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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Compare and Contrast

Okay, in the past two days I've finished two books. I only wish I'd finished writing mine instead of reading someone else's, but the imagination must be fed. While I was reading I noticed some things: both are by authors I like, both are from series I've been following, and both have a loyal following of fans. But I loved one and put skipped the last half of the other.


What made me put down a book by an author who's other books I've loved?

I realized I really don't care for the MC. I didn't like how the author handled character intros for new characters. By about chapter five I was losing interest. By the end of seven I just didn't care. I *know* there is a next book in the series and it's written in first person, and that really kills the tension.

The only people the author can kill and keep the series going are the supporting characters. I like the supporting characters. I don't like the MC- too broody, too moody, and basically to much teen angst for a mature adult character.

The MC in the book I loved is occasionally broody. There are some plot points that are overdone for my taste. But when push comes to shove the character takes charge, puts his personal demons in a box, and gets to work. He doesn't mope and cry about things.

Maybe that's what gets me. I really do think there is a time and place for nervous breakdowns and tears. When people are counting on you is not the time to have a fit. You push it back, save it for later, and have a good cry when everyone else sleeps and the chores are done. It's a standard that I expect in myself and I guess I really do expect it in my characters. If they can't man up and move out and not have to read four + pages of sobbing and tears.

The other thing that gets me is that both MC's are atheists but the one I don't like dwells on it. Every single book the issue has come up and he decides against there being a god in any form. Fine. Atheists are nice people, but it's as bad as reading a cheesy Christian novel with quotes from the NIV Bible. I mean.... this is urban fantasy don't preach to me! If I want a good theological debate I know where to find the books and the people who can lay out the arguments for any side you want. But I want to read my fiction without someone moralizing unless it's absolutely necassary. And in this case it was just a ham-fisted attempt to fill up word count.

So- at the beginning of the week I had two series I bought books for. Now were down to one.

For the love of my sanity could we please get some new authors on the market? Someone who doesn't rely on a plot-from-the-box or cliches? A new world to love? New characters to cheer for?

Give me some suggestions folks because my reading list keeps getting shorter.


  1. Have you read "Name of the Wind"? Great book by a new author, Patrick Rothfuss. It's a fantasy that avoids all the usual cliches. This particular book is first in the trilogy, but he also plans to do plenty of other stories in the same world.

  2. I haven't, but now that you've mentioned it I'll try to hunt it down. :o)

  3. Well, I wouldn't consider him a "new" author in any means, considering his greatest book was published in the sixties, but Gabriel Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is not a bad read. Yes, it's trippy and a lot unconventional, but its style and meaning are unmistakeably genius! I highly reccomend.

    PS- Nice post. Good points with the MC.

  4. PSS- it's not technically a series- thought I'd point that out. But it's still worth a read!