not domineering. Big difference, TK! A bit dominant and take charge is good but I won't put up with someone domineering and tyrannical. I have my own mind and don't need someone to take away my autonomy.

Yeah, Minime. I'm with you. I don't want to read boring alphas who don't tug at my emotions.

That's perfect, Sally. I love the art anology. And yes, without redemption there is absolutley no point!

I am enjoying it, NJ! I can't wait until the heroine gives her alpha what for. *g*