Thursday, June 17, 2010

Old standbys can grow stale.

We all have our go-to authors, the ones whose books we wait for and pick up regularly because we've come to love the characters in their series or just the writing style that makes opening the book feel like falling into a comfortable old chair with a warm cuppa. But when does that familiarity start to breed disconent if not contempt? I recently picked up books by two of my go-tos with mixed results. I'd been avoiding them recently because I was starting become a bit impatient with them.

Rita Mae Brown:

While this is the same Rita Mae Brown who wrote Rubyfruit Jungle and caused a good deal of gasping and fainting among the old Southern elite, I've always been drawn to the mysteries that are "co-authored" by her tabby cat, SneakyPie. The first several books were awesome. I enjoyed reading every moment of them even if she sometimes left me rolling my eyes over her handling of gay men. (Yes, I am aware of her sexual orientation.) In the early years they were generally the villains, though she did back away from this later.

Her main character, Harry, lost interest for me when Brown stopped playing about with her sexual ambiguity and singleness. In the end Brown reunited Harry with her errant husband who had learned his lesson. Once Harry became the happy little homemaker again, the series went flat. She wrote out or minimized characters that added pizzaz and sparkle like Miranda and Boom-Boom.

I recently picked up Cat of the Century. I wouldn't say my love has returned, but I definitely would say that this book redeemed Harry a great deal in my eyes and I'm once again likely to pick up a Mrs. Murphy mystery.

Sherrilyn Kenyon:

I guess it might be surprising that the most awaited Kenyon book, Acheron, was responsible for making me back away. It was overblown and not pleasant to read. The first two thirds that told of Acheron's history were a stark abandonment of the style that made Kenyon, Kenyon. The final third, the Acheron gets his girl part, was the only part of this book that held any redemption and is the only part I will ever read again.

I picked up Bad Moon Rising simply because No Mercy is coming out soon and I had been avoiding the Fang-Aimee book. Just not interested in it, but I was looking forward to the story of Dev and Samia. The book wasn't as bad as I feared. It was exactly that comfortable Kenyon feeling that I'd missed in Acheron. I'm glad that's back and my passsion for her Dark-Hunter world has returned.

I also had a pleasant surprise when I picked up Kenyon's YA offering The Chronicles of Nick: Infinity. I'd been wary since Nick was the character I was most disappointed in through the series. He began as this indearing smart-ass kid and ended up in the adult version of the series as a whiny idiot who just needs to be b-slapped and told to man-up. But this series has brought the adult readers back to the Nick we loved and introduces YA readers to a a cast of very cool characters they will come to identify with and enjoy.
I've often credited Kenyon with reminding me that after years of required reading in school that reading was supposed to be fun. I really think the Chronicles of Nick will bring that home to a new generation of readers.
Up next for me is a little non-fiction. American Conspiracies by Jesse Ventura. I anticipate a few good giggles and eye rolls.


Molly Daniels said...

I didn't know Jesse Ventura had written a book! Must check it out:)

JacquƩline Roth said...

I think he's written others. This is a bit of non-fic (loosely) where he's examining several "Conspiracies" in American history.