Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Bonehunters

I always struggle to finish Steven Erikson's books. Not because they're bad. They're really good. But they're also really long.

I think that these books tend to suffer a little too much from the jumping-around viewpoint that… ah hell, I don't know who popularized it but Martin does it and it pisses me off, Brooks does it and it pisses me off. What I want is twenty pages or so per character. I want some momentum with a character and follow through with it.

I understand (believe me, I understand) that sequencing is not very easy to write. Knowing that a character has to be at a certain point, and a plot point has to already be written in order to keep things clear, I understand that's all important.

I've read, however, that it's important when you're reading, to look at a point when you put the book down. Why did you put it down there? Why didn't you want to keep reading? A lot of the time, I will admit, it's because I have other things that have to get done. I have children, I have a wife, and I have a job. These things mean that I can't just spend all day reading. But there are also a lot of times when I will just put the book down. When I examine my reasons for this, more often than not, I come to the fact that a character's POV has just ended and it's gone back to a character I haven't read about in a long time. I'm not in step with him/her and it takes me a bit of effort to get enthusiastic about this part of the story.

Maybe that's a risk and there are tradeoffs to be made when properly sequencing a story and cutting and pasting bits of story but if this is the case, maybe the requirement is to take a step back and understand that some of those plot points, if not story lines, are too much.

Take this book for example. It's twelve hundred pages. Maybe there's just too much in there. Maybe the scope is too broad.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this book. The characters are very well-written, the humour is my style, the plot is fairly engaging but it flies around from character to character, omitting entire story arcs per book, trying to keep up with everyone. It tends to make the book a little disjointed and, while I like reading it, and I look forward to finishing the book and the series (in a good way, not in a "Thank-God-It's-Over" kind of way), it just takes a long time for me to read these humungous monsters.

No comments: