Books With The (Somewhat) Dreaded Book Travelling Syndrome

Book Travelling Syndrome Definition: the art of getting so lost in your own story that plot, character and everything else is forgotten in favour of random adventures

Yes, I made the term up, and no, it’s not taking off. I feel like the response to this post could be very Mean Girls…

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Whatever- it’s totally a thing. And I know it’s a thing, cos it’s something I’ve struggled with as a writer. So I’ve decided to compile a list breaking it down, into the good, the bad, and, well you get the idea- enjoy:

The Good

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The Hobbit– Yup, even my beloved Hobbit has it, that’s why I got it into my head that this was a good idea in the first place (as I explained here). I won’t say I have no regrets about this cos it’s not always a great storytelling strategy. At least, most of the time, as we’ll come to see…

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Neverending Story– again, this book tricked me your honour, cos sure it has “neverending” in the title, which would imply boredom, but this is *far* from boring. In fact, it’s one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read. I owe it so much as a story- but also *shakes fist* curse you for filling my head with so many bad structuring mechanisms.

The Bad

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Eragon– really not the worst book on this list- but it does meander about a lot pointlessly.

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Phantastes– it’s alright, but it has plenty of pointless meandering about and is quite forgettable.

And the Ugly…

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Eye of the World– I’m sorry to disappoint fans of this book, but oh-my-gawd I was so bored with this! I think this was like a sledgehammer over the head that book travelling *doesn’t always work*- so I guess some thanks is in order, in a way.

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Wise Man’s Fear– one of the most disappointing sequels I have ever read. And one of the worst things about it was all the unnecessary different places (inevitably where Kvothe would pick up another skill, then be on his merry, ambling way).

Hope you enjoyed that very random post- my cold-smothered brain thought was a good idea… What books do you think suffer from book travelling syndrome? Let me know in the comments!

Eragon is Code for Dragon

Eragon_book_coverSo I know I’m behind on my comments and such- just had a busy week and I’m hit by a freight train shattered (yes, yes, in my exhaustion I come up with bizarre metaphors) but so that I don’t totally neglect my blog, I’ve got a quick review today for a book I neglected to read for years.

Ever since I was a teen, I had so many people telling me to read/not bother reading this book, that they loved/hated the first one, and that it got so much better/worse. Because of these mixed messages I could never decide if it was worth reading. It seemed to be a book that divided opinion so much that there was no doubt I, as someone who tends to feel quite strongly about most things, would find myself firmly in one camp or the other. In the end, however, it was just… average.

Let’s talk about what I liked first: the dragons. I’ve said it many, *many* (MANY) times on this blog- I’m a sucker for dragons, though I’m very picky about how they’re done. As a massive Hobbit fangirl, I tend to use Smaug as the bar by which I judge all other dragons- I like them scaly, spiteful and smugly hoarding gold. Now, Saphira was no Smaug, that’s for sure, but she was unique and interesting and most importantly I bought that she was indeed a dragon (note: calling something a dragon does not make it a dragon, just like calling Edward Cullen a vampire does not make his sparkly ass a vampire). This was the kind of dragon I can get on board with and not feel like I’d been taken for a ride by the blurb 😉 Instead of the usual *this is a dragon but not really* as so many cool books seem to do these days, we literally got people riding those dragons, so *kudos* and *bonus points* galore.

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So yes, I did appreciate that aspect of the world-building. The other elements of the world did stand up under scrutiny, however- and now we’re getting onto the things I did not like- it was very cliché. I may be a sucker for dragons, but c’mon even if a book says “the next Tolkein” on the blurb, I do not actually expect the book to pinch 90% of the ideas from Tolkein. There’s being derivative and then there’s taking the piss. Dragons, elves, and dwarves- really?! Look, I get it, we all wrote this stuff at 14… but there’s a reason why it’s unpublished.

And on the subject of it being written by a 14 year old, all credit where credit’s due, buuut it reads like a 14 year old wrote it. The plot meanders too much, doesn’t have great focus and at the same time it’s awfully predictable. On top of that it’s very s l o w. A lot that is because of the ridiculously long descriptions- and I’m a description kinda gal, but I realllly don’t need superfluous accounts of someone’s helm– it’s just not necessary! And in spite of the fact you can practically see the numerous edits (I bet if someone tested the literary DNA of this manuscript they’d have a field day, cos they’d see what a Frankenstein does exist) it was *still* clunky and unpleasant to read. Again, this most likely comes down to the age and inexperience of the writer, but I frequently found the dialogue didn’t flow well or had the pretentious touch of someone trying to hard (I’d say the best eg is actually in the acknowledgements where he writes “I thank you”, but the truth is I just stupidly didn’t write down egs while reading, so that’s the best I’ve got). And if you don’t believe me about how weirdly pretentious it is, look no further than the opening sentence:

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

Ermmm- ye wot?! That seems more like what the first line to Perfume should be. It sacrifices logic for a little sensory exposition that inevitably bears no consequence on the actual story. (Also *shudders* at the pathetic fallacy cliché- ouch!)

In the end, I did not regret my time with this book, it just wasn’t very memorable and I have zero desire to continue this series (*cue all the people saying “but it gets so much better”*- I don’t care, I really don’t). I can’t say I totally understand why so many people told me “I have to read this”- it’s not an “I have to read it” sort of book- it’s more a “take it or leave it” sort of novel. I certainly could have lived without it, considering I like books to bring me something *new*, some piece of information I don’t yet have, maybe even unlock something I haven’t clued into about me as a person. After reading this, I came away with two not particularly revelatory pieces of information about myself:

  • I like dragons. A lot. *A lot a lot*. But…
  • Dragons cannot carry a whole book for me, even if I like how they’re done.

I know, *shocker* right? 😉 Ultimately, for all the ranting and raving about this book out there, it’s very much something to shrug your shoulders over. I gave it:

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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Protip: even though my rating is higher, the Goodreads 1 star reviews on this were *gold*, highly recommend checking them out if you’re up for a giggle.

So have you read this? Are you in the love it or hate it camp? Or are you drifting somewhere in the middle like me? Let me know in the comments!