Tuesday, April 29

Rose Coloured Reading Glasses

Have you ever read the first book in a series or trilogy and loved it, only to be disillusioned by the sequel or a re-read?

I've found that this has been happening to me more and more, which has made me question whether or not the first book was really all it was cracked up to be. This in turn makes me consider just how many books I read with rose coloured glasses.

There are a few primary factors which are certain to engage me as a reader: conflict, tension, and intrigue. These are what I like to refer to as the three essential spices to compelling literature and are necessary if you want to hold the reader's attention.

A book which keeps me enthralled – unable to be pried from my hands – will not only execute the essential spices but hook into my emotions and raise my adrenaline. The caveat is that this often means I am not necessarily reading a book critically.

While I do think that reading should be primarily for enjoyment, there is often the chance that I will be less scrupulous to more irritable aspects of the text. These then become glaringly obvious in a sequel. The protagonist's determination becomes nonsensical stubbornness, conflict becomes angst, and the love interest's ultimate devotion is in actuality just creepy possessiveness. These are all factors which were present in the first novel, but only horrifically evident to me after being distanced from the initial sheen.

My reaction upon experiencing book disillusionment is somewhere between disappointment and "What the bloody hell was I thinking?" It's kind of like when I remember some of the crushes I had at school and want to head-desk at my idiocy.

Yet, these books which I read with rose coloured glasses are not necessarily badly written. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The authors of these books clearly have an excellent grasp of the three essential spices, and know how to woo their readers. Only, sometimes the honeymoon period ends and those readers are left disenchanted.

How many books have you read with rose coloured reading glasses?

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