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!

5 Books Suffering From Middle Book Syndrome

After reviewing Wise Man’s Fear yesterday, I’ve started to think about other books that suffer from Middle Book Syndrome. These are books that do not serve the overall plot of a trilogy, feel unnecessary and tend to drag terribly.

  1. Wise Man’s Fear

The_Wise_Man's_Fear_UK_coverI spoke about this in depth in my review yesterday- it has all the symptoms of suffering from Middle Book Syndrome. It’s slow, self-indulgent, repetitive, uneventful and just does not live up to the standard set by the first book. Overall, I was phenomenally disappointed by it- but I am hoping that it is just a prime example of middle book syndrome and that the last book in the series will pick up.

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  1. Magic Study

magic studyI’m cheating a little with this one because honestly this series went downhill after the first one, so I don’t know if it really counts as suffering from middle book syndrome. Honestly, I was not a fan of how Magic Study turned out. The first one was so exciting and different- but this one was just a generic fantasy filler (before the ultimately boring, crackpot conclusion that ruined the whole series for me). I could never understand how a series that started out so well became so awful. Having read a lot (6 or 7) of other books by Maria Snyder now, I have little hope that her books will ever recapture the same magic as Poison Study.

  1. PS I Love You

p-s-i-still-love-you-9781442426733_hrOk, technically this isn’t a middle book because it’s the second in a duology (although there is definitely room for it to turn into a trilogy). In my review I talked about how pointless this book was. Although there were still parts I liked (for instance the sister relationships) I really did not like where Han took the romance. Basically, (*mini spoilers*) it felt like Han spent the whole book convincing the reader that the relationship in the first book wasn’t any good, which was pretty depressing, but once she’d convinced me of that she went and reinstated the relationship- and that didn’t make any sense! So yeah, I wasn’t a fan. Other books in the romance genre suffer from similar problems- sometimes that happens because the author is regurgitating a formula that’s already worked, but usually because once the romance has been established they have to invent a fake conflict to keep the reader interested- which never works.

  1. Crossed

crossedGosh there are soo many terrible middle books in YA dystopian books- I feel like it’s almost guaranteed in the genre (possibly because dystopian books aren’t really designed for sequels). I’m using Crossed (Matched 2) as an example because I completely lost interest in this series after book 1 and it because it is filled with non-existent conflict (despite, ironically, being in the middle of a war zone), but I easily could have referred to the Resistance (Declaration 2), Burning Kingdoms (Internment 2), Independent Study (The Testing 2), Prodigy (Legend 2), or The Elite (The Selection). Many of these are prime examples of a dystopian sequel that goes nowhere. In a lot of these books *nothing happens*. Side note: even though Catching Fire is a regurgitation of the first Hunger Games, I still think it is not in this category because it is eventful (if a bit repetitive) and the plot does progress as a result of the things that happen in this book.

  1. Eclipse

EclipsecoverNo one is saying Twilight  is great- but my goodness it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if it had just stopped after book 1- I mean why didn’t Edward just let her become a vampire then and then we’d have all been spared all the creepy paedophile stuff. Though it is the third in the series, this one was ultimately the pits- because (forgive me for being repetitive) *nothing happens*. This book pretty much was just there for Meyer to foist the ridiculously pointless love triangle on us- the whole “plot” revolves around Jacob being confused with the concept of what a third wheel and that Bella is not interested (despite the fact she constantly tells him and even punches him in the face! Jeez- can that guy not take a hint?) This has to be one of the best examples of a book that was just a dumb filler and never needed to happen.

Footnote: if you fancy reading more about Middle Book Syndrome and how to avoid it- this is a great article: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/07/avoiding-middle-book-syndrome-by-django-wexler-author-of-the-price-of-valor/

Alrighty then- hope you enjoyed that! Agree or disagree with my list? What books do you think suffer from Middle Book Syndrome?

Wise Man’s Fear is a Geek’s Wet Dream

The_Wise_Man's_Fear_UK_coverOkey dokey, so I’ve not read a book worthy of reviewing in a while, so I thought I’d talk (*ahem, rant*) about a book I read way back in the summer that gave me *plenty* of things to say. And as you might be able to tell from the title- not much of it will be good.

Let me start out by saying that I *loved* The Name of the Wind. It was one of my favourite books of 2014 and I rated it 5*. So after picking up the sequel, I couldn’t have been more disappointed by how this one turned out.

Seriously, this book read like a geeky teenage boy’s wet dream. After the adventures of the first book, Kvothe has matured into the perfect adolescent. He’s just perfect: he’s intelligent, talented, desirable, powerful and, by the end of the book, a brilliant swordsman too. Seriously- it begs the question: is there anything he can’t do? Honestly, given that I liked him so much in the first book for his imperfections, I felt like the author was missing a trick by ironing out all his faults and leaving him as this bland, generic hero.

On top of that, whereas I found the first one long and lyrical, this one just dragged. There’s this weird part in the middle where he literally goes off  with this random sex-goddess (I’m not going to pretend like she’s in any way magical- she’s really just there for Kvothe to screw- which would be fine, if it wasn’t so boring and didn’t feel like the whole section was just designed to prove his sexual prowess). The “oh I’m so good at everything” shtick gets old really fast. And if that wasn’t enough there’s the cliché fantasy sword-fight-training montage- which totally drags- regardless of what excuse Rothfuss gives for it being slow.  And when the plot finally picks up, the action is over *really* quickly and that’s that. Which felt *phenomenally* anti-climactic.

Another problem in terms of plotting is that this whole book felt completely unnecessary. Firstly, after the first book, I felt like the story with the Chandrian was building nicely- so while I wouldn’t have expected answers in book 2, I did expect *something*. But aside from the odd throwaway mention, Rothfuss gave away nothing, which was very frustrating. Also, the whole book felt like it covered too much old ground aka Kvothe is poor, Kvothe does things to make some money, Kvothe is able to pay for University. Given that this was a lot of the plot in the first one, it felt like it didn’t need to be the story here too. It really felt like this book suffered from “middle book” syndrome (the phenomenon where the second book in a trilogy is just filler). After the first one, I’m still invested in the series to carry on and see what happens- but god help me if Rothfuss disappoints me again- I don’t think I can take another book like this. With any luck, this was just be a minor hiccup in the trilogy, and the third one will return to form.

Rating: 2 bananas

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So has anyone else read the Wise Man’s Fear? Agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Let me know in the comments below!

Also, just as an aside, I was just refreshing my memory on goodreads and this review came up and I *had to* share it: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/298657913?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1