Thursday, February 23, 2012

Abandon ship!


Yesterday, I did something that I've never done before in my entire life. In a way, I'm quite proud that I've made it to the age of 28 and 10 months without doing it before. In another, I wonder how much of my life I've wasted by NOT doing it until now.

And no, it's not something dirty. 

Yesterday, I GAVE UP ON A BOOK WITHOUT FINISHING IT. *gasp*

It was officially the worst book I have ever read in my entire life. And based on how much I read (Goodreads tells me I've read 28 books already this year), that's saying something. 

The book? THIS:
Source

I picked it up at the library recently. The cover was fun, the blurb sounded intriguing. I mean, you'd think with hidden treasure and ancient mysteries and evil dudes, you couldn't go wrong, right? Yeah, not so much. 

I came across the first mistake on page 5. Initially I figured it might be just a typo, and ploughed on. By page 14, I knew I had to start taking notes. By page 35, I had a full A4 sheet of notes. I tried, I really did. I made it as far as page 115. But when I realised the book had 479 pages, meaning I wasn't even a quarter of the way through. I flipped through the rest and found at least one mistake on every page I passed. 

Without going through the full SIX pages of notes I made in the 115 pages I did read, here's some of the things that made me want to scream:
  • Archaeologists are not world-wide experts. No one would specialise in Egyptology AND Mesoamerican archaeology, let alone being fluent in translation of Mayan hieroglyphs. 
  • "It took six hours longer then if they had flown."  Then. THEN.
  • Missing full stops on numerous pages.
  • "There's no time like the current."
  • An American character refers to someone as "a good bloke".
  • "The house was deathly quiet with the only sound being the regular ding of the grandfather clock in the hall." So...it WASN'T deathly quiet then?
  • The characters type "ancient jade disk" into Google, and the exact thing they're looking for pops up on eBay? Uh, sure...
  • There are FIVE adults trapped in a room that's "less than ten feet square". Um. NO. That's a physical impossibility. (10 feet square is less than 1 metre square for those who aren't so great at Imperial...)
  • One character inherited three paintings of Mesoamerican pyramids from his grandmother. Apparently it took him "months of determined research" to work out that two of them were Teotihuacan and Palenque. Flip through ANY book on Mesoamerican civilisations, and pictures of those two, plus the pyramids at Tikal (which I'm guessing was the third one, seeing as the tiny room with the five people apparently trapped in it is at Tikal), will appear. Also, I found pictures of all three of them in five minutes on Google Images.
  • "...speeding off in excess of 94 miles per hour." Is it just me or is that strangely specific?
  • An eight year old becomes a Mayan king's trusted physician, even giving advice on INFERTILITY PROBLEMS. I thought perhaps I'd missed something and there was a "several years later" element to it. But no. A child. As a physician. Giving advice on infertility... *head explodes*
  • Repeated examples of American characters using British and Australian words. One takes "paracetamol tablets". Another uses the word "lift" instead of "elevator" numerous times.
  • All the characters talk like robots. Example: "There is no possible way they could know about the obsidian. Even if they did, what is the chance that they are aware of the condition of the rope? We will die in this hellish place." (How I would write that: "There's no way they could know about the obsidian, and even if they did, they couldn't know about the rope's condition! We're going to die down here.")
  • One character knows that another is carrying the ancient disc because he needs to stop frequently to catch his breath walking from a plane to the terminal building. Later, the disc is referred to as the size of a small dinner plate, and "quite light in weight". #CONFUSED
  • "For shit sake." <-- I don't even know what that's supposed to mean.
And finally, we have my two favourites, which is what really tipped me over the edge into not reading any further:
  • "She wriggled her hips, juggled her breasts and waltzed back into the mess hall..." Wait. She JUGGLED her breasts? JUGGLED????????? Now THAT is an impressive life skill, kids.
  • "It's true, then. I am [Mayan priest from 300AD]'s ancestor." ANCESTOR. Unless there's a TARDIS involved, that's - as Ralph Wiggum would say - unpossible. 

The worst part? It was produced by a PUBLISHING HOUSE. With the apparent lack of editing and proof reading, I was sure it would be the most awful kind of self-publishing. But no. It makes me sad that there are so many awesome authors out there (like Lissa!) trying their hardest to get publishers interested in their work when there are books like this available on the market. 

*sigh*

What books have you guys given up on? Also, has anyone else read this piece of tripe? 

K xx

28 comments:

  1. Hahah the title of this post is definitely appropriate. Very very concerning. Perhaps the author was drunk (and also the publisher)!?

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    1. That would probably explain it... I'm half tempted to tell the library that they should remove it from the shelf for being the worst book of all time!

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  2. I've never not finished book, no matter how bad they were, but that said I've never picked one up that was that bad! How things like this get published...

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    1. I'm quite distressed to have broken my streak of always finishing books. But it was making me so angry that I just couldn't do it!

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  3. Only in the past few years have I let myself not finish books I started. Kind of a "life's too short" mentality, and what am I really proving by making myself finish terrible books?

    I definitely notice things like this since I do freelance manuscript editing, and I wrote a post about character inconsistency about 2 years ago. Not as glaringly obvious as these mistakes here, but annoying nonetheless.

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    1. Oh jeez, the examples you used in your post made my head hurt!! I half want to send my notes to the publisher and suggest that they might want to do something about it. Or, you know, hire me. If they were paying me, I'd definitely finish the book! ;)

      Delete
  4. Best bad book review in existence. Glad you finally put it down and walked away. Think of all the grief you saved yourself.

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    1. Except because I haven't gotten around to taking it back to the library yet, it's still sitting here taunting me about how I didn't finish it. RUDE! ;)

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  5. Oh EW. That sounds horrible. I try really hard to not give up on books but I have given up on a few...

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    1. It was so very very awful. And of course, now all the issues I had with it keep running through my head, so I can't even forget about it and move on! UGH.

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  6. It wasn't be any chance a translation was it? Because that's the only explanation I can see for some of this stuff.

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    1. I wish to God it was. THE AUTHOR IS FROM MELBOURNE. *sobs hysterically*

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  7. I occasionally give up on books. Life's too short! Though at least you got some entertainment out of it.

    Think I might spend some time this weekend practicing juggling ;-)

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    1. Entertainment and hair tearing! Don't injure yourself with the juggling practice!!

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  8. I was expecting the worst... but this is like the publishing apocalypse. Maybe it was a staff ghostwriter who they only had to pay a few hundy to whack out an entire book in a week? This is seriously the only explanation I can think of for an atrocity like this!

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    1. The worst part was that in all the positive reviews on Amazon (clearly written by friends and family), they'd compared her work to Dan Brown, Steve Berry and James Rollins. On behalf of those authors, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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  9. When I first started reading this post, I felt defensive for the author. "Aww, well that's a little hars-- WAIT, WHAT?!"

    Are you KIDDING me? And this was NOT self-published? Those kinds of mistakes make me angry beyond comprehension, and how something like that could've made it to a bookshelf in a store is beyond me. Can you still return it? Ridiculous.

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    1. The first few mistakes I came across, I attributed to typos by the publisher or a misunderstanding on my part. But the more I read, the angrier I got at the author.

      Thankfully I borrowed it from the library, so at least it didn't cost me anything!!

      Delete
  10. You have made me almost want to read this book. Almost!

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    Replies
    1. If you really want to read it, the Kindle version is 99c on Amazon! (Don't do it, though!)

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  11. Clearly you don't understand archaeologists. They're all Indiana Jones and know everything about everyone, no exception. They not only specialise in Meso-American archaeology and Egyptology, but they do everything else! Duh.

    (Note: I hate when people think archaeologists automatically know everything about everyone. Then again, I get that with linguistics. "So you know a lot of languages?" Clearly I know 100 languages and can compare/contrast them perfectly. What the hell, no. I KNOW THREE.)

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    1. I think my FAVOURITE glaring archaeologist-related error was that the main character can read Mayan hieroglyphs fluently. One of my uni lecturers wrote a DICTIONARY of Mayan hieroglyphs and even he's not fluent!! Oh, and she can also read Medieval Latin. OF COURSE.

      *Hulk smash*

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  12. That is truly horrible. You have done good things for your sanity by giving up on that book.

    I never used to give up on books - I always persevered until I reached the bitter end. This has changed in the last few years, once I realised that there are a lot of good books out there, so why waste my time on the rubbish ones? The most recent book I gave up on (for the second time), is the first book in the True Blood series. I just cannot get into it. At all. The writing is so incredibly boring and I have yet to discover why I need to know exactly what Sookie is wearing the whole time. Apparently, it's vital that I know she sleeps in a t-shirt that goes down to her knees. WHY? Why am I supposed to care about this?

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    1. Well, obviously you care about it so that you know which item of clothing Bill is ripping off her when they boff. DUH, KATIE. (I'm kidding. I enjoyed the first few books, but they've gotten crappier and crappier as time has gone on.)

      And yes, I think my sanity will be eternally grateful that I didn't keep reading!

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  13. A lot of those errors could be explained by the book being written in another language (French, judging by the author's name??) and then translated into English... but there is no excuse for the publisher not to have proof read it!

    To date I have not given up on a book. Sort of. I began The Unbearable Lightness of Being and put it down within three pages, with the intention to "try again later". "Later" hasn't happened yet but I like to think that it will... one day... when all the rest of the books in the world have been read...

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    1. The author was born in Melbourne and has lived here all her life, according to the bio on her website. And even if it was translated, it would have had to have been run through Bablefish or Google Translate to come out so badly. No translator in their right mind would come out with crap like that!

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