Recently a good friend on Google + recommended a book she loved. I found it in my library and read it. I was familiar with the author and was fond of a series he had written previously, but I found this book a struggle. The characters were vacuous, the peril was minimal and the abilities of the characters far outweighed the small amount of peril they were in. Anything that happened was foreshadowed and explained to at least two other characters – in full – and then often recounted to another character after the event. Finally, when the battle has been won and the enemy all but defeated, some of the characters go back in time to alter the entire course of events.
I don’t blame my friend for liking the book, however. At another time in my life, I might have found it engaging. I certainly have books that I love which do not bear close examination or literary criticism. While some folks cling to the classics, refusing to part with their dog-eared copy of Jane Eyre, others champion “The Life of Pi” or Paul Coelho’s “The Alchemist” as being inspirational, life changing or simply brilliant.
So, I don’t want to tear down “The Redemption of Althalus” just because it didn’t work for me, but I do want to know – which book would you play your Joker for – the card that says “I don’t have to defend this choice, it’s just brilliant”? And which recommended books have you found disappointing?