After last week's list Books I thought I'd Hate But Ended Up Loving, I was rather hoping we'd get the chance to reverse the issue. Before I start, you should know that these comments aren't objective, or measured, or calmly written. They are my own personal opinion (and boy, have I opinion-ed the hell out of them - I loves me a good rant) and you should by all means check out positive reviews of these books or pick them up and opine them yourself...
Ok, I loved Need. Seriously adored it and invested in a copy of it's sequel, Captivate, the day I finished it. Now, I would like to qualify that I still pretty much liked the overall story that ran through Captivate - and I will certainly read the last in the trilogy, but so much made me go grrrr. And bah. And meh. Firstly, the requisite Hot Young Man, lovely Nick, started to call his beloved "baby" all the time. Yuck. It was weird, patronising and seemed totally out of character with the Nick that I had known, loved and swooned over in book one. Secondly, the constant reference to Zara's blue skin had me envisaging her as an extra from Avatar. I didn't like Avatar. I understand that these are little things and very much personal preference. But now comes number three.... some very interesting, new mythology was introduced in Captivate - it was new to me and a bit confusing, I didn't feel that it was particularly well explained. Neither, it would seem, did the author as she suddenly started to try and explain it using examples from a popular TV show. On more than one occasion. If you feel that your readers are going to be so lost by the plot that you have your characters frantically expositioning Buffy (and all hail the mighty Buffy, but this wasn't a book about slayers or, sadly, Spike) then it's time to re-think.... Saying that, I can't write creatively for toffee, so what do I know.
Pride and Prejudice
Ok, ok... I know that this is a classic and I love the story - I have watched TV adaptations and movies of it repeatedly and it never fails to get right inside my shrivelled up old heart. Yet I have tried to read the book repeatedly and just hate it. How many words can you possibly have in one sentence? I tell you, if you are Jane Austen then the answer is at least 623. And the inanity of so many of those sentences - God, those women chatter. No wonder Darcy's so bloody grumpy all the time. And the men? They just take their leave and sweep out of the room a lot. Can't say I blame them. For me, this is a story that needs to be seen, not read - and there are not many books (in fact, perhaps none other than this) that I can say that about. For the record, I love Jane Eyre, Northanger Abbey, Wuthering Heights and Rebecca so am not against classics in general. Just this one.
PC and Kristen Cast
I just bought this a couple of weeks ago. I fancied a new vampire story, the blurb looked good and the first couple of pages seemed fun so I picked it up and took it home. Big mistake. While the main character was generally well written, her constant asides and judgemental opinions not only seemed out of keeping with her smart persona, but stank of authors using their character to air their own personal views on the world. While some of the issues that they brought up are worthy of addressing (teen sex/drugs/alcohol), the way in which they did it was so snide and overly pious that I found myself getting angrier and angrier, especially as they were all voiced in rather laboured, try-hard "teenspeak". The point at which our heroine touts her "don't procreate with losers speech" saw me throw the book across the room. Another thing that really got me going was the endless pop culture references - in 2/5/10 years time is anyone going to care what Jessica Simpson's hair looks like, who Paris Hilton is or if Ashton Kutscher has a thing for older women (which begs the question, does anyone care now)? I don't think teenagers need to be patronised into liking novels - and I think that there are far more skilled ways in which to get them to relate to your character than sounding like Perez Hilton's nastier cousin.
So there we have it...Don't judge these books by my thoughts, however. Read them, comment on them and change my mind - nothing would make me happier as I am, in general, a lover of all good stories. And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I must away to a darkened room to lie down and wait for my rage to abate.
I take my leave.