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What immediately turns you off in a fantasy novel?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by alecdavis47, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. alecdavis47

    alecdavis47 New Member

    For me there's a couple things.

    I hate to say this but I always judge a book by its cover. If it obviously didn't have any thought put into it I am less likely to read the synopsis. Like the Alien books by Gina Koch (spelling?)

    Another thing is like in Malazan where it feels like you completely missed chapters but it was really just the author dropping you in. This works sometimes like in A Darker Shade of Magic, Game of Thrones, but wouldn't work in a book like Lord of the Rings or Assassin's Apprentice.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. TJPoldervaart

    TJPoldervaart Minstrel

    I try to not judge books by their cover, but I'd lie if I'd say it didn't play a part. For me, one of the nice things about books is they become the 'decoration' in my room after they're finished, and if a cover is extremely ugly, I'll make sure to stash it someplace I won't see it. Then again, an awesome cover can get me to read a book I wouldn't have tried otherwise.

    Other things that will turn me off immediately:
    - Overpowered lone-wolf characters that are actually just jerks.
    - Grimdark not because it adds anything, but because the author likes torture porn.
    - Unhealthy romance.
    - Female characters written als objects/trophies and not as people.
    S.T. Ockenner and Chasejxyz like this.
  3. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    This works for any story...
    When it is not internally consistent. If X can't be done for 300 pages then on page 301 it can't suddenly be possible without a REALLY good reason.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. Ban

    Ban Troglodytic Trouvère Article Team

    A cover that feels uninspired. There's a trend in indie fiction to have some stock figure hot person on the cover with magic stuff happening around them and maybe some funky colours in the background. I'd even be more interested in the book if it was just a background colour with a name and title on top.
  5. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

    Immediately—like in the first page or two—bad prose. If it is written well I'm likely to go on for at least a few more pages. That's true of all writing, not just fantasy. I don't even look at the covers, for the most part.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  6. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Inkling

    Covers don't mean much to me, they're often very misleading and don't reflect the book. If I remember correctly both Sharyn McCrumb and Terry Pratchett have parodied misleading book covers.

    What does annoy me is uneccessary and excessively detailed violence and sex. Here I'm thinking of both Joe Abercrombie and GRR Martin. What frustrates me about those two authors is that their plotting and characterisation is more than good enough to carry their books, there simply isn't any need for the detailed violence and sex they include.
    Vaporo, Darkfantasy and S.T. Ockenner like this.
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I pay attention to covers for indie and self-published works, because they're one way to determine how much professionalism went into the product. If there is a half-arsed cover on a book I can expect that the same kind of care went into the writing of the story.

    I like Abercrombie--I suppose one can argue what level of sex and violence is "necessary" for that type of writing.

    The only thing that really turns me off right from the start, apart from some cheap homemade cover, is bad writing.
  8. Nice Luna SteerpikeSteerpike. I get turned off by early and unnecessarily over-the top violence or lazy use of bad language (like everyone starts saying fuck a lot)
  9. Snowpoint

    Snowpoint Sage

    Slavery. There just isn't much you can say about it. Worst part is when you have real world 21st century attitudes coming out the mouth of a medieval farmer.

    I stopped reading Mistborn 15 years ago because of this. Only just this month listened to it on Audible. Now Reading Way of Kings, more slavery... but they are in a really unique situation which makes it more interesting.
    Darkfantasy likes this.
  10. alecdavis47

    alecdavis47 New Member

    issue got solved!!
  11. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

    Apart from the obvious stuff like bad writing and an author who knows nothing about what they are writing about whether it be cultural or wrong time period (as someone else stated modern language for medieval characters throws me off).

    Just that feels overly done. I like Tolkien and if I want to read that type of story, I'll just re-read his because that stuff never gets old for me. I can't be bother to read The Lord of the Rings written by a less skilled author. Rather read something new and creative. I don't see the point in just lightly re-creating stuff that all ready exists, in most cases anyway.
    Love triangles.
    A teen girl who's a real badass, mother bitch, can flatten any guy, must save the world but has too much time to swoon over new love interest. Has a stinky personality but everyone loves her for no reason and are endlessly loyal.
    No imagination used at all. Just recycled fantasy characters, creatures, plots and settings.

    That's all I can think of right now
    joshua mcdermott likes this.
  12. Electric Bone Flute

    Electric Bone Flute Troubadour

    Anything sexual. Stop right there.
    Darkfantasy likes this.
  13. Devora

    Devora Sage

    If someone's story starts off with a reluctant thief that ends up finding a sentient item that is the key to saving civilization and said item is ancient and capable of snark I will instantly throw the book in the trash.
    Darkfantasy likes this.
  14. heh. this thread makes me want to take all the parts that make people stop reading and put them all in one.. very short.. book.

    I am tempted to actually do it but I enjoy writing such books just about as much as I enjoy reading them-
  15. Electric Bone Flute

    Electric Bone Flute Troubadour

    Well ain't you got a problem, no one in this thread will beta read it for you.
  16. Virian

    Virian New Member

    There's many annoyances I feel whenever reading stories, little cliches that I've seen a thousand time done both well and bad. I've come to expect them, and I'm sometimes pleasantly surprised at how they are used.

    There are some parts however that will simply make me drop a story, those being:
    - MC-based morality. Everything the MC says is how the world should be and anyone who says otherwise is a villain or an idiot who hasn't been enlightened. I prefer it when the the MC(s) are not the center of all that is just, but can actually change and evolve morally depending on what they face and might even be proven wrong.
    - One character always wins at everything. The author always having a pet character which can do no wrong or succeeds at everything is always annoying, as when I read, I actually want to empathize with the character and having a perfect, can never do wrong character just rubs me off. It's the flaws of a character, their drive to improve and their failings that make them relatable, not their constant stream of successes that it doesn't feel as if they've earned.
    - Harems done poorly, which is pretty much every single one. Now harems can in theory be interesting as in they would be extremely complex things as a person needs to juggle the personal affection of multiple people while not alienating any of them, while also preventing any grudges from being to deep or have lasting consequences. But all I've seen so far is harem members being used as a sort of badge of honor to show just how strong/great a person is that they deserve having multiple people fawn over them.
  17. My biggest pet peeve that is the biggest turn off for me is when the world literally hands everything to the protagonist. I recently read a story that embodied this entirely. The protagonist was tired of a bird singing. The bird falls over dead. The protagonist runs away from home and gets tired of being alone, bam companion. The protagonist gets tired of physically walking. Horses appear! Oh and then she needs to pay someone for their services and Oh would you look at that, she has a giant ruby in the bag she stole from her aunt before running away. It's just all too convenient and it's the biggest turn off.
  18. sounds like it should have been a parody -
  19. Devora

    Devora Sage

    I also don't like a lot of the litRPG genre, especially the ones that have Isakai elements.

    It's like the only thing they ever watched was .hack//sign and Overlord.

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