I am going to have a little grumble. You don’t have to stick around to read; you can leave me mumbling and grumbling to myself in the corner……
I have been busy lately. Good busy — birthday dinners and birthday lunches, a few shifts of work at the Before School Care, wandering through the Botanical Gardens, meeting friends for coffee, volunteering at the Herbarium, taking a friend to the movies, going to the ballet…..you get the idea, but still busy.
Too busy to settle to drawing, to read what you have been writing on your blog or to answer comments you made on my blog. Sorry about both of those, as I love finding out what my online friends are up to and I value what you write on mine. Too busy to write anything on my blog.
But that is not the grumble. That’s just [a wonderful] life.
My grumble began on Sunday. It was a day that was pretty free of commitments. “Ahh,” I thought to myself, “A grand day to draw, read blogs, write blogs and catch up.” Instead, I settled into my very comfy red arm chair with a book from the library and spent much of the day immersed in the fantasy world of the novel.
My grumble is not that I spent the day that way. I love to hunker down with a book, to get carried away with the story.
My grumble is about the book. It was a fantasy book. It doesn’t matter which one, because my griping covers many in that genre.
Firstly, did the volume really need to be the weight of a small elephant and 10 cm thick? Surely an editor could have slashed through much of the verbiage. There was a lot there that neither took the story forward nor fleshed out the characters. Having said that, I only surfaced from the world created to have cups of tea and the occasional conversation with the Fella. So there must have been something there that kept me going.
But mainly, why do fantasy novels have to be trilogies? I get that if the book is successful the author has an inbuilt audience waiting for the next instalment. Before I borrowed this from the Library I deliberately checked to see whether it was the first of the trilogy. It was, but the info on the cover didn’t warn me that it was the fourth trilogy in the series! I coped with that and was grateful that the references made to events covered in past novels were handled in a reasonably non-clunky way.
However, I got to the ‘end’ thinking “I enjoyed that, I’ll get the next one from the library”. You know why I wrote ‘end’ in inverted commas. It is the nature of trilogies to end on a cliffhanger. The real end is many, many pages away. I checked online, only to find that volume 2 has not yet been published, maybe not even written.
That’s when my real grumbling started. I spent many hours, quite pleasantly, I have to admit, reading this book. But do I care enough about Bee, being kidnapped by the possible baddies to chase up volume 2, much less volume 3 in however many years time? Will I remember who is who, characters with their weird names? [Who calls a character Riddle or Diligence?] Will I want to become involved in the trauma of Fitz while he deals with Bee’s kidnapping and channels the Wolf Father? Do I wish to invest more time to this series? I suspect the answer is “No”.
The trilogy is an annoyance. I love reading series. The detective genre does this well. I have told you before about Louise Penny’s books. I love following her characters through all their travails and wait eagerly for her next book. The difference is that her books are stand alone; you don’t have to read three of them to find out who done it. You can close the book with a satisfied sigh instead of a grrrr of frustration.
So, unless I know that I can line the three books up on the Library shelf, in their correct order, I will be very wary about fantasy novels.
I wonder how many of you, share my bugbear.
As well, this morning Meeks, from Meek’s Mind pointed me to a fun article published on the Indies Unlimited, which coincidentally was about fantasy writers overuse of the Chosen One plot device. To give you a little taste
To say the chosen one has been done to death is to think hurricanes are a little windy. Not only is it a cliché infesting every genre it touches, it’s also a drama killer. Wrack your brain trying to create believable villains, establish obstacles that no one should survive, place your main character in immediate danger, and it all amounts to nothing. We know he’ll survive; he has to. He’s the chosen one. The spoilers are written right there in an ancient scroll only a wandering transient can read because his order failed to maintain itself before the prophesied times. Maybe they should have hosted more pancake feeds to raise funds.
Check it out!