Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This book was given to me by some dude who was trying to bang me.
I wish I was kidding.
And now that I've managed to finish reading this monstrosity, I have to wonder whether I should be insulted that he was trying like hell to get with me, because obviously his taste and judgment are questionable. For one thing, he told me this book is good. It isn't. And for another thing, after a conversation we had about the book I'm writing, he said that my book sounds like this book. It doesn't. At all. The only similarity between the two is that they're both futuristic dystopian sci-fi novels.
But I digress.
Where do I even begin in venting my spleen about this ungodly piece of crap? Should I start with the fact that I hated every single character because they were all outrageously annoying and had not one redeeming quality among the lot of them? Or should I start by pointing out that Burgess's writing is juvenile at best, and execrable at worst? And that's being polite. Or maybe I should start by mentioning that reading this book is like being locked in a small room with a dozen mental patients. No, really. Not only are all of these characters completely indecisive and irrational, but they're also entirely emotionally unstable, such that they change thoughts and opinions and moods not just multiple times on each page, but sometimes in the same sentence.
Apparently, in the future, they'll be able to make dog-men and pig-men and whatever the hell else in big Vats-o'-Science, but psychiatric medicine will be completely unheard of.
Look, I get it. Burgess is trying to make a medieval Icelandic saga cool and new and accessible to the next generation of readers. And that would be commendable, except...not like this. Dear god, Mel, not like this. Just because you're writing for teenagers doesn't mean you have to write like you are one. And when none of your characters have matured emotionally past the age of about fifteen, that doesn't make them easier to identify with, it just makes them annoying and unlikeable, and it makes the story hard to read. If I had read this book when I, myself, was fifteen or sixteen, I would have been insulted that this is the sort of garbage meant to appeal to me--a badly-written behemoth full of shitty, unrealistic dialogue, two-dimensional characters, overblown violence, and painfully awkward sex scenes--and I would have chucked the thing in the trash about a quarter of the way through.
I guess I must have gained a bit more patience over the years--not much, mind, just a bit--because I did manage to make it all the way through Bloodtide, although I still think it's a horrendous pile of suck. And while I'm not insulted, as such, and can't even work up the energy to be properly miffed, I am disappointed. I'm disappointed that this is the kind of swill being offered to a new generation of readers. I'm disappointed that all anyone seems to be interested in anymore is pandering to their baser urges, their preoccupation with sex and violence, in order to turn a quick buck. Whatever happened to the young adult books like I used to read? Books that made you think, that made you feel, that changed you? Shouldn't that still be what we strive to offer our young people? Shouldn't we want them to read books that will help them grow into better people? Not this. This is like polishing a turd and calling it art, and then we wonder why this is how we feel about our successors most of the time.
So here's my advice: don't read this book. If you're a teenager, don't read this book. If you're an adult, don't read this book. And if you're an adult, for the love of god, don't get this book for any of the teenagers in your life. Not even if you hate them. There are so many other books that are a better use of time and brain power, that will make you--no matter who you are--better for having read them, and I would be happy to recommend a few of them, if need be. Just please, please, don't read this fucking book. It will hurt your brain and give you the Dumb. No joke.
Kobra Kid, signing off.
[You can't stop the signal.]
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Posted by Kobra Kid at 11:43 AM