Monday, June 11, 2012

A book I’m not reviewing

I am currently reading a book in the Apocalyptic Fantasy subgenre that I won’t be reviewing. (Note: Capitalization of, or even use of, the term Apocalyptic does not imply that this is a Christian book. The best I can tell, it isn’t.) It is, to the 50% or so point that I reached today, morally “clean” (the protagonist-narrator at one point mentions in passing wishing to visit his girlfriend’s bed — and that reference is as far as it goes); the language, while sometimes strong, is like a medium bad day at work for me (YMMV).

Why won’t I be reviewing it?

Simple: I don’t post reviews of books I don’t like, and the writing is driving me nuts.

I don’t read a lot of fantasy, and if my current read is typical of the genre (or subgenre), I won’t be reading much more.

This book was free on Kindle when I got it, and that may or may not have something to do with my complaints (which I’ll get to specifically in a minute); some of the free books I’ve gotten on Kindle have been quite good. Search for my reviews on GoodReads or KindleBoards to see examples.

So what is driving me crazy? This is the second novel-length fantasy I’ve read (that’s not YA), and if these two books are a proper indication, the genre lives for description. Now, I know description is a weakness in my writing, but when it’s slathered on thicker than peanut butter (on a good peanut butter sandwich — I like a lot of peanut butter), reading becomes tiring. But it’s worse than that for the current read (which I’m not reviewing, see above): the quality of the description varies widely even within the same page, from “What the heck is the author trying to say here?” to “That’s sheer genius!” (NB: The other fantasy I read was much better in its use of description, but still tiring in its overuse of it, IMNSHO.)

As a side note, this book also has inconsistencies in spelling.

I suppose this is really a warning about editing. Here are the takeaways:

  • If you’re writing in a genre you enjoy reading in, read your book until you like it. Work on it until you would pay actual money for it.
  • If you can’t take the editor’s viewpoint (“I hate this book, but I can turn it into a book I like”) get a blinkin’ editor!
  • If you’re using a word processor (Open/Libre/M$ Office), trust your spelling checker. If you have to make up words, add them (when spelled correctly) to the dictionary.