Wednesday, January 7, 2009


It is fairly rare for me to not finish a book. Considering the number of books out there, picking only books that sound interesting still would leave me with more books than I can get to in my life. However, every so often I stumble upon a book that I have trouble finishing. In fact, I have so much trouble finishing them that I start reading other books and leave these books behind indefinitely until there is some motivation to pick them up again.

Currently, I have two books that I have started last year (somewhere in the middle of last year to be more precise) and that are still sitting half-read around my house. The first book is The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn. I picked it up because I enjoyed reading the first 3 books in the Otori series and I expected the 16-years later sequel to be on par with the earlier books. Sadly, despite pretty prose and oriental feel similar to the previous books, I found that I could not connect to the characters, neither old nor new, and with the plot barely moving the book has been sitting half read on my bedside table for a long time now.

The second book I still haven't managed to finish is In Conquest Born by C.S. Friedman. My first introduction to C.S. Friedman was The Coldfire Trilogy, which is a truly fantastic science fiction/fantasy mix with some of my all-time favorite characters. However, In Conquest Born, written about 5 years before the first book of The Coldfire Trilogy is a much thornier read. After a 100-something pages I have just been introduced to the cast and have gone through numerous explanations of the world's complexities and social theories. The ideas are interesting, but the info dump doesn't seem to be slacking off. So far the actual plot could fit on 10 pages of the 100-something I have completed to date. I feel the book actually has potential, but find it hard to bring myself back and feel like I might need another refresher on who is who and that's a bit of a turn off.

In both cases, my main complaint is lack of plot. Yet I have completed books where plot is even less apparent in shorter time. I think the main hook for me while reading the book are the characters. I'll overlook a lot to read about interesting people, but world building/social theories without characters or action to back them up are just not enough.

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