So I read this book today, I couldn’t put the thing down. The main character was annoying at points, there were things that should have been obvious to various characters, some of them behaved in stupid ways, some things about the world didn’t make sense, or weren’t explored enough for a satisfying conclusion. The final showdown wasn’t as exciting as the build up suggested, and the ending featured an pretty bad example of I-am-oh-so-special-snowflake-literal-princess-goodie-two-shoes who’s inappropriately modest to the point of sickening. And god damn it, she sparkles after the final battle (not Twilight might I add)!
Yet, I missed my bed time, and then my partner’s alarm clock to work, and then the sun came up, and I kept reading, because something compelled me to finish the book. There were some interesting concepts, but not enough for me as a writer to give it 4*, even 3* with the simplistic plot, and things that were obvious from the beginning, seems like too much. But shouldn’t I give it 5* because as a reader it completely held my attention hostage? And it’s not the first time this happened.
Being a Writer & Reader makes things complicated. It’s hard to switch off the internal editor, plotter and character builder. It’s hard no to think about how this or that could have been done better. But every now and then I still enjoy some cheese romance or fantasy story as a Reader, that by all accounts I should not be enjoying. In fact sometimes it’s even hard to pinpoint what among the many flaws of these books was the thing that made me want to know more and keep flipping pages. Sometimes I wonder if it’s waiting to see if it will in the end break the cliches and surprise me after all (usually not). Or maybe the occasional quirky ideas and interesting concepts are enough to make me push on despite the bland romance that is a cause for eye-rolling every few pages…
How do you judge these kinds of works. Do you even admit reading such guilty pleasures? Or are they like a chocolate bar eaten while on a diet – better kept a secret and not discussed in public?