Monday 6 April 2009

It's Just the Beetroot

Bear with me.

In the UK there's a tv programme called Masterchef, which features amateur cooks competing against one another. One of the first tests they take part in is an invention test, where all they have to do is create a dish from everyday ingredients. For the most part this goes off okay. But every so often it goes cringe-makingly wrong. A contestant will make a perfect spaghetti carbonara, panic and add soy sauce at the last minute. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time. Then, there's the things that seem like they shouldn't work - putting beetroot in chocolate cake - but they do. (I admit here that I can't cook, so those examples are pulled from my terrible memory).

So...back to books.

We get to hear about the 'soy sauce' all the time. The urban fantasy marketed as paranormal romance where the hero dies at the end. The contemporary romance that morphs into a time travel. The series that changes genre halfway through.

But what about the beetroot? These are books that you often find have 50% five star Amazon reviews and 50% one star.

And why am I thinking about this? Lol.

Currently I'm reading In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix and I've kind of slipped into beetroot territory. The protagonist Dante is a maker and can create and recreate the world around him. So far in the series the strings suspending my disbelief have held firm. But as I come to the last part of this book I struggle a little bit to hold onto them. But hold onto them I do.

In Twilight Fall by Lynn Viehl, the sixth (and penultimate book) in the Darkyn series, we are suddenly introduced to a new type of supernatural. Previous to this, the conflict between the Darkyn and Brethren was compelling enough, that I didn't feel I was missing anything by not having other supernatural creatures in the story. Again I feel my belief in the world being pushed to the limit but Ms. Viehl manages to hold onto my attention as a reader and keep me with the story.

What is it about some writers that they can take you to the edge and you trust them, even as they are dangling you over the cliff?


Tracy said...

I soooo hate it when this happens. I'm not sure if the author feels that it's missing something and they get a wild hair or if they were planning it all along. I'm thinking wild hair.

Then there are the series that need something extra but never get it. Just can't win, can I? lol

Sarai said...

I read the first in this series and now I'm wondering about the second one...
I really liked Dante in the first one and Heather grew on me. *sigh* I hear ya about disbelief though

LesleyW said...

Tracy - I think a lot of the time it's a wild hair rather than a planned event. Maybe that's the difference between the authors you can take the journey with and the ones that lose you as a reader.

Sarai - I think if you liked the first book then you will like the second. I'll be posting my review this week. There's a lot more on the Fallen in the second book and I'm very excited to see where Adrian Phoenix is going to take the story. Book 3 is due in 2010. There's just one point where I thought oh she's losing me...but then she didn't. :)

DBReynolds said...

Well, for the record beet root in a chocolate cake would make it more moist. LOL

I had a similar "it's just the beetroot" experience with Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, when she ended book 4? maybe on a mountain top with the manifestation of an Earth Mother goddess. And my question at the time was ... did she ALWAYS intend it to come to this, or did it just occur to her?

I have to say I loved In The Blood, however. And I was sooooo glad it wasn't a cliffhanger ending. I was terrified Dante was going to get stolen away by Lilith or one of the other Fallen and leave Heather still searching for him. I was so glad that didn't happen.

LesleyW said...

DB - yes beetroot in chocolate cake can be a good thing, even though it seems like it shouldn't be. :) Not that I've ever tried it. lol

I did love In The Blood - review hopefully coming soon. And I have got to get back on track with the Weather Warden series.