Disappointing Reads

Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby redandblack64 » April 27th, 2013, 12:06 pm

The Lord of the Rings.

Couldn't get past the infodump at the start.

It would be awesome to have an abridged version of the novels for a modern audience.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby robybang » April 27th, 2013, 12:15 pm

redandblack64 wrote:The Lord of the Rings.

Couldn't get past the infodump at the start.


I felt the same way about Dune. Maybe I'll go back to it because what I'm working on is slowly starting to sound like it except trying to be comedic.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby avian-reader » April 27th, 2013, 1:17 pm

After how fantastic Red Dragon was, I was pretty disappointed with Hannibal and to a lesser extent even Silence of The Lambs.

He just hasn't captured that same sense of looking from behind the killer's eyes that he pulled off in Red Dragon. Silence of the Lambs was good, but spent too much time with Starling compared to looking at the killer in the way that won me over before. What really made this clear to me was the info dump at the end of the book where Starling briefly describes finding the first victim's diary, which explained how the killings had started. This was such an interesting part, and it was such a shame he didn't carefully craft it into the narrative like he did in Red Dragon.

However, Silence is a gem compared to Hannibal, which whilst going into the internal politics of the FBI in an interesting way, and having some nice character development, felt totally underwhelming. Many much more capable people than myself have already pointed out the flaws in Hannibal though, so I wont go further with that.

Honestly, I have been reluctant to read my copy of Hannibal Rising because I'm sure this decline of his is only going to continue. It's not that I think either of these are bad books, they were both very enjoyable reads in their own right. But Red Dragon was a hard act to folow, and personally I don't think they hit the mark, which is a shame :(
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby The_Hankerchief » April 27th, 2013, 7:35 pm

avian-reader wrote:After how fantastic Red Dragon was, I was pretty disappointed with Hannibal and to a lesser extent even Silence of The Lambs.

He just hasn't captured that same sense of looking from behind the killer's eyes that he pulled off in Red Dragon. Silence of the Lambs was good, but spent too much time with Starling compared to looking at the killer in the way that won me over before. What really made this clear to me was the info dump at the end of the book where Starling briefly describes finding the first victim's diary, which explained how the killings had started. This was such an interesting part, and it was such a shame he didn't carefully craft it into the narrative like he did in Red Dragon.

However, Silence is a gem compared to Hannibal, which whilst going into the internal politics of the FBI in an interesting way, and having some nice character development, felt totally underwhelming. Many much more capable people than myself have already pointed out the flaws in Hannibal though, so I wont go further with that.

Honestly, I have been reluctant to read my copy of Hannibal Rising because I'm sure this decline of his is only going to continue. It's not that I think either of these are bad books, they were both very enjoyable reads in their own right. But Red Dragon was a hard act to folow, and personally I don't think they hit the mark, which is a shame :(


I feel you on that. Kind of the same deal with the Dexter series. Darkly Dreaming Dexter hit the high water mark, and while the others are good, its just not the same.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Savoto » April 28th, 2013, 10:35 am

The Redwall books or to be more precise the first one. I couldn't get past the dialogue. I was so happy when I saw the covers because I love reading about animals but the languages/accents. I dislike it whenever an author writes the accents into the dialogue. I can see why they do it but is was a struggle to read whenever someone was talking because consonants would disappear and vowels multiply.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby KirbyHead » May 12th, 2013, 3:38 am

redandblack64 wrote:The Lord of the Rings.

Couldn't get past the infodump at the start.

Same. In general, though, I don't really like Tolkien's writing style. Lots of unnecessary meandering, in my opinion. It doesn't help that I'm not a fan of high fantasy at all, with only a few exceptions to that rule.
Spoiler! :
It's especially annoying when you run into people who think you're "not smart enough to understand how good it is."Which I've heard, multiple times. I like worldbuilding, but not when it's accompanied with an 'I'd-rather-watch-paint-dry' narrative technique.
So, His Dark Materials.
Spoiler! :
I loved the Golden Compass. Nice setup for an interesting world. The problems start with The Subtle Knife. Here we switch protagonists, and meet the pragmatic Will from our own world. Blah blah blah legacy of the wielder of the knife, blah blah blah hiding out in a different world. So far, it's pretty cool.

Then Will meets Lyra and everything about her character that was built up in the first book suddenly goes down the drain. This quick-witted, adventurous girl suddenly becomes some co-dependent attachment to the guy she just met. "Oh, I can't do that without Will!" "I need Will's help with this!" She becomes this submissive and less-interesting shadow of her former self. I don't mind a female character taking orders from or relying on a male character. I don't even mind submissive female characters, as long as they're written well. It's just the fact that the behavior is so out of character for Lyra that makes it so damned aggravating!

The Amber Spyglass was just sort of a clusterfuck, to be honest. It's like Phillip Pullman decided he wasn't being subtle (heh) enough with the religious allegories and just decided to throw every biblical reference in at once. It wasn't the fact that it was anti-religious; it was the fact that it was so bad at being anti-religious that I kept rolling my eyes throughout the whole thing. To be honest, I can barely remember what happened now. The one cool thing from it was chasm in the land of the dead where you would keep falling for eternity if you lost your footing. That always freaked me out.

Anyway, the love story felt contrived, at most. I know everything was DESTINYYYYY but c'mon. "I'll wait at this bench in my world, and you'll wait on that bench in your world, and eventually our worlds might cross over/we can pretend we're with each other/whatever!" From twelve year-olds? Haha, nope.
Finally, there was the whole Eragon thing.
Spoiler! :
The first book was recommended to me by the same friends who would later recommended Twilight, so they actually clued me in early that I probably shouldn't take any reading suggestions from them. It was interesting up until the point where I realized I was reading a less-cool version of Star Wars. And even then, despite my dislike of most fantasy, I'd probably have kept reading, in that way where you finish reading/watching/playing things just because.

But then.

The elves.

Elves are one of the reasons why I don't like high fantasy. Their existence is almost inevitable, and their pretension is near universal. Even when they're not all holier-than-thou, I still hate most of them. Does this make me racist against elves? I GUESS SO. But they're just so awful in the Inheritance "Cycle".Oh, elves are better than everyone at this. Elves are so cool and beautiful, they can use magic! They're just so much better than humans in every way, wouldn't you agree, dear reader? AUGH.

And the whole time I just wanted Eragon's half-brother to be the protagonist. He was so much cooler.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Ddraigeneth » June 14th, 2013, 3:15 am

Gods, I hope you were just distracted while writing this book. Referencing something that just happened as if it was in a different book, repeating long explanations in consecutive chapters, and changing the name of a character who's been around for at least 10 books. I'll give you one more chance, but this may finally put me off of finishing the series.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Varethane » August 8th, 2013, 11:35 am

THIS TOPIC, oh wow. I've read most of the books mentioned. XD

Alexis_Royce wrote:The whaling chapters in Moby Dick are some of the best

Ahh I was just listening to that on audiotape and those were my favourite chapters :'D

@flying (who mentioned the Dresden Files): that's a series that I really do think gets WAY better as it goes along. I started reading it with Dead Beat (because that happened to be the one on the library shelf that caught my eye), and I enjoyed the hell out of it-- but when I went back to read the previous books in the series, starting from the beginning, I almost quit by book 2. I didn't find them outright terrible, but they were super repetitive and kinda boring, and I only picked up books 3 and 4 because I still wanted to see more of the events leading up to Dead Beat. When I recommend the series to people, I usually tell them this, and advise them that before they give up on it altogether they should just skip ahead and check out one of the later books. Butcher doesn't hit his stride until book 4 or so but when he does it's GREAT.

To add to the thread: I picked up a debut novel called Havemercy awhile back and the title of this thread is exactly what happened. :C The premise sounded great! Mechanical steampunk dragons used as piloted war machines? AWESOME.

In practice, it was a rambling, schmoopy romance story where all the cool political elements took a backseat to the love stories; it got off to a fairly strong beginning, setting up all these interesting worldbuilding elements, and then suddenly about a quarter of the way in the plot just dropped to a standstill and never recovered. When the war did get mentioned, it was as something faraway, when the characters were OSTENSIBLY supposed to be involved in it! The metal dragons only barely made an appearance, and there pretty much WAS no climax at all. :'C

...Apparently that novel has gone on to acquire three sequels, which may or may not be better, but I found the first book super disappointing and have no intention of reading on.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby mikemacdee » October 21st, 2013, 3:10 am

ANY Ross McDonald crime novel. Every time I read one he starts with a cool setup for a hardboiled detective story, then quickly makes it so convoluted and dull and direction-less that I just don't care about anything anymore.

The worst of it is his description priorities. He spends thirty-five pages describing the rich girl's manor and her garden, and having her spout every trivial detail of her relationship with the murder victim, and the detective's explanation -- to the finest detail -- of how she killed him. He then spends less than a dozen words describing her pulling a knife, trying to kill the detective, getting disarmed, and being arrested by the arriving cops.

Watch Harper instead. It has Paul Newman.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Tooch » October 21st, 2013, 12:05 pm

I'm a big fan of the Vlogbrothers, Hank & John Green, the latter of which is also a published author of Young Adult lit. Their YouTube serieses they make/produce are really fun, educational, and with the exception of their personal-vlogs where they just sort of ramble about whatever they feel like the educational stuff is pretty fact-based and objective. They really have no agenda other than to entertain, educate, and promote the idea of it being cool to think something is cool, whatever that cool-something is, and Don't Forget To Be Awesome!

So I picked up John's first book Looking For Alaska. And it wasn't...BAD, but it was boring. The characters were a pretty realistic depiction of teenagers, but that just made them come-off as bland and they all thought they were more interesting than they actually were. It's weird. It had this self-awareness, like Alaska was attempting to be a manic pixie dream-girl. She WASN'T one, the text outright said a couple times that it was an act, that she was forcing that facade, but the story didn't really DO much with it other than what happened at the second half of the book.

It was just the story of some kid going to a boarding school and having good and bad things happen, then a REALLY bad thing, then they learned to live with the bad thing. And that's fine, every book doesn't have to have an over-all theme or singular message and be super-crafted and deep, but I just wasn't entertained enough. The characters were ALMOST good. The plot was ALMOST good. Everything was ALMOST good.

If I ever try his books again, I'm gonna go with his latest one The Fault in Our Stars. Maybe he's gotten better with characters since then? I dunno. People REALLY seem to love or hate his work, so I can't really get any good opinions, because it's all "If you liked one book you'll probably like the rest, they're all the same."

Yes, okay, but what if I ALMOST liked one???
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby gun21 » October 23rd, 2013, 1:28 pm

redandblack64 wrote:The Lord of the Rings.

Couldn't get past the infodump at the start.

It would be awesome to have an abridged version of the novels for a modern audience.


You don't have to read the infodump.

They're not part of the plot, most of Tolkien's world building stuff was added in later editions to the books just as a bit of extra content, along with the Index and Glossary which are in the back of Return of the King.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby mikemacdee » April 3rd, 2014, 1:04 am

Anything by Ross MacDonald.

Watch the Paul Newman movies instead. The trailers don't do 'em justice.

EDIT: Just realized I bitched about MacDonald in here already and forgot about it. But hell with it, it bears repeating.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby thexeternal » April 3rd, 2014, 3:22 pm

Odd Apocalypse.

I really enjoyed Dean Koontz's first Odd Thomas novel, I really did. Even though the ending gutted me and left me hollow inside. The second one wasn't as good, but the third one, MAN it was awesome.

Then you got Odd Hours...

Spoiler! :
... which I didn't enjoy so much mostly because of this "mysterious I-know-everything-but-won't-tell-you-and-instead-hint-at-it-in-confusing-ways-even-though-just-telling-you-would-save-us-all-of-this-trouble" character. There is SO MUCH that is left unresolved at the end of Odd Hours and it made me really mad because I felt like Koontz was relying on cliffhangers to get you to read the next book in the series rather than the actual story.


Finally came Odd Apocalypse! I felt like I would finally get some answers, like I would finally feel some resolution for what I had to put up with in Odd Hours...

Spoiler! :
... unfortunately it was SO AWFUL that I gave up after I got more than halfway through. I just couldn't take it anymore. It was like Koontz was cashing in on all of the quirky little things that had got him praise in the past. Even though Odd Thomas is a young adult, all he seems to do anymore is make pop culture references to a generation before his own, and more than ever Odd Thomas sounds like a self-insert character. It takes so long to get to any real action - you have to mire through endless speculation and inner dialogue and stupid quips at failed humor - and then all it does is give you more questions.

As badly as I wanted answers for Odd Hours, I couldn't do it. I could not muscle through Odd Apocalypse to get them. I gave up and I have no shame. It was AWFUL. My husband got all the way through it, and said that there were STILL no answers, so I don't feel all that bad about it.


So yeah. Waste of time. Read the first three and then don't bother with the rest.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby mikemacdee » April 3rd, 2014, 7:20 pm

thexeternal wrote:It was like Koontz was cashing in on all of the quirky little things that had got him praise in the past.

Koontz?! Cash-in?! NO!

I read one of his books and was immediately turned off of him, and I think it's mainly because he wrote it just for his fans. I can't remember the title, but the main dude meets a magical mary-sue starchild lady partway through, and she basically runs away with the book the moment he meets her.

Authors, if you're gonna write "just for the fans," put it in your fuckin' newsletter. Don't alienate your new readers with self-indulgent crap.
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Re: Disappointing Reads

Postby Muntyc0re » March 23rd, 2017, 4:56 am

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger is the most horrible book that I have ever read. Horrible plot.
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