What Do You Do When A Favorite Author Disappoints You?

It’s raining today and I’m not particularly focused–thinking about my poor Daisy who got the double whammy of a thunderstorm and vet visit all in one day.  She’s due up for her annual teeth cleaning and exam and I felt about 1 foot tall leaving her there.  So I don’t have anything genius to offer you today.  Not that I have genius to offer you most days, actually.  But between my new tactic to stay on my healthy eating regimen at the Mexican place (that would be weighing immediately before going–the shame lasts through dinner, long enough to make me behave and avoid the chip basket) and my mullings as a reader, I figure the reader stuff would be more interesting.

I have this author I love.  I shan’t name her since I’m about to discuss some less flattering aspects of her work.  She’s got several series, is multi-published and she’s on my auto-buy list (no, not la Nora).  Currently I’m listening to the latest in a very long running series.  I have loved this series, pounced on every new release.  The book before this was frigging AWESOME.

This book.  Not so much.

For one, it feels less about the couple it’s supposed to be about than its predecessors.  They are supposed to be the main plot and they feel like a subplot.  And in general, it feels poorly edited in comparison to the prior books in the series. I say this not because there are glaring typographical errors or anything (like I’d even notice those in audio), but because of stylistic things that weren’t caught.  Like LUDICROUS overuse of the word “However.”  Seriously.  How often do you really need to use this in fiction that doesn’t have a lawyer talking?  And how every single time this author chooses to use “his own” or “her own” when it would sound simpler (and more varied) to just use his and hers, in which the “own” is implied.  And dear, freaking  GOD, how many times do we need to be reminded of the hero and heroine’s hair and eye color?  Because I think it’s brought up every time they are together.

There are isolated things I’m enjoying.  Cameos by the characters I’ve come to love from the other books.  Flashes of the humor that endeared this author to me in the first place.  But by and large, I’m just not enjoying this.  I’m going to finish it because I bought it and also because I don’t want to miss any details in the metaplot setup for the series because obviously she’s setting up epic things to come, but this just does not meet the expectations she created with all her prior work.

It has the scent of a book that she wasn’t excited to write.  Something she was contractually bound to deliver and just slogged through.  I’ve been there.  I know that feeling.  And the idea of being there scares me because I don’t want to do this to my readers.  I don’t want to deliver a story that does not live up to the expectations I’ve built with my previous work.  It’s one of the reasons (among many) that I haven’t been working on my Mirus stuff.  If that’s not where my passion is, it’s not what I need to be writing.  And while the readers who love that world want more, they want more GOOD stories, not half-assed, I didn’t really feel like writing this, but I oughtta stories.  I figure they’ll forgive me for that.

So what do you do when you have a favorite author who disappoints you?  Is it a one shot and done deal?  Do you give them a few more books and hope this was a one-off bad one?

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16 comments

  1. If it’s a long running series, it’s bound to happen. From the way you describe the book, it doesn’t sound like a bad story, just not up to the level you’re used to with this author. I’d definitely give the next few books a go before totally giving up.

  2. I uh…don’t even have anything helpful to offer here. I think I have some sort of syndrome. If I like the first book, I will read all the rest of them, whether that’s 2 or 5 or 20. I know most people think that’s nuts, but I can’t help it. I have a psychotic NEEEEEED to know what happens..in the rest of the book and the rest of the series. I’ve never consciously decided to stop reading a book.

    Trying to look at it from a different point of view, I understand everyone’s time and money is valuable, so I’d definitely give it another shot but maybe feel out some opinions from friends on the next installment to see if others are disappointed or if the author is back to the standards she set in the beginning.

  3. After a coupler of disappointments I quit buying and use the library. Then I just stop reading that series. If the problems continues I just stop reading them all together

  4. You got your friendly reminder that authors are human 😉 total bummer, though. I’ve experienced this with a few authors. After several books, for what ever reason, they write one on autopilot. Sometimes it’s a one time thing and sometimes it continues.
    Totally understand why you kept reading, I’m one of those who has to finish a book once I start. I chop it up to some strange loyalty to the written word.
    Lauren gives some good advice. Maybe check out the reviews from this book and see which reviewers share your opinion and then check their reviews on the next before you purchase.

  5. I was reading a series one time, and the books kept getting more and more bizarre until I finally had to stop. But, obviously, I hung in there for awhile. I’m usually not disappointed by authors that I’ve enjoyed in the past. I think I would definitely give him or her another chance if there was just one book I was disappointed in. If the next book was just as bad, I would probably have to give the rest of them a pass and go to something else.

  6. Maybe the author was so sick of the series that the book was handed off to a ghost writer. But I feel your pain. I’m kind of obligated to write a review of a favorite novelist’s latest, but I can’t. It’s impeccably written, as usual, but the story just doesn’t work. It’s a foray into a genre that’s new for this writer, and I can understand the desire to branch out, but . . . I don’t want to be the first to give it three stars and a mediocre review, but in the almost five months it’s been out, it hasn’t received any others. It’s worse than being disappointed just as a reader.

  7. I actually had that happen just recently and was sooooo disappointed!!! But, I will give the author another chance. Because they are good and typically produce work that I like. Just a shame….

  8. I have a fav author who has degenerated from a tight, breathtaking series to 900 pages of porn. Literally. 900 pages. No story. No plot. Just sex (very well-written sex, but still).

    I’m not a prude, own plenty of books that would make a sailor blush even, but it’s not enough. The author writes another series that started off with major sex and it’s good…because it still has a plot.

    I gave up reading them long ago, but I still read the customer reviews for each new book, holding out hope that the author will someday find the word PLOT in the dictionary & go “Oh, yeah, that’s what I forgot!”

  9. It depends on how much I like the author, what I like about the author, and what it is that’s disappointing me about the book.

    For example, there’s one author whose books I collect. Her most recent few in one series have been “Meh” for me, but they’re still enjoyable. I just don’t like them nearly as much as I like some other books. So her stuff still stays on my “to-read” list, though that series has dropped off my “to-buy” list.

    Or take Orson Scott Card. Some of his books, I very much enjoy. Others I consider “Meh.” But no matter my enjoyment level, I always find his books interesting (and thought-provoking), he stays on my “buy” list.

    But there’s another author who I mainly read to begin with due to one of the side characters. I’ve never liked the narrator much. And in the last book I read in that series, the narrator did something so stupid (stupider than her usual brand of idiocy), connected to the main thing I dislike about her…and as much as I want to find out what happens with that one side character, I’ve not picked up the series since. However, due to it being a narrator issue, I’ll still read her other stuff, and one of her other series is on my auto-buy list.

    Yet another author, though, I couldn’t follow her character development or logic, and something was evidently lost somewhere in the editing of the book. (For example, the MC starts acting in a certain odd way before the event that was later said to be the reason she acted in that certain odd way.) Though her characters themselves are interesting, and I’ve enjoyed some short stories I’ve happened across by her (in anthologies featuring other authors I like), I’m reluctant to try another novel from her.

  10. What bothers me quite often is when a quality author just continues a series ad infinitum because it’s bringing in the dough, not because they have anything more to say about the characters. Plots become thin, dialogue becomes predictable, and the writing feels formulaic. I expect that in those cases that the author is receiving pressure from the publisher to churn out another bestseller in the series, but it doesn’t thrill me as a reader.

    1. I think that’s exactly why a lot of these sorts of disappointments occur. Because of publisher pressure either to produce another best seller or because the publisher suddenly demands a shorter turnaround time or whatever. I get that it’s a business, but it’s a longer term view to make sure that the book is as good as its predecessors.

  11. I just had this happen with an author I adore and I was so upset at her ending – it was dreadful. Will I buy her next book? Of course. Will I be pissed off if she does it again. YES!

  12. It depends entirely on why the author disappointed me. I was thoroughly disappointed in Charlaine Harris’s last Sookie Stackhouse novel (Dead Reckoning, not the most recent). It felt like she was turning the characters into the ones in True Blood, taking away who they were for the previous 10 books (which I bought pre-order every time). I haven’t bought Deadlocked yet, though I might borrow it from the library at some point. And George R.R. Martin abandoned his fans in favor of fame, so he no longer gets my money or my time. With Jim Butcher, there have been a couple books that made me go “Meh” but he’s awesome and he stays true to his characters, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt every time and try the next one. And he usually pulls through.

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