The conversation about reviews and reviewers is tired and boring, with the same things being said over and over, ad nauseam. However--
Lately, as I have taken note of reviewers' casual cruelties, I have noticed a couple of things. And I must get them off my chest.
Those two things are the MOST MADDENING THINGS THAT REVIEWERS SAY. Here they are:
- IT ALL TIED UP TOO NEATLY. Excuse me? Do you have any idea how many novelists get raked over the coals for leaving a single thread hanging or a tiny plot point unresolved? You can be sure that any book where the author has not dotted every I and crossed every T will get criticized for being "unsatisfying" or "unfulfilling" or some other un-word. I drive my authors crazy, reminding them of tiny questions left unanswered that they must answer in the final draft. The whole point of a genre mystery is TO TIE THINGS UP. Anyone who complains about a plot being resolved needs to read more Thomas Pynchon and fewer genre mysteries.
- IT WAS CLEARLY SETTING UP THE SEQUEL (said with disdain). You're kidding, right? Everyone knows that this industry is completely and ridiculously mad about series books, recurring characters, and all that. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with setting up a sequel AS LONG AS the book resolves its key plot and subplot. Character arcs and mini-plots can move from book to book--are, in fact, an expectation of the genre. Yes, we have all read books that resolve nothing and force readers to pick up the sequel if they want to know how it all turns out. Such books are an abomination. But there is nothing wrong with SETTING UP THE SEQUEL as long as the book you are holding in your hands (or reading on your screen) is satisfying in and of itself.