Friday, December 17, 2010

The quest for new authors to read (venturing into TL; DR territory)

As a reading addict, I am always looking for new authors to read. This is because unlike that woman in Misery, I don't have my favourite authors in chains at my beck and call. Some authors aim for 2-5 books a year (Yay!) and others may produce 1-2 books a year, or even 1 book per year or more. Now, I understand that writing a book is a long process and requires input from a great number of people from copy editors to test audience sometimes, but I need my habit fed, damn it.

Kitty needs to read too.

To help me through the dry periods, I try new authors. I mostly read romance and all the associated sub-genres, but I have branched into fantasy and plain old fantasy whether romance is an element or not. I stopped reading thrillers and mystery in my late teens; I don't like reading the monstrous things humans perpetrate on one another. But I don't mind if the flesh tearing is done by a monster monster, if you know what I mean.

Sometimes I get lucky in my journey to find new authors to read; this was how I discovered Elizabeth Vaughan, Simon R Greene, Patricia Briggs, Mark Del Franco and Carrie Vaughn. These authors not only crafted worlds that are wondrous and immersing, but peopled with characters that you can love and hate and enjoy their triumphs and defeats. I am a character-driven reader; if I enjoy the character, I would slog through the book (even if it is painfully written) to the very end. Plot? What plot? If I were finicky about plots, I wouldn't be reading Sherrilyn Kenyon, fabulous as her 'verses are. I read her for the tormented and snarky Zarek, I look forward to hearing more from the adorably demented Simi and sex-on-legs Acheron and of course, for her kick-ass heroines like Tabitha and Bride.

I have been reading Jenna Black's The Devil Inside. The premise sounded interesting: kick ass exorcist possessed by what she hated most and having to deal with the aftermath. However, I do not enjoy Morgan Kingsley; I find her judgmental-ness off-putting. Now you may say that it could be part of her journey since The Devil Inside is the first book of the series and I should give her a chance to develop. After all, I gave Rachel Morgan (protagonist of Kim Harrison's The Hollow series) a chance although she was whiny and stupidly impetuous in the first book and now I've devoured everything Kim Harrison. But somehow I cannot like the way she made snide comments about another character's lifestyle choices. Frankly, if BDSM gay sex floats your boat, so what? If you find it gross or whatever, why on earth do you need to tell that person that he/she is gross/demented/sick/whatever?


If it is a mutual pursuit between two (or even more) consenting adult, what is it to you? And for her to suddenly feel ashamed at her own voyeuristic pleasure at watching two men having sex, WTF is that? If she felt that way because she is religious and thinks that homosexuality is a sin, I get it. But she isn't. And there was a (pseudo?) rape scene at the end of the book that was just plain nasty. I get that it is to move the plot along, but it wasn't done very well or perhaps I just didn't like the way it was executed. Yes, mileage may vary but I still loathe it.

Phew. I have not ranted about a book so much since I finished reading Pullman's His Dark Materials. That was the only book I have ever read that I threw against the wall, I was that angry.

Reading a book that inaugurate a series can be like watching the pilot of a new show. If you hate it, you won't bother watching the rest even if it got better (Vampire Diaries, anyone?). I have been spoiled by Simon R Green, Elizabeth Vaughan, and Patricia Briggs who write books that just made me pick up and run. And then chase all the subsequent books in the series. Then of course there is the issue when the show (or book series) had jumped the shark.  I still read Laurell K Hamilton's books even after many had claimed that she had moved into fan fiction territory (too much smut, too little plot). A lot of PWP, but I like the characters enough that I can live with the PWP (although I can name more than a dozen fan fiction writers who do EXCELLENT smut that is both hot and touching).

Seriously, trying out new authors can really be a gamble. But happily, when you win, you can really win big.


Anonymous said...

I actually enjoyed Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series...up until book 4 or 5. Then it became less detective solving supernatural crimes in a world where the undead is a recognised citizen but more of female P.I. gets to hump vampire boyfriend and then sleeps with werewolf boyfriend.

Yes, I'm bitter.

Snuze said...

I know what you mean. It was awesome when she stuck to the detecting and navigating the treacherous supernatural community and balancing it with the law and her life. But the sex became too integral to the plot that near everything else falls apart.

And then it's just icky. Like really badly written fanfic.