If I am reading something slowly it means I do not like it.
If I am reading it really slowly, it means I am dissecting it in my head and ready to rewrite it from the beginning because I really, really, dislike it.
See, when I like something, I race through it. I eagerly read, my eyes keep jumping further down the page, ploughing further into the story and I don’t want to pause or wait, I just want to know how the story ends. I need to know. I’m caught up and captivated.
Then there are the books like the one I am currently reading.
It is a Shadowrun book – this one by Mel Odom called Headhunters and the premise is interesting enough. Group A is hired to steal a body from the morgue as is Group B. Group A succeeds in getting the body but then are worried about getting killed by Group B and so have to find out who Group A is and why they wanted the body. Enter intrigue and the usual Shadowrun politics with corrupt police and corps and mercenaries and the meta-human race relations and all the things that can make Shadowrun books extremely interesting reads.
Yet this book does not grab my attention. I know this because I started reading it nearly 11 days ago and I’m barely half way through. Yes, I have been busy, but I still would have finished it by now if I had wanted to find out how the story ended. I’d have woken up in the morning and checked my watch and sat for fifteen, twenty minutes frantically devouring pages if I had an interest in finishing this book.
Why don’t I like it? I have read so many other books in this series and really enjoyed them. I’ve read them out of order so I can’t honestly say where this book falls as far as the timeline.
I think it comes down to the protagonist. Skater. The mercenary who in the midst of this body snatching crisis is facing a personal dilemma of how to care for his infant daughter and worrying he may not be a good father. I must admit, the moments when he is blathering on about his fatherly concerns are the bits where I keep putting the book down and then dragging my feet picking it up again. It isn’t that this sub-plot is not interesting. It is more that I don’t believe it. Everything else Skater does is rational and deliberate and I know that they are trying to open up this emotive can of worms but it just seems far-fetched and so out of character for him.
It could also be that they keep telling me things. Skater was angry. Skater felt betrayed. Skater this. Skater that. I don’t like Skater as a character to begin with and he emotes so little on the outside that without being told he is experiencing emotion we, as the reader, would probably never know and it bothers me.
I am going to finish reading this book. I want to know why the body is so important. Unfortunately I fear I probably missed some key clues and I know I’m not going to go back to read them. Hopefully it all comes together.
By the way, if you are interested in a Shadowrun book I would suggest 2XS. It is a fascinating read and the protagonist in that (also bogged down by a family sub-plot) is really quite interesting. I actually cared whether he was getting shot at or not.
How about you? Do you read slower or faster when you are not enjoying something?
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