Opinions – Everybody Has One

Posted: October 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

Borrowing a theme from my friend and fellow author Ed McNally, I’ve decided to compile a list of one-star reviews of really awesome books.  He recently compiled reviews for the books listed on Daniel S. Burt’s “The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time.”  Ed’s list can be found here  (and while you’re over at Indies Unlimited, you should look around a bit.  Lots of good content over there).

The point of these posts about one-star reviews is simply to illustrate the fact that people have vastly different tastes and opinions and that one person’s opinion should not break or make a writer’s opinion of him or herself (or a reader’s opinion of a writer or book).  That said, here are some real one-star reviews of books that I loved, drawn from internet resources.  The reviews remain the property of the reviewer, blahblahblah.

Note: I did not set out to find reviews with poor grammar, spelling, or punctuation; there’s just a plethora of one-star reviews with such issues.

  1.  The Stand – Stephen King
    I heartily agree with the reviewers who find this book, too long, too dull and too boring. Luckily the bookshops on Khao San Road do trade-ins. Am I the only person in the world to think that Randall Flagg is the most tiresome bad guy ever to appear in print. What is King’s obsession with this guy ? Let’s have more psycho nurses with blow-torches Mr King and less adding another 500 pages of drivel to an already drivel filled book. Riveting, is something I’d rather do than read this again.”
  2. Sandman Slim – Richard Kadrey
    “Gritty doesn’t mean good.  And in this case it might be translated as terrible. I have a few issues with the book, and the first is the characters. Whatshisface (I forget his name and am too lazy to hit a button on my browser) is an entirely forgettable bad-ass who loves cars, violence and drinking. That’s about it. A quest for revenge doesn’t make a person compelling on it’s own, and the added qualities of being allegedly gritty as hell don’t make him any less one dimensional.

    Next is the dialogue. It is written like a eight grade play buy the kid in the back of the class wearing a Slipknot shirt. Pretty bad. the guy does not talk like real people talk, and it only adds to his blandness.

    Lastly, the setting wasn’t anything fun, original, or new. I know it’s splitting hairs, especially when it comes to urban fantasy, but usually you can shove something original in.”

  3. Changes (Book 12 of the Dresden Files) – Jim Butcher
    “This is the book that killed my enjoyment of the Dresden Files.

    It continues the darkening trend seen throughout the series, but accelerates it to maddening, breakneck speeds; in the process, destroying pretty much every one of the touchstones that make up the quirky, pulpy Dresden that I cared about.

    In addition, the book just doesn’t feel well written. Despite the number of “How could he DO that?!” moments, nothing in here is actually new; it’s either cliche, or worse, a specifically Dresden cliche. He’s amped up Dresden’s catchphrases “Stars and Stones!” and “Hells bells!” get quite a workout), and brings in every backup character he can think of, if only to kill them off or to ignore them. The few places where the book surprises, it doesn’t do so with cleverness, but with blunt brutality; it’s not that you never could have guessed it, it’s that you wouldn’t have assumed Jim Butcher would do something so pointlessly cruel, yet boring.

    This is a horrible book in the most pure sense of the world; it evokes a feeling of horror and despair, that something that once was fun and positive to you has been turned into something almost viscerally disgusting.”

  4. Soul Music – Terry Pratchett
    “I was told that this was his best. Perhaps this is true, but I will not be wasting my time reading any of the others. “Cult” writers are often over-rated, yet I cannot understand why apparently intelligent people want to read this trash. Most science fantasy is terrible. Even Tolkien was much more enjoyable when I was 9. “The Silmarillion” is shockingly bad at any age. The only joke I laughed at (and not out loud) was the one about Thelonius Monk. Also, I think that Susan’s character has definite paedophile connotations, and is generally implausible. Watch some bad TV instead and save your money.”
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

    “I read this book when I was young and was disturbed by it. It is not a kid’s book. It is a book by an adult ABOUT children, not FOR children.

    This book paints a very negative picture of children. With the exception of the main character, all of the children are bad and are punished in cruel ways for their faults. Are most children fundementally bad and deserving terrible punishment, at the moment they least expect it? This book suggests it (especially to a child who might be reading it and cannot understand what “social commentary” is yet). This book fits right in with the Omen and Rosemary’s Baby. It is a child-exploitation story.

    I recommend this book to adults who do not like children.”

  6. The Prestige – Christopher Priest

    “Woe betide the person who reads this book looking for a coherent narative. I slogged through this, hoping beyone hope that the ending would make up for endless pretentious pages of diaries & nonsensical plotting and was rewarded with . . . nothing. A guy runs off into the night & the story ends. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

  7. The Time Traveller’s Wife –A udrey Niffenegger

    “I let myself down, and I didn’t have to travel through time to do it. If I could go back in time, I would tap myself on the shoulder and say, “Find another book.” That’s not entirely true. I did take some things from the tale.

    I was so excited to dig into the concept. I couldn’t wait to find out about this love affair which wouldn’t be tamed by time. I was even interested in the concept of being a “close” friend with one’s self. Most of the hiccups readers complain about in this book didn’t faze me.  I believe I set myself up with such a high expectation for Ms. Niffenegger’s execution, perhaps something no one could fulfill. I’ll take the blame for that one.

    However, I put all of the blame on the author for delivering a betraying conclusion. I have no problem with real life over fluffy love, but don’t sell me fluffy for 97% of the book and then bait and switch me.  I was so betrayed and hurt by the ending, I carried the bitterness with me for weeks. You can ask my wife.

    If you are still intrigued to read this story, let me warn you of Ms. Niffenegger’s abuse of one-liners, a cheap reference to 9/11 which had nothing to do with the plot, and ethic characters who portrayed racial stereotypes – such a weak effort. It’s a shame a different author couldn’t have gotten a shot at this plot.”

  8. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

    “This is without a doubt the worst book that has ever been written. I cannot even begin to describe the sappy, stupid, pointless characters and plot. Please do not ever read this book, it is absolutely awful.”

  9. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

    “In a word: Trite. I know that sounds snobby, but come on. Anne is the epitome of a Mary Sue character. Awh, poor thing, she’s too skinny, and her red hair is too unique, and she’s just so quirky! Isn’t she just the perfect little flawed heroine!? Actually, no. She’s obnoxious. Even as a child I couldn’t buy in to this garbage.”

  10. A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

    “I read all kinds of books, and I’m in no way an expert on the fantasy genre. However, I found this book depressing on many levels. All the characters are unlikeable, except for a couple of the children. I guess I really like a good protagonist because I found myself wanting to ROOT for someone, but I just couldn’t. As the author kills of character after character, I discovered that I just didn’t care anymore.

    Also, I have NEVER read a book with so much rape in it, and I really just don’t need those images in my head. At one point, a raiding tribe pillages a community and a group of soldiers are raping a woman from behind while she is bent over a pile of corpses. I should have just put the damn book down at that point, but I was determined to finish it. I wish I hadn’t. Never again George R.R. Martin. People ought to be ashamed to compare this writer to J.R.R. Tolkien. About the only thing they have in common is the R.R.”


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