Some fans of this author, Marion Zimmer Bradley, are going to hate me for this, but as I’ve been reading her books again, I’ve been having a hard time getting through them. I haven’t read them since I was a teenager, before Facebook and the smartphone. I used books as an escape from my family. I could read a book in a day and often times I did, when I wasn’t writing.
I feel her writing isn’t all that great. I love her ideas and I love Darkover, don’t get me wrong. The world she developed is a beautiful and rich world with quite the past. I love the idea of Laran and telepathy. As a fantasy author and reader, this speaks to me. However, I think her deliverance of it could have been better. I find her writing dry, and well, just plain boring and annoying. She uses the same words over and over, she reiterates things over and over to the point where I’m screaming inside of my head “I know!”, which is highly irritating to me, and she uses the word “that” way too often and unnecessarily (this is one of my pet peeves, so it’s probably not fair bringing it up, but still, the over usage of “that” is quite annoying). Also, a lot of her main characters feel like the same person, only altered slightly.
There are much better authors out there, especially indie authors I have read. I feel the only reason she was published was because back in her day, it was easier to get published, especially in the sci-fi and fantasy genre. There wasn’t such a large number of books out there in this genre, at least not like today. There are so many books to choose from! I both like the aspect of this and hate it at the same time. From a reader’s aspect, I love that there are so many books to choose from, though a bit overwhelming from time to time, which is why reviews are so helpful. But from the stance of an author, I hate the fact there are so many books people have to go through. Without proper marketing, they may never find your book that you’ve spent so many hours on of writing and editing.
Maybe it’s just, I hold authors to different standards than others because I write as well and expect certain things from others in the same profession. I know our books are far from perfect, but when someone tells me they like our writing better than a “big house” published book they’ve read, it makes me beam with pride. It makes me feel like I have succeeded in creating something desirable. It also makes me beam with pride and joy when someone gushes over the world we’ve created.
All I know is Marion Zimmer Bradley is not my kind of author. She probably never will be. There are other authors out there who have similar writing styles to hers with great stories and great worlds, but when I’m reading them, I’m thinking great world, poor writing. I think a well told story is one where the world is awesome and unique, the characters are diverse, and the writing doesn’t annoy you. Again, this is our perspective. It’s not fact. It’s just the way we feel about her writing.