Just finished Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis. It’s a very good, lean, tightly-written tale, but just as important it is very interesting, combining super-heroes (villains?) with warlocks that dabble in the dark arts and World War II (something I seem to be developing a thing for, weirdly enough). And speaking of dark arts, it is a dark book. It is grim, but it is war, so I am glad he didn’t pull punches with the story.
But it’s a trilogy, goddamnit. This is only slightly frustrating because I liked it enough to want to keep reading; this would be greatly infuriating if I did not. But slightly is a slippery thing, because frankly, having to wait a year to get part two, and then another, or more, to get to the end of the story, is more than frustrating the more I think about it. Yes, yes, there is some conclusion, but [spoilers] we have one character in denial, one utterly wrecked, and one who is about to get bombed.
I didn’t know it was going to be a trilogy. Not that I went looking to find out. Not that it was suggested on the book, either. I’m not one who grouses about trilogies. I am a devoted and faithful George R. R. Martin fan and would never bemoan his progress. Then again, I went into it knowing it was a trilogy.
It’s not like I won’t pick up his next book. Oh, no — I am invested in this universe he’s created. I guess I’m just craving a single book experience and it feels that in the fantasy genre that is an ever-more fleeting experience, one I am only more likely to find in either science fiction or traditional horror. When I’m reading a trilogy that doesn’t give me enough resolution at the end, I’m still on the hook waiting for those answers.
This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the answers could be provided within a short period of time, like a comic book or television show with a dependable method of delivery like a steady drip in the IV. And I think that as a reader I can finish a book and still be hungry for the next book that the writer will produce without needing a giant fish hook stuck in my cheek that ties to the next one. I want to read a complete piece, something whole, something that I can finish and feel satisfied by and yet one that leaves me looking forward to the next meal that the author offers.
Maybe it’s ’cause I’m trying to learn how to write a complete novel, from beginning to end. Not a series, but a story that more or less stands alone. More because the main story questions are resolved; less because there are enough breadcrumb trails left that the story can pick up somewhere else but without letting the reader feel like I held back half a loaf of bread.
So, yay, Bitter Seeds! Great book! You have taken up real estate in my head. Good job. I look forward to books two and three. No saggy middle book, please. *grin*
(And is it such a good thing, to go so heavy into trilogies? Might that not scare off more casual readers, frustrate them because each book doesn’t promise a completed tale for years outward? Yes, by all means, I understand catering the die-hards who like series. They are dependable, a significant portion of your bread and butter. But keep in mind, the mainstream comic book industry has been catering to the die-hards for years to an ever decreasing number of readers. We need to grow the industry, not winnow it down. But, anyways, rant/mumbling.)
Next books are two stand-alones, though. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips and White Bird in a Blizzard by Laura Kasischke. And, going back over through my own (newly acquired) copy of Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Instead of the mad read-through when I borrowed it through inter-library loan, this time I am taking a slow approach to it, week-by-week, as though I was taking a class and using it as my text book. The group exercises will be a little tough, heh, but I’ll soldier on!