“…and then I found out she’s native!”
That’s pretty much all my sudden rambling taken together after I stumbled on her books while searching a new experience.
We all have books we love and books we don’t, and I’ve read a lot of good reviews on her work, so I picked one up.
The importance of having style has never struck me so face to face as with her book. It was like learning experience, an example of all the things that all the writing guides discuss – how to keep the even style, how important it is to show not tell, how to create characters that go beyond paper sheet… All this I could actually look past, because, oddly, for a long time I thought she was a foreigner, not native English speaker and just happened on a friend, who did her translating. Yeaaaaah…
And then something hit me that I couldn’t overlook any more. Continuity. It was something I had problems too, when I started writing. But I didn’t think I’d come across it in a grown up book. I realized quite soon into the book that I could pass the missing info, as I was just in the start and all the other strange things that kept bugging my eye, but after about fourth example, where the actions of the characters were cut short, I realized how annoying that really is.
It was as if the character was in one moment standing on the edge of a room, then next to you without moving. Or he was on the door, banging it shot and next moment calling his mommy to tell about how angry he was (not telling her, but implying) to his (non)lover, when just a moment ago the guy had apologized and they had parted on fairly good grounds. The constant pounding in the heart as if I was sleeping on the book and missing parts when I was actually wide awake and absorbing was really, really bad.
It wasn’t just the action itself, it pretty much carried over on the characters too. In fact, after about quarter of the book I realized I wanted to read more about Kane than the main characters. Kane was the run-through character, who got his bedroom windows blown in. See? I remembered him, yet I couldn’t recall even if Chris was really a demon or not and had to go back in beginning to check that fact over, because HE GETS SCARED WATCHING ZOMBIE MOVIES!
The relationships of the characters unfortunately fell in the same category. Chris shows up in his own apartment with a random guy (implied, plays some bigger role in the other side of the book probably), and Hondo pretty much sees through the guy, yet the moment the random dude is out of the picture, they get all snugly (they are still angry at each other, I mind you, but hey, if one starts suddenly making cookies and ignoring the other, hey, the other guy instead of getting angry for being ignored, joins in and eats half the cookie dough! Oh, before they declare they’re all good and one starts, after a 100 year relationship of nothing (!!!!! :O ) making advances on a guy, who just ran over to watch a movie in the other room. Moment later there is a description how Hondo pulls Chris into his lap and they make out. And that’s where i pulled the line.
I can understand Chris taking up random act to avoid the topic. I can understand Hondo (although the inner monologue could be different) trying to take part in the action. But do you know any couple, where such “ignoring the obvious and making the other feel unwanted” actually sends them off to honey-dovey-snugly mood? I would have gladly seen the issue solved, the problem solved.
Oh, and what the original problem was? Hondo telling Chris to sit tight and hide and Cris ignoring the order. After which, instead of apologizing and understanding that Hondo actually meant good, he takes off to cry over why the guy isn’t noticing him. Instead of following the logical path, which would have been that he felt embarrassed for being yelled at in front of others by person he liked.
Bitchy about a book? No, worthy learning experience. The good news? Pick up something from the latest of her books. There is a curve for the better. Not for my taste , but I liked the topics. So if she continues, I’ll seek her out again in 10 years.