Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sharon Green's The Blending: Not as good the second time around

Posted by Simcha 4:34 PM, under | No comments

Do you ever reread a book that you once enjoyed only to discover that it was not as good as you remember it being?

About five years ago,on a visit to America, I had picked up at a library book sale the first three books in Sharon Green's Blending series. I really enjoyed the books and regretted not having bought the last two books in the series as well. Now, years later, as I was purchasing books for my initial store inventory, I made sure to include this series so that I could finally finish it. Since it has been so long since I last read them, I had to go back and reread the first books again. But something seems to have happened to the books since I last read them and I now can barely get through them because the writing is so awful. I can't imagine how it is that I had previously enjoyed them.

The storyline is actually interesting and follows five variously different individuals, each of whom is powerful in a separate aspect of magic, and who are brought together for the purpose of having their magical abilities tested, as required by law. Each of them must past the tests given to them while dealing with personal issues from their pasts. And, of course, this all ties into a prophecy (what's a fantasy without a prophecy?), and the characters need to work together to discover what the true purpose of the testing is.

As I mentioned, the story is interesting and despite the poor writing, I've been trudging on through the series because I really do want to find out what happens in the end. There is something compelling about the books that keeps me reading even as I cringe over the pages .

One of the biggest problems is the dialogue. It's simply laughable. Ms. Green seems to underestimate the reader's ability to grasp the ideas that she want to convey and so she has her characters spell them out in the most inane manner. One example:

    "Is that sherbet," she asked...."How delightful. Now my palate will be cleared for the next course." That was the purpose of sherbet, of course, and Clarion was delighted to see that she knew it.

It's a good thing that the writer spelled all this out for us, otherwise we would have never have figured out how cultured this character was, which was proven by her knowledge of the purpose of sherbet.

But if you are into literary drinking games, these books are a great choice. Take a shot of your favorite alcoholic beverage each time the word "amused" comes up, and you will be swaying on your feet in no time. Everyone is either smiling in amusement, laughing in amusement, secretly amused, openly amused and generally amused in any manner that amusement is possible. I think someone needs to buy Ms. Green a thesaurus.

I'm thinking of just skipping to the end of the last book so that I can find out what happens without having to plow through three and half more books. I'm also trying to figure out how I can successfully sell books that I have so openly disparaged. Quite a quandary...


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