Ever get angry at a book?
Well, I have. I did yesterday and, to be honest, 24 hrs after finishing it, I’m still pretty pissed off.
And yes, I know that I don’t usually have a rant on here.
Indulge me, please.
Now, I am well aware that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” but as an author, I sincerely hope I never leave any of my readers as frustrated and disappointed as I was late yesterday afternoon.
And before any of you ask – no, I’m not naming the book or the author as that would be unfair. I am sure that there are countless readers, more than have ever read my own efforts, who have loved every book in the series.
However, I do know from checking the reviews on Amazon and Good Reads that I’m not alone in my feelings of frustration and disappointment here,
The series in question here runs to five books. Books one through to three had me gripped, totally invested in the central characters’ relationship. I was well and truly hooked! I needed to know where they ended up. Would they get their “happily ever after” by the end of book 5?
From the start, book 4 felt a bit “different”. It felt cold. It felt rushed. It was lacking in description. Scenes that in the earlier books would have been fuelled by emotions were almost glossed over or were missing altogether. Key points from the threads of the storyline from book 3 were all but forgotten, much to my annoyance.
In all of the books I had overlooked some of the UK/US inconsistencies. If you are resident in one or other, I get that it’s difficult if not impossible to get the vernacular totally accurate for the other. I have faced the same challenge while writing but from the opposite side of the equation.
As I read voraciously through book 4 the % read rose steadily but the storyline stalled out….
Suddenly, totally out of character of the style in the first 95% of the book and the others in the series, the reader was propelled “six months later” then “two years after that” then “ten years on” …. then it ended.
But there was still book 5…. or was there? I actually went back to my Amazon account to check that I had read them in the correct order!
Initially, swallowing some of my bitter disappointment, I dived straight into book 5 and immediately pulled up short.
Now, I’m fairly sure that, if I had kept reading, I would have gained some fresh insights into tales already told in books one to four but I’m sorry the author lost me forever when reference was made to racoons ransacking the trash cans in a burgh in London.
Reality check moment… a simple Google search by the author or their editor could have saved the day and pointed out that London is pretty much out of racoons in the wild, but it didn’t.
I am so annoyed that this author has let her characters down here. She sold their story short, and I’d love to know why? Did she fall out of love with them? Was it a deadline that was looming and time ran out? Was it a word count issue? If so, why not stretch the telling of the couple’s tale into book 5 and spare us the flawed retrospective? Was it a case of writer’s block? Was she just bored by them?
I am so frustrated that these strong characters were short-changed in this way! (You might have figured that out already.)
So, here’s my plea to you, my readers, if you get any sense that I’ve sold my characters short please tell me!
Most of you already know that I too have written a five-book series (For those who didn’t know, it’s called the Silver Lake series and you can find it on Amazon), but I feel I stayed true to my characters to the very end. Yes, not all of them made it through all five books. People come and go in books as in real life. I wrote the Silver Lake series over a period of seven years and these fictitious characters became like old friends and I knew they deserved the best storyline that I could create for them.
I ended the Silver Lake series with a definitive ending before I could be accused of running out of ideas and of repetition. It was a tough decision to reach but I feel strongly that it was the right one.
Will my characters be back one day? Yes quite a few of them will. Will some of the sub-plots from the Silver Lake series be explored further in future? Yes, I certainly hope so. Will some of them get their own books? Most definitely!
As an author, I learned a valuable lesson from reading the four books of that unnamed five book series. It showed me the importance of being true to your characters and in delivering for your readers. I certainly have no intention of “cheating” my readers out of their “happily ever after.”
Rant over…. two-star review left online.
(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)