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Over on the Whatever, John Scalzi is being very much, well, John Scalzi. While I was reading this entry, I said to my husband, hey! I want to do this!

And, before something like sanity, or at least dignity, could take hold, Mr. Scalzi closed his post with: A challenge to other authors with blogs, LiveJournals and etc: Post your one-star (or otherwise negative) Amazon reviews, if you have them, and you probably do. Oh, go on. Own your one-star reviews, man. And then, you know. Get past them. If you're lucky, some of them might actually be fun to read.

My husband Thomas said: People will feel they should praise your work to compensate for the negativity of those reviews. Which is sort of beside the point of the exercise, and if you do this, you will make me feel very, very, very guilty.

For the record: I don't really care about the one star reviews. If they have a point, I generally wince and take a mental note not to mess up so badly the next time. If they have no point, I think they're kind of funny. The West bad reviews are less inherently funny because I often can't tell if they have a point or not (but when I am having this dilemma, I remember the Starlog review for Broken Crown, in which the reviewer very perceptively noted that you will either love the book for the level of detail and cultural tapestry, or you will loathe it for the same reason. Which reminded me that in some cases, what people hate is the book I did try to write, as opposed to the obvious failure of the attempt to write the book I tried to write. If that makes sense.)


Broken Crown
Boring and difficult to follow
Ms. West/Sagura writes well and her sentences are well-constructed, but she skips all over the place without explanations for the reader so it is impossible to follow the story. She focuses on one character for a few pages, then abruptly switches to another leaving the reader without a protagonist. There is no cohesion or logic to the changes and after awhile, I just gave up trying to piece it together. If you want to read a long, absorbing story with a cast of hundreds, try the George R. R. Martin series "A Song of Ice and Fire". The first book of that series is "A Game of Thrones"


Hunter's Oath

I was unable to reach any rapport with the characters except possibly for Evayne, and her role mostly raises questions. All of the other characters are two-dimensional and indecipherable.
I do not recommend this book unless you want to fail to enjoy empathy with under-developed characters in a circular plot that goes nowhere and ends in a cliffhanger.


Uncrowned King(this was actually a 2 star review, but, ummm, I couldn't resist this one line)
these books were recommened by a friend (dont know if i should call him a friend anymore after trying to read through these books).

Cast In Shadow
"I honestly don't know how this book earned so many 4-5 star reviews. When I bought it I actually hoped for a "Linda K Hamilton-esque" type of book - I mean sort of a junk food for the brain type of fantasy...But I can't even finish this book. I confess I am on page 113 and I can go no further.I just wonder - who edits this krap and decides to print it? Just awful.
To describe - it's like if you mixed a bad Sci-Fi channel movie with a bad Lifetime channel movie and then fill with charecters from your junior high school."


"Very intriguing plot line, but very badly delivered. If I had a dollar for every time the word "Hawk" was used, I'd be able to pay off my new car! Geez, I understand the character was a member of the Hawks, I don't need to read "I'm a Hawk" on every other page! Whomever edited this book should be fired. This reads like a first draft dictated to a typing program. It's really sad because the story idea is very good, but its buried under so much unnecessary stuff. Save your money and treat yourself to something better."


I think possibly my favourite was the reference to "Linda K Hamilton-esque", but that is a momentary mean streak. Well, and krap, for the same reason.

But overall? These don't bother me.

I've said elsewhere, and I might as well say it here again: Reading and responding to what you've read is one of life's pleasures; sometimes little, sometimes great. When you read a book that you loved beyond all reason, you want to tell everyone about it because you want to share that experience. Venting spleen when you have wasted two hours of your life, and some brain cells, on a book that you have thrown against the wall at least twice is also one of life's pleasures. Or, well. You get the general idea.

I feel free to do this, as a reader. I want to continue to feel free to do this, as a reader. Therefore, since I want to benefit from the ability to do this as a reader, I can't take umbrage as a writer. Also: I like reading book reviews. I like reading blogs in which people post reviews. One LJ, in which I lurked completely invisibly, got friends-locked because an author took offense at a review of her work, many months after it had been posted, and in a completely stupid, pointless, ad hominem, vaguely threatening way. I can no longer read those reviews because the author did this, and it makes me grumpy. And I lurked invisibly because the LJ owner had, in fact, posted a negative review of Cast in Shadow, and I didn't want to be an obvious presence because I didn't want her to feel that she couldn't, you know, say whatever she wanted about my books.

Most people are polite and considerate, and if they know the author is reading, they will either say nothing at all if they didn't like the book, or take ten hours trying to say they didn't like it in the most tactful way possible, and I don't want them to feel that pressure.

But, I suppose in the interests of full disclosure, the reviews that often bother me are the three star reviews, because those ones are usually a sign to me that I have somehow planted a prose foot wrong, and I've missed my audience. It's those reviews that I steer clear of, unless I'm feeling manic, because it's those reviews that make me wonder if I shouldn't have gone into plumbing. It's those reviews that make me feel that I've failed the book, or the reader.

And yes, if in the next two weeks, there's a whole spate of Brand New Three Star Amazon reviews, I'm going to wonder about the sense of humour of some of my LJ readers. Just saying.

Comments

falcongirl
Apr. 25th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
""Linda K Hamilton-esque" type of book"

Linda K Hamilton - Laurell K. Hamilton's heretofore unknown twin sister, who's apparently capable of writing something people want to read..

/snark from someone who thinks the best erotica is the kind alluded to but not written.
kattsune
Apr. 25th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
I've thought about using her books for a drinking game. Pick a page. If it's describing a sex scene, take a drink.

Bonus!: Promises to be even more entertaining as the night goes on and the readings become more and more drunkenly dramatic.

Downfall: Short night ends in alcohol poisoning for all.
falcongirl
Apr. 25th, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Designate amount/type of drink based on which act is being written about, perhaps? Or whether it's human/vampire, vampire/vampire, human/werewolf, vampire/werewolf, werewolf/werewolf? Heck, you could even make it 'take the drink named for the act being described'.

Bonus: Alcohol will help numb the pain of wading through the purple prose

Downfall: Not only will your liver hate you, so will your pancreas, from all the sugar in the mixers..
kattsune
Apr. 25th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
I'm not well-versed in mixed drinks (I tend to do shots), so I'm not sure that there *are* drinks for some of those acts. I mean, we all know Sex on the Beach, and I guess you could drink a Fuzzy Navel for the hot werewolf action, but is there a Whoops, I Didn't Mean to Do That, a There Goes Another Pair of Extraordinarily Naughty Panties, or Supernatural Dick Tripping (tripped and fell on another one, how did that happen)? I'm such a novice.

Bonus: Learning new and interesting drinks, as well as creating fun and bitter names for new ones!

Downfall: Clever retorts fall sharply after sixth glass.

A betrayed fan is the snarkiest fan of all.
motteditor
Apr. 25th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
I think you've convinced me to check out this woman's novels. I'm suddenly intrigued.
kattsune
Apr. 28th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
Before you go looking for pornish hilarity, you might need some background. The first few books of the Anita Blake series were a fun read and had very little of the mad bonking common in her later books. I don't remember when they started to go downhill, but if you want the full effect of the downward slide, start from book 1 and watch the train wreck go. Or if you just want the same thing on fast forward, read her Meredith Gentry series.
technomom
Apr. 28th, 2008 06:31 am (UTC)
With the earlier books, you could easily make a drinking game of taking a shot every time Anita goes on an angst binge about the sex.
kattsune
Apr. 28th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Or down your glass every time she describes (in great detail) which weapons she's packing, using which ammo, and how much damage they can do. I don't think it would be so bad if they were described in conversation, but it's narrated at great length and unnecessary detail whenever it comes up.

Hey, maybe we're on to something here.
technomom
Apr. 28th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Another trigger could be every time Micah's eyes or Nathaniel's hair or mentioned. Or every description of what someone is wearing, in exhaustive detail. That one works for the Merry Gentry books, too!
kattsune
Apr. 28th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I like detail, but I think when it's not really furthering the story, a little less fashion-reporting wouldn't hurt anybody.

The vamp looks great in a tailored suit, I get it. His cravat really brings out his eyes... Now unless the fact that his suit is a double-breasted designer original charcoal grey silk blend with slight touches reminiscent of the Victorian era is going to somehow save Anita from the clutches of the evil So-and-So... I don't really care.