So I’m in a bit of a quandary today. You see, I finished reading a book last night, and I was left rather disappointed. It was Middle Grade fantasy, and so much of it came across as contrived and stupid. Characters make dumb decisions, the magic is introduced as it’s necessary to advance the plot, there are several (hopefully unintentional) racist sections . . . So what should I do? Should I tell the world what book this is and encourage them to avoid it, or should I bite my tongue and keep silent.
If this book had come up in my writing group, I would have gone in with both guns blazing, saying just what I thought. The plot is contrived and predictable, the characters are flat, the point of view uninspired. But should I–as a hopeful one-day author–be spending effort discouraging people from reading a particular book? Then again, as a librarian, I evaluate books all the time. If I were a children’s librarian, there’s no way I’d pay for this book. And then again (again), if this were a movie, I’d give it my one or two stars out of four (the magic was very original, even if it was rather convenient at times), and move on.
In the end, I think I’m going to bite my tongue. I have my personal opinions, and just like I wouldn’t go blabbing what I think about this person or that person online, I’m not going to be criticizing authors, either. Part of me feels like I’m worrying too much about it–people will pick apart whatever they want, so authors better get used to it. But at the same time, this author is a friend of a friend, and there’s such a thing as courtesy.
So let’s leave it at that. The book was lousy, and it shouldn’t have gotten printed (in my oh-so-valuable estimation). But that’s how it goes sometimes. What do you all think? Should I have identified the book and author by name? Or am I actually (for once) making a tactful decision?
On a positive note, I watched Patriot Games last night while DKC was off groceryizing, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Good action, plausible reactions, nice acting, good plot–a solid three stars. Not as good as Hunt for Red October was (the first of the Jack Ryan movies), but still a great entry in the series.