I am appalled at the quality of writing out there. I mean, I knew there was drivel, but ouch... my eyes. I picked up a novel called the Kinvara Affairs, thinking (WRONGLY) that since the author had so many other books in this and other series that it had to have redeeming features. Fluff, I was expecting, but at least coherent, engaging fluff. I read fast, but I couldn't read fast *enough* to get through this book. The last half of the thing I took in huge skims, hoping for *anything* redeeming, since at one point it was all I had to read. The editor should be flogged. I wanted to shriek 'show, don't tell!' in the middle of the airport, and chain the author someplace cold and itchy for introducing So Many useless and unsubstantiated characters, and telling what could have been charming stories in such a dry, distant fashion. Instead of introducing characters that we'd like, and actually following them around to develop their poignant characteristics and make their lives and deaths meaningful, she just outright tells us what their personality is supposed to be. Most of the important stuff is in... ah, crud... what's that style that English teachers always tell you to avoid? Using 'were' and 'was' too much and draining all of the immediacy and connection out of the prose? Horrid.
I'm also really, seriously thinking about dropping the Luna subscription. Fairy Godmother was cute, and I have to admit I did enjoy that one, and Mountain's Call was worth a first read (though not a second). Oh, and Staying Dead was fantastic! But the latest one, Elphame, is grueling. I'm not even interested in reading the rest. There were two pages early on about how beautiful and graceful and striking the heroine is, and as soon as they gave her 'sable eyes,' (to go with the flaming red hair and amazing body - oh, and she's half-centaur and a terrible misfit and looking for her One True Destined lifemate...) I was about to fling the book across the room. *shudder* And again, every little detail spelled out in case we as readers are too daft to get subtleties. (Which were NOT subtle) Oh, and the POV switching! Gah... Within-the-scene switching, whenever 'convenient,' ie: whoever has the most angst at the moment. I skipped ahead a little further, found the mousy, healer side-kick with her amazing art talents (and probably she's 'much more beautiful than she knows') and infatuation with the heroine's brother, and gave it up. Anyone want a copy? Nearly new, I'll pay shipping if you send me back something worth reading at least once.
The next Luna book looks nearly as awful from the castlist on the back, but I will at least give it a shot before I flame it. I did want to stick the subscription out until I got Urban Shaman, but I'm just not sure I can.
I really, really, really hope I don't unknowingly know either of these authors, because these reviews are a touch harsh, but honestly, I'm inclined to lean on the editors a little, too. I hope to GOD I have an editor someday who isn't afraid to tell me, 'ya know, Ellen, this is really horrid. Could you be more cliche if you tried? Go take a nice long walk in the woods and think about what you've done, then come back and write something that people will want to read.'
Which is what I plan to do this afternoon, after finishing artists pay.