Saturday, May 16, 2009

The books I got from the library:

  1. Do androids dream of electric sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  2. A clockwork orange by Anthony Burgess
  3. Interview with the vampire : a novel by Anne Rice
  4. Chalice by Robin McKinley
  5. Empire by Orson Scott Card
  6. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  7. The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman
  8. Anne Frank : the diary of a young girl translated from the Dutch by B.M. Mooyaart-Doubleday ; with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt
1, 2, 3, and 8 are classics. 4, 5, and 7 are by authors whose other books I've enjoyed. 6 has been recommended to me by several.

There is no doubt that The Host is better than the Twilight saga in many ways, but Stephanie Meyer has not learned from her mistakes. (Perhaps they need to be pointed out to her.) There was a plot point in Eclipse that I could not believe actually got published, and I dearly hoped never to see anything like it again, but lo and behold! It was in The Host, just different enough that you could pretend it was not the same.

If it was only that I would still like the book very, very much, but there was another large flaw I couldn't get past: Mary Sue-ism. Are you all familiar with the term? If a character is labeled a 'Mary Sue,' (or 'Gary Stu' or 'Marty Stu' or whatever variant you like) that means the character is unrealistic.

A 'Mary Sue' (sometimes just 'Sue'), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors or readers. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as "Mary Sues" is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the "Mary Sue" character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an "author's pet".
I made bold the one phrase because that is where The Host's main character 'Wanderer' falls most short. I won't go into detail, but if you've read it I'm sure you can see what I'm talking about. If not, maybe I need to read it again, or maybe we should compare notes.

Anyway, other than that, it's a good book.


  1. Intriguing titles.

    I think I disagree with you about the Twilight series, but I haven't read The Host, so I can't comment on that or compare these books.

    Anyway, I suspect that I will be dreaming about androids now ;-)

  2. Eewww. Mary Sue is enough to hate whatever book she's in. Gag.

  3. I thoroughly approve of 2 and 7. 8 is one everybody should read. I have a feeling I'd approve 1 had I read it.

    I still hold that the main character of Twilight was far from a Mary Sue, or at least that she fails most if not all of the classic Mary Sue tests. Haven't read the Host.

    Actually, would you mind telling me what the mentioned plot point was? If you don't want to put a spoiler in here, could you please email me? I'm extremely curious now.