She suffers too much

Elysian Fields - Suzanne  Johnson

In this book, DJ Jaco, the young magic sentinel of New Orleans, faces the most harrowing challenges. An undead serial killer is on the loose in her city, and he seems to be targeting her. And then there are troubles with the elves. Aren’t there always troubles with the elves? They’re sly and treacherous, they don’t approve of her, and they show their disdain in the most graphic ways. Plus she might be turning into a raving shapeshifter the next full moon, if the killer doesn’t get to her first.

The pacing of the novel is lightning fast; every couple pages a new problem arises, while DJ searches for the serial killer and the one who controls him.    

This novel is #3 in the series, and I didn’t like it as much as the first two. I have to be truthful: the rating of this novel doesn’t reflect the quality of writing (which is as good as in the first 2 novels of the series) but simply my level of enjoyment (not very high) while reading it.

The reason for my disgruntlement – the protagonist suffers too much, and the meanies are always, or at least until the last couple of pages, a step ahead of the good guys. I know it’s what all the writing textbooks recommend: make your hero suffer. But I’ve never been too fond of the advice; neither as a writer, nor as a reader. I prefer it when the hero’s suffering is tempered, and the moments of intense confrontations and searing pain are interspaced with the slower periods of recovery, reflections, and planning.

Such periods are denied our heroine. The author keeps punishing her throughout the novel, and by the end, I was as tired of it as she was. I wanted her happy and relaxed. I wanted her pain-free, on both physical and mental planes. I also wanted the good guys to win once in a while, at least one round out of three. They should be smarter than the villains, right? At least sometimes.

I’m offended by this author’s unwillingness to grant my wishes. Her heroine doesn’t have a choice: she has to plod through her agony, prompted by the author’s imagination. I’m not so restricted in my options, so I’m going to say: “Enough.” I’m not going to read any more of her books. Probably. Not for a while anyway.