The other day I started reading a book because of its amazing cover art. At first, my expectations weren’t exactly high, but that rapidly changed as it drew me further and further in. Had I finally found another book that would make me forget about my passions and responsibilities while I escaped to an amazing new world?
The style of writing made everything feel so vivid and real, and I really liked the main character despite the fact that she felt older than she was supposed to. The story reminded me of a fantasy versions of “Memoirs of a Geisha,” but only with the main character training at night to become essentially a ninja assassin. A totally cool concept if you ask me.
Anyways, I was loving it, but then my love came to a harsh unexpected end a little over a third of the way through. The main character did something completely unexpected, and not in a good way. Then to make matters worse, the villain who I had thought was going to be the ultimate villain, got defeated in a really forgettable manner.
Talk about a let down. Here I had been expecting to read about this ultimate show down where all the main character’s skills and abilities would be put to the test, but instead I got this lame scene where she used none of those skills, almost like the whole first part of the book had been for nothing.
I ended up making my slow way through about half the book, but the love had been lost, and I still felt really betrayed. My other passions and responsibilities became more important once again, and I ended up putting the book down to search for another book.
I might eventually go back to that book again and finish it, I may not. Who knows. Maybe the love will be back for the last half, but for now I do feel that it at least taught me a couple of valuable lessons:
Lesson #1: It is okay to surprise readers and take them down a different story path than they were expecting, but it is not okay to take them down a path that is not as good as the one that had been promised to them.
Lesson #2: If you are building up your story and main character for some sort of big ultimate show down, do not give your readers anything less than that ultimate show down.
So how about you? Read any books lately that have disappointed you? Read any books that surprised you in a good way?