Saturday, June 09, 2007

Off To A Bad Start

Last year when I took part in the 48 Hour Book Challenge, I read only books that had been recommended to me as magical realism. It was sort of a research weekend, and I had a great time. If I recall correctly, the worst book I read all weekend wasn't all that bad.

This year I'm just using this weekend to try to make some headway on the 30 or 40 unread books I've got stacked up here. Things are not going anywhere near as well.

I started reading at 7 last night, and by twenty of eight I'd already started two books and given up. If I'm going to spend a weekend on a reading binge, the books are going to have to be something I want to read. I don't want to read fantasies that are just a collection of strange names and weird events rather than a real story with a well-developed world. And I believe I've mentioned this before so I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself, but a plot is not a list of random events. The events in a plot must have a causal relationship--A leads to B leads to C and so forth. If I want to deal with random events, I'll stick to my life.

Anyway, the book I finally spent the evening reading was Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, the fifth in the Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo. I read the first book nearly two years ago, and while I wasn't enthralled with it, it held some interest for me.

I think the series' basic premise is interesting. Nine hundred years ago, a red king became the father of ten children, five good and five bad. Some of these offspring are endowed with a power of some kind. The good and bad descendants of this king continue to fight to this very day.

Unfortunately, the good and bad characters are very one-dimensional. And there are a great many characters. And once again, you get characters with funny names and situations that are there pretty much just because they're odd, not because they need to be in the story. This particular volume includes a quite awful banquet scene where all kinds of information is revealed in an improbable way.

Reading it was a chore.

But here's the thing--I've now been exposed to enough of these fakey fantasies to wonder if they aren't part of some kind of little mini-genre that I just don't get. This book received 38 Reader Reviews at Amazon and people seem to like it. The reviews can't all be from the author's mother.

The sixth book in the series was published in this country at the end of May.

Book 1 of 48 Hour Book Challenge: Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, 441 pages

3 comments:

MotherReader said...

"the reviews can't all be from the author's mother."

Gail, you crack me up.

Speaking of which, I talked about Happy Kid to the sixth graders at two schools, and both times it got such a great reaction. At the end, the kids who came up to look at books (most were quickly escorted back to their class, but there were a few stragglers) all gravitated toward HK. I love talking about it. I used your basic into suggestion, set up the first chapter, and read from the first few pages of the second chapter. Gets 'em every time.

gail said...

Wonderful. I love bloggers because they continue to talk about your books after they've reviewed them. A gift that keeps on giving.

Reading Fool said...

Oh, good! Someone else who thinks the Charlie Bone novels are much ado about pretty much nothing (Gee, I wonder who the silent guy who plays the piano is?) and agrees that STORYTIME was ummm...not Bloor's best. By a long shot. A really, really long shot. But you've made me think that maybe I should try to get my hands on LONDON CALLING to see if I think it deserves a place in my library. Initial reviews didn't convince me, but I'm hearing enough from bloggers to give it a chance.

Now I'm off to find out why my feed isn't finding your posts anymore.