Books | Words, Life | Rants
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Things that ruin books…

I love books and always have. I’m that person who would rather stay in and read, than go out and party (a book is like a party in your mind right?). But, I tend to find that no matter how great a book is. No matter how good the world-building, or how strong the characters, or how intriguing the plot…there are some things that leave me feeling cheated. Surely, I can’t be the only one who gets unnecessarily infuriated by the following:

The “It was just a dream” ending…
This is something that has irked me since I was a kid. You know how it goes. The plot drew you. You were left laughing, and crying, and scratching your head wondering how the main character was ever going to get out of whatever sticky situation they were in because every possible outcome you could imagine was completely illogical…then you get to the end and it was all just a dream. Like, what? I am lose use of properly English to explain how much I hate this.

The kind of ending that goes like this…
This is it. I can’t defeat the ultra-evil bad guy because he is too powerful…and I’m going to die because he’s locked me in chains in a dungeon in his castle which by the way…has just caught fire. Since no one knows I’m here and there’s absolutely no way out I guess the bad guys have won…But wait…I completely forgot! If I whistle…this magical fairy-wish-granter I’m friends with (but have conveniently forgotten to mention even once in the previous 700 pages) will come to my rescue, because of unclear reasons. *whistles*. Yay! I’m safely back home with all my friends who I thought had died, betrayed or abandoned me along the way, the bad guy and his minions have somehow been defeated and all is right with the world….
…to that I say Boo.

The questionable plot problems/plot holes…
I don’t even need to explain this…
…But of course I’m going to.
You cannot reach Event C without going through Events A and B.  But the person who succeeds in saving the world has made it to Event C and beyond…just…like…that. They weren’t The Chosen One. They had no exceptional abilities, acquired zero skills, potions or assistance which allowed them to get to Event C – in fact they were asleep throughout most of the story. And yet, without going through the trials and tribulations of Events A and B, they have managed to get to Event C. They saved the world…and resolved every problem for everyone involved. Somehow. Just Because. And I’m just not s’posed to notice?! *Shakes head sadly*

The ultra-predictable plot…
Some kids messing around in an attic have just found a mysterious book full of old timey symbols and demonic drawings. It has a note etched in blood which reads: “do not read aloud from this tome or you will awaken an evil spirit which will possess then kill you…and then destroy the world”. So of course, they immediately…put it back where they found it and alert an adult or other authority figure, right?

The spoil everything for you friend:
We all have one. Weather it’s books or movies (or other) it doesn’t matter. They’ll walk in, innocently ask you what you’re reading and lull you into a false sense of security. You’ll just be thinking ‘hey I get to talk about books with a friend. Good times’. But there’s evil brewing underneath that innocent demeanour. Suddenly, just out of nowhere you’ll hear ‘oh hey…did you get to the bit where Sarah dies yet?’, or ‘can you believe Justin was the murderer!’ Just casually. Like it’s no biggie. Like they haven’t ruined your life. Ok, ‘ruined your life’ is probably a touch dramatic. But it is perfectly acceptable to throw your book at that friend (as long as you’re careful not to damage the pages of your book!).

The Terrible Film Adaptation…
And the ex friend friend who spoiled the book for you also thinks the film was better. Or worse. They have no plans to read the book because they are sure the film is an accurate imagining of the book. (You still speak, but the dynamic between you has changed. It’s just…changed.).

The lack of continuity…
Either with settings, with magical abilities…or when Jacob becomes Joseph for three pages…and ends up walking through the streets of London while talking to his companion about how he never wants to set foot outside of his hometown of New York. *Sigh*.

The mediocre story stretched out over three books…
You finish reading the trilogy with a 1000 pages per book – because you’ll be damned if you let the book beat you – and you think to yourself…that story would have been better if it were half a haiku.

The moment you finish reading a book and you’re still not sure what the plot is…
Did the plot ever exist?
Are YOU the plot?
What’s happening?

The Names you can’t pronounce…
Because they look like this on the page Lr2’K’d’-17-SavNNN. Or even Jhhhhbbhrrrooonnn. And you find out later it’s pronounced like ‘Katie’. If it’s pronounced like ‘Katie’, then ‘Katie’ is what needs to be written.

The author who obviously didn’t bother with research…
Life is hard where I live in Victorian England.  But according to friends who messaged me on WhatsApp and Facebook, Beyoncé has just announced…

I mean…even if there are inconsistencies, and inaccurate information, most people will happily gloss over these if the plot is good enough and the inaccuracy really is a teeny, teeny, tiny blip in an otherwise soundly researched story. But if your story is set in the Victorian era, and you’re telling me your main character loves listening to Beyoncé on their iPhone while Snapchatting with their friends about the dinosaurs they dodged…well…there’s something not quite right there is there? (Although I’m very curious to see how that story would end. And begin. And Middle).

So, there it is. I…don’t think I’m being overly finicky about my book/author expectations. I just don’t like feeling cheated with badly-timed dream sequences and poorly researched history. Who can honestly say these things don’t bother them? Liars. That’s who.

Bonus (but you can stop reading here):

This month I read:

  • The Melancholy of Mechagirl (Catherynne M. Valente)
  • A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole)
  • Ready Player One (Ernest Cline)
  • Anna Dressed in Blood (Kendare Blake)

And as always, book recommendations are welcome!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 10 more things that ruin a good book… |

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