Sometimes You Have to Be Darth Vader

Recently, one of my readers stopped speaking to me.

I didn't know about it until later when everything was okay again. Another one of my readers, when they reached the offending part of CROSSED that had so upset the other reader, threw the book across the room. A third, I'm told, stood up when he reached that portion of the novel and shouted, "Noooo!" at the top of his lungs... in the middle of the night. (I think I owe his wife an apology.) Then there was the reader who sent me an angry and impassioned email, begging me to undo what I had done... if, in fact, I didn't already undo it later in the novel. A few posted things on my Facebook fan page about it.

Of course, they're fine now. Each of the readers I mentioned finished the book and were pleased by what they found at the end, even if it wasn't the ending for which they were hoping (or expecting). And I like to think I held up my end of the writer-reader bargain.

The closest I've ever come to shouting "Nooo!" was on my first read through of Roger Zelanzy's Amber Series. If you haven't read the first five books in the series (there are the best ones, IMHO), you should. They are brilliant urban fantasy written before anyone was calling it that. I won't go into it in detail, but the main character is a very dangerous person from a family of very dangerous persons (a royal family as it so happens) and SPOILER ALERT (skip the the next paragraph if you want to avoid the spoiler): at one point in the series, he gets his eyes burned out by his evil brother, who to all appearances, has won.

If I were ever going to shout "Noooo!", it would have been then. I didn't, of course. I kept reading and reading... and reading. The books are an astonishingly quick read. And Mr. Zelazny gave me the right ending, even if it wasn't the one I expected, because that's the writer's job.

So... how about you? Have you ever shouted at a book, cursed it, or thrown it across the room, only to pick it up again and feel silly for ever doubting the author? If so... wasn't that a cool feeling? :)


Actually I just had a book like that. I tossed it across the room, spooked the cat, who in turn spooked the dog and created a mini free for all. Then I picked th book back up and finished. Only I didn't get a resolution at all. :(
B.E. Sanderson said…
I just finished a book that had one of those moments, but the author pulled it out and everything turned out okay in the end. What I can't stand is when an author does something like that for the shock and never really resolves it satisfactorily. Bums me out every time.

Thanks for the recommendation on the Zelazny series. I haven't read those yet. =o)
Karen said…
Um...I talk to my books regularly... (what does that say about me??)

My son thinks its a howl. I'll just be sitting there reading quietly and then I'll start lecturing the damn characters. Your book, by the way (at the point you're mentioning) got a wicked rant. And yes, I had to walk away from it for a bit - until I couldn't stand not knowing what was going to happen.

The most recent book was Adrian Phoenix's Etched in Bone which had a major event in the first part of the book (which ends on a cliffhanger because of it). I freaked out & had to put it down for the rest of the day.

And I absolutely LOVE it when a book does that for me.
synde said…
yep absolutely.. thrown, cursed, and shouted at a book..funnily enough the same
Anonymous said…
I love this post! Honestly, I specifically go for books that make me feel this way. In fact, a lot of the Leaguers' series evoke these emotions from me - most recently Richelle Mead's Iron Crowned :)
Unknown said…
During said point in your book I was sitting on the couch crying and my husband thought I had lost it, I LOVE books with those kinds of twists and turns.
Anonymous said…
I have done just that. One book, I closed it, cried for 15 minutes and told my best friend the next day I wasn't speaking to her because she didn't warn me. I got over it but I just had not seen it coming and it broke my heart.

Another book, I literally couldn't do anything until I finished the book. I just had to see how it was 'fixed'.

Now that I have some forewarning of such an incident, I really can't wait to get my hands on Crossed.
Totally did that to Double Cross by the League's own Carolyn Crane. Only it was the end of the book, so there was no hope of change, and I didn't so much scream, "NOOOO!!!" as gnash my teeth, speak in tongues, and rock in a corner until the spiders started looking at me funny. I'd still consider it one of the best books I've read in years, so in this case, the reaction is a good one.
Like Saycheese... I put the book down, when to the kitchen sink and cried. Boo Hoo'd for a few minutes then I pounded on my neighbor's door to yell at her for not warning me. She made me a cup of tea. I felt better

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