Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

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One day I will finish a book... (Survivors, book #43: Songs of Distant Earth)

Two books: One I only got a chapter or two into, so it doesn't count towards the 50/year. The second I reached the halfway point, so that one counts.

It feels like I'm in a downward spiral with my books. I can't remember the last one I liked or finished. With each of the books below, I picked it because I thought it would break that trend.

Survivors by Erin Hunter.

A couple years ago I read books by this same "author" (pen name for a collection of writers). The Warrior Cats books. Very simple plots, but they were about talking cats and the characters/worldbuilding was interesting enough, so I read maybe 20 of them. Eventually the plots started going in a cycle (the same exact plot happened with each new generation of cats), so I gave up on the series. When I saw the author-group came out with a new series about talking dogs, I thought it would be just the thing to break my series of bad books. I knew it wouldn't be wonderful writing or challenging at all, but I thought it would be entertaining enough.

Unfortunately I hated it. I didn't buy the dogs as dogs. I didn't like the worldbuilding. The plot made no sense: the world ended in a giant earthquake (a "big growl"), and all humans ("longpaws") were now dead. But there was only one single body in a whole entire city... I understand it's a book for young people, but let's be reasonable here. The dogs should NOT be starving in the city, they should be feasting on the dead bodies. (The dogs were all previously feral, so had no emotional ties to people.)

The writing felt lazy. "Longpaws" for humans was the best term they used (and I use "best" loosely). The Sun Dog lived in the sky, the Earth Dog lived in the ground, every name was -Dog. Yes they're dogs, but it would have been easy to be more creative.

I forced myself through a couple chapters before giving up.

A string of young adult books had failed me, so I decided to go as far in the opposite direction as I could for my next one:

The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke.
Book #43.

I had not read anything by him before, but I knew he wrote very sciencey science fiction. Great! I love learning things while I read! And I keep meaning to get back to reading more scifi and less fantasy! Plus it seemed like I really should read something from him, since he's such a Big Name.

I did like Songs a lot at first. The first quarter of the book was nicely science-heavy, but soon enough that fell away and was replaced by nothing but characters I felt nothing for and relationships I didn't care about.

I did something I've never done before: I went to wiki to see if the plot would change again. I usually hate spoilers, but I didn't want to force myself through reading the second half of the book if I wouldn't enjoy it. It sounded like it would be more of the same, so I gave up on it.

I had been doing so well in the beginning of the year -- I was certain I'd reach 50 well before the end of it, but now it's not looking so good. I keep telling myself my count really isn't important; I'm posting here instead of in 50bookchallenge because I'm not officially taking the challenge. Two months left to read seven books, so basically a book a week. That's very unlikely to happen. :/
Tags: 2013 books, book review, book: songs of distant earth, book: survivors
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