Tuesday, March 9, 2010
A Dreaded Post...
I really wanted to look forward to posting a review of By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson. After reading so many glowing reviews I had very high hopes. I got the book for Christmas, and decided to not read it right away. I put it further down my to-read list, in hopes of saving it for a time when I could really hunker down and read it through uninterrupted. I expected to savor it, like a long-awaited dessert after a good meal.
Alas, that was not the case.
While Jill's writing is technically competent, I didn't find the story compelling. The plot seemed to creep along. I tired of the constant justifications of the characters for their actions. They seemed to mentally list every consequence before every decision.
Never did I feel submerged in the world, either. Nor did I ever hit a part where I felt I couldn't put the book down, and when it was down, I didn't feel drawn to pick it back up. To be honest, I got close to half-way through and decided not to go back to it at all. I've read many books where the characters' emotions became my emotions, where I forgot I was reading a book and the world around me disappeared as I lost myself in the story. This didn't happen here.
The characters were fairly well developed. I can't say they were flat, but I couldn't connect with them. Vrell especially. OK, go ahead and get your tomatoes ready to throw--I actually found Vrell to be annoying.
Yes, I know, this book has won awards. People talk as though the book is the shining light of the Christian spec-fic community. This review doesn't mean the book doesn't deserve the acclaim it has gotten. It only means I personally didn't love it.
I debated about not posting a review at all. I wanted very much to be able to support a fellow Christian spec-fic writer, and by no means do I want to tear other authors down. We have to be supportive of each other in order to keep the genre alive! But, should I hold back on bad reviews simply because they are books in my genre?
What do you think? Do we have an obligation to only focus on the positives? Or do we allow ourselves to voice our opinions no matter what?