Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Moonless (a book review post)

Generally speaking, I would say that the amount of description an author uses in a book is up to the author. Generally. It just depends upon how much detail the author wants the reader to have to supply and how important those details are to the story.

For instance, The House on the Corner has a lot of detail in the descriptions about the places, especially about the house, and time period because those things are important to the story. Shadow Spinner has less detail, almost none, about places, like Tib's house, and time period because I wanted the reader to be able to fill in those details based upon his/her personal knowledge so that Spinner would feel like it was happening anywhere and anywhen.

Which brings me to my point: There are some genres that require heavy description, and anything historical falls into that. It's the detailed description in historical fiction that allows the reader to enter into some other time period. Moonless fails in every way to provide any kind of description that allows the reader to enter... whatever time period it's supposed to be set in. "Jane Eyre" is not a time period but the closest the author gets us to establishing an era for us, and that's a phrase in the product description. All we get from the book itself is the vague sense of a big house and a horse and carriage.

In fact, there is so little description that when the gathering of people -- and we have no idea who's involved in this gathering, just the vague sense of a crowd -- gather for the evening's entertainment, it has the feel of a school assembly, including teenagers flicking spitballs at each other. I'm pretty sure this is not the atmosphere the author wanted to evoke.

Then, there's the issue of the girl, herself. All we get about her is that she's not pretty. There is some indication that she's awkward or ungainly or something, but all we know is that she considers herself ugly. Except, when she goes to her room for the night, she looks in the mirror and, suddenly, she's beautiful. Personally, if my appearance changed so drastically during a... whatever kind of performance it was... I would wonder what was going on, but the protagonist pretty much just takes it as, "Huh. I'm beautiful, now."

And, of course, there is insta-love, because what historical, paranormal romance and go without insta-love? Even when the protagonist believes the object of her affection is a murderer and, possibly, wants to murder her. Now, let me tell you, that is a recipe for attraction.

But, you know, even with all of that, I was willing to keep reading. Right up until the love interest/antagonist(?) showed up in her bedroom to watch her sleep.
Wait. What?
What book are we in?
Yeah, that's when I was done. Finished. Through. Whatever.
I didn't have time for Twilight, and I don't have time for some cheap Twilight knockoff, either.

So here's the part where I'm honest: I didn't finish reading this book. I gave it my best effort, but I couldn't do it. Maybe it gets better, but it would have to get a lot better, magnitudes better, to make it worth struggling through.

13 comments:

  1. I think there is something in how descriptive detail is delivered, too. Is it meaningfully incorporated so that I feel drawn in to the narrative or is it there because it was "part of the assignment?"

    But not enough description? That's a shame. Too bad this one didn't work for you.

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    1. TAS: It was a shame. I don't want to read something historical and have it feel like a high school auditorium.

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    2. Unless the history is dealing with high school auditoriums.

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  2. Ugh, insta-love is always a deal breaker for me. That whole relationship sounds squicky, too. Falling in love with someone who might want to murder you? Just...how? How and why?

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    1. Jeanne: Yeah, exactly. I think that guy just murdered this dead guy at my feet and he wants to murder me next! Hot!

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  3. I can't stand insta-love either. Especially when it involves something creepy. Like with Fifty Shades of Grey, there's this weird thing where if a really hot guy that they like does it, it's not creepy. It's sweet. But if Joe-Average the well-meaning but unattractive guy came walking in and watched her sleep, oh how she would scream bloody murder and feel like her privacy was invaded and blah blah blah.

    He's a murderer? Yeah, but he's a cute murderer. I'm sure it's fine.

    He wants to murder me? Yeah, well, he's super cute. He probably has his reasons.

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    1. ABftS: Yeah, that bothers me, too. You're prettier than me so you get to do bad stuff to people and still have them like you? What's with that idea?

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  4. *Sigh* I appreciate that you gave it a go, Andrew, but this really is a book for teenage girls, and I'm afraid you didn't get far enough to understand the perceived murderer or story dynamics. That's okay. I'm surprised you gave it a go to begin with and appreciate your willingness to try different genres. That definitely attests your awesomeness. (I'd clear some misconceptions up about the plot/characters gladly, but that would involve throwing major spoilers out in public. I would be happy to do so in an email.) Thanks for trying something new, even if it didn't agree with you.

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    1. Crystal: I'm sure I have misconceptions because I don't know how things played out, but it's okay. Explaining things wouldn't make it better, if that makes sense.
      I just appreciate that you didn't flip out at me as is so often the case when I leave a bad review for something.
      I suppose that attests to your own awesomeness.

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  5. I must credit Crystal on her professionalism in responding to your review. That's class.

    I can also understand any frustration you might have had, Andrew, in reading this. Sometimes I can get bored with too much detail in description, but I do need to have a clear picture of what I'm reading about.


    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Lee: Yes, definitely the best reaction to a negative review I've ever had. It almost gives me some hope.

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  6. What made you pick it up in the first place?

    Yes: Kudos to Crystal for taking it well.

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    1. Briane: It was in my indie book pile.

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