Friday, June 22, 2012

Curmudgeon's Corner: Pacing; Beginnings and Endings

Today, I have been thinking a lot of endings and beginnings. This morning I just graduated from my pediatric residency program and have ended yet another phase in my medical career. Next week, I will be beginning my fellowship in gastroenterology and am a little anxious at once again being at the bottom of the totem pole.

What does this have to do with YA lit? I have been reading a lot on my vacation, and I've noticed that many authors seem to have a lot of trouble with overall pacing in a book. Either the book takes way too long to get started and may lose readers along the way, or the book is great along the way, and then fizzles out at the end.

I just finished Glimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis. See my review at: Glimmer review

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)I was enthralled by the premise of this novel. We have two main characters who have lost their memories and are trying to piece together what has happened in their lives and what is going on in the town they are living in. The pacing was great, I was hooked from the start. But then something happens near the end-- the pacing is not quite right and seems rushed and the ending a little too pat. It's a shame because it had the chops to really make it to the next level. I'll be watching to see what else this author has up her sleeve.

On the other hand, novels like the fiercely loved Vampire Academy by Mead, start off slow and take too much time to build up the world that we are being introduced to. The end of Vampire Academy made it all worth reading, as we start to get a sense why all the details were there.

That said, I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

If I had to name perfectly paced books I would include, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, and Bitterblue (Graceling series).

Have you seen this issue? In which books have you noticed that the endings or beginnings were either a strength or a weakness?

 As I was looking at the books I was planning to put in today's post, I realized how many trilogies I am reading (apparently that's the way to go these days for better or for worse). Tomorrow's post will be my rant on trilogies-- the pros and cons.


  1. I have the same problem with some beginnings. Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel falls solidly into the category of really slow, iffy beginnings, but I ultimately loved the book and can't wait for the sequel. :) She commented on my review (actually on Twitter) "Thanks for sticking with it! Beginnings are my weakness." I guess it's just hard to know where to start and what to include.

  2. Jessi, great comment! I'll have to add that to the list. I know, there's something very difficult about the old adage, start a book in the middle.

  3. I totally agree! I'm glad I am the type that will keep reading a book because I really hate to stop reading because you never know if it will get better later on. However, some people aren't like me and they stop reading when things start getting slow or starts to fizzle out. Then sometimes I have the same problem where the book starts out frackin awesome but then it starts to rush into an ending that leaves me sitting there looking at the book like "what the frack!". I have to say that is what annoys me the most.

  4. I have to agree. I'm the type of person who will stop reading if the storyline doesn't pick up. I end up losing interest.

  5. A beginning makes a book. Its really the first parahgraph that makes you want to read on or not. The ending is just as important so that it is worthy of reading the entire tale, which builds up to this climatic finish. I hate endings that are less brilliant and leave you feeling quite deflated - such as once when i read an entire trilogy that ultimately led up to the final moment, but when i got to the conclusion it was not as groundbreaking & earth shattering as i had imagined it to be with all the build-up.

  6. I want to read Glimmer, feel really sad :(