Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What makes a book not work?

I just finished reading a book that didn't click for me.

Sometimes it's easy to figure out when I don't like a book - too violent, too gory, too bland. But this one is tricky. I think it was a combination of fantasy, alternate history and romance. I found the romance annoying, almost grafted on. Alternate history always makes me strain a little to try to catch what the change/twist is.

The author repeated several times the basic history of the story and I have to say my brain glossed over it. A mention of Romans, Carthage and old battles and my brain goes to jelly.

But I guess what it all comes down to is the main character. I just didn't love her. This is the first book in a series and I will say no to the rest of them because I don't care what happens. Which is a really bad thing in my opinion. She was 20 years old, but acted a lot younger. I'd like to blame it on the age group it was aimed at, but I've read and loved a lot of YA.

I'm not sure what it was that kept me at arm's length.

Maybe it was the combination of hapless heroine with the budding magical skills and secret spy skills underneath. She could sword fight with the best and disappear behind a veil but sputtered and blundered and floundered. Maybe I'm disappointed in her.

A big portion of the book is days of walking in the bitter cold. Maybe that turned me off because I really hate to be cold. And I couldn't tell where this novel was going. I think there was some sort of political intrigue in the background, but the main character doesn't react all that strongly to it. And, again it had words like worker's rights and revolution and my brain skimmed because I wanted to stay with the magical world.

Well, done and gone. On to the next one.

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