I try not to get too hyped up about books. I feel like constant speculating can all too often ruin it — because it’s difficult for a novel to live up to twelve months of wishing and waiting. (Pfft, ‘the waiting is the hardest part’? THE RUN UP TO CHRISTMAS IS MY FAVOURITE TIME OF THE YEAR. *huffs*)
So, I try not to concentrate too much on living for a release date. But this autumn, I felt so much like I was living for a specific date: what was getting me through the week was fantasies about angsty mages and assassins.
But Queen of Shadows wasn’t great, for me. I’ve been going back and forth between love and hate, but it was really just so…weird to not be in love with Throne of Glass anymore. The plotting was all over the place. I didn’t enjoy the romance. My favourite parts were Manon and Lysandra, to be honest. Right now, they and Dorian are who think I’d come back to the series for.
I have to keep attacking my friends with thermos flasks for proposing preposterous ships. But I used to have such faith that the author would make everything okay and I would read everything they wrote ever, and I don’t have that anymore. I think that I often fall out of love with a series because the characters aren’t themselves. I love Celaena and Dorian and Chaol and Nehemia, and Queen of Shadows wasn’t them.
What makes me qualified to say that? When should I ever be telling someone else that their characters aren’t right? I mean, I didn’t create them, right? Somewhere along the way, I’d forgotten that they weren’t something separate to their creator. There are plenty of characters who are perceived differently to how the writer probably intended them to. Ideas and accidental hints can add up to become something completely different. (And sometimes more awesome.)
I think this is a really big part of the reason I like fanfiction. I’m not always saying ‘this is what the author intended’. Sometimes the characters have become something completely different in the eyes of the fandom. Of course, I’m not the author — I don’t know whether I’d feel uncomfortable about people writing my characters. But I think that if you put your book out into the world, you’re already offering your characters up to be read. And there are a lot of characters who I love and who I want to read more about.. (Wherever that is, whatever they are doing.)
I do appreciate books that have great technical plotting and writing style, it’s true. But when I read Carry On, I didn’t think it was a technical masterpiece… It wasn’t perfect. I still loved it. (Those issues weren’t even Victor Hugo digressions
I’m looking at you, Waterloo essay). What I enjoyed the most about Carry On was that the characters close to my heart were there, and they were themselves. It made me so ridiculously happy and now I am Never Going To Shut Up About The Mages. 😉
I don’t mind loving a book that isn’t perfect. I loved Carry On because it was Rainbow Rowell, and I was interested in the themes, and it was Simon and Baz and Penny and Agatha. I come to a series for the plot, but I stay for the characters.