This weekend (15 Dec. 2014) I was out holiday shopping for family members and friends, and decided to pick up Laurell K. Hamilton‘s new book, Jason, while I was out. The reviews in her blog I’d seen thus far had run hot and cold, from: Loved it! to: Horrendous. I’d have to say I’m a fan of LKH, especially of her earlier works, but lately I’ve found the dialogue a little lackluster and extremely repetitive.
Call me a dreamer, but I picked up Jason with the hope that she’d read reviews and taken some advice from the people who love her writing.
In that regard I wasn’t disappointed.
In recent books, especially the Merry Gentry novel, A Shiver of Light, readers had to wade through descriptions and dialogue that seemed as though they were copy and pasted onto every other page; making the money you spend on the book seem worthless. It’s been one of the fans’ major issues with her writing. As such, each subsequent book in the Merry and Anita series I purchase, I roll the dice of optimism and keep my fingers crossed that she has ceased the practice.
I kept an eye out for it, and only found one instance of repeated dialogue from a conversation they had in the morning, which they reiterate in a discussion they have later with another character. I went over the page again, just to make sure the rehash was needed, and in a way it was. It helped to establish the parameters for a part of their lives they were not willing to introduce a character, J.J., to.
Another issue people bring up is the amount of sex in the book(s). I’m all for sex that furthers the plot, and maybe a little extra thrown in like a cherry on top of a sundae, but excessive, meaningless–plot-wise–sex, can be tedious. Tedious, when it comes to reading about sex which should be about as engaging as a book can get, is a major turn-off.
In Jason, I can agree that it seemed as though she spent two-thirds of the book having sex, and the other third sitting at her kitchen table, talking about sex/emotional issues. In reality, I’m fine with that. Each sex scene did something for a character’s physical and/or emotional well-being, in essence it furthered character development, so it added to them in a way.
However, my two major issues with the book stem from Anita’s emotions and the lack of action–obviously not the sexual kind.
Anita came off as kind of petulant in the book, either scowling, glaring, or getting angry over some, even trivial, things; others I felt she’d gotten over by now. She did iterate she was making an effort not to be angry, but with number of times it happened in the book it left me saying; “Yeesh, get over it, already.” I know some things still make her uncomfortable, and unless the ardeur is riding her she’s less willing to do some of them, but it came off as though the only time she was not being a grouch was when she was having sex.
As for the action, there was quite a bit of discussion, hemming and hawing, and no real outcome. The final page read like a battle plan for their sex lives. We don’t get Anita talking with Jade about her decision, we don’t hear about J.J. and Freda, or Jason’s plans with J.J.. In essence…it really was a compilation of sex. Good sex, and helping to work out some issues, but the life changes that need to happen outside of the bedroom were given no conclusion.
So I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars:
I’m giving the three stars for the sex scenes being appropriate plot-wise, only making me re-read dialogue once, and for overall enjoyment of the book.
The loss of the other two stars stem from the book having no real outcome to speak of, and Anita being grouchy outside of sex, yet not giving us her acerbic wit that goes along with said mood. Her being a smart-ass is one of the fun parts of reading about her. I get why it wasn’t entirely appropriate for this book, and it was more about her growing away from that in her personal life. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t missed.
In the end, this book just seemed like a really long prelude to the teaser chapters for, Dead Ice. I’m excited to see Zerbrowski again, for Anita to be on a new case, and I’m hoping that some of her rougher edges will shine through with the police, FBI, and bad guys, since it’s not appropriate/welcome with her sweeties.
Just please, I beg of you, don’t make me skip over half the book because of all the dialogue/description repeats!