Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

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Postby djn » Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:25 pm UTC

Regarding Accelerando: The ending was actually sort of calm. You get a few characters that has been around since the start, and a few new ones, and then they more or less settle things. Combined with the feeling that the technological development has more or less stopped, it's almost a "happily forever after", with a promise of something interesting they can spend their days on after the book ends.

The parts leading up to that were rather messy, though.


And agreed on the Rama series. That went downhill fast.

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Postby Marbas » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:01 am UTC

Necropower!

The book I Am The Messenger has one of the most terrible endings that I have ever encountered. What started off as a promising story about doing good for your fellow man and breaking out of a dead end no hope life eventually turned into the teenager's introduction to postmodernism.

I mean seriously...what the fuck?!?
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Postby podbaydoor » Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:52 am UTC

The Bourne Ultimatum.

Yes.

I read that series. Bourne Supremacy is a much better book, I think.
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Postby Jesse » Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:40 am UTC

How could you be disappointed in the Bourne Ultimatum?!

It is an action/thriller that consistently attacks the motivations of the main character. That he's doing it not because it's right, but because he's obsessed. It has a fantastic plot, Ludlum writes it brilliantly and alongside the first two it is my favourite action/thriller ever written.

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Postby Aetre » Sun Sep 02, 2007 1:23 pm UTC

Stranger In A Strange Land - Heinlein. Considering how my friends and the sci-fi community hyped this one up before I read it, I was expecting a much better book. Now all I get is, "Wait. HOW could you not like it?!" Well... Sorry, but it's really just not that great a story. It's sexist, preachy, and there's no plot after the halfway point, so it just drags on being sexist and preachy, with no redeeming plot value, for about two hundred pages. That, and it's a lesson to all authors that you should never, ever, ever overuse a non-neutral word. Because it tends to get annoying as hell by the end. Grok?

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Postby podbaydoor » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:16 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:How could you be disappointed in the Bourne Ultimatum?!

It is an action/thriller that consistently attacks the motivations of the main character. That he's doing it not because it's right, but because he's obsessed. It has a fantastic plot, Ludlum writes it brilliantly and alongside the first two it is my favourite action/thriller ever written.


Well, all right, I confess that overall I like all three. (Though I disagree that Ludlum writes prose brilliantly - can be quite clumsy and overwrought.) For some reason Ultimatum just felt too disjointed to me, and Marie was especially annoying in this one. For me, Supremacy was much tighter, faster, satisfying. I flew through Supremacy, but had to wade through Ultimatum.
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Postby Jesse » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:58 pm UTC

Those are fair enough points. And I don't think that Ludlum is a great writer of prose, maybe I should have said 'tells' instead of 'writes'.

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Postby podbaydoor » Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:47 am UTC

He does spin a very good yarn. Kind of like my opinion of JK Rowling, except Jason Bourne would kick the shit out of Harry Potter any day. And Ludlum does a better job with characterization.
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Postby Fudge » Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:32 am UTC

Nosforit wrote:
SpitValve wrote:The Rama series. Just finished the fourth book today. Lots of interesting stuff happen throughout the books, but when it reveals at the end what the aliens are all about, it turns out to be pretty silly really.

I'll second this. Truly anti-climatic. A.C.C. seems to just brush over the really interesting things with the aliens refusing to say, instead of investing the effort to think something plausible up.


BTW, it's thanks to the Rama series that I really properly learned English and got interested in reading. I've got a lot to thank it for.

Yeah. I got a bit tense as I approached the final 100 pages, wondering how they're going to explain everything.

They really don't.
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Postby b.i.o » Wed Sep 05, 2007 12:42 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:
Jesster wrote:How could you be disappointed in the Bourne Ultimatum?!

It is an action/thriller that consistently attacks the motivations of the main character. That he's doing it not because it's right, but because he's obsessed. It has a fantastic plot, Ludlum writes it brilliantly and alongside the first two it is my favourite action/thriller ever written.


Well, all right, I confess that overall I like all three. (Though I disagree that Ludlum writes prose brilliantly - can be quite clumsy and overwrought.) For some reason Ultimatum just felt too disjointed to me, and Marie was especially annoying in this one. For me, Supremacy was much tighter, faster, satisfying. I flew through Supremacy, but had to wade through Ultimatum.


I read all three a while ago, and I didn't think they were anything special. It's one of the rare cases where I think the movies were better than the books...even (and maybe because) if the movies were only very very loosely based on the books.

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Postby Jesse » Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:14 pm UTC

The movies weren't really at all based on the books. They just kind of took the Bourne character and went a completely different route. And in all my years of reading I've yet to find a series of action books where you are often forced to doubt the main characters motivations and morality.

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Postby rec » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:56 am UTC

At the moment, anything by Adam Roberts. Starts off real cool, gets insanely boring in the middle, then sums the whole thing up and explains it in the last 4 paragraphs.

Basically, crap !

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Postby SpitValve » Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am UTC

rec wrote:At the moment, anything by Adam Roberts. Starts off real cool, gets insanely boring in the middle, then sums the whole thing up and explains it in the last 4 paragraphs.

Basically, crap !


Sounds like a lot of Arthur C Clarke books.

Except that Sir Arthur tends to pull it off a lot of the time...

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Postby Nyarlathotep » Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:12 pm UTC

Riverworld.

Specifically, The Magic Labyrinth.

Like a lot of series, the first one, To Your Scattered Bodies Go, was fucking FANTASTIC. Brilliant plot, interesting characterization, evidence of thorough reaserch, great pacing, it was fantastic.

The Fabulous Riverboat wasn't as good, but I forgave it as it was the second book and also has Sam Clemens. My only issue is that Farmer couldn't write Clemens very well, he just wasn't witty enough. then again, who CAN be witty like Mark Twain?

... then came Dark Design.

Urgh. SNORE. It was racist and sexist and Jill Gulbirra or whatever the fuck her name was remained alive for far more chapters than she should have been. I don't even understand the point of her damn character except for Farmer to express why he hated femminists. The ONLY good thing about that whole book was Piscator, and they killed him. Furthermore, one of the most interesting concepts of the first book, the resurrections, went away. I know he did it to increase tension, but it -didn't-, it just made everything more boring.

But I persisted. "Maybe," I thought, "Maybe in the next book it'll be better! Resolution! Yay!"

Nope.

The characters felt even flatter in this one. He just failed to write these figures in an interesting way. And kept killing off the interesting ones. Again, trying to build tension and... failing. And then at last, FINALLY, Our Heroes get to the Great Grail and FINALLY find out what the HELL is going on and...

...
And it's the very thing I guessed since Dark Design. Since the first three chapters of Dark Design. No revelation. no NOTHING. Just the characters, being stupid. Only WORSE, becuase the ACTUAL REASON that this WHOLE DAMN PLANET was created is stupefyingly idiotic.

spoiler wrote:"BTW GUYZ UR SOULS R ARTIFISHUL LULZ. EVER1 IS. AND U NEEDS ENLITENMENT LULZ"


I knew about the enlightenment, but the latter part felt SO artificial, SO trite, so... ugh! I wanted to stab the author. I felt like I'd just read all these pages for -nothing.-

In short, I should have just left it at To Your Scattered Bodies.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby joshdrilling » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:38 am UTC

On the Road!

I didn't expect it to be good, it was just bad. "Blah blah blah, look at my friends, Dean is so kewl. I'm not, blah blah blah."

I do have a strange desire to live in Middle America now though. I wonder if that's Kerouac's doing.

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Angelene » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:44 am UTC

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, I'd heard such great things, but as much as I could appreciate the eloquent prose, and the occasional appearance of wit, the book was about 300 pages too long for me, there was no closure in the end, lots of open endings, and just an entirely unsatisfying experience.

As an aside, I have to say I loved A Heartbreaking Work, but I've a soft spot for Eggers, anyway.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Geekthras » Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:45 am UTC

The Abolition of Man by CS Lewis

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby xndrew » Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:06 pm UTC

Catcher In The Rye.

Though I did rather enjoy Franny and Zooey, which I guess doesn't make much sense.

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby no-genius » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:52 am UTC

Hunters of Dune. Gaaaaah!!!!

having said that, I was disappointed during too. It's like, ok plot, characters I am interested in (even thought I'd have to read the crappy prequels for it to make about any sense to me) - just a shame they wrote it.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Joeldi » Fri Oct 05, 2007 8:03 am UTC

Brave New World, although that wasn't so much due to bad writing, but just the fact that I couldn't understand what the fuck John was so whiney about.

RE: "The Messenger" (It got changed to that for some reason) At the time of reading, I wasn't disapointed, but now that you mention it, you're right, that ending did suck balls.

2001: I hadn't seen the movie, so I only knew there was some evil computer involved. Everything that happened after HAL was disassembled left me with a constant wtf.
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Re:

Postby grim4593 » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:46 am UTC

CreemyNougat wrote:
Hammer wrote:The Dark Tower series.

Ack! I'm a bit late to the thread, but any particular reason that's free of spoilers?

Well, personally I loved the entire series up until the last couple hundred pages of the 7th book. So much had happened, and it had so much momentum that when it finally came time for everything to end, it was just hollow. The ending was so "bleh" that it made me feel that I should have just stopped reading it and kept the illusion of greatness.

Just read it and you will discover what I mean.

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Malice » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:59 am UTC

The problem with the ending to the Dark Tower is that over the course of this very long (and excellent) series, King has been building and building to this climax--to arriving at, and discovering the nature of the Dark Tower itself. And then, at the end, he runs into the reveal problem.

King described this problem in terms of horror fiction in his (excellent) book, Danse Macabre. The problem is: an audience is watching a horror movie. They begin to get scared because of the monster behind the door in front of them. The door opens, and it's a 10-foot bug! They scream, but there's that little voice of relief, saying, "Thank god it's only a 10-foot bug. I can deal with that. Good thing it wasn't a 100-foot bug." If you make it a 100-foot bug, they're glad it wasn't a 1000-foot bug. There's always that problem of, you can never quite exceed the imagination of your audience.

So for literally thirty years, King has been telling us, "There's a big Dark Tower at the end of this story and I'm not telling you what's inside." For thirty years, readers have pondered.

Then we finally get there, and at that point there's really no way for King to end the story satisfactorily (think of Tolkein, who sort of goes too far and drags out his ending, clearing up every little detail--something people felt quite keenly in the movie).
What King attempts to do is to make a wheel, such that in the tower is the build-up to the tower which houses the build-up to the tower, so and so forth, ad infinitum. It's something of an endrun, and a valiant and ingenius attempt; but it doesn't quite work, because in essence we wanted something more, something new, and he gave us what we had already read.
(I'm trying to be kinda vague here to avoid spoiling...)
It would probably be impossible to exceed or even meet our expectations; but we still wish he had, and so the ending carries that feeling of disappointment.

However, the series remains probably the best fantasy epic since Lord of the Rings, and that's not exactly small praise. It's definitely worth reading.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Crazy Eddie » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:04 pm UTC

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

First half: ex-soldier writer guy gets harassed and chased around a space station and the moon by mysterious bad guys while on his honeymoon, and keeps his chin up and makes witty comments and has adventures and stuff. I loved the part where Our Hero brings a banged up, nearly non-functional piece of crap spaceship down on the moon. Anyway, it's a really good, entertaining tale, until...

Second half: he gets rescued by time travelers from the future and from just about every alternate timeline Heinlein's ever written, and from there Heinlein just throws out statements and descriptions without stopping to think if they'll make all that much sense or be the least bit believable. There's some crap about the "World As Myth" that lets Heinlein insert fictional characters (i.e., characters created and written about by his other, "real" characters) into the story. Apparently, his wife is an agent sent back in time to go fetch him so they can talk him into joining the "Time Corps" and go back in time to steal an ancient supercomputer, but Lazarus Long makes an ass of himself and they spend pages and pages and pages arguing over whether he should join up or even whether he has the right to be told what they need the supercomputer for and why he should join up and go steal it. And Andy Libby was brought back from the dead or the past or whatever, only as a woman this time for no real reason. And then at the end our hero goes on the mission and gets trapped and he's doomed and surrounded and all the bad guys are about to go in and kill him and his wife. Except maybe not, because they'll win on some other timeline or something. Oh, and Lazarus Long is his real dad even though he's from another timeline because in the middle of protecting the integrity of the timelines and not letting the bad guys screw with them, he impregnated a woman and left a whole chain of descendants in that timeline that weren't supposed to be there. Except that his wife went to go fetch Lazarus Long's son back out of the timeline so that made everything better.

Heinlein did the same thing with To Sail Beyond The Sunset - put an entertaining story and witty commentary in the first half of a book and fill the second half with utter crap. Also, according to Heinlein, the rhythm method is utterly, 100% reliable, at least for Lazarus's mom and every last one of her daughters.

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Gofyr » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:43 am UTC

Kingmaker Kingbreaker Pt. 2 - Awakened Mage (And to an extent, Innocent Mage)

After the first book was many, many pages of introduction and little actual real story, I expected the second to be an epic quest of some sort. I was so disappointed. If you've read up to where the heroes are just approaching the main antagonist with around ten pages of the book left, you feel a little cheated after a whole two books of character interaction and little else.

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby aetherson » Tue Oct 30, 2007 10:23 pm UTC

The Dark Tower Series: Yes to what Malice said.

The Rama books: I'm glad I only ever read the first one. I enjoyed the fact that the ship was utterly alien and nothing was resolved in any sensible way.

Stranger in a Strange Land: I was utterly disapointed in the second half of that book. Heinlein wasn't that preachy in his other books.
Spoiler:
and come on, the human "Old Ones" are Angels but have no memory of the past or the future? Gee didn't see that coming.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein ended abruptly too. I enjoyed the book at the time. I'm still glad I read it. But the more I think back on the characters the more I notice a trend with Heinlein's other books. He can't write a female character, no matter how strong and dynamic she starts out to be, that doesn't end up being a 1950's housewife...

Anything by Dan Brown. Yes. I read the Da Vinci Code. Kind of entertaining in the same way that mindless action movies are fun. Then I read Angels and Demons. Same exact plot. I mean, you could turn to a page in one book, and almost that same exact page in the other book would have the same plot point...

HP7: Neville is the most interesting character in the series and is only talked about briefly in the last book. Other than that, i'm just glad it's over.
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Re:

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Thu Nov 01, 2007 6:05 am UTC

Narsil wrote:-Harry Fucking Potter and the God Damned Deathly Fucking Hallows
there i said it


Agreed wholeheartedly. I could have ignored the Never Ending Camping Trip, but the Epilogue just killed it dead. If I could just un-read the Epilogue, I'd be slightly happier.

Children of Dune is another. I really should have just stopped at Dune and been perfectly content with one great book.

Blood and Gold by Anne Rice... I wish I could not only un-read it, but make the woman un-write that piece of tripe. (Yes, I know everything Rice writes is garbage, but I was young! I was stupid! I got hooked!)
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby BoomFrog » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:10 am UTC

Ok, I haven't read the last harry potter yet. Should I seriously just not read the epilogue?
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:26 pm UTC

BoomFrog wrote:Ok, I haven't read the last harry potter yet. Should I seriously just not read the epilogue?


Yes. Stop before the epilogue and all will be well.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby MotorToad » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:10 pm UTC

I've been disappointed by a bunch of books, but one author really surprised me. I'm a huge fan of mystery novels and shows, I have Nero Wolfe on DVD, the entire Poirot series in high quality .mpeg, I've seen and read every Sherlock Holmes story of which I'm aware. Oddly, I'd never rad an Agatha Christie novel until recently. I can't remember which it was, but I couldn't stand it. It was all dialog, written in a very feminine style... like the text form of a soap opera. Really disappointing.

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Re: Re:

Postby bookgrunt » Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:05 am UTC

I have to completely agree with Children of Dune.

So. Horribly. Disappointing. Does not exist in my universe.

The Earth's Children series - awesome idea, horrible, horrible execution. I think I got to the third book before I realized that I was reading a thinly veiled excuse for sexy time (which, believe it or not, was very, very boring.) They were no where near what I was told they would be.

The Inheritance of Loss

Freakin gag me.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby jynjin » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:13 am UTC

Siddhartha. I tried to get past the incessant talking about themselves in third person. Jynjin could not bring herself to that point of enlightenment. Jynjin says, "Meh."

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby JayDee » Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:38 am UTC

Mona Lisa Overdrive By William Gibson. Every book of his I've read (apart from Neuromancer) has had the same random collection of characters who all stumble together by the end. Or stumble around fairly close to each other, at least. I can forgive that (hell, when I read Virtual Light I rather enjoyed it) especially if it was published as a serial. But the ending? I read the last chapter (or epilogue if it was that) and realised I'd read it before - not the book, I must have checked out the last page in a shop. Out of context it was a crap ending, in context it was worse.

I'm not sure if I'll bother reading All Tomorrow's Parties now.

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Malice » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:15 am UTC

MotorToad wrote:Oddly, I'd never rad an Agatha Christie novel until recently. I can't remember which it was, but I couldn't stand it. It was all dialog, written in a very feminine style... like the text form of a soap opera. Really disappointing.


Uhhh... are you sure that was a novel? She wrote a play, too...

The novels I've read of hers (about half a dozen) have all been quite good, and nothing like what you describe.

Go back and read "Murder on the Orient Express". It's famous for a reason.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby pointfivenine » Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:32 am UTC

Extacy club :
Starts out really good, halfway through takes a turn for the weird.
Good read though.
What?

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Nath » Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:04 pm UTC

aetherson wrote:The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Heinlein ended abruptly too. I enjoyed the book at the time. I'm still glad I read it. But the more I think back on the characters the more I notice a trend with Heinlein's other books. He can't write a female character, no matter how strong and dynamic she starts out to be, that doesn't end up being a 1950's housewife...

That's true of most famous science fiction authors. The last SF novel I read was The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and it was certainly true there.

JayDee wrote:Mona Lisa Overdrive By William Gibson. Every book of his I've read (apart from Neuromancer) has had the same random collection of characters who all stumble together by the end. Or stumble around fairly close to each other, at least.

Neuromancer is the only William Gibson book I've read. I expected to like it, but it turned out to be quite disappointing. I'm sure those ideas were quite original at the time, but they've all been copied to death since. Also, Gibson seemed so obsessed with being stylish that he forgot little things like characterization and storytelling.

I've also been underwhelmed by the Philip K Dick books I've read. He comes up with great premises for stories, gets me nicely interested in the plot, and then gives me an ending that makes me wonder whether he just lost interest in the book.

EDIT: Thinking about it some more, the only Philip K Dick book I can remember reading is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. I was pretty sure I'd read others, but can't seem to remember what they were. I wonder if I'm thinking of someone else...

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby MotorToad » Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:49 pm UTC

Malice wrote:
MotorToad wrote:Oddly, I'd never rad an Agatha Christie novel until recently. I can't remember which it was, but I couldn't stand it. It was all dialog, written in a very feminine style... like the text form of a soap opera. Really disappointing.


Uhhh... are you sure that was a novel? She wrote a play, too...

The novels I've read of hers (about half a dozen) have all been quite good, and nothing like what you describe.

Go back and read "Murder on the Orient Express". It's famous for a reason.

It was definitely a novel, though it was long enough ago that I've no idea which. I'll try Orient Express, though, thanks.

It a bit funny, thinking about it. I'm reading Red Rabbit now and I'm having the opposite problem. Clancy fills pages at a time with propaganda and revisionist history with no dialog. Maybe it's not exactly the opposite problem, as most of the dialog is tripe and repetitive, too. I think the main problem with this book is that it wasn't, as far as I can tell, edited.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Gaz » Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:02 am UTC

Majority of Dean Koontz books. He's one of my favourite writers - but his stories suck.
All the latest Matthew Reilly books. I loved Ice Station but his new ones are pretty awful.

King described this problem in terms of horror fiction in his (excellent) book, Danse Macabre.


Danse Macabre is brilliant. Eventually I must go hunt down the Essential Clive Barker to see what his perceptions are.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby parkaboy » Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:51 pm UTC

Of Human Bondage disappointed me not because it was a bad book but because it was a great one and it made me SO ANGRY. at several points i found myself trying to strangle the book because of the characters and what they did. that book completely drained me and i dont ever want to read it again.
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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby jdharper » Sun Dec 09, 2007 10:10 pm UTC

The one book that ever really made me angry was The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. Most of the book is incredible, its fascinating. It's a great look at what a world with decent nanotechnology and free energy might look like, with Victorian-era trimmings. I loved it.

Until the ending. He completely botched the ending. It was as if he had gotten tired of the work and decided:
Spoiler:
"and there was a war and Nell saves the day because she's just so clever and they all lived happily ever after goodbye."

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Re: Books that you're disappointed in after having finished.

Postby Toeofdoom » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:03 am UTC

The younger gods by david eddings. Terrible ending in my opinion.

Spoiler:
Oh yeah, so it's the end, we won! But we aren't happy with winning, and we have the power to go back in time, which we knew all along, so lets go back and fix everything. Cue happy ending.

So wait, what? None of that shit I read in the last 4 whole books even happened??? Yeah, it kinda pisses me off.
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