Every week or so on Bibliodaze, we’ll be throwing a question out to our contributors for them to answer. That question can be from you or it can be one the editors have pulled from their jumbled minds. If you’d like to ask us a question, just leave us a comment or ask us on Twitter. Ask us anything! Within reason, of course. Don’t be creepy.
Name a book you hate by an author you love.
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate. This was their first collaborative work since the end of Everworld, but it was far below their usual quality standard. Granted, Animorphs wasn’t a work of art, and it had its fair share of cheese, but the characters were sympathetic and complex. Eve and Adam were walking clichés, and not even fun ones.
The Rose Throne by Mette Ivie Harrison. It’s been a few years since I read her Princess and the Hound series, but I remember it being a lot better than her recent offerings. I don’t know what happened but her prose has become lifeless, unemotional, and her plots are aimless and wandering. It’s such a shame.
Elizabeth George is one of my favourite crime-writers but I loathed What Came Before He Shot Her. It’s not a real Inspector Lynley-novel anyway. Instead we get the backstory of the boy who shoot Lynley’s wife…or we think we are because at the end it turns out that he didn’t even do it but an older friend of his, which makes the book even more pointless. I still could have lived with that but the book is just so over the top when it comes to the horrible things that happen to the protagonist and his family. Every single member of this family has enough tragedy happening to them to fill at least three books but it’s all squashed together in one. Neither the characters nor the reader had any time to breathe and relax because things just kept getting worse and worse and it would have been almost funny – if the author hadn’t been dead serious about everything so it just ended up being really painful.
When I was 15 or 16, I picked up Jeffrey Eugenides’s Pulitzer Prize winner Middlesex and immediately fell in love. Soon after, I read The Virgin Suicides and bought the film, both of which featured prominently in the adolescences of my sister and I (It’s one of the few books we’ve read together and, for lack of a better term, fangirled over). Since Eugenides only releases a book every nine years or so, I waited for The Marriage Plot with baited breath, and even rushed out to get the satisfyingly chunky hardback copy.
I guess saying I hated it is something of an exaggeration, but my disappointment was kind of crushing, made more so by the fact that I genuinely liked the first quarter of the novel and there’s much to admire. It’s an undoubtedly intelligent read, one meticulously constructed, but as the novel progressed I just found myself caring less and less. It wasn’t the characters – they’re unlikeable and proudly so, which is the point, and I genuinely like books about awful people – but the plodding repetition of another tale about how self-obsessed the 80s were. Tom Wolfe covered this area extensively, and I found myself thinking more and more about his terrible college set effort I Am Charlotte Simmons. That’s not good. The Marriage Plot felt more like an academic exercise than anything else, and while those stories have their place in the fiction canon, I couldn’t help but be disappointed that this was what followed Middlesex. It didn’t help that the central heroine was flatly written. How could the author who brought the Lisbon sisters to life with such vivacity fail so hard here? Whatever the case, I’m distinctly less excited for his 4th book, which should come out by the time I’m 30.
An Australian summer without air-conditioning is awful. Could be my Celtic blood not coping in a sunburnt country, but hot weather puts me in a bad mood, so this January I decided to go for comfort reads. (If I tried something new, I’d probably be a bit harsh toward it.) I turned to V. C. Andrews (published in the UK as Virginia Andrews), and chose the books that I hadn’t read before…and it turns out there was a lot of them.
Because I was high on nostalgia, I made allowances for characterisations and plotlines that in any other fiction I’d blow a gasket. Most of these January reads were 3 stars, but the quality varied from 4 stars (Secrets in the Attic) to 2 stars.
Which brings us to Forbidden Sister. It includes virgin shaming, slut shaming, fat shaming, French shaming, escort shaming, sister-of-escort shaming, non-military shaming, orphan shaming, and those are just off the top of my head – there’s probably more. So many unlikable characters, stereotyping, and generalising.