Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

I stole this from Merin at Read and Reviewed, because it sounded like fun. These are in no particular order.

1. Poor world building – If you’re going to dip your toes in a genre that demands world building, be it supernatural, dystopia, fantasy set in an alternate medieval earth – then go balls out and do it right. Nothing is more frustrating than an author hand-waving over important details of how their world works because they couldn’t be bothered to create them. And even if you do everything else right, this will kill a book for me.

2. Lack of character development. There’s nothing wrong with using a trope as a starting point, but you starting point should not be your ending point. Humans have hopes and fears and quirks and likes and dislikes. If your characters don’t, I don’t care about your book.

3. Books that are stretched to trilogies (or more) when the their isn’t story enough to support it and ultimately you dilute the books as whole as a result. Best example of this for me is The Hunger Games: the first book is fantastic and deserving of all the praise. The sequels, however, never live up to the initial book and honestly feel unnecessary. I will maintain to the bitter end that the first book could have held up as a standalone and that the first book is tarnished by the weaker sequels.

4. Books that are artificially short to stretch them to a sequel. I’ve read at least one or two books this year that were sub 300 pages in length that abruptly ended. It was clearly done to make two books out of one and it’s an insult to buyers to be forced to buy two halves of a book instead of the one.

5. Books that are unedited. I’m looking at you Anne Rice, Stephen King and Laurell K. Hamilton. It’s a familiar tale. An author becomes huge and demands all control over editing and are given it because they make the publishers lots of money. It also results in sub-par work because the author refuses to make changes that would be demanded of a lesser known author.

6.  1st person point of view. There is a time and place for it, but it too often seems to be used as a cheap short cut to making the reader feel emotions.

7. Love triangles in YA novels. Few people truly have them in real life, so why does it seem like 90% of female protagonists in YA novels have them?

8. Having to set aside logic to buy a story. (Illuminate I’m looking at you) Either you failed in your world building or your plot wasn’t strong enough to exist as a long-form story. Go back to the drawing board.

9. Books that have twists that are either given away on the cover and/or can be guessed in two chapters. Not everything has to be a surprise. Sometimes the better book is the one that says “Yeah, we’re going to go there,” and then goes there in an unique or interesting way.

10. Feminism that isn’t time-period appropriate. I am a feminist. I appreciate feminist protagonists, but authors need to keep in mind the period that they are writing in when they go there. A woman protesting marriage as Evil of All Evils in a world that is set in an equivalent of 14th-15th century earth? Bitch please. Women had no rights and owned no property unless they were widows with no male heirs. Marriage was literally their meal ticket, the food on their plate and the shelter over their head. So unless your world specifically allows for women to survive on their own it makes you seem like you’re hopping on the feminist bandwagon. It may not bug some, but it annoys the fuck out of me and is one of the quickest things to pull me out of a novel.

So there you go!


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