blogging, books, Fantasy fiction, television, Young Adult fiction

Changing Your Mind About Books (and TV shows)

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The title is pretty self-explanatory. It is a big deal because: we are book bloggers, or bookdragons, we read blogs about authors/novels we love because we are fans, and it can be anywhere from frustrating to soul-crushing when we change our minds about something we previously had intense love for.

And this does happen, and trust me, it is heartbreaking. By nature, we book dragons tend to be rather passionate about our reads, and what fandoms we devote our lives — ahem, our free time to. So, when we receive a major blow from an author) we thought we could trust with our fragile hearts and minds, there is a lot of hell to pay — and unfortunately, it’s mostly by us, the reader.

Before I go any further, I do want to say that I understand authors can decide to make whatever changes to their work that they want to. They do not have to take their readers’ hopes and dreams into account. (But it would be nice…)

So, here are some upcoming or recent releases that I have very mixed feelings about. (And later I’m going to mention TV shows, because, hey, related.)

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)

The Dire King (Jackaby #4): This truly breaks my bookdragon heart. To say I loved books 1 and 2 is an understatement. But by the time I got through the 3rd in this series, I felt so…wet and floppy inside. Yeah, I know, couldn’t I come up with a better metaphor? It just felt…contrived to me. The grand conspiracy theory felt rushed, forced, and not even necessary to the story. It really deflated my enthusiasm for the whole thing. I’ve already decided not to even read the concluding novel, to save what’s left of my extra-sensitive Vulcan heart…

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Number one, knowing this is a play inspired by the 7 novels that J.K. Rowling wrote, and not an actual sequel by said creator herself, tipped me off that it would probably not be my thing. Now, I can appreciate that Ms. Rowling thought it was fine, she didn’t consider this envisioning of her work to be wrong or “non-canon,” so, cool for her. And cool for the fans who did enjoy it. But for me it shall be a no. I prefer to stay “canon.”

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab: Here’s why I am apprehensive about this one — I have not read the first and second of this series! And am apparently the last person in the world who has not. It’s not even that I wouldn’t like to read it; I just feel a little…nervous, because this trilogy has a massive appeal, and…what if I don’t like it? I will feel like the biggest loser of fantasy fandoms. So, it’s a bit painful…

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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman: This one I actually feel guilty about, too! Because I like Neil Gaiman; every time I see he has a new publication out (juvenile or adult), I give it a try, because I love his style, and the way his narrators often feel so personable, like you’re having a conversation with a friend. But I am just…not feeling a retelling of Norse mythology right now. I’m certainly not writing this one off, I may give it a go in the future, but these days…eh…

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater: I am a bit on edge here, as both these authors have let me down/thrilled me to pieces in the past. Yes, both of those, just on different works. I do intend to read these once they’re released — I just truly hope I can survive afterwards.

And now, a note on television programs… 

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Last week, the series finale of Grimm premiered. I was on pins and needles. For all 6 seasons, I followed its ups and downs, its overarc-ing story line for each season, and sat through some honestly bad episodes. According to what I found on the internet (so, remember, take it with a grain of salt), ratings were way down after season 4, so rumors of cancellation abounded. Supposedly, the showrunners decided that they were going out with a bang. (If that’s true, good for them.) They did put together a final storyline that tied up some loose ends, and gave all the characters a happy ending. I love happy endings. I also think it is not too much to ask for. (Several weeks ago, I wrote a whole post about that.) The plot twist that the writers used to make everything peachy keen was a bit common, but it didn’t feel cliche. (No spoilers, I promise.) The spin felt right to the heart of the show, and the epilogue was downright perfect and I adored it. Take note, folks — this is how you end a series that fans have poured their soul into for several, physical years.

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On the other side of the coin, I have officially decided I am done with Supernatural. After getting into the first few episodes (and I mean ever, going waaaay back here), I was really on the fence by the end of season 1, and I just popped in now and then to see what was happening until about halfway through season 7. There were far too many plots I couldn’t get on board with, secondary characters I really didn’t care about, and the gore got intense for me at some points. As much as I liked Castiel and Crowley, I was ready to write it off (and without much regret, I might add; the demise of Bobby Singer was about the last straw).

Then the Winchesters discovered the Men of Letters bunker, and, and — WOW, just WOW. I was completely in love by the end of season 8. For the last few years, Supernatural has made me laugh and cry more than any other show I’ve ever watched (except for Doctor Who and Warehouse 13).

By the season 10 finale, I was an emotional wreck, and wondering how in the world they were going to outdo themselves next. Then…season 11 happened. I am quoting Paper Fury here, when she said on Twitter: “What was that? I feel like standing in front of the Impala and getting run over.” (Thank you in advance for that great image, Paper Fury, my girl.)

By 3 or 4 episodes into season 12, I was literally fuming. Again, no spoilers for anyone else; but, suffice it to say, I am done, and not happy about it.

So, what did happen? Well, I think it’s clear the show has now been going on too long. The writing is tired, the directing nothing new, even the actors seem as worn out as their fictional counterparts. I don’t have a lot of free time, so I won’t waste it on something I’m not enjoying. So Supernatural and I are parting ways.

(And I know they will never see this, but this is my advice to the directors, producers, and the network: Don’t be afraid to let go when you see the end coming. Stop trying to unnaturally prolong something that is finite. For the sake of the fans, the writers, the actors, who have poured so much into this project, wrap it up well, give it a fitting ending, and then move on. Trust me, you’ll be thanked in the long run.)

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16 thoughts on “Changing Your Mind About Books (and TV shows)”

  1. Great thoughts! I know exactly what you mean about feeling apprehensive regarding upcoming books (including fandoms one is not yet involved in). For what it’s worth, I just started reading the first book in Schwab’s trilogy, and it’s been quite enjoyable so far…fingers crossed. I’ve never really watched Grimm, but your praise for the finale has definitely piqued my interest. I LOVE shows that actually deliver satisfying finales, especially since they’re so rare. Something new to add to the to-be-binged list.

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    1. Grimm was a special show for this time period. It reminded me of the old-school Buffy, in that there wasn’t a ton of language or inappropriate/unnecessary sexual content or over-the-top gore. Plenty of violence and fake blood and low-budget special effects – but it was one of those shows that, while you tuned in expecting the “monster of the week,” you watched it for the main character interactions/relationships and growth. A few of the characters I didn’t really care one way or the other about; others I was SO invested in, I HAD to know what happened to them. I almost gave up watching it a couple years ago; then there was a major twist that kept me in it till the end. Some of the plotlines were honestly interesting, so that helped make up for some of the “monster of the week” formula. (Btw, because I know this is an issue for you, it is the only primetime show in the last few years that never found it necessary to include a LGBT main character. They totally have my support for going against the grain in that respect.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m also going to weigh in on Schwab and say that I’m the only person I know who doesn’t like the books. Or rather, didn’t like the first enough to read the second. I started ADSOM reaaally enthusiastic (great world, fun characters), and by the end I was just…kinda meh. My sister gave me the summary of #2 and I was even more meh. Which is to say that if you don’t like them, at least know that there’s one other person out there who wasn’t a fan!

    Anyway, I know what you mean about doing a 180 on books and series. And with so many things out there to read/watch, sometimes it’s hard to go back to an author after they’ve “betrayed” you, so to speak. I bought the first book in Michael J. Sullivan’s new series because I LOVE his Riyria books to death, and I’m honestly afraid to start it because I don’t want to fall out of the MJS fandom. Fingers crossed!

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    1. I honestly think I’d enjoy ADSOM, because it has a lot of elements that I’m usually interested in – time travel, fading magic, etc. But each of the books is a lot longer than my ideal read (I just don’t have the time to devote to a 500-page story). So I think that’s partly putting me off, as well as the thought that I might get too hyped up and be disappointed.

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  3. Great post, I feel the exact same way about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I’ve bought it but have a lot of reservations about reading). I also completely understand avoiding series because of hype, I am super behind on a lot of series like Throne of Glass and The Raven Cycle because of it, however, if you’re going to read the Shades of Magic trilogy (no pressure), I strongly recommend you start with a A Darker Shade of Magic, the Shades of Magic trilogy needs to be read in order for full comprehension. Have a great day 🙂

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    1. Usually I don’t like to give myself spoilers for something I really, really want to read, but I have looked at a bunch of reviews for Cursed Child and Shades of Magic, on purpose, since I’m so on the fence about them. I’ve found out enough stuff about Cursed Child that I don’t think I’d like it, so I’m just not going to bother. But I haven’t seen a negative review for the Shades of Magic series yet. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Oh boy do I relate to this post!! I have to admit to picking up Cursed Child in the shop, reading the first couple of scenes and then putting it back- I didn’t like what I read and was *not* gonna force myself to read the whole thing and irritate myself about how it didn’t live upto my memories of HP into the bargain (incidentally, the same reason I haven’t/won’t read Go Set a Watchman). Haha I can understand that- I’m nervous about starting a lot of series cos of that too- but don’t worry, no one will mind if you don’t like it! Ah I’m so glad that you liked how Grimm ended. Even though I haven’t watched it, I definitely do hope that other showrunners sit up and take note of what satisfied fans look like- cos I’ve seen my fair share of disastrously bad show endings (*cough* How I Met Your Mother *cough cough*). I’ve watched the first couple of seasons of Supernatural, but nothing beyond that- I do like it, but I know at some point I’ll stop liking it (there’s no way I’m gonna like all 13 seasons of it- but for now I’m enjoying the ride)

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    1. I really thought I was more alone in this! Maybe it’s because, as bloggers, we tend to be in “the echo chamber” (meaning there only seems to be good reviews of something available, and it seems everything popular other people likes). But I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who is reaching these conclusions.

      For me, seasons 2-4 of Supernatural was a real bust…then 5 and 6 had their moments, but I honestly expected it to be cancelled by then; I won’t re-watch the early episodes nowadays, but I do still enjoy parts of season 8 and 9 if I happen on the reruns. I have no illusions about my future with this show, though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah that’s for sure!! I feel the same way- it’s nice to know that we’re not the only ones!
        I’ve just started 3 and am not as crazy about it- but to be honest the reason I’m watching it is cos I feel kind of done with new shows that are coming out- they just don’t appeal to me- but that’s a whole other issue… Ah I can understand that!!

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  5. Omg you’re quoting meeee. THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD. 😂 I absolutely love SPN still but honestly I agree that it’s tired. I actually think the writers who made the show the glory it was are gone??? Because half the time they keep adding in these plots that don’t even make SENSE for the boys. And can we just add that God’s sister was the dumbest plot ever. She wasn’t even scary? Adn they already DID that storyline with Lilith?!? Aughghgh. Anyway, I’m still watching because I LOVE the brothers. ❤ But it kind of probably could end now?? 🙈🙊

    Maggie Stiefvater has never let me down!! I'M SO HAPPY ABOUT THAT. Most authors do!?? But never Stiefvater (or Schwab)! I'm 500% excited for Cruel Prince too but I didn't love Holly Black's Tithe books so much. *shrugs* I'll still be buying it, but I'm not like freaking ooooout with excitement like I am over Stiefvater's new book.😍

    My annoying changing-my-mind scenario is how much I loathe the Throne of Glass/ACOTAR books and fandom now. They're so problematic. Ugh. But because I loved the first two books, people see my 5star ratings and come to flail with me and I'm just like "stahhhhp". I'm seriously tempted to change the ratings, but is that cheating??! I hate the series so much and the direction it went and the horrible way it treats minorities.😭😭

    LOVELY POST!! (And sorry for my epistle comment.😂)

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    1. Oh my gosh, the Darkness made me gag!!! It did, it reminded me 1000% of the Lillith/Eve days, neither of which were very good ones for the show, and I just wondered why they’d go down that road again?! And although I usually don’t mind their twists/explorations on the Judeo-Christian theology, that one was a REAL stretch for me. And *Chuck* as God was just LAME. Not my cuppa, at all. And in the current season, what the writers have done to Castiel and Crowley’s characters makes me fume. Since they’re my faves, I feel very, very sad about the figurative butchering.

      The only author who’s never let me down is Terry Pratchett, which is why I don’t think I’ll ever tire of re-reading his stuff. But I can’t just stop trying new books because of past disappointments (guards heart behind a fortress of new Discworld editions). I’ve changed ratings on Goodreads, I don’t think it’s cheating at all if a series takes a turn that you just can’t get on board with. Personally I feel it’s being more honest with your readers/subscribers.

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  6. There’s so much here that I agree with! You’re definitely not alone first of all, I haven’t read VE Schwabs books either. ADSOM has always been interesting to me, I just haven’t picked it up. I too feel a little intimidated by all the hype when it comes to popular books. For example I just got Jackaby (#1) and really hope that it lives up to all of it’s good reviews. Especially since I have been looking for a good mystery book. It’s been some years since I’ve read a mystery, let a lone a good one.
    Grimm…..hmm I think I watched the first two episodes? Always wanted to get into it, always put it off. I guess I kind of felt like I should finish one or two of the series I’m already watching before starting another one. Which is kind of silly because you can always watch more than one show.
    Yes yes yes. 100% on board about Supernatural. LOVED the show. HATE the direction it’s taken. It’s boring, it’s droll, it’s obvious everyone is running out of ideas and aren’t coming up with any good ones. I’d happily watch the first 9 seasons again. Even though Dean becomes a demon I would rather just end on a cliff hanger like that. Honestly when they brought the boys’ mother back I didn’t think it was for the better. People never seemed to stay dead in this show so when they do die, apparently you don’t even have to worry. There’s a 90% chance they will come back. Pretty pointless really.
    Oh and about Harry Potter “8,” I’m right there with you. Last year it was given to me as a present. While I do feel a little guilty, I don’t think I’m going to read it. Maybe some day I will but I never had any real intention to. Harry Potter ended. The story came to a close and it’s done. Seems to me that people are just using it as another excuse to hold on to the past. These are the things that can kill a fandom. IMO. It’s how Twilight was ruined for me. I loved it, and then the tween’s made it their “thing” and killed it.

    In short, I agree. I totally agree!

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    1. I really enjoyed Jackaby, and the immediate sequel was pretty good. But unfortunately for me the series fell flat in book 3, so now I’m a little nervous about starting any new trilogies/series. (Don’t let that put you off, though – I honestly think the first is still worth reading, and could even be counted by the reader as a stand alone.)

      The thing I really appreciated about Grimm’s ending was that they made the last season count. It wasn’t so obviously “well, we’re getting cancelled, so who cares?”. The last few episodes were important to the whole feel of the show, and where the characters had come to. I almost gave up on it a couple years ago, but I’m glad I stuck it out. Now that it’s finished, you can always catch up on DVD or Netflix.

      YES, I thought bringing their mother back in Supernatural was the STUPIDEST move. Like you said, if the characters ALWAYS just come back to life, then what’s the point of killing them off to start with? I loved season 10, the whole arc with the Mark of Cain, and I think if they’d decided to call it quits after season 10, by altering the finale a little, it would have been AMAZING. Now it’s just painful to watch anymore, so I’ve stopped torturing myself.

      Yeah, that’s part of what intimidates me about something like VE Schwab’s books, because there’s a MASSIVE fanbase, and I feel like I’m “late to the party” and what if I don’t totally get into it and… argh. Lots of feels crises. I know long-time Star Wars fans are going through that right now, because Disney made so many changes to the “canon” when they took over the series, and the people that were die-hard loyalists to the original trilogy just feel betrayed; and they don’t like it at all that it’s now become “a kids’ thing”.

      I started reading Harry Potter just before book 4 came out, so I consider myself a “purist,” and I’m not going to try to get involved in the “new” fandom (I don’t sort myself into any house, I don’t own any merch, and I’ll watch Fantastic Beasts, but I’ll judge it on its own merits, and not as part of the HP world).

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

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