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After what seems like some time, I've finally bought some new books. My last buying spree, that what it was, was last year when Border's was hemraging books for sale, and while I haven't made it through all those yet, I figured it was time for some new blood, er, ink.

I got:

~The Serpent Sea~ by Martha Wells

~Ganymede~ by Cherie Priest

and gave into mass media hype and bought ~The Hunger Games Trilogy~ as to be ready for the new movie (should I go see it).

The first two I've wanted to get, have read the previous entries in both series (The Cloud Roads and Boneshaker/Dreadnough respectively) and was excited to see both on the shelves when I was in a purchasing mood. The Hunger Games... I'll be honest, I'm not sure how I feel. The movie looks to be interesting, one of the good things about massively popular books-turned-movie is that good attention is given to what is produced (which is why Eragon's movie sucked so much HEY-OO). But is it just me or does the world seem too... I dunno clean? I get dystopia's aren't wandering mobs and such, but, I guess I expected more, sorta, less shiny? Did that make sense?

And I don't care how much I may turn out to like the books and such, I still think Mockingjay sounds stupid said out loud.

However, one of the big motivators for new books was the current one I'm reading trying to read. The Horns of Ruin by Tim Akers. It's...

It wants.

I had hoped to save this for an actual book review later (of which I plan on doing for the aforementioned already read series mentioned above), but I'm seven days gone and only one chapter in, and I'm just about giving up. Trying to press though this thing gives me a logic headache, and I just can't give enough a crap to try to make it make sense.

When I say "it wants" what I mean is it "wants you to take it super-serious". It "wants you to be sucked in". It "wants you to be impressed by how super-noir it wants to seem instead of WRITING SOMETHING THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME DOUBLE BACK TO REREAD THE SAME GODDAMN SENTENCE TO MAKE SENSE OF THE LAST FIVE".

*takes a breath*

Sorry, it's just... within the first paragraph, you get how uber-into the noir-speech Akers is; or at least is trying to convey. Short clipped sentences. Darkly described imagery. Fucktons of Proper Nouns of Specialness.

This book does what I consider a literary crime, which is it doesn't make me ask anything important like "what happens next" or "why does that happen". Instead, it makes me put the book down and concentrate on toilet time. Toilet time is the most sacred of uninterrupted reading places, and I'd rather think about that rather than actually read.

First, it's asking a lot to of the reader to give a crap (sorry, no pun intended) to care about the Scion of Morgon. We have no history with this concept, or whoever Morgon is/was, so it's like asking African natives to give two tugs about Christ; there's no concept of who this person telling you about this other person is, so why should there be any caring? (The Jesus reference isn't far off, Morgon is some sort of dead-god thing that's talked about constantly but given little to grasp on to).

Second, it's really trying to give you it's all in regards to the steampunk genre. Really, really trying. There are descriptions of things that, while "totally cool", are just, when you think it though, are just kinda stupid. Like the sword sheath idea; it's not just a leather or metal sheath to house a sword (the sword itself, if anything like the cover, is off itself), it instead imagines a weired spider, claw, grasping-idea that, again, sounds cool but when you actually imagine it, comes across as too much Rule of Cool and not enough, "but why?" Remember the scene in Spider-Man 2 when Doc Ock's spinal arms attach to his spine? How the indiviual segments closed around or along the spinal column? It's that, to a sword, and every time you remove or resheath it. Seems a little overdone, don't it?

Like a lot of such books, it tries to claim the ever-ellusive, if even existing, title of "quentessential steampunk title". Which turns out to be exactly what people who don't like steampunk describe it as; all glit and form and little actual function. Aesthetic over purpose. And that in turn leads us into-

Third, and most major, it's narrative voice is way overdone. Think of the most stereotypical hardboiled detective narrator you can being even more stereotypical, and you got the voice Ruin. Short sentences. Aggitated voice, like the book is annoyed at having to tell you anything. This overimpending sense of darkness, where there really shouldn't be one yet.
And finally, bad editoral sense. A page or two after getting two characters walking and talking, suddenly there's a scene break and four thick paragraphs describing the city and a bit of the history. Just, the fuck outta nowhere, dropped on your head. And it has no, NO bearing on anything it follows or preceeds. That's what really got me, that single section right there. It breaks narrative flow for information that does us no good.

Worse, it contradicts itself, in the same chunk-blown paragraph. I had to reread the same part five times before I just tossed my hands up and moved on; it's all I could do, otherwise I'd still be there trying to figure it out. It was someone asking me to find the beginning of a Mobius strip made of frying bacon still in the pan behind my back. I can only take so much.

Add on some weird uses of the same word ("I do not think it means what you think it means), even more Proper Goddamn Nouns, and I swear a character with sentence-by-sentence mood whiplash, I just can't continue with this right now. I have The Serpent Sea, which is the sequel to a well imagined fantasical world (I can't really call it a "fantasy" world, it's too beastial for that) and the ever-talked about Hunger Games (weird how it doesn't feel wrong to not italize that, isn't it?) so I'm not lacking of words.

And I'm finally getting a writing flow back again, so let's see where this ship sails.

And finally;

ravenswept: (Everything Happens)

Tricked by Alex Robinson

Back Blurb:

    "TRICKED follows the lives of six people - a reclusive rock legend, a heartbroken waitress, a counterfeiter, an obsessive crank, a lost daughter, and a frustrated lover - whose lives are unconnected until an act of violence brings them spiraling in on each other."

That entire blurb is just one sentence. A very concise sentence (rather apt for the tight storytelling) mind you, one that almost gets it all correct, but I guess they wanted to save space for the six review quotes they had as well. Given the chance, a better blurb might read:

TRICKED, Alex Robinson's sophomore work after his breakout hit BOX OFFICE POISON, is a slice-of-life tale of interconnectedness. The lives of six random people - a burnt out rock star, a counterfeiter, a daughter looking for her father, an obsessive-paranoid off his meds, a waitress who keeps making bad decisions, and an office temp in the right place at the right time - are slowly intertwined until the final pivotal moment they are all brought together. Filled with love, discovery, and people you see on the streets everyday, TRICKED continues Robinson's knack for producing real people behaving as real people and letting everything else fall into place. )


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January 2013

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