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18 April 2013 @ 09:07 am
Recent Reads: LET IT BLEED  

LET IT BLEED is book 3.5 of the WVMP RADIO urban fantasy series by my friend Jeri Smith-Ready, and is what happens when the publisher decides they want four books instead of five and the author turns the salient events of book four into a novella to offer her readers for free so she can wrap up the series in a way she feels is satisfying.

This is in every way awesome. And the novella is, in and of itself, fine. My problem is with a decision Jeri’s made for the direction of the series, which is perhaps not entirely fair, but OTOH, well, shit, man. Spoilers for WVMP RADIO behind the cut.

The nutshell summary of WVMP RADIO is “young con artist trying to go straight helps a radio station set up a promotional thing where ‘all our DJs are vampires and they only play music from the decade they were made, because vampires can’t evolve past the time they died!’ Only of course she’s selling the absolute truth. Hijinks ensue.”

…and in book 3, Ciara, our heroine, becomes a vampire. And I really, really did not want that to happen, so I came into LET IT BLEED with a bad taste in my mouth.

It is *possible* that Jeri has really good storytelling reasons for having made that decision, and I can see those potential ramifications quite clearly. Things that would be game-changers for the WVMP world. And if that’s where she’s going with it, well, okay.

If it’s not where she’s going with it, I’m going to be very, very disappointed in the series as a whole. And perhaps that’s not fair. Perhaps it’s not fair to be disappointed because it’s Not The Story I Wanted. God knows there are a lot of 1-star reviews on Amazon that are pissed off because the author didn’t tell the story the reader wanted, and I appreciate that hey, writers don’t always do that. But what they do need to do is convince me that the story they’ve told is better than the one I want them to tell, and the jury is still out on WVMP RADIO.

I will, though, be reading the last book to find out what happens, so at least she’s got me through the end of the series.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
 
Alix (Tersa): Arwen Reading (tersa)tersa on April 18th, 2013 11:49 am (UTC)
Fingers crossed that it All Becomes Clear in Book 4.0
kitmizkit on April 18th, 2013 12:02 pm (UTC)
Jeri's a good writer, so I'm really hoping it goes the way I think it's been pointed, but still. Meh.

This leads me to wonder, with regard to vampire stories, if readers in general want their leading non-vamp character to be vamped or not. I mean, I've got one vamp story I'd kind of like to tell, at at best I think the question would remain ambiguous at the end, but I've no idea if readers WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT the vamping or not, in general.
Alix (Tersa): GoT - Jaime Swordtersa on April 18th, 2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
I think it's like you said in your post: "what they do need to do is convince me that the story they’ve told is better than the one I want them to tell".

I'm not someone who is intrinsically into the vampire genre, but as a reader/audience member, I've had stories go a direction I didn't 'want' them to go but have it sold to me by the almighty storytelling. You write anything well enough, and people will buy it.

Hell. I like Jaime Lannister.
kit: walkerpapersmizkit on April 18th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
Hah! That reminds me of one of the nicest compliments I've gotten on the Walker Papers: somebody emailed me to say she was SO INFURIATED at the end of COYOTE DREAMS that she'd thrown it across the room. Then after she'd come down off her mad, she re-read it...and got EVEN MADDER, because she realized that I had been right, and the way I'd written it was way better than the way she'd wanted it to end. :)

I like Jaime Lannister too. And the Hound. :)
Alix (Tersa): GoT - Jaime Swordtersa on April 18th, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
See??? :)

kitmizkit on April 18th, 2013 12:58 pm (UTC)
I felt that was a *particular* triumph, yeah. And yeah. So that's the key, apparently, convincing 'em your way is better.

(That's actually my one problem with CS Friedman's otherwise-deeply-beloved-to-me Coldfire Trilogy. There's one screw-up (IMHO) at the end that makes me cranky every time I read it. :))
Alix (Tersa): GoT - Tyriontersa on April 18th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
(That's actually my one problem with CS Friedman's otherwise-deeply-beloved-to-me Coldfire Trilogy. There's one screw-up (IMHO) at the end that makes me cranky every time I read it. :))

I /know/ I read that trilogy a loooooooong time ago...and I remember exactly zero about it. lol

(Actually, you saying that reminded me....again going back to GRRM, the direction he took two of his characters in book #5 made me deeply unhappy, and like you with Ciara, I'm giving him another book to convince me it was good storytelling or it may kill the series for me. :/

I think it's part of that "writer's trust" thing between authors and their audience? I'm willing to give him the chance to prove himself because he has, in the past, pulled it off, but it's hard to do when the validation/payoff isn't self-contained in the book in which it's introduced.)



Edited at 2013-04-18 05:52 pm (UTC)
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on April 19th, 2013 06:47 am (UTC)
I'm about ready to read the novella (I have my copy of LUST FOR LIFE--plus an extra I won in a contest, if you need one) but I'm not thrilled by the idea either. We'll see if she can change my mind. I love Jeri's writing too, so I hope she can.