28 June 2009

To Brand Or Not To Brand (Part II)

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work. However, I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

Last month I ranted commented on the IMO startling amount of product placement in Lover Avenged. I thought it was an anomaly, until I started reading Gale Force (Rachel Caine). Now, to be fair, Gale Force has nowhere near the level of product placement that Lover Avenged has. However, it does seem to have IMO an obsession with fashion...

No dyed generic pumps for Cherise; she's scoured the stores and come up with a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes that made me pray to the fashion gods for something half as great to appear in my closet.
Now, I can understand that there is a certain amount of information that we require in order to fully understand a character - who they are, how they think, etc. And that these things vary depending on the character and sometimes include...the little things. But is it integral to the plot (or our understanding of the character) to know their taste in shoes? I know I'm not fashionable, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can't see the relevance? Can someone please enlighten me?

Oh man. This was looking less like a good plan all the time. I had not worn the right shoes for tramping through sewer water. In fact, I didn't own the right shoes for that and I hoped I never would.
*scratches head* Ah, last time I looked I was reading urban fantasy, with a heroine who hasn't had a breather between books one and seven - everyone is after this heroine, for a myriad of reasons, mostly because they want to kill her. You have no idea how many assassination attemps this heroine has survived! (At halfway through this book I've already counted three...or is that four? [I've lost count.]) And so, shouldn't she be expecting the unexpected and dressing appropriately?

At least I'd dressed for it. If I couldn't be self-confident wearing a kicky Carmen Marc Valvo dress and a pair of honest-to-God Manolo Blahniks in matching tangerine, I needed to turn in my fashion police badge.
*light bulb switches on* Ah, that explains everything. I'm not reading urban fantasy. Well, I am, but the heroine is actually a member of the fashion police not a paranormal guardian of some sort. And that explains why there are so many references to fashion, brands, etc.

So, have you ever read a book that you are sure has been incorrectly labelled?


  1. LOL Rachel Caine's books annoy me, I have to admit, although I never would have guessed her for a fashionista. But god forbid we have a heroine who doesn't know her Manolos from her Choos, right? :P

    I don't read a lot of contemporary novels, but in historicals there are times where they also give out way TMI. Sometimes Kleypas will go into these rants about what everyone is eating and it's like, "Okaaaaay, back to regularly scheduled programming now."

  2. "Okaaaaay, back to regularly scheduled programming now."

    LOL! I really enjoyed the initial Weather Warden books but I'm surprised the heroine is still functioning. All that neverending stress (there doesn't appear to be any time between each book) has to manifest in some way, shape or form...

    But god forbid we have a heroine who doesn't know her Manolos from her Choos, right? :P

    If they took the labels off I would have no idea!

  3. With the labels ON I have no idea--I don't look at people's shoes :shrug:

    Unless they are complaining that their feet hurt, and then I can sneer and say, "this is why I wear sneakers"

    [Yes, I'm a petty sort of person]

  4. Unless they are complaining that their feet hurt, and then I can sneer and say, "this is why I wear sneakers"

    ROFLOL! And that's why I wear sneakers too :) I don't care how fashionable a pair of shoes are, they have to fit my feet (not the other way around!) and I have to be able to walk in them!

  5. I love Rachel Caine. In fact I just glommed all 6 of her Morganville Vampire series (awesome, BTW). I think the product placement in this sense worked because the main character has always been kind of a fashion chick and that's just her thing. Yes, she talks fashion, but it wasn't every single page like it was in Lover Avenged.

    I'm not a fashionable person personally, but I'm into fashion otherwise and I find it interesting...if done correctly. In the instance of Gale Force it didn't bother me at all and I'd still definitely term it as UF due to the fact that it's still her story throughout the whole series. :)

    I'm whipped. Off to bed. Night, girlie! :)

  6. I haven't read the Morganville Vampire series - I'm look them up :) And I do agree that Jo has always been a 'fashion chick' :)

    And yeah, it is definitely a UF. My bad attempt at humour :) I am enjoying it...but it is quite scary how often people keep trying to kill her!

    Sweet dreams :)

  7. *wonder when there will be a kick arse, UF heroine who wears thongs/flip flops*

  8. I'm not a fashionista or anything (and I've never read Rachel Caine). In fact, I don't read a lot of UF b/c many of the heroines annoy me. They're all too badass to be real. That being said, maybe this was the author's attempt to keep the heroine more human and flawed so she was more identifiable. Don't know though cuz I haven't read her.

  9. This is why I love Kate Daniels. She's truly kick ass with the right gear :)

  10. LOL. Well, all I can say is that it's so hard to run in heels, or even to walk.

  11. LOL Kris! Somehow I can't see a badie taking a jandal (after all we have to use the right terminology *grin*)-wearing UF heroine seriously :)

    Katie - good point. Joanne is a UF heroine that isn't completely consumed by her 'duty'.

    Mariana - I have yet to meet Kate Daniels, but thanks to Aymless I'm planning on correcting that very soon :)

    CJ - exactly! And as a UF heroine, you'd kind of assume you need to do some running :)

  12. Orannia, you're going to love Kate Daniels. She's awesome. Ilona Andrews also has a new series coming soon. She had the stand alone book 'Silent Blade' which was a great story (came out this month).

    CJ - My daughter walks in heels better than me :( Sad doings; she practices with my sister's heels.

    This reminds me of Karen Chance's Cassandra Palmer series a little. It's a great series, but poor Cassie is always inappropriately dressed, or losing her clothes.

  13. LOL! Mariana-So true. LOL! I love Cassandra's character because she is so flawed. Craziness always ensues. :D

  14. I'm going to buy this book and check it out. If it causes this must discussion, it's worth a look!