Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things Reviewers Say That I Hate

Don't you get tired of reviewers saying the same things over and over about completely different books?
You know, you'll see a new fantasy series, and they'll say, 'It's like The Lord of the Rings!' or, 'No one has made anything this epic since The Lord of the Rings!' But clearly people have made things as 'epic' as The Lord of the Rings since so many books get this remark. And then you read the book, and you think, 'What? This is nothing like The Lord of the Rings. In fact, I like it way more than the Lord of the Rings.  There's no random songs that take up two pages for no apparent reason in this book.'

I mean, since Tolkien created Middle Earth, and since it was the first majorly successful fantasy series, people like to compare other fantasy series to it. And sometimes people steal from it.  They do, it's true, but that doesn't mean it's fantastic. And just because it's a good fantasy series, it doesn't mean it's anything like Tolkien's work.  I mean, they should say WHAT it is that makes the book good, instead of saying 'it's like THIS; the end.' Because when they do that, you can't be sure they actually read it.

Then of course there's the modern popular stories, and people just say, 'It's like TWILIGHT' just to get people who like Twilight to read it. 'This is better than HARRY POTTER,' just because Harry Potter is so ridiculously popular, and the book is, in fact, NOT better than Harry Potter.  I'm sorry, it's not. Everything I've read that had that remark on the back was nowhere near as good as Harry Potter. Like that Lost Years of Merlin series. It was awful. I couldn't get 30 pages into it. Bloody terrible, sappy crap.
And even Harry Potter was compared to other books. Like Narnia. And of course, The Lord of the Rings.  Even though I found Harry Potter to be significantly different from those two series.  They're all fantasy.  There's magic.  That's it.  Tons of books have those characteristics. Maybe if you like one of them, you'll like the others. You could just pick up any random fantasy novel, and there you go. It's just like them!  Only it's not at all!

It's also funny when people compare His Dark Materials to Narnia. I mean, Philip Pullman hates Narnia.  He thinks it's terrible.  He thinks the message is awful. But since they're both fantasy and written for young people, they're JUST LIKE the other!

Then there are certain words that are totally overused. For example, 'compelling.'  'This book is so compelling, I loved it.'  So you had the book, and it was good!  You liked reading it!  That's ALL you said!  You didn't say WHY it was good at all!

Then of course there's 'epic.' Yes, I know I just used that term earlier when I was complaining about The Lord of the Rings. But seriously. Sometimes, a book tells a tale that is considered an epic.  It's a tremendous, ambitious story.  It's long. It's big. But many people will say, 'dude, this is EPIC,' when really they just think it's awesome. Get a new word. Make one up if you can't think of one; I don't care, new words make it more interesting. I really don't think you can use the same word to describe both Spiderman and The Iliad.

I realize that comparing books does give the reader a better understanding about what the book is like, but people just do the same over and over. I mean, I did mention that the last book I read, Girl Stolen, was kind of like some of Caroline B Cooney's books.  But I also pointed out how it was different.  And I told you what the plot was.  So you wouldn't just see it and think, 'Oh, this is JUST LIKE Caroline B Cooney!' Because it's not.  It's a different book.  There are some similarities I noticed, but honestly, there was more to it than that. And really, if you wanted a book that was JUST LIKE another book, why don't you just read the same book again?  The Hobbit, is, in actuality, EXACTLY like The Hobbit.

1 comment:

  1. I think people just compare books exactly when they're too lazy to evaluate individual facets the books have in common, thus making them look ignorant of both works.