Second Chances: Was Giving Authors Another Try Worthwhile?

Hello all, and welcome back!

I realized recently that I’d never really updated you after this post about giving authors second chances after my first book of theirs left me with a bad impression. So I’m going to talk a bit about that today!

Round One Updates

Sarah J. MAAS

I kind of had to give this author two second chances, because here was the first one:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Yeah. So if you’ve read this, you know that it can be agonizingly slow and cheesy until it ramps up in the last hundred pages. The experience of this book was utterly baffling because of that terribly uneven pacing, and I have seen some uneven pacing on this blog, let me tell you.

But the last hundred pages of that book did make me curious what would happen, and everyone said that the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses far outstripped the original, so I picked it up. And that’s when Sarah J. Maas redeemed herself.

A Court of Mist and Fury

Look, I’m going to be real with you. A Court of Mist and Fury still has very cheesy moments and some cringeworthy sex scenes. (Sex scenes can be hard, I know, but these ones read like they came straight out of bad fanfiction.) It introduces an annoying romance trope that could’ve been fine used sparingly and then, of course, applies it all over the place immediately.

But seriously, here’s the thing: the pacing of the book is infinitely better. All of the icked-out concerns I had about the romance in the first book were addressed. Feyre started to actually find her feet and really learn about the world she was in (worldbuilding!). And the ending, although it felt contrived in various ways, will have the third book starting from a really interesting place.

Patrick ness

More Than ThisI’m going to have to give this guy a second-second chance, too. Because I was intrigued by More Than This, but ultimately, it didn’t do much for me. It read like poorly-blended green juice: plenty of stuff that’s good for you, but with absolutely no balance or centre to the taste.

I was initially thinking I’d pick up The Rest of Us Just Live Here, but reviewers I follow are giving it a pretty solid meh. Which is too bad. I like the idea that it’s hard to be the Chosen One’s friend and that these people on the sidelines have their own lives, but I get that it can be very hard to execute that concept. Agents of SHIELD stumbled a lot in its first season while it found its feet about how to make a show about the people who weren’t in the middle of the high-stakes conflict. It’s hard to shift that focus and feel like you’re taking the audience in a meaningful (and not boring) direction.

I’ll probably pick up Release when it’s out, though, because I’m interested in seeing how Ness will handle pacing when a book takes place over the course of one day. I think it’d be very difficult to have the book drag like parts of More Than This did, but…we’ll see.

David levithan

So confession: I still haven’t gotten around to reading another David Levithan book. Which is, I know, a crying shame, because Two Boys Kissing easily made my favourites of 2016.

I have picked one up, though.

Boy Meets BoyI had intended as of my previous post to get Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but I decided my best chance to get back into this author was probably through Boy Meets Boy, which is one of his most important/critically acclaimed books (if not the most). I got that recently, so it’s on my (very huge and ongoing) TBR, and hopefully I’ll be able to get around to it sooner rather than later. I just got it and I have a lot of other reads in mind this month.

I know, I sound so hesitant given that I loved Two Boys Kissing and his quirky adult offering, The Lover’s Dictionary. And I think he makes Will Grayson, Will Grayson way better than it would’ve been otherwise. But I also read three meh to downright dull books he wrote or co-authored, so.

And the Rest

No worries, Leigh Bardugo fans. I do have Six of Crows on my radar for this month.

I still haven’t picked up Three Dark Crowns because I’ve heard wildly mixed reviews, but it’s still on my wishlist. I suspect I’ll get around to this Kendare Blake go-around later in the summer; it’d be convenient to be prepared for One Dark Throne‘s September release if I end up into the series.

As for Veronica Roth and Carve the Mark, that’s…not really happening. I’m okay with that, though, because aside from the reviews concerning racial issues in the book, I’ve read from others that it’s just not that strong an outing.

And Now For Round Two

MidwinterbloodSo when I read Marcus Sedgwick as a young one, I picked up My Swordhand is Singing and I was absolutely unimpressed with it. However, over my (failed) 24 in 48 Readathon, I read Midwinterblood and really liked it. It actually ended up making my favourite YA romances.

Given my awesome experience with Midwinterblood (and my positive experience overall trying Sarah J. Maas’ other series), I definitely want to mark down even more authors for a second try. So here are a few you can hold me accountable for!

 

 

Becky Albertalli

So here’s something I definitely left out of the YA Books I Liked Less Than Everyone Else post: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I do not get the love for this book. I didn’t find it terrible or anything—it definitely had cute moments—but it had some really obvious flaws and didn’t live up to the hype for me. Which was sad, because I wanted to like it.

But I am planning to pick up The Upside of Unrequited. So we’ll see how that goes!

Renée Ahdieh

Y’all remember how I felt about the weird consent issues in The Wrath & The Dawn? (If not, I’ve talked about it more than once.) Welp, I could not get over that to finish that duology, so I never did.

But there was plenty of potential there, especially in this author’s descriptions of setting, so I think I’ll pick up Flame in the Mist.

Claudia Gray

I honestly didn’t really dislike A Thousand Pieces of You, I just…never felt compelled enough to continue. I might eventually, because it was an okay story with a fun sci-fi conceit, but I think at the time, I was put off enough by dealing with all these dang scalene love triangles that I didn’t feel like it, and it hasn’t come up in a big way again. (I haven’t heard the sequels were outstanding.)

I do love sci-fi, though, so I wouldn’t mind giving Defy the Stars a try, especially since I ended up passing on Carve the Mark and not-so-much digging The Diabolic. 

So Is it Worth it?

I guess the jury is still out on whether or not second tries are absolutely necessary. I mean, two positive experiences to one not-great one is not bad in terms of odds, but it’s not exactly a pattern, either. But I’m going to keep this up and get back to you about it!

Are there any authors you’ve tried for the second time lately?

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