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I have finished my annual hate-read of Mercedes' Lackey's latest Herald book[1], and as I'm feeling run down and sick, I want more of the same vague sort of thing. Does anyone have suggestions for unchallenging fluffy pop fantasy in much the same vein? That is available on the Kindle?

1 She's not complaining. I actually paid for the damn thing.

My current complaint about the series...(spoilers within)Read more... )
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Perhaps apropos to my previous post, I just ran across a comment by hapax on the Slacktiverse, to a post about the book Twilight. In part:
I really don't think Meyer's writing is shallow at all. I would instead call it exceptionally "porous"; it is, as many people have pointed out, so lightly sketched that it is very easy for the reader to project their own fantasies, desires, and concerns (or, with some of her critics, their own anxieties and wounds).

Which is why I also can enjoy the TWILIGHT books, even re-reading them with a critical eye, much more than the HUNGER GAMES books. Whatever else Collins' writing may be, it is concrete -- detailed, grounded, comprehensive, in a way that makes it look like solid granite compared to the wispy latticework that is Meyer's style.

Unfortunately, that means when a crack appears -- illogical worldbuilding, an unappealing character, even a niggling inconsistency -- it is much more difficult to ignore or handwave away. It grates on me constantly, to the point that I couldn't even finish the trilogy.
(Unfortunately I can't link directly to the comment - the date/time looks like it ought to, but doesn't. :/ It's Mar 26, 2011 at 09:11 PM.)

That may be part of the Lackey appeal, at least to me. I whine and rail abut the flaws I see, but they don't stop me reading.
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And now for the other thing I've been mulling over in my mind since the quick posts while reading Mercedes Lackey a few days back, and a lot more about the writing than the other one was.

Lackey does do some things very well: inchoate teenage angst, for one thing. That feeling you are all alone in a hostile world that doesn't understand you or recognize you as an individual of worth and feeling ... and then the experience of becoming special, a chosen one, who falls into a group of accepting, welcoming individuals who reassure you and spur you on to do great things. And she's got the trick of tapping directly into the id when she's really trying to do so. *coughVanyelcough*

What she does not do very well, however, is conflict.1

(Keep in mind that I'm mostly referring to the Valdemar books, here, as I'm more familiar with those, although I haven't read them all. And I don't think I've read any of her co-written books, either. At least not published since 1995 or so.)

Her first series were, I think, edited more closely than the later ones, and her tendency to amiably wander down the lanes of daily minutia while ignoring any need for an outside threat reined in.2 But that leads into another thing she does fairly well, which is one of the reasons I periodically pick her books up.3
Read more... )
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I've been thinking about this on and off for days since I posted a few comments about the Mercedes Lackey book I was reading from my iPhone, and then didn't bother to reply to them since I hadn't bothered to turn the computer on and replying on LJ/DW with an iPhone is an exercise in frustration. And I'm not sure I've really got anything coherent to say, and most of it revolves around two different things. :) Which are different enough that I'd rather put them in two different posts, so as not to get one sidetracked by another. And I may even tick off a couple of people with this.

So here goes #1: It really bothered me when a couple of responses to "Mercedes Lackey shouldn't attempt dialect" were to the effect of "Mercedes Lackey shouldn't attempt dialect writing. Fixed that for you!"

I know it was meant as a joke. Unfortunately, I don't find it particularly funny to suggest silencing someone just because you think they write badly, even in jest, and it's certainly not something I believe, for two reasons:

(1) She has an absolute right to write whatever she wants the way she wants it. I don't have to like it - I've called her "Hackey" before - and that's as far as it goes. If that's amended to "She shouldn't be published" - that's another beast entirely, because nobody's got a right to have someone else risk their money on attempting to find a market for their works.

(2) There are an approximate metric fuckton of people out there reading and buying Lackey's works, several of whom read this LJ/DW. Hell, at least one reading this journal who writes in her works -- authorized, no less, not just fanfic. I suspect that the vast majority of her readers see her writing weaknesses and forgive her, because she's supplying something else they enjoy. I've certainly run into people who credit her books with literally saving their lives.*

However, the phrase "Lackey should not be writing" comes across like an elitist dismissal of these people who buy, read, and enjoy those books. I don't think anyone who's said that to me recently meant it that way (although I've known people who definitely meant it that way) ... but that's the hidden baggage packed up in there.



* Mostly in regards to finding the Vanyel trilogy as an outcast gay teen and finding a way out of suicidal depression with the message that you are not alone and you are okay just the way you are. More than one person, yes.**

** Word to the wise: do not complain that an author's writing could be improved to someone who conflates being the Right Book at the Right Time with being a well-written book. I can still feel the scars from that one.

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