Thanks so much to Chelsea and Vampire Book Club for hosting me today! This is one of my favorite blogs to visit and Chelsea, you rock!!!
We’ve all had that moment. We lower the book from our line of vision, pull back our arm, and prepare to launch the paperback into the next room. Or yard. Or lake/ocean/body of water. The MC is too stupid to live! WHY did she do that?!? How could she SAY that?!? What was she thinking?!? Are you kidding me? Didn’t you learn your lesson in the last book? Don’t you know better than to do/say/think that? ARGH!!!!
And we’ve probably all had this moment: You’re sitting in front of the TV, watching a movie or TV show with your spouse, kids, sister, whatever, and they say, “That was stupid! Why did she do that?” And you answer, “Because there wouldn’t be a movie otherwise.” Now, don’t get me wrong. There are definitely instances where the MC’s decision is truly just so idiotic, so outlandish, that tossing the book across the living room is the ONLY option. However, feeling frustrated by a character’s choices can be a good thing. It means that the author is evoking an emotional response in the reader. And ultimately, that’s the author’s goal.
As a reader, I never want to be left with a “meh” feeling after finishing a book. The best stories are the ones readers talk about long after they’ve read the last word. For better or worse. I’ve had conversations with my sister that lasted a week or longer over a book that I didn’t enjoy. And likewise, I’ve raved about books I loved until both of us were sick of talking about it. Of course, we’d then proceed to talk about it some more. So I guess we weren’t that sick of it.
I recently read a series that was giving me a serious case of The Book Throws. I was so frustrated with the heroine’s decisions because her choices weren’t the choices I would have made. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and give her a sound shake while I yelled, “What in the hell are you doing?” But no matter how much I wanted to slap her, I had to admit that her decisions, no matter how poor I thought they were, made the story compelling.
So often, we put ourselves in the shoes of the heroine. We live the story while we’re reading it, which is why a character’s choices can be so aggravating. We forget that that this character has a mind all her own, and the way she feels is not how we feel, and the way she perceives her world is not the way we perceive it. We read paranormal/urban fantasy for the escape. We want to lose ourselves in a world we can only imagine with larger than life heroes and heroines. But at the heart of those kick-ass UF stories, the author is still conveying what the human experience is all about: living life, making mistakes, and learning from them. And in some cases, learning nothing at all.
Ultimately, these are the books that stick with us. Whether you throw them, hide them in the back of the bookshelf, stuff them in the freezer, or under the couch cushions, you can’t escape that intense emotional response. Like I said, I’d much rather read a book that I had to hide in my freezer (remember the episode of Friends where Joey puts Little Women in the freezer? Hehe) than one I won’t even remember a week from today.
How do you feel about frustrating characters? Have you ever chucked a book across the room? Or stuffed it in your winter clothes drawer so you never have to lay eyes on it again?
Amanda, in her general awesomeness, has offered up one copy of Blood Before Sunrise to a VBC reader. (Or you can just buy it here, as the cool kids do.) Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter, get a bonus entry for answer Amanda’s questions above in the comments. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only and closes July 15.
Also, if you’re not sure about the Shaede Assassin series, just take a look at the VBC review of Shaedes of Gray.