Thursday, March 08, 2007

Nooooooo! Don't tell me!

Not too long ago, I read a book. A good book. A book that was actually on the verge of a great book. There was action, sharp dialogue, sexual tension, and suspense: pretty much everything I like. The story was ripping along at a can't-look-away pace. There were two men, one of whom had to turn out to be the 'hero' of the story and one of whom had to be the 'villain.' Both of them were telling the lead female character things about the other man indicating that guy must be the villain, and she was somewhat attracted to them both; her job, not to mention her life, depended on her making the right call.

And the best part was, I couldn't tell which guy was which! It was awesome! In one chapter it would be the hot young guy who seemed so bad he must be good; in the next, the sophisticated older guy would seemingly be the one who was good. Back and forth it went, and I could NOT put this book down for wanting to see who and how and why. happened. Out of nowhere, a chapter appears in the true villain's point of view. It reveals who he is. It reveals his evil plot. It lays out his whole, utterly wicked motivation. It spells out his total and complete contempt for both of the other characters, eliminating any shred of a chance that he'll be so conflicted later by lust or friendship that he'll be interesting again. Swoosh. There went the story, down the drain for me.

I don't really know how to label the book; it wasn't strictly romance, and it wasn't a thriller. I knew the heroine was going to end up with one of the guys at the end, and that she'd probably have to do battle with the other guy at some point. I just didn't want to know which was which so early. Before that chapter, it was a fascinating puzzle; after that chapter, I could pretty much guess what would happen (and yeah, my guess wasn't too far off).

Am I the only one? Have you ever read a book that had a definite moment when some revelation spoiled the ending for you? Do you like to be kept guessing as long as possible, or do you want to know up front where the forces of good and evil align?


Kristina Cook said...

Aaaarrggghhh, that would drive me *nuts*! I definitely want to be left guessing, up until the crucial/pivotal point where all hell breaks loose!

Wendy Roberts said...

I'm with Kristina, that would've made me crazy!
As a mystery writer I know only too well the tough balancing act of trying not to reveal too much too soon.

Lois said...

You know, I never really thought about it much. LOL I think I like them either way. It's like some mystery movies or shows will show who did it and why in the beginning, you just have to figure out what's going to bust them. Then the others it's revealed at the end. I guess for me it would depend on the story, and what is better for it to go along best. :) I guess that's not much of an answer. LOL


Caroline Linden said...

Sometimes I like to know early on, and sometimes I don't. This particular book wasn't a suspense type of book, so I feel BAD that I didn't like it once I knew what was going to happen; leaving the reader in suspense obviously wasn't what the author wanted to do, you know? Still, for me, it spoiled the book.