Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesdays - Total Turn off's

The Broke and The Bookish hosted a Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks back with a topic of what books would make you not pick up a book, this weeks is a twist on that topic... What would turn you off a book you were reading and make you want to put it down, and probably not pick it up again.

In my old age I've become less patient, so my list is probably going to sound quite harsh. I just don't have time in my life to waste on not very well written plot devices, badly drawn characters etc...

Love Triangles - I've seen this on a few other lists, and can only agree.  Particularly when it's not needed in the story and has been so obviously shoe horned in where it doesn't really fit.

Questionable Points of View - where there are multiple narrators who have nothing to add to the story. In one book I read a couple of years ago it was a dog.  Seriously.  I love dogs, but no.

Jumping around in time apparently randomly - Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn't.  In The Time Traveller's Wife which you would expect to jump around a bit it was fine, as it was pivotal to the story and mostly you were following Clare's timeline.  In The Night Circus I can't see the point really, and I think this is the main reason I am struggling to finish it a year after I started it.

Mills and Boon style couples - The big powerful rich handsome guy wooing the sweet virginal pretty unassuming submissive and poor woman.  Urgh!  I think as a woman I object to the simplification of female romantic characters.  They don't have to be like that at all, give me Eve Dallas any day of the week!

You're running out of pages and there's no way the story can be wrapped up in time - Sadly it's too late to put the book down with this one...  The book you are reading has no chance to complete all it's plot lines, and so you know one of two things will happen...
  1. you're going to have to invest in a series when you weren't expecting to, or
  2. all the plot lines converge and resolve in an unlikely fashion, leaving you rather unsatisfied overall.

Characters die without hardly a word mentioned - Many will probably know which book I am talking about.  I don't have a problem with main characters that I've come to care about being killed off, but do it right!  For heavens sake don't be running around a city and then suddenly say 'Where's X?' 'Oh, him?  He died back there!'  WTF? Seriously it was like the book was intended for another edit that didn't happen.  Also 'Yes, I started a revolution for my sister and then she died anyway, so I'm going to live in a state of shock for the rest of my life'.  Please!

Super-Perfect Characters - All the characters are super rich/pretty/successful/funny/charming blah blah blah. It gets boring when everyone is good at everything, when all your characters are white, with perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect skin.  Not a blemish, bad hair day or disability among them!

Unlikely ridiculous plot twists - Like Bobby emerging from the shower and Pam realises she's dreamt the last year or so.  W.T.F.?  Yeah I know my example is from TV, but you get my drift.

All consuming Love to the exclusion of everything else - this bugs me in real life, so you can imagine I HATE it in books.  A girl gets a guy and suddenly nothing else matters, she ceases to be a person and becomes a half person, only complete when with her man.  She forgets her friends, her career and loses her independence and spirit.  No, the fire in her belly she gets when he smiles/winks/breathes is NOT a substitute for a fire in her spirit!  This, but especially when it's instalove!  Funnily enough this doesn't seem to happen to male characters (or men in real life).

Bad Language/Grammar - I'm not talking about profanity.  I mean incomplete staccato sentences, text speak, 'dis' instead of 'this' etc etc...  c'mon!  I know people talk like that sometimes, but they just sound stupid.  Authors - don't make your characters sound dumb, unless they are meant to be, in which case do your research and treat them with some respect, they won't speak in text speak!

I thought this would be a difficult list, but I've reached ten and feel like I'm only just getting started!


  1. Excellent list. I also had a hard time finishing the Night Circus and was put off/bored by all the time switching. I take it you are talkin about Mockingjay re: characters dying with barely a word mentioned and if so I could not agree more. That was absurd. I thought some of the deaths in Deathly Hallows were a little gratuitous as well but not nearly as bad as Mockingjay.

    Anyway, found you on the TTT list thingy and am a new follower. See my TTT here if you're interested!

  2. I felt that way about the death of a certain character in Mockingjay. He was getting to be pretty important in the series, and he died in like one paragraph and is mentioned once later on. I felt a little cheated about the whole thing. I like it when the first book leaves some questions dangling, but yeah, too may is annoying. Great list!

  3. If you are talking about the death I am thinking of, as well as the other commenters, I had the same reaction. Like, what, did I miss something? How did that happen? I felt so betrayed. :(

  4. thanks for all the comments, Yes it was Mockingjay, I too was very disappointed. Up to that point I was loving the series, but it really tainted the whole series, which is a real shame. I hope they movie adaptation handles things better.