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Book 35 Completed

June 10, 2010

I’m going to be honest. I’ve had three glasses of wine and Matt (my filter) is out of town. I’m solo-parenting and solo-drinking; a rather dangerous combination, if I do say so myself.

Sooooooo….let’s talk about The Sapphire Sea, shall we?

I knew what this book was. I knew it was plot heavy. I knew it was mindless action. I knew it was angling for a movie deal. And yet…somehow…I still felt kinda disappointed. How does that happen? How can I possibly be disappointed and…actually…legitimately frustrated with a book that was intended to be purely escapist and stupid? I’ll tell you how: Decide that the author is a d-bag, wade through several eye-roll inducing sex scenes, and then obsess about those of things until the good parts of the book fade away.

I was totally on board with this James Bond/Indiana Jones rip-off adventure until about half-way through. That was when I realized that the guy who wrote this actually takes himself kind of seriously. Big mistake in Shelbi-land.

I’ve written two different versions of this blog; one that goes into why I think that and one that doesn’t. Because of the wine and, um, the wine, I’m going to just go with the one that explains my reasoning. You see, I stumbled upon this little interaction. For some reason, that read ALL wrong to me. Maybe it’s me. It could be ALL me… and I accept that. But, I kinda wanted to slap the guy (there was another interaction too where he made some comment about a book on Rwanda where the author, whom he called a “bastard”, stole the title from him). You published a book. I read this book. I paid for your book. Other people read this book. They liked it and want to know more about you as a writer…and…well…

Here is my (albeit tipsy) reactions: He bypassed every question asked of him to point out that he was fired from Harper Collins.

Sour grapes, much?


Look. I just don’t think you write a book like this and take yourself seriously. He’s right — there weren’t multiple story-lines, there weren’t any twists, the mystery wasn’t exceptional. Do you think that’s asking too much? I don’t. When I pick up a book like this, that is EXACTLY what I want. (Yes, yes. I get your point Mr. Robinson — back in the day, that wasn’t necessary. If you’re trying to convince me that your book is on par with Robert Louis Stevenson, ummmmm. Okay. And you cant’ have it BOTH ways. Do you want to be commercial? It’s a game. Play it.)

Let’s take Dan Brown for example.

Dan Brown plays a game. He’s not any sort of literary genius. As a matter of fact, his book are actually quite bad. But I love them. (And…FOR THE RECORD…I think the famous Dan Brown looks douchey too.) Dan Brown is a Scooby-Doo writer in disguise. The pages and pages of exposition to explain the miraculous details that get his characters out of IMPOSSIBLE situations?? Ummm…laughable. However, I bought The Lost Symbol in hardback. And I stayed on my couch for two whole days, forgoing showers and proper clothes, to finish it. Did I think the premise was ridiculous? Uh-huh. Did I think the denouement was lacking? Of course. ***SPOILER — skip to the next paragraph*** Did I think the explaination for Robert surviving DROWNING was, um, ASININE? Yes! Yes! Yes!!!! But..

Who cares?

He surprises me.

He intrigues me.

Yup, there were multiple-story-lines, twists, and an air of mystery.


Look. I know this has turned into a rant unrelated to the book itself. So, allow me to temporarily draw attention back to the book…

I was going to write that this book was exactly what I expected it to be: mindless adventure, one-dimensional characters, fun setting. I actually had a student in mind that I knew would really enjoy this book. Until I got to the giant orgy scene. So, thanks for that. Anytime an author describes pubic hair, the detailed actions of ritualistic orgies, in addition to uncomfortable references to pedophilia, well, we’re gonna keep it out of libraries. I’m not fielding parent phone-calls on that one. There’s something about the desire to write a scene about sex in the gritty, gross, way that the author did here, that just reeks of frat boy.

Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

You want the low-down?

Yeah. The first half is decent. The second half is uninspiring. It’s not appropriate for YA lit. But I will stand by the statement that this would make the perfect read on a plane ride.

Hey! I said that all things considered at least I’d finish this in one day and I did!

The End.

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