May 19, 2017
Every Book is a promise
A while back, I picked up the latest book from an author who's back catalog had been enjoyable. There were stories I loved and stories that shot for the moon and just barely missed, spiraling off into space where the good and the bad got lost in a mishmash of familiar.
But that latest book...
As an author, every book is a promise. You make that promise with your blurb, your first page... sometimes with your name. In this case, the promise started with genre and name and even though the blurb had me reaching for the book with trepidation, the rest of the series had been SO. DANG. GOOD.
Established authors give an expectation simply by dint of being the one who wrote the book.
This book did not fulfill the promise set out by the author.
Reader, I was disappointed... and then, I was offended.
The content itself was not something that would offend anyone. It was the laziness the book was written with. It felt like a throw away. Like a collection of words smashed together with only the intent of fulfilling a contract.
I know this author can write beautiful books. I have fallen in love with their characters. But this book was sloppy. Characters never became likable. Characters suddenly did things that made no sense for the people they'd been set up as. The reversal felt too shallow and was repetitive of the recurring plot problems in the beginning. The resolution resolved next to nothing.
In short this book lacked believability. There was nothing to grab on to. No door to float on as the ship sank.
By the end of the book, I was so offended--I'd held out that entire time because I just knew this author would manage to pull it off, and then she didn't--that I returned the book.
That's not something I do. If I get five pages past the sample and realize I've made a mistake, sure. But I don't return books I've read all the way through. This one though... I was that offended.
My disappointment festered for a week and I sat down to write the first version of this post, thinking I'd sorted through my thoughts. I was still mad.
More importantly, I no longer trusted that author.
That lack of trust translated to my venturing to Amazon where I cancelled a preorder of a new book. I haven't bought one of her books since. Because I don't trust that the new ones will fulfill the promise.
The book that so offended me was from a series that was delightful otherwise. I don't imagine she would have half-assed the first book in that new series... but maybe.
Maybe she'd become complacent. Under delivering on a 3rd book seems safe enough. A readership from the first two is likely to continue on to the third and a readership after a few series is likely to give an author leeway. In theory, this first book in something new should be crafted in a way to draw in virgin readers... but I don't trust that anymore.