Saturday, June 13, 2009

What was that?

I just finished a reasonably good book with one chief complaint about the text.

I felt like I got slapped in the face by the author.

I'd been reading the book for a bit, everything was moseying along well, and then all of a sudden at the end of a chapter everything changed! The main character was suddenly a vampire, and so were all but about five other characters. Say what? Now I don't mind a shocking reveal, but I do think that the author should drop hints along the way.

In the second half of the book, the MC talks about her morning cup of blood and that her parents don't eat dinner but drink it instead. Neither of those things were even nodded at previously in the text. All that was said was something to the effect of "Oh, and I ate dinner with my parents every Sunday." What part of that hinted at vampires eating sanguine substances? I don't think the word blood even made it into the first half of the book.

That's not okay. I'm sure there are other people who didn't mind it at all, but I cannot swallow that it is acceptable to just all of a sudden, out of nowhere toss something into the book as though the reader should have known it's coming. That's simply not fair to the reader.

Another blogger, Tara Maya, once said that every writer should begin as they mean to go, and I think that that is very true. I don't mean that the author needed to be upfront about everything the whole time -- I like a good twist as much as anyone -- but I do think that there should have been some clues, some chance for me, as the reader, to think 'Oh, wow, that other stuff totally makes sense now.' I prefer the sense of something being hinted at to the idea that something just got chucked at me out of the blue.

Has anyone else been blind-sided lately? Am I alone in this view?

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