The horror of Year One by Nora Roberts

Sebastian and Rain read Year One by Nora Roberts and were horrified to discover she managed to make the end of the world boring.

Sebastian: You forced us to read Year One by Nora Roberts. What do you have to say for yourself?

Rain: I’m so sorry! I honestly thought it was going to be good. She’s so famous, the description was enticing, and it has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with 770 reviews.

Sebastian: I want to explain why it was so bad but I don’t know where to start.

Rain: You could start with the writing.

Sebastian: You thought the writing was bad? Then it must have been dreadful.

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Popular fantasy novels I plan to read

A dozen popular fantasy novels that I plan to read and my rationale for deciding to read them. Sometimes I had good reasons, sometimes not so much.

Last post I promised to talk about the popular fantasy novels that are next on my to-be-read list.

I’m setting out read a string of fantasy novels (perhaps venturing into sci-fi) that have been very popular, because who doesn’t want to read great books. Oh, and hopefully to learn stuff.

Few fantasy novels have as many reviews as the mega-popular general novels I’ve read recently–I was aiming at books with over 10,000 reviews on Amazon–so this time I’m going for books with over 500 reviews.

Okay, Harry Potter and the ASoIaF books (Game of Thrones and its sequels) have a lot more reviews, but I already read those (give or take).

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More mega-popular books I enjoyed reading

A summary of my foray into mega-popular books and what I learned from them.

Some time ago I set out to cleanse my palate by reading a collection of extremely successful books.

Books I read

From my original list I successfully read (links to my reviews):

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner (11,198 reviews). Awful.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (57,762 reviews). Compelling.
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (14,300 reviews). Delightful.
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (43,944 reviews). Depressing.
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (2,876 reviews). Entertaining.

Books I didn’t read

I failed to complete¬†All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (27,246 reviews). Yes, it was a beautiful and poignant book about war and humanity and all that, it just didn’t interest me very much.

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How had I never noticed how few females there are in epic fantasy?

I stumble across Amazon and tally up the number of male and female characters in the blurbs of fantasy novels. The results are less than encouraging.

If you hang out in the writing meadows of Twitter for long enough, you’re bound to run across outrage about the scant and pathetic roles of women in epic fantasy.

Before you start screaming, yes, there are some great female characters in fantasy books. But I’m confident to say (before endeavouring to count) that they’re in the minority.

And not by just a few percentage points.

Given than in real life there’s a very close balance between men and women, it hardly seems fair that men dominate the exciting worlds of sorcerers and dragons.

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A fantasy author asks, who is my audience?

I attempt to find and befriend an audience for my fantasy novels (that don’t yet exist) on Twitter. Dragons may or may not be involved.

I read a lot about writing, and one of the uncomfortable pieces of advice I run into repeatedly is this: no matter what kind of book you write, your audience is not “everyone”.

What do you mean everyone won’t like my book? But it’s going to be awesome (or so the writing elves tell me). How could anyone not like it?

The conversation that finally convinced me of the truth of the advice went something like this:

Hubby: I’ve finished my book and I don’t know what to read next.

Me: Why don’t you read [favourite book that is the most amazingest thing ever that I would marry and eat and wear all at the same time if I could]?

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