Do you have a favorite author - every time they put out a book you can't wait to buy it? There are those we watch for, anticipating their next release. It's been a long time since I was that excited about new arrivals. Walking through the airports, I did see Dan Brown's new book on the stands, I'm interested to read that, and browsing around, I saw Diana Gabaldon has a new book out.
This post might offend some of Diana's die-hard readers, but when I saw she had released the next installment of the Outlander series, I wasn't as excited as with previous works. I will probably still read it - but this time I'll probably get it from the library. And here's why.
After I'd had my first child, I was watching an exercise program to get back into shape (a program I still do now!) and one of the commercials was for "A Dragonfly in Amber," by Diana Gabaldon. Good marketing - getting the female audience. So I went to the library and checked it out. I was absolutely mesmerized by the story. Then I discovered it was the second in the series, so I couldn't wait to read more. I picked up Outlander and was even MORE mesmerized. These books were so spell binding that I actually took a trip to Scotland (Karla's Big Adventure) by myself because I wanted to experience the haunting mountains and meadows for myself. I wanted to stand in an outcropping of stone circles and travel through time to a cold, dark place where the food was sparse and unflavored (on a side note, I was also going through a very difficult time personally, so the escape had even MORE allure for me). Then came the third in her series - Voyager. Another good novel, but now the pace had sped up so that I was getting whiplash keeping up. An interesting read, and I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't the same experience as the first two had been. Where could she go from there? Well she brought the characters from Scotland to the "New World" as refugees. But in Book #4, I was a bit put off by their daughter. And they were getting older, but the adventure continued. Well written? Yes. But again, the magic wasn't there for me anymore. I still enjoyed it and when Book #5 came out, there I was buying it. Book #5 was a stretch for me. The main characters, the ones I had grown to love and admire, were aging, and yet they weren't aging. Some of their antics were a stretch for me, and the story moved much more slowly. Her 1,000 page epics, which I easily read through previously, were becoming more difficult. Could it be my own aging process and inability to keep up? Maybe the plot was a little thin. She's moving in a direction, has a vision of where she wants these books to take us, but the individual installments were losing momentum for me. So now, with the latest, I read a review first. I read MANY reviews first. They all read like the fan that I am - I love her work, but it's getting hard to continue on this same road, and the daughter, whose task it is to step into her parents' footsteps, doesn't have the personality her mother and father have.
Will I read the book? Yeah. Most likely. But I didn't pick it up at the Poisoned Pen (Diana's home book store) when I was there, and I'm not inclined to put out the money for it. I don't feel the excitement of picking it up immediately now that it's on the stands and I won't sacrifice three days of my life rushing to get through it, on lunch hours, after work, before I go to bed, into the wee hours of the night.
This is disappointing for me. I miss having an author I can't wait to read. There have been several through the course of my lifetime, and one by one I've fallen away from dedicated fan status. Maybe it's just that life gets in the way, or maybe it's pushing your characters too far, beyond the point of suspended belief.
I still enjoy Diana Gabaldon. I'm still going to read the next installment, the characters are "old friends." But I guess the honeymoon is over. Maybe that's just one of the pitfalls of writing a series. You get comfortable with the same old characters, but if they don't do anything different, there isn't anything to keep you engaged, just comfortable. Another sad commentary on today's society, I suppose.
Which authors do you hang on waiting for to release a new book?