List love: 10 more bookish pet peeves

Thursday’s meme only gave me an opportunity to list 10 of my bookish pet peeves, but I have many more, so I decided to make a list of an additional 10 that irk me just as much as the first 10. Here it is, in no particular order:

  1. Introductions or prefaces to novels that give away important plot points or endings. Especially prevalent in modern editions of classic novels.
  2. Mary Sues and Gary Stus, i.e. characters so perfect that the sun apparently rises out of their exquisite arses. Perfect characters give no leeway for character development and because they are perfect, problems aren't really problems for them, so there can be no real conflict in the story.
  3. Reading a book and only discovering at the end that it’s the first in a trilogy or series and the story will not end for several more books. I have no problem with series books if each book is a self-contained story that can be read out of order of publication.
  4. Writers who give their books happy or perfect endings when it is clear that an ambiguous ending would have been both braver and more suitable to the story. The opposite is just as annoying - an unhappy or ambiguous ending when a happy ending would be better.
  5. Interchangeable characters. Annoying when they are supporting characters, intolerable when they are lead characters. Seems to happen a lot in fantasy.
  6. Deus ex machina endings or plot point resolutions. This is a lazy, cheap and nasty way of resolving things.
  7. Characters who are Too Stupid To Live, i.e. rush headlong into danger again and again and then have to be rescued and never learn from their mistakes.
  8. Historical characters as protagonists, behaving out of character or doing things that history tells us didn’t happen. I don’t mind so much in genuine alternative reality fantasy/sci-fi, but in real-world settings I detest it, especially when I know the characters well. All in all, I just think it’s lazy to grab a historical character instead of making one up. I do love seeing them as supporting cast, except I think that George, Prince of Wales and Prince Regent of the UK from 1811-1820 has been overused in Regency set romance novels, as has Beau Brummel.
  9. Authors who don’t respect my intelligence. Comes out in any number of ways, including telling me the same thing over and over and over again, explaining things that are self-explanatory and talking down to me.
  10. Authors who change history to suit their purpose. This is something I totally enjoy in speculative fiction but not in novels that are presented as based on historical fact. This is why I only got a couple of chapters into The Other Boleyn Girl before I gave up in disgust, but was able to enjoy Temeraire.
This was just a sample. I have enough for at least two more lists, but I have a couple of reviews I want to post first. Maybe next week.


George said…
I'm with you on Number One: spoiling the reading experience by giving away plot points infuriates me. And, Number Three can be irksome, too. I don't want to tricked into committing to a 10 book fantasy series.
Geosi Reads said…
I also have more that 10 bookish pet peeves and I like that you've brought up another set. Your number 1 is what irritates me more.
Trish said…
#7 - this goes for relationship follies too! A character who just doesn't GET IT, and makes the same stupid mistakes over and over again and then wonders why nobody loves him/her. It's like the author is trying to bug me lol.

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