This post started out as a quick response to a few comments in the previous entry, but it grew into something a little more detailed. So even though I really have to get back to the Tanith novella, I figured I'd address it here instead.
Kestrel LeStarre (hi Kestrel!) posted an excerpt from a Good Reads review of Book One- a review that wasn't exactly favourable. Every writer gets all kinds of reviews- some good, some great, some bad, some terrible. It's the business. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. I'll deal with this one in stages.
Disappointing. The title/name and the cover illustration really appealed to me, but the book was generic and unbelievable from the start. I suppose some could be forgiven considering that the intended audience appears to be maybe 11 year olds (?), but I personally don't believe that children's books should be low quality just because they are aimed at children.
I can't find fault with this statement. I mean, I don't exactly AGREE with it, and most of you probably don't either, but the reviewer is merely stating that this isn't his cup of proverbial tea. He doesn't think the writing is as good as it should be. I got a few of these responses to the first book and my reaction was to shrug. Fair enough. That's what they think. I can read back over the series and make a note of where and when and how my writing improved- I am a MUCH better writer now than I was back then- but for every negative statement I received, I got hundreds of positive ones from readers who were willing to forgive any first-book-mistakes and simply dive right in, ready to be swept away on a tsunami of, er, awesomeness.
And hey, how can you disagree too harshly with a guy who appreciates Tom's covers like that?
...oh, and saying "I'm a genius" all the time does not make a character full of "dry wit".
This is very true. The fact that he is full of dry wit makes him full of dry wit. Nicely pointed out.
...oh, and being spunky child full of spunk who sprays spunk everywhere does not mean the child is equivalent to an adult. Children can be clever, creative, work in groups, et cetera but having them physically fight adults 1-on-1 strains credulity.
Ah, now here is the only point he's made that I take issue with. Having a spunky child fight an adult one-on-one does NOT strain credulity. Having a spunky child BEAT an adult one-on-one, however, very much does. It took Valkyrie YEARS to be strong enough to hold her own without the use of magic, and even then I don't think she's ever WON. In Death Bringer, when she's fighting Moore in her house without magic, even though she's had a few years of the best combat training in the world, the fact is she's still a 16 year old girl and he's a grown man. And Val doesn't exactly win that fight. She needs help.
I've always had a problem with YA books that show young teenagers beating adults in a physical brawl. They might get lucky, absolutely. A lucky punch can knock anyone out. But most of the adults they go up against are criminals or villains of some description- men and women who KNOW violence. No amount of martial arts in the world will make that a fair fight. Fair fights, in fact, are ridiculously stupid. Why would you EVER get into a fair fight? If you have to fight you need to WIN- and that means you fight on YOUR terms, not his.
Val has adopted this philosophy because this is my philosophy.
...oh, and not all adults are doofuses.
I'm assuming he's referring to Desmond here, who is very much a doofus- though this statement kind of skips over the fact that Skulduggery, Ghastly, China, Tanith, Bliss and most everyone else except Stephanie/Valkyrie is ALSO an adult, so...
Anyway, what was the point in discussing this here? It's not like this is the only bad review I've ever got. There is one in particular that stands out as being SO unbelievably bad that you get the feeling the reviewer has a personal grudge against me- like he was determined to hate every single thing about the book. But I didn't respond to THAT review. Someone like that is really not worth my time. So why this one?
First of all, the reviewer is not being mean. He doesn't like the book, and the review is quite snarky in its own playful way, but there is not one trace of malice in those words. It's just his opinion, and he not only has a right to HAVE that opinion, but he has a right to SHARE it as well. I'll never give a bad review of any book (apart from maybe books by HUGE writers), because I know how hard it is to get published in the first place and the last thing a writer needs is someone else going "you suck." If I don't like a book I'll simply ignore it. I won't say anything at all about it. But that's me, being in the privileged position that I'm in. Any negative opinion of mine can actually damage someone else's success, so it becomes something more than an opinion. But all this reviewer is doing is letting people know that he didn't respond well to Skulduggery Pleasant.
But again- why am I discussing it here?
Some of you like Twilight. That's fine. I don't like it. Twilight is one of those books I feel I can criticise because nothing I say will effect its success. By now it's untouchable. So... some of you like it. All of you probably know at least a few people who love it. Of course you do.
A few years ago, Stephen King criticised Stephanie Meyer for, you know, not being any good. In return, he got an avalanche of angry responses from Twilight fans.
(I refuse to call them Twihards.)
That level of anger and fury and vitriol is not uncommon on the internet. The internet is the HOME of anger and fury and vitriol. It's where those things live. It's where they spawn and fester and grow. But you see it again and again: one person criticises something that a lot of other people love, and here comes the avalanche. And we're standing by, watching it all happen but not involved one way or the other, and we look at the angry people and we think "Wow. You seriously need to get out more."
The few responses from you guys to this Good Reads review have been wonderful. As I'm writing this, Ivy has just posted another response, and it is just as good-spirited as Georgina's and Beau's and Kristine's (thought Kristine's response DID make me think of Ralph Wiggum from The Simpsons going "Me fail English? That's unpossible!")
You guys are so passionate about Skulduggery and so supportive of me as a writer, and it's moments like these when I realise yet again how lucky I am to have Minions like you. Warm, intelligent, fiery people who won't even be rude to people they strongly disagree with.
You guys rock.