And another thing...

Monday, April 23, 2007

I'm reading another Karen Rose book, one of her earlier ones. While I'm enjoying it, it's not her best work. Her best is her lastest- COUNT TO TEN.

This is another thing I like about Karen's work. She gets better each time out. The blend of romance and suspense is more smoothly integrated. The language/prose is more elegant(?) --that is, there's less segue into romancey-speak phrasing.

The stuff she always did well, she does better with each release, and you can see where she's improved on any weaknesses.

Just another reason I'll be sticking with her for the foreseeable future.

I've lost count of the authors who I read their early works, liked/loved some aspects, noted the weakness, but decided to check out their next offerings despite my quibbles because I thought they would improve. And they didn't.

Book after book, same frigging handicaps. No improvement whatsoever. Or same friggin annoying weaknesses, but different. For example. Same weak characterization but more 'busy' plotting (sorry, can't even claim 'good' plotting, just more stuff happening.) Or same weak-assed characters, but smoother writing. Not necessarily more engaging--most times more 'purplely'--but 'smoother' nonetheless. ugh

Now just to be contrary, there are authors who I wouldn't change a thing on. Weaknesses, shmeaknesses, girlfriend tells a damn good/entertaining story! Who cares about weak characters when the plot goes zipping along with witty/smart dialogue and fantastic sexual tension, etc., But... I probably wouldn't read books by these authors back to back.

Anywho, this was my longwinded way of saying that there's not only enjoyment in the consistent delivery of a certain/quality level of storytelling, there's real pleasure in experiencing an author's growth in skill/craftmanship from book to book.

As you were.
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3 comments:

Jorrie Spencer said...

Yeah, there are those I-don't-care-but-I-love-them writers, usually because of a combo of voice and story.

I can't remember if I tried Karen Rose, or not. I like romantic suspense when I like it. But I'm picky (and not in an objective get-the-story-or-craft-right picky, but more a personal-comfort-zone picky). I like to be scared but not too scared. I don't like be upset. I don't like too much gore. But I like adrenaline. And then bad guys, it's hard to do them right, and suspense usually has them. Then there's integrating the romance and the suspense.

So, I like Suzanne Brockmann and that's all I'm coming up with now. Must try Karen Rose's latest.

Jaye said...

I'll apologize in advance for the typos in this reply. *gg* I'm on the way out the door in a minute.

Jorrie, I'm more "personal-zone-hit-me-just-right-with-author voice" type picky, than I am with craft picky. But I always *notice* if the story/characters/voice isn't working for me, then I'll notice craft even more and it'll tend to be in a negative way (ie, things that aren't working for me, or the author is dropping the ball on, imo). Conversely, if I love the story/voice/characters, I'll get a thrill from noticing all the little things that the author is doing right.

Fer instance, in Linda Howard's recent Nocturne release (which was not a favourite of mine by, story felt truncated. HATED the cliff-hanger ending. All the backstory, and obvious character set-up for the next book in the series got irritating. The heroine was too *angry/grumpy* for me and I felt no sympathy for her. The the hero while classic Linda 'yummilicious alpha', still wasn't quite as developed as he could have been, imo. The villian? meh. Yet.... (and here is where I get back to my point. *gg*)

At the beginning of the book Linda does a lot of exposition. I was on page 21 before I realized there'd been very little dialogue/action and yet she kept me reading through a bunch of backstory/internal musings through her voice and the way she braided together details on setting, physical descriptions and backstory, etc.

*Technically* speaking, in one sense, she was doing an info dump. But it didn't stall the story and it didn't bore, quite the opposite.

I'd suggest reading the first part of this book to any author who's had to deal with critiques on their work that complained about info-dumping. This is the way it's done.

As for rom-suspense, the gore doesn't really bother me. But I have to feel sympathy/empathy for the main characters (h/H) and a fairly decently developed romance subplot/sexual tension will increase my enjoyment ten-fold. It doesn't have to be as much romance as Karen's.

Marcos M. Villatoro's books, for instance, feature an intense attraction between his detective/detective and a reoccurring 'bad guy' (and I do mean bad guy -- columbian drug loard/murderer).

Jaye said...

So I was thinking (always dangerous) that this is the second time I've been critical of of an LH book. Normally when I find fault with a book I talk about generalizations rather than specifics, naming names only if I love the book. I guess it's because LH will always be a favourite even if not everything she writes resonates with me.

Anwho, AAR has a review up that jivves in many ways to my short paragraph above, so I don't feel so guilty now:

http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=6149

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