Monday, January 23, 2017

Discussion: When Real Life Effects Your Reading

Tell me if something like this has ever happened to you:

I've wanted to read The Wrath & The Dawn for over two years. I decided that I would read it for one of my categories in the Diverse Reads Book Challenge. I downloaded the book from Audible. I've got my headphones on. The narrator seems to be doing a solid job.

...And yet I'm not past Shazi and Khalid meeting alone for the first time. He hasn't even entered the room yet. Why?

Well, lets just say I'm freaking out the way someone should when reading Stephen King. Not this. *siiiigh*

My heart is pounding, my stomach is in knots and I keep pausing the book every few paragraphs to try and alleviate the tension. I've read way darker and scarier things both on and off of this blog. Yet this book is stressing me out to the point where I'm not reading / listening to it (or anything, since I tend to focus on one book at a time.) and I am beyond frustrated.

But I think I've figured out why. My Dad had a stroke during surgery last October and was in a coma for 28 hours. I switched from writing my Sealer Saga to working on my Tales of Ellithica series because the characters in Sealer Saga (Lords of Death, Famine, Plague, etc.) felt too raw. Y'know that part from Aladdin where the camera zooms in on the vendor and he goes "Too close. A little too close." That's what I'm talking about.

All of the pausing is also leaving room for a lot of critical questions:

  • Why did we not see any of Shazi and Shiva's friendship before Shiva was murdered?
  • Why did we not get some time to care about Shazi before she was thrust into this disaster?
  • Why am I suppose to care about Tariq? I have no history for him and Shazi.
  • Where in the curse does it tell us that Khalid needs to murder wives? Why not find people suffering of uncurable illness, prisoners who need to be executed anyway, host a death lottery, etc.? 
  • What is Khalid's full reason / motive? In 1001 Nights we know the king's last wife betrayed him and that he started killing young brides to ensure that this would never happen to him again.
  • Shazi, what exactly is your plan? I'm sure we're going to get storytelling to keep her alive past dawn, but how exactly is a noblewoman going to kill a man we've been told has been trained as--and is skilled as--a warrior. 

I think I may be too focused on seeing fault here; like my mind is in beta or editing mode rather than purely in reader mode since stress is keeping me from getting lost in the story the way that I would want to in order to listen and gave an honest review. 

Do you think I should put this one on hold and come back later? Have you ever had real life effect your enjoyment of a book? I'd love to know. 


  1. I just read this earlier this month, so it's all fresh enough that I feel like I can respond to some of your questions/issues (no spoilers, of course). You do eventually get the full explanation of what the curse is and why Khalid is carrying it out, although now that you mention it, I'm not sure why there isn't a loophole like the ones you mentioned. Shazi in crisis is Shaze at her best, honestly, and I didn't mind meeting her as essentially a faceless girl in a bad situation, because the situation over time reveals her character pretty clearly. Ditto Tariq.

    All that being said, I really liked this book but found the sequel less compelling, and a HUGE issue that was glossed over in the book is that Shazi and Khalid do, um,consummate their marriage before they know each other AT ALL, which grossed me out. So if you're not feeling it, go ahead and abandon it. Too many books out there to force yourself to read one that's not working for you!


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