If you read many many books, it is hugely likely you’ll start to notice patterns in your likes vs dislikes.
You also notice patterns on the carpet because you spend so much time down there WEEPING OUT YOUR HEART because either a book just punched you in the mouth or you just bought a gorgeous hardcover only to have it go on sale the next day and all you can think is, “WHY, UNIVERSE, WHY.”
There are definitely a lot of patterns to take note of when one is in the bookworm realm.
Since I review everything I read * I’ve noticed there are some things I keep coming back to when books don’t work for me. I’d like to say “THAT BOOK FAILED ME!!!” and break a plate dramatically while my hair blows in the wind. But, let’s be reasonable here. ** Just because I don’t like a book doesn’t mean necessarily that the book is bad! I just have expectations and standards and if a book doesn’t meet them = boom, my son. It is not for me.
So today *** I want to list 10 things that I continually complain about in books with small mewling cries. Because they just keep coming up! It’s not even my fault!
* This is partially to help me to try to remember what I just read because I SWEAR…I have no memory of anything anymore. Except for important things, like the month, week, and date I last devoured a scotch egg because somehow that’s important and my brain filed that information carefully.
** I KNOW. THAT IS AN ASTOUNDING IDEA ON MY BLOG, OF ALL PLACES.
*** Because Top Ten Tuesday is on HOLIDAYS, peoples, and I can’t even. It’s like being abandoned by your mother in a grocery store honestly. Come baaaaack, TTT, I love you. I can’t be expected to blog all by myself. I’m too young for this.
1. WHERE IS THE WORLD BUILDING, SON? DID YOU LOSE IT. CHECK UNDER THE TABLE AND SEE IF IT’S THERE.
I swear I try to be calm, but do you know what’s important in this life? CHEESECAKE YOGURT. Um…wait, well, okay that is true. But also: WORLDS THAT MAKE SENSE. And while our world doesn’t particularly make sense, * there are general principles and cultures that do. They have to. It’s called THE WORLD. And when I read a book that just doesn’t bother to develop this at all….it’s peeving.
How am I supposed to accept this fantasy world exists when there are no politics or culture or history?
I actually, unfortunately, find adult fantasy is waaaay better with world building than YA. And I feel like a heinous blueberry saying this, please forgive me.
Here are some snippets from my Goodreads reviews:
I don’t know, mate. DO WE SEE A PATTERN.
LOOK I LONG FOR WORLD BUILDING AND CULTURE LIKE I LONG FOR CHEESECAKE YOGURT. Which is a lot.
* What have you done, America.
2. BORING OR RIDICULOUS NAMES.
“Why are you so fussy, Cait?” you say skeptically as you tentatively try some cheesecake yogurt because I won’t shut up about it and either you eat it or murder me with a small shovel for being so annoying. “You can’t have it both ways.”
WELL WHY NOT.
As much as names get reused soooo much (like is everyone in the apocalypse called Eden? Are all contemporaries full of Chloes, Emmas, Sams, Jaxs, and Grace??) it’s equally a peeve of mine when the name is ridiculously out-of-context. If you were born in 1990s your name is MUCH more likely to be Jessica or Stephanie than it is to be KAI OR SUMMER OR ARLO as is happening in 2015. *
Look balance would just be nice.
And please don’t make me read another Grace. DON’T MAKE ME. I’M SO TIRED OF GRACE. **
And shout out to Of Fire and Stars that had names like Thandilimon, Zumordan, Dennaleia, and Amarathine.
That is…that is the opposite of what we need. Unless you want me giggling. Fantasy keyboard smashes = please don’t.
* And yes I am talking about Western names here. Obviously different countries would have different overused or underused or ridiculous names.
** FYI if your name is Grace, don’t cry. My middle name is Grace and I’m still over it.
3. THE MIDDLE WAS SLOWER THAN ME GETTING TO A SOCIAL OUTING.
Because if you time your arrival to a social outing about 3 minutes before everyone leaves — BOOM. You’re clever and you’re also me. I don’t want to see book middles be as slow as my social life.
When reviewing, I’m nearly ALWAYS saying “but the middle was booooooring” because apparently I have the attention span of a very—-
OH MY GOODNESS DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE TIME I TOOK OVER THE SUN IT’S A SUPER FUN STORY LET ME TELL YOU EVERYTHING.
4. HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE IN AMERICAN AND WHY.
See the problem is I am neither (a) American, or (b) never went to highschool or college. And yet I read a lot of USA literature. Actually what am I saying…this isn’t a problem. This is genius of me. But the second I open a YA contemporary and they start going on about school I just…nope.
The problem here is NOT that the books are about a culture I know 0% about…it’s that THEY DON’T EXPLAIN ANYTHING ABOUT IT. Because they assume everyone knows.
My vegemite and I are just over here, very confused.
Plus I don’t really care about what goes on at school??? Don’t we read to escape? Who is reading to escape to go to school??
5. UNLIKEABLE CHARACTERS ARE, SURPRISINGLY, VERY UNLIKEABLE.
There’s like this super fun idea amongst books, that if you have an unlikeable character with a redemption arc, readers will be so excited to see them become better people.
HAHA HAHA HAHAHA.
Dude, if you are a selfish jerky character who spends 70% of the book being a selfish jerk, I HAVE STOPPED CARING. I’m so sick of reading about unlikeable characters! And you can have characters with unlikeable faults (don’t most characters have aspects that are like dead marmalade toast?!), but the point is I have to root for them still.
Here is a math sum of how to write a good unlikeable character: mean person + rude to people + secretly super stressed because never gets to sleep because working jobs after school to feed small sister = HELLO, I FEEL FOR YOU.
Instead of just being a brat for no reason. UGH.
6. OH! HERE’S A RANDOM ROMANCE TO SMACK YOU IN THE FACE RIGHT OUT OF THE BLUE.
Because Jupiter forbid we could actually have a teenager who didn’t want a relationship right now. Or better yet: maybe a teenager who just never met a decent person they wanted to go out with. Like it happens?!?
I like reading romance. I do! Don’t even ask me to tell you about my ships because I have SEVERAL ARMADAS. *
But if I have to utter the words “unnecessary romance” in a review, you can literally see pieces of my soul turning blue and falling dead and cold on the ground.
* And some of them are ships with people in them too! And not just me lusting over the Black Pearl.
7. IS NO ONE HUNGRY AROUND HERE? DOES NO ONE EVER NEED A SNACK?
Look, all I’m saying is that books where they’re running all over the country side to wipe out an emperor or climb a mountain or sass someone half to death — YOU NEED TO EAT. I feel like every YA sci-fi I read, all they do is gnaw on a few ration bars and they’re good to go for the next 8 working days.
I appreciate foodie descriptions in books! Plus it’s a really great way to build culture, develop character quirks and personalities, and also make a bookworm hungry so they eat the tome they’re holding and therefore have to buy a new one and — BOOM. More sales.
Someone put me in marketing, I am a genius.
8. NOT ENOUGH DIALOGUE.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who may occasionally skim huge hunks of text to get back to the dialogue. Hmm? Please? HELP ME OUT HERE. I FEEL LIKE A CHILD.
9. EVERYTHING FEELS SO VERY SAFE.
I can generally tell when an author is going to scare me. There is just this feeling, you know?! It’s actually hard to explain!
For instance, going into a VE Schwab book? I’M SCARED. I AM ALWAYS SO SO SCARED. Other books I read and I’m like “the author won’t kill anyone” and I’m almost always right.
I WANT TO BE SCARED. I want to have no idea if everyone’s going to make it out the end!! It keeps me engaged with the book and feeling protective over the small cinnamon characters.
And I, too, always want books to be DARKER. But…this might be just my Slytherin side and I. But really. All books could be darker…
10. I DIDN’T CONNECT TO THE CHARACTERS BECAUSE I AM THE VULCAN QUEEN.
An unfortunate side effect of being the Vulcan queen is, well…it takes a really special book to make me connect to the characters. But most of the time, my #1 comment in reviews is “THIS WAS GREAT BUT I REALLY DIDN’T CARE ABOUT [INSERT NAME HERE] SO THAT’S A SHAME!” and then I go eat a planet because what else is there left for me in this cold world.
I am a lot less emotional than most and find it difficult to connect to people in books. And…um…in real life. Although if you want me to tear up, just please go watch the music video for Brother by Kodaline. I SWEAR. THAT WAS SO UNKIND TO MY EMOTIONS. I HAVE 9 TEARS IN MY EYES.
If a 3:24 minute music video can be more emotional than a 400-page novel…maybe it’s not just me?
However this really does come up in a LOT of my reviews. I connect less than a dot-to-dot colouring in book, I swear. It’s a little depressing. As much as I love books, my eternal plea is “MAKE ME CAAAAARE!!!” Please. Do. Sometime today, would be nice.