Disappointing Reads

Disappointing Reads

Postby Nikkinoodles » August 21st, 2012, 5:34 pm

Have you ever read a book that has a brilliant premise and could be written really well but when you actually sit down to read it you just find it really disappoints you?? And it's so disappointing that you just wonder why it was even published in the first place and you know you could have written it better.

I had that the other day with E D Wood's The Repentant Sorcerer.
The idea is a good one; a woman who works at a hotel in the remains of a castle finds two suits of armour that house the trapped spirits of two warring knights. She has to fight to free them from the curse put on them by a sorcerer who now regrets it but can't undo it himself.

The actual book itself is downright disappointing. The knights don't show up until halfway through, after a lengthy dream sequence in which the heroine finds herself transported to the middle ages as a young girl and manages to prevent an old woman accused of witchcraft from being burned at the stake. She uses an instant camera to convince the Lord of the Castle to see the error of his ways and become a better person when in reality she would have been beaten for speaking out, so rudely especially, and accused of witchcraft herself because of the camera. The whole challenge of freeing the knights takes about 15 pages (of kindle pages so they're even shorter) and then it's just one thing after another of her life getting better and better all because the sorceror decided to reward her; she gets a new house, her job is improved (it was also manipulated so she would get the job in the first place) she finds a boyfriend and marries him and ends up with two kids in a happily ever after situation. She also has this new parental relationship with the sorceror and his wife (who isn't even mentioned until after the whole fiasco's cleared up) despite the fact that her parents are both very much alive and loving to her and the sorceror's wife appears out of nowhere everytime and just orders her around. And yet she still loves and adores these two people, even getting all weepy about them passing on to Limbo, despite the fact she never really knew them.

It also seems that the book was poorly researched as a whole, possibly not researched at all. Particularly on the topics of the punishment of Witchcraft in Medieval Britain. The old woman is not given a trial before she ordered to be executed. Two girls simply point a finger, call her a witch and -BAM- she's sentenced to being burnt at the stake. In reality she probably would have had to endure a series of tests to pass/fail before the verdict could be given and then it was more likely that she would be hanged/hung rather than burnt at the stake as this is Medival Britain and witch-burning didn't really come into practice until the 15th, 16th or 17th century.

It annoys me that a large portion of my country's history and culture was mashed into one big globule and the story just seemed so poorly written and at times very rushed, as though the author started to write this potentially amazing book but got bored and just hammered it out quickly. OK, rant over.

tl:dr - I read a crappy book that seemed good when reading the blurby type thing. Has anyone else read a crappy book and wants to rant about the sheer amounts of dissappoint?
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Vitotamito » August 21st, 2012, 5:54 pm

It was called, "Digger."

It was about a Vietnam Vet who dug tunnels under this town and then fought against a corrupt corporation using the tunnels as his ally.

It turned out to be really shitty.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby xkrazydog » August 21st, 2012, 6:05 pm

Catcher in the Rye. Everyone loved it told me how amazing it was. and when i read it i flung the book at the wall.
I was also disappointed in every harry potter book after the fifth one.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Falconer » August 21st, 2012, 6:09 pm

The last book I read was a little disappointed, but nothing I'd really rant about. It was steampunk Sherlock Holmes with magic! How do you mess that up?! Oh yeah, by not explaining a lot of the world you've created so it only makes sense to the characters because you have no idea what they're talking about. :| I liked the characters though and by the end I sort of had it figured out, so it was readable...just not as awesome as I was hoping it would be.

What's disconcerting is my habit of feeling obligated to finish series when I start them, even if it is very clearly going down hill. But I was finally broken of that habit after reading the horror that was The Kaisha'ra series - and thank god for that or I would have had to finish the Twilight series and we all know how terrible that would have been. I can think of many series that ended in disappointment, but none hold a candle to this series. It's been many years since I read it, but I remember the gist of that disappointment well.

And, you know, since you asked...LET ME ENLIGHTEN YOU ON HOW ALL WENT SO VERY, VERY WRONG.

Spoiler! :
So I only read the first book on recommendation from my friends. These are the same people who recommended I read Twilight, so already we know this isn't going to go well.

The first book was okay. It was a bit cliche and I didn't get why she suddenly went from hating the guy to loving him in the last ten pages, but I was willing to roll with it. It was passable. Now, I had assumed my friends had read the rest of the books...but it turned out they had not. So here is where I (foolishly) continued on without them.

I read book two. And guess what? I loved it! Book 2 was fantastic! I adored two of the side characters (still not a fan of the 2 main peeps from previous), was thrilled when they got together, the falcons were awesome (HA you know me and falcons)...ohhh I enjoyed it! I thought, "ah-ha, the author is getting better! Things are getting interesting! I can't wait to see where this goes!"

So then I get book 3. This one was narrated in the child of my two fav characters from the previous book, so I was like, "SUH-WEET. What could go wrong??"

And, oh, how wrong it went.

First of all, their kid is apparently an asshole. For no reason. He hates his parents (my fav characters!!) and thinks they're the worst parents ever, which is weird to me because they were SUPER NICE PEOPLE so I don't know what happened between 2 and 3 that would make them douche parents. Except, oh wait, nothing did happen and even in the few scenes with his parents I can still see them just trying to be good parents which just further makes the kid seem more like a jerk. He runs away because of this stupidity, shit happens, and eventually he comes home. With a mentally insane/unstable lady he found because I guess that's just the thing to do. The entire time I hated their son and was wondering what the hell went wrong when he was born. I continued on, hoping this was a fluke.

Book 4...this was in the POV of the child of the primary characters from the first two books. Should have been interesting. The girl is in a very sticky political situation - everyone wants to know which race she's going to marry, and neither will be happy if she chooses the other (she's of both). Then she gets kidnapped! So with the help of a wolf girl (this is a world of shapeshifters btw), she's on her way home. Along the way these dudes try to seduce her, and she refuses all of them. Which totally made sense to me because, hey, this was like rape SO OF COURSE SHE WOULD NOT BE INTERESTED. I normally don't give a damn about a character's sexuality, but things got weird when her rejecting their advances made all the men suggest she was gay.

I was like, "Dudes, YOU JUST MET HER AND SHE'S ALREADY BEEN KIDNAPPED. I think it makes TOTAL sense she doesn't want to sleep with you. That doesn't make her lesbian."

But apparently this was me horribly misunderstanding what the author was trying to say - which is that, yes, in fact, of course you are a lesbian.

So when she finally gets home, she has an epiphany. The best of them all, in fact. She realizes that her entire kidnapping...was brought upon by herself. SHE PLANNED HER OWN KIDNAPPING - AND FORGOT. For the entire book. And then, to solve the kingdom's frustration over who she will marry, she decides the solution is to elope with her lesbian wolf lover. So they do. And I was like, "what." I swear to god, other than the men who kept saying they thought she was gay, I HAD NO IDEA.

AND IT WAS WRITTEN IN FIRST PERSON.

How does that happen?!

The 5th and final book - BECAUSE FOR SOME REASON I SOLDIERED ON STILL AT THIS POINT - was from the POV of the crazy girl from book 3. Because apparently the books already don't make any sense, so what the hell, who will notice the difference?

Not me. I know I read it, but I really can't recall a single thing from it. Did they solve the series' problem?? I assume so, but I really can't recall. It's all a blur.


Now don't get me started on other series as well. I could (sadly) give you a list of similar bad read horrors. I've read a lot of great books too though...ahhh I'd rather go read some of those now and purge these memories.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Amante » August 21st, 2012, 7:20 pm

I actually normally don't find a lot of book that I don't like. There's something in books that makes it hard for me to not like them.

I'll probably think of something later and edit this.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Ddraigeneth » August 21st, 2012, 8:08 pm

xkrazydog wrote:Catcher in the Rye. Everyone loved it told me how amazing it was. and when i read it i flung the book at the wall.

Inorite? I may have mentioned this before, but everyone I spoke to who regularly enjoyed reading disliked the book, while everyone who "hated" reading loved it. Obviously not set-in-stone, but an interesting correlation.


The Lovely Bones. I read it before starting college (they had us do discussions as a socialising activity). The premise was...odd, but interesting enough. Then she...
Spoiler! :
Possessed her sympathetic not-quite-friend and had sex with her high school crush. Really? This is "closure?" It's not as if the two of them were in love. And he "recognises" that she's possessing this other girl who he never knew, so it's like he really did want to have sex with her the whole time. Just...what?

Haven't bothered watching the movie.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Falconer » August 21st, 2012, 8:19 pm

Ddraigeneth wrote:
xkrazydog wrote:Catcher in the Rye. Everyone loved it told me how amazing it was. and when i read it i flung the book at the wall.

Inorite? I may have mentioned this before, but everyone I spoke to who regularly enjoyed reading disliked the book, while everyone who "hated" reading loved it. Obviously not set-in-stone, but an interesting correlation.


...I actually liked Catcher in the Rye, but everyone else I knew hated it, regardless of whether they enjoyed reading or not....

EDIT: OH, now I remember two more books I read and didn't care for - The Golden Compass and American Gods.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Nymine » August 21st, 2012, 8:34 pm

Oh man. Nadya. The cover got me. It was a beautiful painting of a gray wolf with a pretty little girl in the water as it's reflection. I know, I know, cliche but I'm a sucker for that imagery. I read the back and apparently it was about this little girl who was going West with her settler family. Boasted a strong female. You basically watch Nadya grow up kinda Little House on the Prairie style; standard cowboy fair, but the twist is Nadya is a werewolf. Started out interesting enough but then....

Spoiler! :
...it dissolved into nothing but sex. Sex sex sex sex. She has sex with boys. Sex with men. Sex with girls. Sex with wolves. Sex with a man AS a wolf. You know what's weird? I would have forgiven it if any of the sex,even a little of it, was plot relevant. It wasn't. I had bought myself a porn, but in my defense, at the tender age of stupid teen, I hadn't realized yet that 'romance' was literary code for 'porn'. I was so gutted at my mistake and how I had wasted $6.00 that I finished the whole thing to punish myself, and the ending was crap too. Because the last chapter is OH HAI this is a story that was being told at a gas station in Texas even though there was NO ALLUSION TO THAT AT ALL. Not even one hint. Just fetish sex from age 15 to 25 and then possible death for the sex-capading werewolf lady via an angry sheriff who is superstitious and upset that he's the one bike Nadya won't ride then....present day. *sigh*
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby The_Hankerchief » August 21st, 2012, 8:50 pm

This actually happened to me a couple weeks back.

I was at the base commissary, shopping for another book to read (because I had just finished the 850 page novel and the novella I bought before that), when something caught my eye. It was the back cover of book that is part of a series called The Gunsmith, by J.R. Roberts. More specifically, it was a name on the back cover summary that caught my attention: Bass Reeves (follow the link to read about him). I looked at the cover of the book (this one was called Buffalo Soldiers), and there was another one next to it called The Omaha Palace. Both books looked interesting, so I bought 'em and went back to the dorm. Since The Omaha Palace came before Buffalo Soldiers, I read that one first.
Spoiler! :
The story starts off with a saloon owner (and lady of the night) getting it on with one of her clients in the first chapter. Okay, whatever, gotta start somewhere. Anyway, during that scene, she's just reminiscing about "Clint Adams" (the main character/protagonist of the series) and thinking to herself how the client she's with can't satisfy her like Clint used to do while he was around. Eventually, she gets fed up with her client and kicks his ass out. The next day (and chapter), Clint Adams, a famous gunslinger known as "The Gunsmith", comes rolling through Omaha, Nebraska, (the setting of the story) which slowly is becoming more modern and civilized. He goes to see the saloon keeper, "Miss Ashley", who is about to have a grand opening of her saloon, "The Omaha Palace", and is worried about "Big Jack" IForgetHisLastName , the owner of another saloon in town, who issued a couple of vague threats to her describing what would happen if she went through with her plan. She asks him to stay around for awhile, since he "is the only man she can bring herself to trust". He agrees.

First, he goes to check in with the sheriff, whose office is slowly being replaced by a "big Eastern city style po-lice department", and tells him what's going on. (Why they'd continue to have both, I do not know. Perhaps the city of Omaha has money to burn?) After the sheriff just kinda nods off and goes back to sleep, Clint goes to see Big Jack. They talk, vaguely threaten each other, and then Jack leaves. I didn't read much further than that, because in between these few events (not even seven chapters into a less than 100 page book), I counted no less than 12 separate scenes involving straight-up very descriptive hardcore fucking that makes your standard Playboy magazine look like a semi-annual newsletter from a Mormon Bible study group. Most of it didn't even serve a purpose; it was just thrown in there (like after Clint leaves Big Jack's office, Jack calls in his favorite girl and proceeds to eat her out on his desk. Where the hell did that come from?). There were probably more sexual positions described in the first ten chapters than there are in the whole Kama Sutra! Now, I don't mind reading about sex in a story. I enjoy it as much as the next guy. But when that's pretty much all the story is, it's a little off-putting, especially if it serves no purpose other than helping along the imaginations of thousands of lonely housewives across America. I could've just bought a copy of Penthouse and saved myself the $12.50 a book.


Needless to say, I didn't finish it. I didn't even read the other book. I just took them back to the Commissary the next day, got my money back, and got myself a couple of boxes of Mike & Ike's instead. It was a much better use of my money.

I also facepalmed really hard when I found out there are over 320 novels in this series to date. Holy shit, the author's been able to crank out that many? A Stephen King, he is not.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby xkrazydog » August 21st, 2012, 8:52 pm

Oh wait.a bigger disappointment: Xombies.
Basically all the women around the world PMS'd so hard, turned blue and then they became zombies and ate everyone.
This would be so awesome if the story didnt suck so hard i wanted to cry.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Charil » August 21st, 2012, 9:34 pm

Mistborn.

To be fair to it, I actually haven't finished it, and probably won't ever. It was just boring. I read about a fourth of it and just nothing was happening. It might've picked up like literally right after I stopped reading, but I have zero motivation to find out.

An e-friend of mine, an amateur writer who's stuff I really like, got really into the Mistborn series. I thought, well, if I like the stuff that she writes I might like the stuff she reads too, she really seems to like this so I'll give it a shot!

I honestly could not remember what the plot to this book is, and even now that I have the book in front of me and am reading the synopsis, I still didn't exactly "remember". More like, "oh that's what it was about?" Basically it's a fantasy novel about a dictatorship or something, and some group revolts against it with the help of an orphan girl named Vin who is a Mistborn. Mistborns are people who can digest metals and use them as temporary superpowers or... something. It was about a year ago that I read it, and I've read many books since, so I don't really remember all the details to it. It's kind of a cool idea, but...

Literally all that I read of it -- a fourth of the book -- is Vin being tutored on how to use her Mistborn powers. That... that's all that happened. Mistborn tutorials, and talking about the dynamics of the world. Lots and lots of talking.

And cliche everybody-hates-me angst, on Vin's part. Which is a major pet peeve of mine in writing, especially since the characters that cause her angst have literally no motivation, they just treat her like crap because the author wants to show how ~*~hard her life is~*~. It just comes off as contrived.

I know a lot of fantasy writers who come up with a cool idea for a story and just want to tell everyone about it, but a novel shouldn't read like an encyclopedia or a how-to guide. It just kind of seemed like the author was just bursting to tell everyone about this cool Mistborn idea he came up with and how it works, and then just tacked the plot on as an afterthought.

Spoiler! :
What actually struck me funny is, the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking how extremely similar it was to another friend of mine's story, only replacing the Mistborn stuff with another superpower she'd come up with. I happened to mention I was reading it once and, turns out, she's a big fan too. I do hope that her story has more of interest going for it than Mistborn did.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Falconer » August 21st, 2012, 9:50 pm

Charil wrote:Mistborn.


:( :( :( :( :(

You wound me. I liked the Mistborn series. Admittedly, the end of the book was better than the beginning, and the other two books were better. I mostly read the first one for Kelsier, who was totally awesome. Vin got better in book 2. But I found the world interesting and the use of the powers a lot of fun. Once they really start getting into the battles, stuff gets really epic!

I think his writing in some of his other books were better than Mistborn, such as Warbreaker, which I read in a single night. I still think they were good though...

...Why does no one here like the books I do...? ;_;
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Ddraigeneth » August 21st, 2012, 9:57 pm

Falconer wrote:...Why does no one here like the books I do...? ;_;

Because you're a horrible person.
Spoiler! :
Not really.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Charil » August 21st, 2012, 10:06 pm

Falconer wrote:But I found the world interesting and the use of the powers a lot of fun.

See, I think that was my problem with it, that all the Mistborn stuff came too early in the book for me to feel attached to it. I think he just threw out too much of it too quickly and left the reader to either love it and want more, or hate it and put the book down. Or be left totally baffled as to why it was imperative that we know this immediately, like I was. There wasn't a whole lot of integration with the actual story.

With some balancing, I think it could've been done pretty well, but as it was, for me, there was too much information far too soon and I was left not really caring because I lost sight of the story.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby robybang » August 21st, 2012, 10:51 pm

Orson Scott Card's Empire. I had heard a lot of talk about the Ender series, hadn't heard about any of his political leanings until after I read the book, and the premise on the back of the book was interesting. It was about a civil war starting between liberals* and conservatives. Promising, it's just not carried out very well because the author is so invested in his own party that the book is less about condemning political extremism than condemning political extremism from the party the author doesn't like:

Spoiler! :
The main character is a conservative Iraq War veteran who every so often complains about the liberal media and the liberal college professors etc. He was supposed to come up with possible attack plans terrorists might use to stage another attack on the country so the government can defend against these attacks, which liberal spies find and sell to the terrorists so they can kill Borge Gush (who's totally not George Bush) and blame it on the protagonist. The republicans who declare martial law (which spurs the liberals to "liberate" the cities) are actually liberals pretending to be conservatives to make their invasion justified. And to top it all off, the liberals are all getting funding for their coup from Sorge Goros (who's totally not George Soros, the infamous liberal millionaire boogeyman). Oh, and the liberal armies all get mechs and hovercrafts, despite the fact that the US probably spends Soros' entire net worth hundreds of times over annually, but are still stuck with boring guns and tanks. The only good liberal is the main character's wife, who only exists to point out that not all liberals are evil and to give the illusion of balance. My beef here is not that he's criticizing liberals, but that the he promised to rake both sides over the coals in a work about political extremism, but lacks the objectivity to even consider that his side isn't the paragon of virtue and justice.

It's sad though, because there was stuff in it I really liked. The main character was of Bosnian heritage, and considering they actually did have a civil war at a politically unstable time in their history, would have brought more weight to the story especially if he had drawn more parallels between that conflict and the conflict of the story. There's a historian character that points out how a politically oriented war would be especially messy since political orientation doesn't fall on state lines like the American Civil War did, though it would have similar socioeconomic makeups (industrial vs. the agrarian/suburban). Finally, the twist that the historian was actually playing both sides against each other for his own political power was actually surprising. And if the rest of the work wasn't so blatantly biased, the twist could have further driven home why political extremism is bad. I think the lost potential is the most disappointing thing about this book.


*To make the spoilered rant more tolerable, take a drink every time you read the word "liberal."
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