Books are awesome inventions of humankind. I devour my books like they are cupcakes. (This is a cupcake friendly zone, feel free to send some my way.)
Despite my undying love for all books in the history of ever, there are some things that happen in books that always make me laugh. In the way you laugh at things that are cute and inevitably make things more endearing. Tropes are tropes and there’s nothing wrong with a well written one, and as writers, we’re all guilty of them! ^.^ In fact, many of the books listed below are books that I love and adore so much that I still am clutching onto them and carry with me everywhere. Yes, my back hurts. (Obviously, I’m totally kidding. >.<) In fact, I think that when I run across these things, they’re more likely to make the book that much more my favorite because it IS imperfect, because it is an intricately woven story and humanity is beautifully imperfect and messy and filled with twists and turns and not formulaic and tosses the “rule book” out the window.
On the other hand, its a total toss up. Give me too many elves and vampires and demented half sisters with a ghost for a best friend in a parallel dimension and, yeah, even I’m going to be lost…probably infuriated at some point if not at all points.
It’s A Ghost Story/Love Story. No. It’s a Biography.
Unfulfilled Premise/Different Expectations
*The Night Circus
*Miss Peregrines Home For Gifted Children
Sometimes not knowing what you’re getting into can be a good thing. I sort of like going into a book expecting one thing but getting something else far more awesome! That’s how I felt with Miss Peregrines Home For Gifted Children. What I got was way better than what all the book reviews could have prepared me for!
However, sometimes the book blurb isn’t so great at letting me know what I’m about to get into. It’s just barely doing its job and getting me to pick it up. Which on one front I guess good for you marketing team. But still, it can be a bit disappointing when, regardless of what I expected, at the end of the book (or in the middle) I’m left feeling like this:
That’s such a disappointing feeling!!!
I’m like how dare you, you silly book! How dare you make me feel this way? I spent all this time reading you and now all I feel afterward is, MEH?!?!
To be honest, I’d rather hate a book that be ‘meh’ about it. Am I right?
The First 500 pages are Filler.
Slow Pacing/Aimless Plotlines
*Throne of Glass
*The Raven King
*Blue Lily, Lily Blue
I have the patience of a two-year-old. This is me waiting for a book to get good:
I can take me FOREVER to read a slow paced book. Which is annoying because I’m like:
Because I’m gonna be real honest. I ain’t got all day.
Ohhhh, but it is glorious once the book does pick up!! And it is sooo worth the wait and I feel like a horrible impatient little four-year-old for ever having doubted the author for one second and I try fruitlessly to bury the evidence of my doubts until I stop caring because “IM READING DON’T BOTHER ME!”
Literally, the entirely of The Raven King felt like I was meandering around until THINGS STARTED HAPPENING and then I couldn’t put the book down. Lady Midnight and Throne of Glass were the same. Such amazing books! But slow and all three took me FOREVER to read until the action really hit and then I didn’t eat or sleep until that book was DONE!
Lights! Camera! Action!
Action/Movement/Too Much Going On
*The Scorch Trials
*The Winner’s Kiss
Too much action/ too much movement can take me out of a book. I like really deep character introspection. If there feels like there’s too much going on, I can get a little overwhelmed.
The Winner’s Kiss felt like this for me with a lot of strategic battle movements and the explanations behind them. Though, to be fair, I think this is really just a me thing. I am a simple creature. Tell me that so-and-so dies and be done with it. Land the blow, man. Crush my soul into tiny bits. Don’t torture me for three chapters and then do it. Argggghh, the agony!!!
Questionable Logic/Stupidity/Flat Characters/Boring People/No Voice
*Anna and the French Kiss
Okay, this is going to sound weird but even facepalm moments make me love books. If a character is questionable in their logic, to me, they are also stupid. And if they’re stupid, then to me, they are also probably pretty boring. And if they are boring, then they are flat. I can stomach quite a lot of brainlessness. So usually I’m just here like:
But it’s those moments of ‘wow, s/he did not just do that’ that sort of, really, actually make books so endearing to me, even the ones that I think I’m going to flat out hate because I prejudge them like the judgey troll I am but then somehow I eventually really like the book because even this Ice Queen has a heart….somewhere. Don’t quote me on that. *narrows eyes*
Tying Up Loose Ends Too Neatly.
Forced Happy Endings/Rushed Endings
I don’t actually laugh when I feel like a book ends too quickly. I cry. My heart hurts because the resolution was rushed and now I feel a gaping hole where there should be a warm blanket of story but there isn’t because SOMEONE RUSHED ME!!!!! *end rage…for now*
Okay, so nowhere did anyone say that there is some fast rule that every book or story needs to have a happy ending. And hey, I’m not saying that every book needs to be the next freaking Allegiant either. #TeamTris
However, there are plenty of books that end in a way that is ambiguous and happy but not cookie cutter. I’m a staunch opponent to the white picket fence ending. I think it’s disingenuous to the characters and to the fans of the book/series.
But really, it all comes down to this very selfish reader in me. I just deeply dislike the feeling of being rushed to the end of a book.
I’m like, DONT RUSH ME, I’m enjoying myself!!
I’ve Never Seen Her Before. I Know Nothing About Her. But I’m In Love.
*The Night Circus
*The Love that Split the World
*The Curse Keepers
I don’t always dislike what would be categorized as instalove/instalust. If I’m in love with both characters as individuals then I’m already rooting for my ship to sail. If it’s instalove than I don’t give a frik. I love a good love story. I love love. Just make it good and I’m a happy happy penguin.
But don’t give me the kind of story where my main character just meets their love interest for the first time, knows next to nothing about that person, and is suddenly falling all over themselves in the next chapter. Because I’m going to barf. Like, come on!! Get real.
I’m Not Pretty But Everyone Else Thinks I’m A Total Babe.
*Shadow and Bone
I understand characters feeling that they’re plain. I also definitely understand characters who don’t feel beautiful. I really like books that deal with these issue in a real way and not in a superficial manner. I think feeling uncomfortable in one’s own skin is a common problem, not just in the young adult community, and it should be present in our literature. I cheer anytime I see real life issues pop up in the books I read, especially when I’m reading fantasy books because they’re not “issues” books and I think that’s awesome to bring up important themes in all genres.
However, sometimes, the regardless of genre and even in “issues books” the narrative falls flat and doesn’t extend past superficiality.
In general, this is how I feel about people writing on issues that they know nothing about:
No matter how much research someone does, it doesn’t replace experience and really knowing what it’s like to feel this way.
Best Friend Suddenly “Sees” Their Bestie For Who They Are.
Platonic Relationships Can’t Exist
*Shadow and Bone
*City of Bones
I always feel so bad for the best friend in these situations. It’s like, how could the other person not KNOW or not SEE them for who they really are? Did they just suddenly become more attractive? Because that’s not rude! How are you just now noticing them you awful goblin?
I Need A Map, A GPS, Some Graphs, A Timeline, and Some Purple String.
In-depth/Confusing World Building
*Throne of Glass
This is my favorite!! Intricate world building is awesome!!! I fall in love with it.
Though, sometimes, it can get confusing. Sometimes, I’m like Gandalf. Sometimes, I forget where I’m supposed to be. Admittedly, I forget who’s at war with who. (Mostly because I’m so caught up in who’s in love with who, but details.)
I also tend to forget why the world ended. Becuase let’s be fair, the world has ended so many times that it’s a bit terrifying. I also forget tidbits like who’s sister has a cousin who has a friend that was once turned into a cat but is now a human, which coincidentally isn’t even a relevant to the story but we were told this random piece of info because WORLD BUILDING!!!!
I think all books should come equipped with more than just those teeny tiny maps in the front. I vote for an interactive hologram. Or a personal butler to remind you of all the things you don’t remember.
Or just give us Pierce Brown himself. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable substitute to me.
Just Hand Me the Playbill.
Colossal Cast of Characters
*The Mortal Instruments
*The Infernal Devices
*Ember in the Ashes
*The Hunger Games
*Six of Crows
*Shadow and Bone
I am a sucker for falling in love with characters. Especially when they are dynamic and they approach their struggles in a realistic (or really funny) way. But I have a really terrible memory. And it can be SO confusing when I only see a character a handful of times. Because when they are mentioned off-hand I find myself like:
I am immediately suspicious of them, think they’re here to kill the main character when they’re probably there to help them but sometimes my suspicions are true and they are there to kill the main character so when my suspicions finally subside is when they strike and I feel so BETRAYED. Argghhh!!! The betrayal. My lesson learned: NEVER trust the side character you’d met a handful of times. They’re probably an assassin and going to poison or stab the main character or the love interest or do something equally horrible.
I Put an Asian Kid into My Story. It’s Diverse Now.
I think it’s great that more books are coming out with diverse characters. Because “white” is not the default and the fact that people think so is rather insulting. However, it’s gotten to the point, especially in writer circles as lamentable as this is, where I see people inserting diversity into their work as if to check it off in a list of things to do. Diversity isn’t something that can just be checked off like “oh, I made my originally white character diverse by giving him/her an ethnic seeming name and I changed their skin to a different color.” That’s not diversity. And to do so is offensive.
I like books that have diverse characters as part of their norm. Because diversity in our world is the norm. We’re surrounded by people from all walks of life, with diverse origins and experiences and backgrounds and nationalities and ethnicities. We may not always agree, and that’s okay, this concept hasn’t changed. But what brings us together is we’re all part of the same race. Humanity. We’re all in this together.
What makes a book work for you? Why do you fall in love with a book? On the converse, what are some of the reasons you might DNF?