I'd Like to Register a Complaint
Yesterday I started reading and fell in love with Adam Stemple's novel Singer of Souls
. This was one from a small collection of ARCs kindly loaned to me by generous friends.
Now if you had said to me, here is a book about a musician with magical powers and his crazy entanglements with the faery courts, I just might have passed. Because, really, there are a great many books about this general theme, some of which are quite excellent and a great many of which I could have frankly done without. But the drugs, lack of whininess and absence of misunderstood musician angst in the opening chapter made me give it a go and within a few chapters I knew I was in trouble because it was clear that I loved this book and that I had to give back the ARC and I wanted it to be mine, mine, mine. (I have this trouble with library books, too. And other books I borrow from friends. Etc.)
I continued loving this book right up to the last few chapters. And then it took a very sharp turn into "WTF??" territory and left me blinking. As I closed the book and set it aside, I actually said aloud, "Now why did he have to go and do that?" ("He" meaning the author, though I suppose that it's a valid question for the character, too.) I tried to tell myself that it's just an ARC and maybe everything will be (has been) fixed in the real
book, though somehow I think that a complete rewrite of the ending does not fall in the same category as copyediting errors.
And it's not that I am against sad/painful/etc. endings as a general principle -- quite the opposite, in fact. What I am against, however, is wrong
endings. Endings that don't fit the tone of the book, or the personality of the character as established through the rest of the book; endings that are ... the wrong shape. It's just the wrong shape.
So I'd like to register a complaint. Adam Stemple: your book kicks ass. Its ending does not. I am displeased at my own displeasure with the ending of the book. Please do not do this again. Ever.
So now I am torn. I love this book ... mostly. I'll probably still buy it, but it's no longer at the top of my "when I have money again, I'll buy ..." list. And I'm definitely not getting it in hardcover.
But I have hope. According to the back of the ARC, this is the first novel that he's written (with the exception of collaborations with his mother, Jane Yolen) and if his first novel was so engaging, then just imagine what his second might be like.