I ordered a Kindle eBook recently. By a big name modern author, mega-award winning. I was trying her out for the first time. Maybe I picked the wrong one. reading the first chapter was like drinking cold split pea soup — in the winter on a cold morning — for breakfast.
So I looked up reviews on Goodreads. One reviewer gave the book two stars (many gave it five) and she really made me think, not only about the book that I wasted $9.99 on but also about the experience of being disappointed by a book.
Have you had that feeling? You come off the high of a particular book or series. You are desperate to have that experience again, that Fantasy Experience that radically amazed you. (Yes, you can get similar feelings from other genres and from literary fiction, but this website is mostly about fantasy). And after that high you try book after book.
At best they're flat. At worst they make you want a refund. (Can you get refunds for an eBook?).
About this particular book by a big name author. I suspect it was either an experimental manuscript she had and she decided to get it published since she has the name and brand to do that — or it was her pet project, something she wrote that fit her tastes and was about her passion which only a small subset of readers will likely share.
The reviewer on Goodreads panned the book and a few of her sentences struck me as profound:
"I guess I just don’t enjoy being this confused for so long and receiving so little explanation for anything."
"I was kept in the dark for so long that my attention was waning."
"Trying to stay invested when I had no idea where it was going or what questions I needed to be asking was hard work."
So what is it I (or dare I say "we") want in a fantasy book (or a book of almost any genre)?
So, the whole experience made me think about books I've loved, just liked, been bored by, and hated. It's something worth thinking about and I'm sure you can come up with your own list of writers and titles, the elements that enchanted you and — occasionally — left you speechless.