Monday, June 9, 2014

Bookish Pet Peeves

This blog post was partially inspired by Paige's video, but I also toyed with the idea for a while now, I just didn't know what I should name it and what content I should put into it in the end. But now I know how I'm going to do this, so... here you go. What annoys me the most about books, what is going to break the deal for me?


1. Cover Changes

Yeah, I guess everyone can relate and I don't have to do a lenghty explanation for this one. When they change the cover in the middle of the series so you have mismatching ones. Examples: Across The Universe (!!) by Beth Revis, Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa, Curse Workers by Holly Black (where they changed the covers at least 3 times during the trilogy (so for every new book a new cover design...), maybe even 4 times.)

2. Faces/People

I don't want you to tell me how the character looks like, I want to build my own mental image of them. If you  place a girl on the cover, I am assuming that's supposed to be the heroine of the book and what she looks like. Now, this doesn't affect me quite as much, but it still happens sometimes (like with The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, I picture Meghan and Ash as the guy and girl from the cover.) Do I have to list any other examples? If I must ... Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, etc.

3. Inaccuracy

This kind of complements #2, because if you actually decide to put a person on your cover, at least make it accurate. If the person in the book has black hair, but the one on your cover has brown hair, that is not accurate. If your protagonist is Asian, you don't put a Caucasian on the cover, as happened with The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Man, poor Kagawa. All her covers are examples here...). Stop the whitewashing and the inaccuracy, please. 

4. Generic (prom) dress

This also coincides with #2, because this is a double fail for me. If you have a girl on the cover, which is bad enough, and then you put her in some fancy dress and tada, there you have the cover. Even though a girl in a nice evening gown has absolutely nothing to do with the actual book plot. I'd be willing to let The Selection slide, because there it has some meaning, however small, but otherwise... no. Examples: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, Everneath by Brodi Ashton, Fallen by Lauren Kate, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Die for Me by Amy Plum, Soul Screamers by Rachel Vincent, ...

5. Mismatching formats

This goes hand in hand with #1, but I also hate it if I have book series in different formats, i.e. paperback and hardback. I have some series even, like the Blood Red Road and Angelfall series, where I have the same cover designs, but different formats, even though both are paperbacks. How? Well, the height is different. And it pisses me off. I have the same cover designs, both paperback, but they still don't match. This is one of my biggest pet peeves, actually, and I would even rather have mismatching designs than mismatching formats.

6. Font Difference

What? What does that mean? What I mean is, when the author's name is written in a bigger font than the actual book title.

Is it "Richelle Mead" by Gameboard of the Gods? Nobody knows...


1. Fast Relationships

This kind of includes, but is not limited to, insta-love, because there are some exceptions to that. There have been insta-love romances in the past that I've enjoyed, but I think what's even more disastrous than just an instant attraction is when they swear their undying love for each other even though they don't really know each other. This is a huge deal breaker for me and will usually result in me not really liking the book. I am a hopeless romantic, so believe me when I say that I have sympathy for and understand a lot of stuff concerning romance, but this is something even I can't approve of. Examples: Katy/Daemon from Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Shay/Calla from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Anna/Kaidan from Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins, Sam/Grace from Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, River/Violet from Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke, ...

2. No World-building 

I am an enormous fan of great world-building, so I take personal offense in any author who denies me this. I like me some backstory if possible, society and political structure, citizens/inhabitants, geographics (what about other countries? Big cities?) and culture. Now, I know that getting all of these explained in detail is too much to ask for, but I want at least a little. You can leave out geographics or culture if you want, but I want some info on the world. If you don't give any info about the world you chose your novel to take place in, then you could have just as easily have it take place in our modern, normal world and not taken any chances for me to disapprove at all. A big turn-off for me. 

3. Convenience

What I mean with this is when everything is just impossibly convenient for the characters, so that issues can be resolved perfectly fine and without much trouble, which is simply unrealistic and ridiculous. It never works like that, and I want some semblance of a tangible realism in a novel at all times. There is one book that comes to mind right away, and probably always will, when I think about this and that is Goddess by Josephine Angelini. Nope.

4. Black and White Morale

This is something that I picked up from Paige's video (linked above) and something I completely agree with. What is meant by that is that it's unrealistic if a villain is 100% evil or the hero 100% good. I need there to be some complexity to the characters and an internal struggle, some inner darkness in the hero and preferably some goodness in a villain that still binds them to humanity. There is a little bit of both in everyone, I don't believe that there are people out there that have the purest of thoughts, always, and never swear or say anything bad. There just aren't, and there is no clear definition of what is good and what is evil, and I want novels to reflect on that exact gray zone. I want my hero to be able to kill mercilessly and still be the hero, even though he takes others' lives. Because it makes him more real, if he also has some negative sides to him. 

5. Not So Final Deaths

Yes, there have been instances where I prayed that a character wasn't actually dead and where I was relieved to have them back after what seemed to be a fatal end, but generally, I really hate these instances. If you "murder" your character, have the remaining ones grieve for them only to throw them back into the fray later on in a "lol just kidding!" notion ... NO. Do not do it. As much as character deaths might hurt, I'd rather have one final, meaningful death than these shenanigans.

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