Thursday, April 15, 2010

Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry (Take Two)

In case you missed it, the Pixie and I have a bet going over this book. Since I finished it yesterday and still don't dig on it, she lost. Beyond disliking it overall though, there are the details of what I thought was good and what I couldn't stand. For this book they're a very strange collection. How about a brief summary before that though. See my previous post if you need a hand remembering how I rate things.

Writing: Pretty Damned Good
Story: Well Worth Reading
Characters: Fucking Awful

Now given that short list, Mark (and anyone who understands people and has read the book) will immediately know precisely why HHotD was not my cup of tea. The main reason being that it was not remotely written with people like me in mind. I do recognize, however, that there are people out there who will think it's a really great book. The problem is, I wouldn't get along at all well with the vast majority of them because of what enjoying it says about them. Certainly not well enough to recommend books to them in any case.

I'll be lazy and go in the same order as my list. The writing, in both technical and aesthetic aspects, was well above average for what I'd expect from a first time author. Cheers on that, Mark. He has a keen eye for detail but doesn't bog you down so that you get bored or lose track of where you were, like Tolkien books do for instance. The chapters only run about twelve pages, so it's easy to put down if you're not a marathon reader. The flow from one chapter to the next is clean enough though that going cover to cover won't be a problem if you're otherwise enjoying the book. My only beefs with the writing are too many flashbacks and a flashback within a flashback.

The story itself was about, to slightly above, what I've come to expect from the first book of a series. That it was also Mark's first published book makes it surprisingly good on this front. That said, it is the first book of a series and doesn't have a lot of background to draw on, so don't expect spectacular. It's solid and won't leave you disappointed, if you're the type inclined to enjoy this book, but it won't leave you wowed either.

The characters are what killed this book for me. To paraphrase, for decency's sake, my friend who I had read the first chapter so he would understand what I was ranting about: vapid bitches. At about the third chapter it was driving me crazy that the group of protagonists were apparently completely devoid of a single redeeming characteristic of any kind. At around the fourth I started paying close attention for absolutely anything that I could classify as a character trait in any of the three that I could find an iota of empathy towards. The closest thing I found was their concern for their missing friend Liesl but even that was apparently only important enough to think about after they'd donned some of the latest designer outfits and had a few drinks in the happening spot while heaping scorn, derision, and general bitchiness on anyone within sight. I've known child molesters with more worthwhile characteristics than these characters. I can literally manage more empathy with the guards at Auschwitz than I can with Amanda, Gil, and Wendy.

Now the Pixie says it might be a "love to hate them" sort of thing. Good on you if you can manage that. Me, I'm a more typical male type and prefer to either ignore or smash, kill, destroy something that I hate. I don't on any level enjoy being pissed off or disgusted with someone. If I did, I'd still be blogging about politics. No, Nat, I will not bet you even head to donuts that I can finish the second and/or third books but feel free to enjoy them yourself.

~The Mighty buzzard


WickedLilPixie said...

I never commented on this?

Screw you. There. Commented. :)

The Mighty Buzzard said...

Ha! You so funny.

WickedLilPixie said...

It just comes natural like.