Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meandering Protagonists


I just finished reading a book and am halfway through another where the protagonist feels like she is wandering through things. That doesn't grab me.

The one I finished reading was a second book in a trilogy. The first book was very interesting, great world building and good characters. In the second book the author took the protagonist away from everything that was important in the first book. Which was OK at first. But I kept expecting an escape or a rescue so we could get back to all those other people and plotlines I was so invested in. Nope. Also the protagonist seems to be sleepwalking through most of it, more reactive than proactive. And there were a lot of cryptic dreams that I couldn't sort out. On top of all that, the character is degraded, humiliated, tortured and finally maimed. Ugh. Probably won't go looking for the third book.

The one I'm halfway though now might just be aimed at a different audience. It's an old plot - young girl suddenly develops powers she doesn't know how to control. She fears the people who can teach her and spends the whole first part of the book hiding from them. OK. But I don't feel like there is enough that happens in all that hiding and escaping. Only a few characters are developed and they aren't that interesting to me. But again, maybe I'm not the right audience. I assume the second half will be her training, because they finally caught her. I hope that's a little more engaging.

In both stories the main character is reacting to events beyond her control. They seem to be wandering through the story in a daze reacting badly and suffering consequences. I'm not sure what the fix is, what would engage me more. But I know I need to watch out for that in my own stories.

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