Monday, May 30, 2011

What Was Wrong With This Book?

When someone recommends a book, I like to read a review. I always start with the lower rated reviews and work up to the five starred ones.  It occurred to me that there is a common thread among books that don't quite make it. Below are some phrases changed to protect the innocent but the essence of the review is preserved.

Missing the mark on characters:

The main character has no time to develop a rapport with the reader, as she goes from stupid to amazingly capable in 10 pages.

The heroine is predictably beautiful with loads of sex appeal, and able to convince everyone to help her because of her appearance. Everyone else is  ugly, fanatical or both. Give me a break!

A  romance with a non-existent love story and uncharismatic characters told through stifling scenes does nothing  to help the formulaic and tedious plot.

Every secondary character is either extemely unlikeable or too stupid to live, whereas the heroine belongs to MENSA.

The villain is such a bumbling fool that it's hard to take him seriously, and the story suffers from mutiple instances such as this.

Lack of continuity and minimal character development make this a barely readable romance.
Other than a heavy dose of sex, the story has no real purpose.

Missing the mark with Setting
The setting is charming. Unfortunately, the author fails to give the same charm to the characters, and the head hopping is jarring.

If the author hadn't told the reader constantly where the story was taking place, it could have been in any city.

The author needed to do more research on the setting of her novel. If she had she would know that the area she wrote about has swamps and alligators, not open forrests and hilly meadows.
Waco, Texas is not on the border of Mexico.

The characters' flaws are all protrayed in brutal detail  so you can't help but be drawn into the story.

A nice little mystery with likeable characters.

Fast moving action and intriguing characters in a believeable setting.

The characters have distinctive voices with something worth saying.

There's not a dull moment in this book with it's wonderful characters and action packed scenes.

A hero with flaws that becomes someone to root for by the end of the book.

A superb plot that keeps you guessing until the last page.

A tight suspenseful novel that will keep you up late turning pages.

The author knows how to layer in the emotion of her characters.

What can you add to the list?


Caroline Clemmons said...

Wow, the first critiques were ones I hope nevr to see in regard to my work. I sympathize, though. I've stopped reading books because the author made too many errors. Also, I hate a heroine who is stupid. She doesn't have to be a MENSA member, just not stupid.

George said...

Good post with lots of solid reminders. Thank you. RE: Reviews. Para Publishing estimates most bookstore browsers spend twice as much time looking at the back cover as they do the front cover.

Ruby Johnson said...

Thanks George and Caroline for your comments. Reading amazon, B&N, Good Reads, RT reviews, and several online book blogs can give a good idea of where a book goes wrong if all of the reviews reflect similar errors.

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