Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Narrowing down the Hugo nominees

The books I really want to read are the rest of the Tomorrow series by Marsden. I’ve read the first two and three of the remaining five have arrived, but not the third in the series, so I’m stuck.

Sigh.

So I’m reading the other two Hugo nominees while I wait! A useful productive activity so I totally don’t need to feel the least bit guilty for reading instead of, say, pulling weeds. Right?

So! I’m liking Myra Grant’s Feed better after starting McDonald’s Dervish House (links below).

Feed pulled me right in, I was instantly attached to the characters and pulled forward by the plot and I had a hard time putting it down, and I definitely put the sequel on my get-to-it-soon mental list.

The Dervish House . . . none of those things. I was thinking about the difference, and I think the big one is characterization and focus. It’s not that McDonald’s book doesn’t have characterization — it does. And it’s got setting in spades, and that usually matters to me, too. The writing is fine — plain, invisible, doesn’t get in the way at all.

I think the problem for me is the great number of viewpoint characters and the extra-quick shifting from one to another. If we were sticking to the kid with the “monkey”? I’d probably be hooked. The woman who’s into acquiring rare, valuable items? Ditto. Any reasonably sympathetic, likable character would do, but there are so many characters!

I read fifty or seventy pages last night and just couldn’t get interested. I was skimming large blocks of print out of a mild desire to see what happened next, and so I quit, because a “mild desire to see what happens next” is not enough reason to spend time reading a book.

So I get why this got nominated, but it’s not for me.

Right now: choice number one — Hundred Thousand Kingdoms; choice number two — Feed; choice number three — Cryoburn.

Next and last of the novels — Blackout, by Connie Willis. I hope I like that better!

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