Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Reader's Diary #184- Shannon Patrick Sullivan: The Dying Days (up to Chapter 14)

To really dumb down your book review, I suggest beginning with a quote from Skid Row's Sebastian Bach. Wait, make that a paraphrase. In a nutshell, he said that since most of the critics who wrote about their shows weren't metal fans anyway, their thoughts were irrelevant.

While it might be easy to pass off the comment as the arrogant whine of a crap hair metal band, it's not entirely stupid. I don't read a lot of fantasy books, and no doubt my reviews reflect that.

I've been pretty positive about The Dying Days to this point. It hasn't been hard, I've been enjoying the book. Would a true fantasy fan think it's good? Ask one.

Over at the Compulsive Overreader blog, Trudy Morgan-Cole writes "once you're reading fantasy you're already suspending disbelief" and goes on to say that she still had some trouble with some of the more unlikely events. I find myself pondering those as well.

I've been trying to keep an open mind. I admit, I've been known to snicker at the Dungeons and Dragons crowd (and for no other reason than snobbery, I guess). Same goes for fantasy novels. But as I say, I've been trying to keep an open mind. Every book doesn't need to be the CanLit "woman comes to terms with her yuppie Toronto upbringing" story to be good, right?

With my newly open mind, I've accepted people walking through walls, talking cats, and insect people. So why is it then I have trouble with someone reaching into a man's chest and ripping out his heart? Or dialogue like "Nobody talks that way about a friend of mine." My theory is that there's a fine line between being a fantasy novel and being a caricature of a fantasy novel.
If Sullivan was writing a spoof of the genre, events such as these might be okay. However, the rest of the book doesn't feel like a spoof. In fact, I like how unapologetically Sullivan treats the genre. (There is no trace of shame in Christopher's "role-playing" past- in fact, it's considered an asset rather than a nerdy liability). Fortunately, the cartoonish events are few, and I am finding the story page turning.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

I say good for you for delving into genres that don't necessarily appeal to you. I am all too guilty of avoiding those that don't immediately catch my interest. I draw the line at Harlequin Romance, however.

John Mutford said...

I haven't drawn any lines yet. In fact, Newfoundland has a set of romance novels (Atlantic Romances) that I might just give a shot. Not Harlequin, but I'm assuming it's not a far stretch.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You do suffer for your craft, don't you?