Have you ever waited on pins and needles to get your hands on a book that you have heard great reviews about, only to get the book and find it severely lacking? I am suffering from that lacking feeling right now with my current read Hunted by Amelia Elias. Don't get me wrong, the writing is not bad and the story is interesting enough, but for some reason I'm finding this book to be a total bore.
Recently I have had similar reactions to other books that I couldn't wait to get my hands on. For instance, Atlantis Rising: I was really looking forward to reading the first installment in the Poseidon Series. The reviews were good, the message board talk about them was a buzz, so naturally the book was too enticing to resist. Too bad I didn't resist, I found the book a complete and total disappointment.
The same thing happened with Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward. I was looking forward to V's story and when I finally got LU in my hot little hands I wanted to hurl it across the room. Not that it was a bad book, it wasn't. Ward knows how to deliver in her writing and her male heros are some of the best characters I've ever read, the book just wasn't what I expected. Given Ward's first four books were so good I was sure that Lover Unbound would live up to, if not surpass the previous books in the series.
Unfortunately it did not.
Instead of being riveted by the character of Vishous my attention was drawn to the secondary characters in the story. John and Phury were the attention grabbers while V just fell flat. After anticipating his book he read like a third string character, not the lead and his heroine, Jane, was just as flat.
Lisa Kleypas, Mine Till Midnight had the same effect that Lover Unbound had on me. While the writing was up to par, Kleypas' take on the story was off. Ameila and Cam were the leads of the story but towards the middle of the book I found myself more interested in Win (Amelia's sister) and Merripen (the Rom who lived with them) than with Cam and Amelia's relationship.
Needless to say I was reluctant to start yet another highly raved about book, positive that I would end up disappointed. Still, last night I put Hunted back on the shelf (unfinished) and reached for Nalini Singh's, Slave to Sensation. *Sigh*. It is really, really good. I'm only halfway in but I am already immersed in the characters, the world and the story. Luck of the draw, I guess.
My ramblings about this have brought me to these questions:
Do we, as readers, set ourselves up for disappointment? I mean, the authors of these books we love are only human, they are prone to mistakes like the rest of us, they are entitled to not knock it out of the park with each book. Yet we expect them to. Are we setting our demands on them too high? Are we putting authors on too extreme a pedestal and becoming unfairly upset with them when they do not meet or exceed our expectations? Do we ask too much of them?
I ask with this in mind: Knowing how acclaimed Singh's work is, knowing that her first three books in the Changeling series are loved and recommended by many readers. Will there come a time when Singh puts out a book that is a disappointment for her readers only because all of her work up until that point was awesome? Will her readers, like many of Ward's did, become angry at her for not meeting their expectations? Being that Nalini is only human I say yes that time will come. Will it be warranted? Probably not but it is most likely inevitable.