When reviewers disagree —

With each other, I mean.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste, like when one reviewer of THE FLOATING ISLANDS prefers Araene, and the next thinks it’s really Trei’s story, and the third says how his favorite part was the interaction between the two cousins (which is exactly what the first three reviews I read said). So I was happy about that, of course, since obviously both characters worked well.

But what if, as Marie Brennen says, “Mileage doesn’t just vary; it hardly seems to have gone over the same road.” ? How to explain that?

Brennan offers a neat idea about one factor that might underlie some of the more flatly contradictory opinions readers sometimes offer about a book.

She says: As I am a fairly reserved person, my characters’ idea of demonstrative floods of emotion may not look like much to the extroverts out there.

She goes on: I, not really being the sort to wave flags when I’m excited or angry or whatever, don’t tend to wave them for my characters, either. Or rather, I do — by my standards of measurement. And maybe if you’re a similar sort of person, then the things I intend to be flags register as such, and voila, you see depth of emotion. But people who are more used to wearing their hearts on their sleeves will only see a faint tick on the psychological seismograph, and think the character is made out of wood.

Doesn’t that sound just so plausible?

Lots of great essays over at Marie’s site — check ’em out.

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