Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Book Challenge #2 and #3

I'm going to have to pick up the reading pace to make my 30 book goal.  We read one chapter of a book to my oldest son almost every night, and I count those books, as well as the books I read for myself.  Last night we finished his book, and I finished the one I was reading this morning.

#2 How to Break a Dragon's Heart, by Cressida Cowell.  This is book 8 of the How to Train Your Dragon series.  I've really enjoyed reading this series with my son.  This wasn't my favorite of them though.  It felt a bit rushed and disjointed to me.  The next one comes out this July (it is already out in Great Britain, but we can wait until July when it is published in the US).

I'm curious to see which book my son will want to start next.  For Christmas, we bought him the first book in The Mysterious Benedict Society, and the first of the Percy Jackson books.

#3 The Gathering Storm, by Kate Elliott.  This is book 5 of the Crown of Stars series.  I inadvertently skipped book 4.  Skipping book 4 has confirmed something I've thought about long fantasy series for a while.  I think the authors write for their first audience - the readers who will be waiting months or years between books being published.  Because of the time delay between books, each new book has to recap enough of the previous book to reorient the readers.  I've thought that these recaps probably provided enough information that you could skip entire books, and understand the story just fine.  This was definitely true here. I was amused by the different pacing in this book as compared with the third book in the series.  I almost stopped reading the series after that book, as it was just so slow.  The entire book covers something like 6 months, tops.  And covers those months in tedious slowness.  Book 5 covers several YEARS.  And we don't get a ton of details - the point of view characters will catch glimpses of other characters, and through these glimpses we get 3-4 months worth of action.  Very odd.  At least the story is moving along!

Now, to be fair, I don't pay much attention to the details in the plot lines, and while I find reading various theories regarding the details in The Wheel of Time and Game of Thrones series, I enjoy the books separately from the intricate plots.  If I miss a small detail in book 3 that ends up being hugely relevant in book 7, I don't much care.  It makes re-reads much more interesting to me too.  Once I know how things are going to turn out, I enjoy re-reading and paying attention to the little details, and love finding new significance to details overlooked the first time.  But in series that are 6 or more books long, there are simply too many details to give them all importance in my mind, and keep them in memory on the chance that it will be the key to figuring out a mystery 3 or 4 books later.   This is, I suppose, why I missed the big reveal of who killed Asmodean until I read about it on Dragonmount later.  Oh well.

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