Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I love reading. I read all the time. I usually have a book stuffed in a bag or pocket whenever I go anywhere even if I'm sure I _won't_ be able to pull it out, I've often got one along with me.

Fortunately, there are tons of books to read. I usually stay in the Science Fiction area, but I also enjoy a good mystery, urban fantasy, or high fantasy novel.

Because there are so many books to read I don't feel compelled to read all the way through something. Generally, I will give a book 100 pages to catch my interest. If it can't pull me in by then away the book goes and I'm off into another one.

For example, last night I was working on a novel by Lillith Saintcrow called Night Shift. It's another one of the seemingly ubiquitous butt-kicking-heroine urban fantasy novels. I don't mind them, I liked what parts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I watched (which is some of it) and I've enjoyed other urban fantasy with female protagonists as well. (But the one my beautiful wife just wrote and is looking to get published is better than them all, he said with no bias.)

At 104 page I decided to put it down. Why? Mostly because I hated the lead character. She just wasn't likable. Mostly, she was mean to people. It wasn't even justified, she was just a giant meany mean head.

The other major problem with this book was the pacing. I expect action and character development in a book - i don't want it all spaz out fights all the time so slower sections of the book help to add to the tension of the overall story and my understanding of the characters. I enjoy that part.... usually.

In this case the book was paced by using whining. It's a really odd choice, I know but it appears to be a conscious decision. The lead character spent all her introspection time whining about how she's not good enough, how she hates what is happening around her, how her poor life was so hard. Waa waa waa. OK, characters have backgrounds but if I wanted to read a bunch of whining about a poor upbringing then I'd have picked a book from a different section of the store.

Good grief. At 104 pages I decided that another 219 pages of a whiny meany head was more than I could stand. The lead was so annoying as to drive me completely out of the story. It's a wild contrast from many books since I often like, at least some aspects, of the characters and for some I'd love to have lunch with them someday. Harry Dresden and a cheeseburger anyone? It's to bad, because the central mystery was shaping up to be intriguing.

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