Recently I gobbled up a book with great enjoyment only for it to fall apart as soon as I began thinking about it.
I will not name the book for it is very popular and has many voracious fans. Long term readers of this blog know that I have a policy of never naming living writers whose books I am less than enamoured with. It is not worth the grief of offended authors or fans.
This has happened to me before but never so quickly. Within half an hour of finishing the book in question doubts, grave doubts, began to creep into my mind. As I read, I thought it was the best book ever. It was only after closing it that certain thoughts crept up on me about plausability and worldbuilding and how the main character had never had to make any hard decisions. I became uneasy.
So I read the sequel. It was the exact same book all over again with all the same flaws. Only they seemed worse because the first book was a direct retread of the first.
Yet the sequel was as sticky as the first book. Once I started reading it I could not stop (though I did skim, which I did not with the first book). This time as I read I was aware of the book’s many flaws. Of how unlikely all the plotting was, how flimsy the world, and how, once again, the main character was spared making any painful decisions.
I have decided not to read the third book. Though given the stickiness of the first two I may succumb.
I will still happily recommend the first book. I had a great time reading it. I will tell people the book is crack but best not to think about it too hard. There are many books of that kind that I adore.
Have any of you had this experience? Of loving a book as you read it? Only for it to fall apart afterwards when you started thinking about it?
Do not name the book if the author is alive. I am more interested in the experience of changing your mind about a book you initially loved than upsetting any authors or fans.
Update: I want to clarify my position on not naming the books. There are several reasons for it. If I name the book and it’s one that sells better or is more critically acclaimed than my own work then it looks like sour grapes. If it’s one that’s less well-received than one of mine than I look bad for picking on someone worse off than me.
But more importantly it doesn’t matter what books we’re talking about. The discussion is about how following through implications of plot/characterisation/world building etc can cause a book to crumble. All of which applies to any number of books. It will be different books for different people. Several readers have complained that my books fell apart for them in exactly that manner. We all read differently. There is no wrong or right on this question. While I am wondering how the hell the books I’m talking about could be so loved when they’re so flawed, there are people wondering the exact same about some of my favourites.
I also want to make it clear that I am not talking about the Twilight books. So you can stop sending me cranky email on that score.
No, I am not going to tell you what books I’m talking about. Please stop writing me and asking me.