Five Reasons Why I Set a Novel Down

Having had some disappointing reads lately, here are five reasons I usually will set a promising novel aiside.

Frustrating Plotlines

Sometimes, it seems like the plot is too frustrating. I read for entertainment. I don’t need frustrating plotlines to elevate my already-high blood pressure. I especially hate it when I figure something out, but the author refuses to let the character figure the same thing out. I am now reading a book where the character has come to a conclusion that I just know is wrong. But the character is convinced she is right. I just know she is going to spend the next four hundred pages clinging to her mistaken conclusion only to figure out she was wrong at the last minute, and then save the day. How do I know this? Because that’s what happened in Book One. Retread. I’m not sure if I want to finish the book and see if I am wrong.

Amoral Characters

I finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I started reading the second book, but I set it aside. Why? Because I’m having trouble feeling any empathy for the main character. She is totally amoral and is now sleeping with a sixteen year old boy. Romance publishers would never dare go near such a plotline. The only thing that seems to fire up her sense of right and wrong is brutality toward woman. Which, of course, she experiences for herself. Which brings me to another set-aside reason …

Excess Brutality

The first book in the Millennium Trilogy almost got set aside because of the sexual brutality. I’m only a few chapters into the second book, and already I can foresee the author upping the brutality for book 2. I’m just not sure I want to suffer through it.

Monologues

I recently rated a book a 3 on Goodreads instead of a 4 because in the end, the character didn’t figure it out. Instead, the reader had to be served up the explanations of the plot in the form of villain monologues. The really good writers always have their characters figure out the mystery, thus avoiding this trap. Monologues rarely cause me to actually set aside the book, because hey–I’m almost at the ending anyway. But still. Grr.

Authorial Over-Indulgence

Sometimes, when the author becomes more and more successful, they over-indulge. Their stories become longer, but not with added substance–with added fluff. Tension is still important even if you are a successful author. Every scene must still count. You can’t drag things out–neither the tension of the story’s climatic resolution, nor the plot itself over book after book after book. Are these authors in love with their own words? I think nothing of abandoning a series at book 5 and toting the entire set to the used book store once the plot starts flatlining. Conversely, after reading an entertaining trilogy, I’ll always check out the author’s next series. So really, there’s nothing to be afraid of in actually, yanno, getting to the end.

In order to end on a more positive note, I promise to do a companion post on “Five Reasons I Keep Turning the Pages”. In the meantime, please share some of the reasons you have set some recent reads aside.