Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Review: It's the End of the World as We Know It

Some book series are love affairs, some are only a summer long: June, July, and August; some are high school, a book a year for three years…and then you have the real time commitments: The Edward Cullen Marriage.

This book falls into that kind of series.

Ironically it even has vampires in it.

I have been with Sherrilyn Kenyon for a long time; and I’ll read just about anything she writes. (Caveat: I profess to a bit of snobbery at not reading the books that have her name on them but is written with someone else. I’m sure they’re good; I just haven’t read them. Otherwise, she’s on my list to read every single time.) My longest relationship with her has revolved around The Dark-Hunters.

The Dark-Hunters was urban-fantasy before the term was coined for the romance reading world. Sherrilyn is familiar with writing outside the lines of what “audiences will read”, but fortunately she’s proven them wrong every time. She writes to her strengths: strong, flawed, broken heroes; sassy, loving, strong heroines; and the kind of black moment that is impossible to recover from, usually someone’s death. Angst, angst, angst—thrown together with hot, hot sex with the hottest, most deviling hero you could imagine. It’s an excellent formula for writing a romance that rabid romance fans want to read. I know, I’m the kind of reader who loves angst, angst, angst with the hot, hot sex with the hot—

Sorry, it’s been a while.


When you’ve been in the Edward Cullen Marriage a while, there are days (or years) when you don’t think he’s the adorable, loving vampire you married, but the boring windbag telling you the same stories over and over again, expecting you to laugh. Sometimes there are books in a long series that do that. Not every one of them is going to be a grand slam out of the ball park. Some of them are just singles or doubles. They’re good; you enjoyed them—but they’re just a little meh. As I said: marriage.

Anyway, we’d gotten to a point in the series where I was beginning to wonder: what is Sherrilyn Kenyon doing? I don’t think she’s stumbling around blind or anything; I think she has a plan and I know she knows these characters like they were close cousins—but sometimes I wasn’t seeing it. Some books felt like bridges between other bigger, darker books I preferred—so I felt a little jaded. (And when you glom a lot of romances and series, it is easy to be a little jaded.)

This book, TIME UNTIME, is one of the bigger, darker books for me. It shed light on the last three books where I was going, “What the devil is going on?” It featured a hero from one of the other books that I hoped to see more of, and boy am I glad Sherrilyn wrote this story: Ren is in my top five favorite Dark-Hunters.

The Dark-Hunter world has grown from the Greek Pantheon and Atlantis Pantheon and now incorporates Native American, Egyptian, Mayan, etc, etc. If there’s a Pantheon, it’s contributing to the end of the world and wants to destroy us. Some readers have not embraced the way this has gone off from the Greek mythology, but I have enjoyed Sherrilyn tapping into her Cherokee roots and sharing mythology of Native Americans. As I said, I believe Sherrilyn has a plan and knows what she is doing with her story and her characters, what her overall outcome is whether she knows exactly every element of it.

So today’s discussion: have you ever read a series where you lost “faith” in the author but eventually they brought you back again? How much world building is too much world-building for you in books?


Maureen said...

I've certainly given up on some long series. I gave up on Lauren K. Hamilton, to be honest. There have been slow books in the Dresden Files, but I'm still reading him...

I know my sis loves the Kenyon books, so I'll make sure she catches today's blog!

TerriOsburn said...

Took me until the 2nd to last paragraph to figure out if this was a positive review. LOL! Good to hear she brought you back around. Can't be easy writing that long of a series. Is there an end in sight or will it just go on and on?

My reading habits are so jacked up, I'm not even sure I can answer this. Usually if I give up on a series, I don't go back. But that's rare.

I like the idea of having faith in the author and believing she has a plan. Nice to give the benefit of the doubt.

TerriOsburn said...

Hellie is out of pocket for a while today so we won't hear from her until later. Just a heads up.

P. Kirby said...

Yeah, if I bail on a series, I'm gone, gone, gone. The only exception I think of is George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. I thought the first three books were a masterpiece of epic fantasy writing (and I had bailed on epic fantasy). Then books four and five come along, and it's so obvious that A) the author has developed a massive case of world building disease; B) he's lost the heart of the story, the three families at the center; and C) he's gotten too big for his britches to be edited.

But...I'm will continue reading (If he ever finishes the f*cking series) because I've got closure issues.

I still read Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books, even though the series has totally lost it's steam.

But for the most part, once a series jumps the shark, I'm outta there. But I really think series should have expiration dates somewhere around 5, maybe 10 books. That's what I loved about the Harry Potter books. They were finite and it showed (positively) in the writing.

Marnee Bailey said...

I read the first Kenyon Dark Hunter books. I haven't liked some in the middle, especially Stryker and some of those folks.

But I read Acheron and I loved it. Is this one more like Acheron and the first ones or more like the middle ones?

I've all but given up on the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward. The first group of them were paranormal romance. Now, it's more UF with a romance on the side. I'm not as into it. And the heroines have been kind of annoying.

I think too much world building for me is similar to too much historical detail. If I'm skipping big blocks of text to get to the story, it's too much.

Marnee Bailey said...

Is Hells ok?

TerriOsburn said...

Hellie's good. Driving her Pops around today. She'll check in eventually.

irisheyes said...

I have instances where I've dropped an author and instances where I've stuck with an author through a rough patch. Unfortunately, once I drop them it's hard to bring me back around. There are so many books out there on my TBR pile and TBB list that I just haven't gone back to those I've given up on. Never say never, though! :)

As for world building, I'm not really sure where I stand. I think I'm probably with Marnee. I know I've read some historicals that I was ready to throw against the wall with all the details they were sharing that I really couldn't care less about. I'm more of a dialogue person. I can read dialogue all day. I like what P. Kirby said the other day about throwing in tidbits about their surroundings here and there as the H/H are thinking something over, making a decision or as an aside to the dialogue.

OT - How are all of you fairing after Sandy's hit last night??? Marn - I'm seeing reports of NJ's devastation. Are you okay?

Marnee Bailey said...

Irish - we were incredibly lucky where we are. I have lots of friends who lost power, some are coming back on now, but my house wasn't damaged and we're still with electricity. I just hosted some good friends for dinner and showers. :) But yes, the shore is devastated. I know a lot of people who live down there, have houses down there, or have family that lives down there. It hit very close to home for me. It's really heartbreaking and sad. No one I know is hurt, so we all feel blessed. But, it'll take a long time to rebuild, I'm sure.

MsHellion said...

I'm here, guys, finally, and thank you for commenting when I've been completely absent! I'll catch up real quick. I hope everyone is okay. I know a lot of us are located on the East Coast, and I hope everyone is well and safe. This storm has been CRAZY.

MsHellion said...

Hi, Mo, I hear that a lot about LKH's books! Of course, I'm still reading the Blake series (I never got into the faery culture to read those books), but it's only because I love the kinky ass sex. *LOL* I'm still willing to follow the plot structure she's set for it.

MsHellion said...

Terri, no, I really believe she has a plan. And I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt she's not "phoning in" certain books. I think she writes the story she feels she needs to--and just because I didn't necessarily understand why this book is necessary ("I want to read about Ash damnit!"), doesn't mean I didn't learn something new about the world of the Dark-Hunters and the pantheon. I think so long as I LEARNED something about the world they lived in, I could live with the fact that the characters weren't necessarily the most memorable for me. And there are enough books where I'm like, "Who is this again? What happened with them?"--and you have to explain. I don't remember.

This is not a surprise. There are books not even in a series that I don't know what happened in the book or who the characters were. If it's not Harry Potter or Twilight, clearly I'm not going to remember...and if enough time elapses on those books before I reread them, I won't remember what happened in them either.

But this book, yes, this book tripped a few triggers for me. I really, really enjoyed it. I pressed it into my friend's hands and said, "Read this now."

MsHellion said...

P. Kirby--*LOL*--Bloated writing in subsequent books SHOWS with authors who sell big. But yes, if you do get into a fantasy world you actually enjoy, you'll put up with a lot of crap before you bail...hoping it will go back to its former glory. :)

You're a better woman than me for sticking with the Plum series. After that damned monkey showed up in 13(?)--I was so furious I quit reading them outright. Sin will even tell me, "This one is good" and I just can't do it. The monkey put me over the edge. But then again, Mo is probably still scratching her head that I'm still reading the LKH books...so we all have our crosses we're willing to bear. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Marn, Ash's book is a masterpiece. My friend who is into this series too (she was like an anti-reader for a long time, but she finally got hooked on Lavryle Spencer books--and then I hooked her on these)--and we sit around and plot for actors to play these guys.

I thought Stryker's book was rather fascinating--here she took the ENEMY and made him actually pretty relateable. But after being an asshole in every other book, I can see why it might not have worked for every reader. *LOL*

I never could get into the brotherhood series...too much boy stuff and gangster talk, not enough romance for me.

I need to catch up on Jess Anderson's series--the one with the Mayan prophecies--that was a good series and I just fell behind.

MsHellion said...

Irish, *note to self: keep writing dialogue and Irish will keep buying your books* Okay! No, I'm probably the same. *LOL* Dialogue goes a long way with me. Tolkien type description gets the book returned to the library unread... Dialogue reveals character...and by knowing character, you can build the world they inhabit. The small details around detail--they're like anchors. You knew where you were, but checking around, yep, we're here.... :)